Valentine’s Day doesn’t feature largely in my life in the romantic sense since I’ve properly become a grown-up – by which I mean I have a 10y0 (A 7yo old too – but saying that doesn’t make me feel quite so old!), a never-diminishing mortgage, bags under my eyes and hair sprouting in peculiar places (feeling romantic yet?). As a teenager, a bunch of roses and a fancy steak dinner was validation to all that my relationship was not just puppy love, but the real thing and I placed more importance on it than birthdays. Which were EXTREMELY important.
These days it is more about the children (frankly what isn’t?) and every year we have some kind of heart-themed play date around the 14th, a family meal and the exchanging of cards.
This year along with the pink marshmallow flower bouquet and red-iced heart shaped cookies, we will be sitting down to this Valentine Day feast. OK – it is not steak and chips and chocolate fondue, but it is family friendly (well bar the parsley) and romantic in a less-hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-bunch-of-garage-flowers way than many traditional Valentine Day meals. Chicken pieces poached in wine (the alcohol burns off so the children can eat it) and garlic and served with a big plate of Persian jeweled rice is to me the perfect romantic meal for four. Exotic, yet everyday and easy to prepare. Leaving you time to put Barry White on the record player, get the heart-shaped sequins out and get stuck in to some Valentine’s Day crafts.
Pomegranate seeds add not only colour and intrigue (jewel-like they glisten in the rice) but represent fertility – although if you are eating this with your children – you are probably more preoccupied with scraping the glitter off the kitchen floor, than anything that may happen upstairs.
Here is a round-up of what we have made on previous Valentine’s Days. Heart-shaped food features pretty largely. In past years we have turned pretty much every food stuff into the universal symbol for love. Chocolate brownies are a natural fit (and easy to shape with a cookie cutter) but heart shaped boiled eggs are pretty impressive to look at (have a look here to see how) and as for heart-shaped roast potatoes – why didn’t we think of this before? But my favourite is heart-shaped pizza. I am pretty passionate about the stuff (I make my own every Friday, although they are normally more prosaic and square) and if my amour made me one as beautiful as this, loaded with my favourite toppings, it really would be until death do us part.
As Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, Claire has some great family-friendly cooking/crafting ideas here.