As February 14th fast approaches, no doubt many of you have mixed feelings. Will you indulge in its festivities with your loved one or choose to openly ignore it with a scrooge like demeanor. The original Valentine’s day is named, rather sadly, after 14 early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, one of whom apparently defied the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, by secretly marrying Roman soldiers to their sweethearts. Marriage was not allowed under the Emperor as it was thought that married men made bad soldiers. The legend goes that while imprisoned for his crime, St Valentine cured the jailer’s daughter of her blindness and that after his execution they found a hand written note in his cell addressed to her saying “From your Valentine”.
A more tangible link to the romantic elements of Valentine’s day first came about with Chaucer’s poem Parlement of Foules (1382) where he said “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” After this the tradition of hand written cards given to lovers and secret hearts and mementos from admirers came commonplace. Apart from cards and flowers, food had always been an indulgence shared by lovers and singletons alike. Chocolates or various candies in the shape of hearts have long been a common Valentine’s day gift. Of course people do tend to go out to celebrate valentines these days, typically in an expensive restaurants that will set couples back around £100+, so we are looking at romantic alternatives at home.
Valentines Day Ideas – 1. The Italian Feast
You and your lover could do worse than share the passions of the Italians on the 14th, a serving of baby artichokes in a wonderful lemon and garlic vinaigrette, then followed by a lightly pan fried tuna steak marinated in tomato and chilli. The sweet is both traditional and delicious marsala wine soaked Tiramisu that will finish of your Italian meal perfectly.
Baby Artichokes With A Herb & Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
Taste Of Italy Tomato & Chilli Tuna Steaks
Valentines Day Ideas – 2. Taste of the Orient
Thai food is both wonderfully spicy and subtle, meaning that you and your lover won’t be racing for a gallon of water to put out a fire in your mouth. Do not be put off by the vegan starter, this menu delivers something for all tastes sweet soup, spicy tender beef and the fresh taste of mango to finish.
Vegan Noodle Soup
Thai Beef Salad
Sticky Rice with Mango
Valentines Day Ideas – 3. The Fish Lovers
For the pescatarian in love this menu is perfect, a saucy mussel starter with a hunt of chilli to seared fresh Tuna steaks and a wonderful sticky rice lime sweet to clean the palette.
Mussels with Chilli and Spaghetti
Pan Seared Tuna, Vine Roasted Tomatoes, Herb & Chilli Tagliatelli and A White Wine and Caper Sauce
Ginger and Lime Cheesecake
Valentines Day Ideas – 4. The Carnivores Delight
OK so you don’t have to chase down your prey for this menu but we have scouted for the best meat eaters fare for this romantic feast. Starting with a tender beef salad and followed by a leg of Apricot flavored lamb and finished with a dark chocolate Torte.
Marinated Beef Salad
Apricot-braised Lamb Shanks
Dark Chocolate Torte
Valentines Day Ideas – 5. The Sweet Tooth
This menu looks like it was designed in Charlies Chocolate factory, its sweet from beginning to end. Sweet chilli shrimp to start then straight into a beautiful sticky orange chicken. If you and your lover are still craving sweet, then the chocolate souffles will bring your evening to a satisfactory end.
Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce
Sticky Marmalade Chicken With Sweet Potato Mash
Valentines Day Ideas – 6. The Night in Paris Menu
Even if you haven’t been to France, this will take you are your partner right to the center of the City of Romance. The starter is a traditional French onion soup, followed by a tender filet mignon the evening being topped off by a serving of crepe with French morello cherries, pitted and preserved in kirsch and drizzled in Caramel.
French Onion Soup with Champagne
Cabernet Filet Mignon
Crepes Filled With Griottines and Caramel
We are continuing our Dinner Party Menu challenge – a different menu published every week from our members – (OK this week we chose 6 because it is a special dinner night!) Remember if you have a winner – something you know works that your friends or partner loves – please send it to us at [email protected]. At the end of the year we will publish a book and if yours is featured we will send you a copy of our dinner party menu book.