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Valentines Day Dinners
They say, that when you are in love, everyday becomes special, and you really don’t need a particular day to celebrate that love. However, no matter how far you wish to steer clear of the clichés, the one day that you will truly want to enjoy with the person you love the most, happens to be Valentine’s Day! This is a day, when you want to be with your loved one, and make it the most romantic day possible; and what better way to serenade and woo that person, but dinner!
Ideas for Valentines Day Dinners
Before The Dinner Starts
While you might have a wonderful dinner planned, you need to make sure that the mood is set in the most appropriate manner. Valentine’s Day is all about the love you have for the other person, and how you are going to show it.
So, even before the most elaborate dinner, you need to make sure that the ambience is all set. Go all out for this special day, get some lovely, long stemmed roses, light up those aroma scented candles and make sure you have some heart shaped balloons around.
A Toast to Each Other…
Before you indulge in a proper three or five course meal, you need to raise your glass and make a toast to each other. But since it is such a special day, you can’t make that toast with just water or a glass of regular wine. This is when you need to break out the bottle of bubbly or even indulge in a special cocktail.
One of the most versatile fruits that you can use to create special cocktails for this special day is the humble raspberry. While you can combine the syrup with fizzy water or seltzer to create a cooler, you could jazz it up by mixing it with vodka, wine, or even tea! Combine raspberry with chocolate liqueur and you have something totally different. When raspberry mingles with prosecco, vodka and mint, you have the perfect cocktail.
However, this is not the only fruit that you can use to spice up your cocktails, because there are others in the offing too. Cranberry, grape, cherry and apple are all great ideas, if you are planning to mix them with wines or even champagne. It would be good if you can meet up the bartender of your favourite pub or restaurant, because he/she might be able to hook you up with some fun cocktail or mocktail recipes.
Get the Start Right
Once you have settled down after that special drink, you need to make sure that you set your first foot right. The appetisers or starters need to be not only interesting, but also ones that will take your loved ones breath away. You need to make sure that the starter sets the right mood for the rest of the meal, because chances are that once you spoil this, you have spoilt the rest of the evening.
Seafood has always been recognised as one of the most important aphrodisiacs, which is why it would be a great choice to have as a starter, on your Valentine’s Day special menu. You could choose to start with something as simple as steamed or baked clams, or oyster omelette; however, if you want to get creative, how about offering your loved one mussel prepared with beer and chillies.
Scallops are also a great choice, if you are trying to woo the man/woman you love, all over again. Try a satay style yakitori, using scallops, and team the same with mushrooms, bell peppers and even scallions. On the other hand, you could serve them up with couscous, which has been flavoured with saffron. However, the best way to stir up the senses is with butter – toss the scallops in butter and them serve them with cream, salt and some freshly cracked pepper.
Soups and salads are also great choices for starters, as these also give you lots of space to play – you can try a creamy soup or something that is a little more broth like. A fish or shrimp bisque will work just as well as a tomato consommé. Similarly, a salad with avocado and strawberries, drizzled with a honey vinaigrette will prove to be highly successful, just as will a green salad with grilled haloumi.
Moving Onto the Main Course
The all-important course at a Valentine’s Day dinner might be the dessert, but that does not mean that you can give up the main course. However, given that you will find a lot of recipes, ideal for such a special dinner, you just might find yourself totally confused. In such a scenario, it would be good idea to first decide what kind of protein you want to serve. Base this decision on what you and your loved one enjoy eating the most.
For those who like chicken, there is the option of a lovely baked chicken, the Italian way! Or you could roast it with some herbs and lemon zest, and accompany the same with lemony potatoes. Spicy chicken wings might whet the appetite of some, while other might fancy a heartier coq au vin. However, if you want a different bird, how about considering duck for the main course? Roast the perfect duck breast and glaze with a delicious pomegranate sauce or with pears that have been cooked in a balsamic reduction.
If you are looking for something a little more robust, there are the options of lamb, beef and pork, all of which can be prepared in several different ways. For instance, you can roast an entire rack of lamb or crust the same with a variety of spices and then pan fry it. It would be a great idea to cook lamb and then serve it in a wine sauce, along with some cooked figs.
Steak might sound a little too manly, but this can be converted into a truly romantic meal for two, especially if you serve a steak that has been marinated in bourbon. The perfectly grilled rib eye will have anyone drooling, especially if it accompanied by a parsley butter.
Do the same with pork – roast a pork shoulder with lots of fresh herbs and just the same amount of dried fruits, including apricots and figs. You are sure to be transported to some exotic corner of Morocco! Apple sauce is the perfect companion to pork, which is why you could combine the same with pork chops that have been crusted using coriander.
Do It Sweet
All said and done, in a Valentine’s Day dinner, the most important aspect is the last part of it – the desserts! Think Valentine’s Day, and you instantly think sweet treats that ooze chocolate, drip strawberry syrup and drench you in the most saccharine of thoughts. No matter how much effort you put into the entire meal, you need to make sure that you save the best for the last.
When you think of this day of love, the first thing that pops up in your mind happens to be chocolate, and there are plenty of things that you can do with this erotic and sensual item. Melt a variety of chocolates and use it as a fondue. Dip apple sticks, marshmallows or fingers into this melting pot of simmering love and relish. Or let the molten chocolate ooze out of a lava cake, and mingle with the white of the vanilla ice cream that it is served with.
Chocolate is your best friend when you want to make éclairs, which are filled with crème patissier, or turned into cupcakes, which have hearts cut out of brownies on top. Mix chocolate into cookie dough and you can form adorable heart shaped cookies from the same. Or how about cookies that are half white chocolate and half milk chocolate? Use these cookies to pipe on love notes for your loved one.
However, if you wish to keep it really simple, then bake a cake or tart in a heart shape. The latter can have a filling of strawberry, chocolate, raspberry, pear, apples or anything else that catches your fancy. Or make a simple crème caramel, and flambé it, right at the dinner table.
And what better than a cup of hot chocolate, with tiny marshmallow hearts, which you can take to bed with you? Something better would be strawberry or chocolate sauce that you could pour over your dessert, and use the remnants for something else (wink wink)!
Valentine’s Day is all about letting your loved one know, just how much you love them, and as they say, the way to a man, or for that matter, even a woman’s heart, is through the stomach!Valentines Day Dinners,