This Valentine’s Day, try and think about how food can be thoughtful, how you can surprise your loved one with something nostalgic or recreate a special memory that means something to you both to show just how much you care. Here's five great ideas from Miranda Gore Browne.
- What was your Valentine’s favourite biscuit when they were little? Maybe it was a jammy dodger or a chocolate bourbon. Why not surprise them with some homemade ones. Pop them into a jar or tin tied with red ribbon and a loving message and leave them on their desk, by the bed or by the door ready for them to take with them to work (possibly their home office!) or, to help themselves to during the week.
- Homemade granola is hard to beat and a lovely foodie surprise for breakfast. Add raspberries, passion fruit, chocolate shavings or some much-loved ingredients to make a personalised, nourishing and indulgent love-filled breakfast. Put 250g rolled oats, and 200g of any mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruit or berries into a bowl. Stir through roughly 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and 125ml of maple syrup or half a jar of a low sugar fruit jam, line a baking tray with non-stick paper, tip the mixture on top and roughly spread out then bake at 150 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Say it with cheese – source locally-produced artisan cheeses to create a bespoke cheese board for your Valentine. If you are happy with a spot of baking, then why not bake some heart-shaped oat cakes or cheese biscuits and snuggle up with your turophile to nibble on your cheese together. Turophile, noun: a connoisseur or lover of cheese.
- “Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.” Victor Hugo. Celebrate Valentine’s day with the gift of a fruit tree, look for an unusual heritage variety and then take time to plant it together, watch it grow, blossom and bear fruit.
- Making a batch of romantic French truffles that would happily grace the windows of Parisian chocolate shops is easier than you think. Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and add 250ml of double cream, warm and gently stir in 300g good quality dark chocolate (cut into fine pieces or coarsely grated), stir until combined then remove from the heat and add 40g of salted butter a chunk at a time, stirring after each addition until glossy and smooth. Line a square (8-inch tin) with baking paper and foil and pour in the ganache, leave to cool at room temperature then put it into the fridge to chill for at least four hours or overnight. Dust a piece of baking paper with sifted cocoa then tip the tray of ganache on top, slice into squares and toss them in a little more cocoa powder before putting into a gift box. Keep refrigerated as much as possible.