It's not long until February 14th. Most years, my boyfriend and I spend it in. We're not a couple of hermits, mind you. We just do not do the whole 'going-to-an-expensive-restaurant' thing on Valentine's Day. Paying obscene amounts of money for a set menu in a crowded restaurant just does not seem logical somehow.
I'm ashamed to admit my bloke's actually the chef of the house and carried out his role dutifully on Valentines Day. He even took the day off so he could spend it whipping up a three-course meal which – I can not deny – was pretty top-notch.
We did not actually buy each other Valentines presents, just a card. Well technically, the meal he made was the Valentine's gift. So I suppose this year, it's my turn. As the saying goes, "the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach." But there are two slight hits. A.) I'm no Jamie Oliver and B.) I'm a bit strapped for cash.
So, in commemoration – or should I say commiseration – of my "skintness" and fear of cooking, I've put together an inexpensive Valentines recipe that could work for kitchen-phobic, money-conscious ladies like me.
Just because you're pinching pennies and can not cook like Gordon Ramsay, it does not mean you have to skip celebrating this day of love. You can still serve your sweetie a scrumptious and festive dinner for not much money. My selection of reasonably priced, easy-peasy Valentine's Day dishes is proof!
Firstly, keep your eyes peeled for sales and specials at the supermarket, and be flexible in your planning. If there's an incredible deal on fish fillets that makes them cheaper than chicken, substitute those for the chicken in your recipe.
Impress your partner this Valentine's Day with a special home-cooked fest. Here's my very own easy, romantic Valentine's menu …
Chilli King Prawns. All you need is about 3-5 king prawns per person, pan fry with heaps of garlic and 1 red chilli pepper. Job done. If you want to add a cocktail sauce, simply use ketchup or sweet chilli sauce, add some Horse Radish, Worcester sauce, lemon juice or white wine and serve in a martini glass. If you're feeling especially creative, you could plop some crushed ice at the bottom of the glass, place the prawns on top, and then pop a lemon wedge in the middle. Très magnifique!
Valentine Cream Chicken. Once this dish is prepared and put in the oven, you can leave it well alone, and just concentrate on enjoying your starter. All you need is the below ingredients:
– 2 skinned and boned chicken breasts
– 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
– 3 fluid oz double cream
– freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
– Fry the chicken quickly on both sides in the butter
– Fry for a few minutes further and allow to brown
– Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish
– Add the herbs and seasoning to the cream and pour over the chicken
– Cover with lid and cook at 200 degrees centigrade for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender
– Turn once or twice during cooking
Chocolate fondue. All you need is milk chocolate, white chocolate, strawberries and marshmallows. Put the chocolate into a saucepan, then heat gently, stirring occasionally. Put the strawberries and marshmallows on skewers sticks. Place the chocolate in little dishes, and let the dipping paragraph!
For me, the best Valentines gifts are those that areible. If you can rustle this up, not only are you saving money, you're also doing something special for your Valentine. Go on; show you fancy the pants off that special person by making your own easy-to-make, easy on the pocket Valentines meal. Bon appetite!