Valentines Day, the day when couples argue and single people feel sorry for themselves, when restaurants are packed to bursting and babysitter’s fees double. Expectations run high as women (but not all women of course) hope for flowers, gifts, weekends away and buckets of romance. Disappointments run even higher as we sulk that he didn’t book the right restaurant, or didn’t book any, didn’t this, didn’t that. If we get a card is it the right one, what does he mean by that verse anyway? A friend told me this morning that her husband’s greeting on her card said “Let’s get together sometime!” a funny statement of modern romance and finding the time to squeeze everything in and make it all perfect.
I attempted avoidance of these expectations by taking the initiative and inviting himself over for dinner, cooked by my good self. I left the food shopping till the last minute and arrived home with a bag of frozen scallops and lots of fruit. I bought my first table-cloth and happily laid a nice restauranty table. The kids were bribed to bed early. Having zero expectations meant I was really sweetened by a dozen velvety roses, fizz and a gushing home-made card with beautiful verse. Dinner was easy, I made it easy on myself by making scallops sautéed in butter with garlic and parsley for starter, it took five minutes. Risotto was the main course which may take a little time over the pot but it’s a slow and easy thing to make, but very filling so bear that in mind if you have romantic expectations for later. Unromantic me insisted on watching Desperate Housewives while the risotto sat in our full bellies. I don’t know if he expected that I wouldn’t.
For desert I put together another effortless number of chocolate fondue with strawberries, pineapple, raspberries and mandarin. It’s sexy and yummy and also filling so I was almost asleep by 12. For the fondue just melt 100ml double cream with 200g dark chocolate over a pot of hot water until smooth and silky. Arrange the fruit around the bowl of chocolate and dip in and gush over how great it is.
As Valentine’s meals go it was good and yummy. I once endured a “romantic” meal with someone whose company I just wasn’t enjoying. Having decided on the Duck with bitter citrus sauce I proudly declared to the waiter that I would have the Duck with Bitter and Twisted Sauce, it spoke volumes. Other sweet stories include one of a friend whose husband was cooking a special meal for her until they started bickering in the kitchen. He simply turned off the oven and served her soup from a can, leaving the meal in the oevn to wilt and go cold.
If you are in a relationship you would rather be out of try serving up baked beans for main and ambrosia creamed rice for desert. If a picture paints a thousand words, a meal paints all your feelings, and you can taste them too. But like I said, I’m not bitter.