What’s Cooking for Valentine’s Day?

I’m a romantic at heart and I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day – especially planning an evening out at a fancy restaurant, or staying in to celebrate with a home cooked meal. If you were after some ideas for what to cook for a night in, you’re in good company! According to a survey done for HelloFresh, 70% of couples are planning on staying in and cooking a meal this year instead of going out on the town. (And if you fancied a night in and wanted a fuss free meal idea, I have to say Hello Fresh is a great option – read my review here.)

But, what to eat? And drink? Well, Martini have this glorious rosé demi sec available from Ocado for £12.99 – check out that glorious deep pink shade! I was able to sample a bottle and it’s absolutely delicious – with hints of wild strawberry, rose and violet. Champagne and sparkling wine was voted in the top three foodie turn ons in the survey, with chocolate topping the polls and oysters coming in third. 

So, here’s my ideal Valentine’s day menu, based on HelloFresh’s research…

According to Patrick Drake, co-founder and head chef at HelloFresh, “British classics are the clear winners.” So start off with this recipe for pea soup – this is my ultimate soup recipe and everyone who has tried it raves about it! Plus it takes less than 15 minutes to make and only has six ingredients… Decorate with edible flowers and you have a recipe for romance!

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For your main course, you can’t go wrong with a really good steak. Don’t scrimp on the quality – my favourite is rib eye so I always look for a really good, high welfare steak from my local butchers. And a sauce is good too – I like to make a big batch of red wine and shallot sauce from this recipe (adapted from Gordon Ramsey’s) and freeze it in small quantities. (It’s good with lamb and duck breast too.)

  • 300g shallots
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Whole garlic clove (skin on)
  • Rosemary or Thyme
  • 5tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 400ml red wine
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Knob butter

Fry the shallots in the butter and oil until lightly browned. Add in the garlic and herbs, then cook until they are caramelised and gooey. Add the vinegar and reduce until syrupy, then pour in the wine and simmer until only a third is left. Add in the stock cube and 400ml of water, then reduce down to around a cup’s full. When ready to serve, whisk in the butter just before.

On the side, fries or wedges are traditional, but if you’re having the full three courses you might want to consider just having a green salad with a sharp lemon dressing…

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For pudding, this make-ahead lemon posset is so delicious and rich it’ll be a real winner – serve with thin, crisp vanilla biscuits to make it extra fancy.

Here are the top five recipes for seduction, according to those British couples surveyed:

  1. Steak (35%)
  2. Roast dinner (22%)
  3. Curry (17%)
  4. Salmon (15%)
  5. Profiteroles (14%)

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Now, I love a good roast dinner, but if Valentine’s day is on a week day like it is this year, I’m not sure how excited I’ll be to cook it after a hard day at work! Then again, how can you resist those gorgeous roast potatoes…

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A curry is a great option, especially if you’d like to cook it yourself, as you can make many of the dishes in advance and they’ll even improve by being eaten the next day…

Just be careful – 22% of the respondents said that their romantic night in had gone wrong, with the most common reason being eating too much… (I can’t accept any responsibility for you eating too much soup… it’s addictive.)

Check out more of the stats from HelloFresh’s survey, conducted by Ginger Research Global, here.

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