You’re a part of Valentine’s Day — whether you like it or not. You might be a creative romantic who likes to come up with fun Valentine’s Day date alternatives, or maybe you’re a sweet-natured cynic who boycotts the holiday by buying enough chocolate to share with an army of friends. No matter what your romantic situation is come February 14th, though, you’re pretty much left with two choices on the special day: go out or stay home.
I may be biased because I’ve always been a homebody, but I vote for the latter every year. Not because I hate romance. On the contrary, I love it —in the privacy of my own home, that is. Staying in on Valentine’s Day sometimes gets a bad rap, as if you can’t properly celebrate love unless you’re out and about. That’s not the case at all, though; there are an infinite number of ways to enjoy the holiday behind closed doors. Here is a special recipe that is bound to get your taste buds tickled, inspired and simplified from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
Sizzling Moroccan prawns
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 1 level teaspoon smoked paprika
- 6 large raw shell-on king prawns
- 150 g wholewheat couscous
- 400 g colourful mixed seasonal veg, such as peas, asparagus, fennel, courgettes, celery, spring onions, red or yellow peppers
- 1 fresh red chilli
Strip the rosemary leaves into a pestle and mortar, then peel and add the garlic and pound into a paste with a pinch of sea salt. Muddle in 1 tablespoon of oil, the paprika, and a swig of boiling water to make a marinade. Use little scissors to cut down the back of each prawn shell and remove the vein. Cut 1 orange into wedges, toss with the prawns and the marinade and leave aside for 10 minutes.
Put the couscous into a bowl and just cover with boiling water, then pop a plate on top and leave to fluff up. Take a bit of pride in finely chopping all your colourful seasonal veg and chilli, and put them into a nice serving bowl. Toss everything together.
Put a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the prawns are gnarly and crisp, add a few nice spices, even some lemon or orange if you like! And, lastly, arrange on top of the couscous.
Strawberry and vanilla trifles
- 2 handfuls strawberries , plus extra to decorate
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar or caster sugar
- 125 ml double cream
- 125 ml fat-free natural yoghurt
- 1 vanilla pod , split
- 8 little rum babas or madeleines soaked in Limoncello
- 400 g thick custard
- fresh mint leaves , to decorate
First, de-stalk your strawberries and place them in a pan with the sugar. Heat gently until the strawberries stew down slightly and some of their juices come out.
Lightly whip the cream with the seeds from the vanilla pod, and then stir in the yoghurt.
Divide the rum babas or madeleines between four dessert glasses and spoon the strawberries, cream and custard in layers on top. Decorate with halved strawberries and mint leaves, then serve.