My top 3 Valentines Recipes…

I think the most important factors for valentines recipes is that they are quick, easy and light on the washing up, not that the washing up should be a factor on Valentine’s Day. It can be taken care of tomorrow.

First recipe up is what I call my date steak. One Steak can feed two generously. A lush juicy steak is given a quick fry then rest in the salad dressing, where it oozes some of it meaty flavor into the dressing whilst also taking on some of the flavors of the dressing. The steak gets sliced finely and then strewn over a messy tangle of salad. Delicious and only moments of work. Steak is always a real treat and even though this recipe takes very little time to make you would never know it. It is a quick feast.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Again, another quick and easy meal and of course you can have your lady and the tramp moment with this dish. It takes longer to eat than it does to make. By the time your pasta has cooked everything else will be ready to go.

If you want to get ahead of the cooking then try this Fabulous dessert, strawberries in Prosecco jelly. I make this in champagne saucers and it really just looks like a glass of champagne. It is a gently set jelly, the Prosecco retains the bubbles so the jelly has the most gentle light tingle in your mouth as you eat. To vamp it up even more for your loved one, whip some cream gently, scoop out a passion fruit and fold through the softly whipped cream.Dollop spoonfuls of the cream as you eat your jelly. I laugh at the cheesiness but I call this ‘’Quivering with passion jellies’’ and I think it sums up this day perfectly.

Averting Bread Crisis

Have you ever awoken to find that you are completely out of bread? If so, don’t worry I’ve got you sorted. These delicious soda bread rolls take 25 minutes from start to ready to eat. Crisis averted, I call these breakfast rolls as I add granola to the mix which imparts flavour and texture with no extra work.

I haven’t gone mad making bread first thing in the morning. In fact, by the time the oven has preheated these rolls are ready to go in and they only take 20 minutes in the oven, just about as much time is required to have a mug or two of tea and come to one’s senses. Do allow them to rest for a few minutes to cool a little on a wire rack before eating. I eat still warm with good butter or with some good marmalade and sometimes actually all the time with both.

You can also make one large loaf with this recipe instead of splitting the dough into 6, form into one large ball and bake for 40 minutes

It is also worth noting that you can use runny yoghurt instead of buttermilk if you don’t have any or can’t get any. Clobbered milk is also another option which is a technique of souring regular milk with lemon juice. 400ml of either of these can be used to replace the buttermilk.

Kitchen Banter

Here you will find a conversation, the type that you would perhaps have whilst preparing a meal, the informal jabber one has to ones self or to whoever maybe present in the kitchen at that time. That like, which we might have with a friend with a mug of tea in the kitchen. The conversation will most likely come to fruition, in my head whilst cooking and I will continue this conversation here. It could be about a particular pan that I think is great, Rhubarb may have come into season and it may be running through my mind recipes, parings what to do with it, leftovers and what to do with them?, those clammy long stares into the refrigerator trying to decide how I could put what is there to use.Who knows where this conversation will lead? or, just how delicious the recipes that form will be.

I think there is nothing more relaxed and casual than the conversations we have whilst our mind is partially occupied. I find that cooking not only lets me escape my day when it’s required, but also allows me to be more open than I could possibly be in a direct conversation. I have always felt any awkward conversation is much less so when you are partially distracted by what you are cooking. I’m sometimes unsure if it’s me that uses the distraction and relaxed atmosphere of cooking to lessen the severity of a conversation or if it is the distraction of offering the other party a comforting bowl or plate of what is being cooked. Whatever the answer this could be looked at as the offerings of a guilty party making amends in a way that means most to them or offering the deepest comfort and sincerest sympathy. People respond, people open up and is why in part the kitchen will always be the heart of my home. Offering a sense of harbor, security, warmth, comfort and safety.

This leads me to the reason I had to make my kitchen an open plan. I wanted to spend as much time as possible in this comfort zone, to live here. Whether it be eating, cooking or lazing about on the couch watching TV. I think it helps making friends or guests in my house feel comfortable. That there is not a whole ceremony made of the meal it is more informal and comfortable. Which makes me happy and makes friends/ guests happy.