The French do love better than us. LEAF ARBUTHNOT has devised a Gallic spread to help you seduce that special someone.
Valentine’s Day, or Saint-Valentin as it’s known here in Paris where I’m spending my year abroad, is a minefield. If you’re in a relationship, you’re likely to feel put out by your other half’s reluctance to shower you with roses or lego; if you’re not in a relationship, the fourteenth might come as a reminder that you haven’t had an extra toothbrush in your bathroom in a sweet flipping while, and that you’ve probably forgotten how to snog.
Over the past week, I’ve had much occasion to muse over the bitchslaps that Valentine’s Day seems so willing to give out, because Paris is loved-up to a grisly degree. There are hearts covering usually dour shop windows, vendors on street corners selling bouquets, couples bumping into the lampposts they didn’t see coming, so enthralled were they by one another’s adorable dimples.
There is, however, a way of celebrating Valentine’s Day that is not liable to see you clogged in a restaurant, paired up or pointedly not paired up. This is to cook in the comfort of your own home/gyp, for yourself and/or for someone else, whether lover, pal or pet. Here are three recipes for a pretty spectacular Valentine’s feast, stuffed with aphrodisiacs for those that need them and flavour for those that are fun.
Starter – Asparagus Soup
Fry one onion and one coined leek in a pan with one clove of chopped garlic, until soft. Add ten or twelve wands of asparagus, and cover with 1 litre of chicken stock. Once the asparagus is soft, pour the mixture into a blender. Add one tablespoon of cream, one teaspoon of chopped chives and a pinch of nutmeg; blend and serve.
Main – Almond and Honey Sea Bass
Almonds and honey are sex-foods, according to reliable Google searches, so this should get the motor revving. Get two small fillets of sea bass and toss in flour and breadcrumbs until totally covered. In a frying pan, melt a good tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of honey. Add a large handful of flaked almonds. Heat up until the butter is simmering, then chuck in the sea bass. Cook the first side for about three minutes, and the second for about one minute. Serve.
Pudding – Heart-shaped French Toast with Chocolate Fondue
Using scissors, cut two slices of plain white bread into heart shapes. In a mug, beat up one egg with a dash of milk. Pour this over the bread and allow to soak for a minute, before turning over. In a separate pan, melt 100g of milk chocolate with a pinch of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of cream. In a separate frying pan, melt some butter and once sizzling, add the egged bread. Fry till golden, place on a plate and serve, with the chocolate sauce.
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