Delia for the Day

Claudia Fellerman helps you wine and dine your Valentine.

Baking Recipe Valentines Day

Not usually up to much in the kitchen? Use your oven as extra storage space? Well how about this Valentine’s Day you surprise your loved one and whip them up something wonderful? (Boys this is very much aimed at you too!).

Want to impress with a romantic dinner for two? Here’s how..
Get some candles for the table, maybe a pack of love hearts to sprinkle about the place, if you’re going the whole hog then get a rose. If you don’t like them that much then get them nothing, and if you’ve only been going out a week, then maybe don’t come on quite so strong, there’s nothing like a romantic candlelit dinner two days into a relationship to freak a guy/girl out.

Start off simple, you don’t want to run before you can walk.
A salad always starts off a dinner nicely, so how about opting for the standard chicken caesar with a hint of lemon, or a warm goat’s cheese salad (always a winner).
Simply buy a packet of leaves and a couple of little goats cheeses from Tesco, wrap the cheese in foil and place in the oven for about 5 mins, or until its a bit gooey, and then very easily put the goat’s cheese on top of the leaves. Hey Presto, there you have a deliciously impressive yet straight-forward starter.
Not a fan? How about a simple tomato and mozzarella? Chop up some tomatoes, place mozzarella slices on top, drizzle some olive oil on top and there you go. Couldn’t be easier.

For mains it might be best not to go too overboard if you’re not the most experienced chef. Perhaps avoid Coq au Vin.

Steak is always a good one, because it’s actually easy to cook. All you have to do is brush a little bit of oil onto either side of the steak, add salt and pepper until your heart’s content, heat up the pan on the hob until it’s pretty damn hot, and then add the steak for a couple of minutes on each side. Bob’s your uncle.
Serve with chips, a baked potato, roast veg, or salad, or all of the above if you’re cooking for a guy. Sorted.

Looking for something a bit lighter? How about a delicious chicken couscous stir fry, which definitely won’t break the bank, or your other half’s heart (unless they’re a veggie).

Simply grab a wok or a biggish pan, add a splash of oil or a spray of fry light, chop up some chicken and throw it in. Chop up some peppers, mushrooms, onions, whatever you fancy, chuck it in. Add whichever stir fry veg you fancy, Tesco has a rather yummy selection to choose from! Massive couscous recommendation: Ainsley Harriott’s roasted vegetable couscous – simply pour half the packet into a bowl, add boiling water, stir, done. And it tastes bloody gorgeous (2 sachets for £1, you can’t go wrong!). Add the couscous to the chicken and stir fry once you’ve plated up. And there you have it, a quick, simple but tasty V Day dinner.

If you’re more of a baker, then do not fear, keep it simple and make some cute Valentine’s-inspired cookies. Lads, it’s amazing how far a heart shaped cookie can get you, take notes.

All you need is:
150g butter
75g caster sugar
225g plain flour
A few tablespoons of icing sugar
Anything soppy and heart/rose-shaped to decorate with

Cut the butter into squares and throw in a big bowl
Add the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt (ONLY A PINCH, no one likes a salty cookie.)
Rub it all together with your fingertips
Make the dough into one big ball
Wrap it in cling-film
Put it in the fridge
Preheat the oven to 170C
Put the dough on a floured surface and roll it out (borrow a rolling pin of a pal, and a pinnie if it makes you feel like a pro)
Cut out the heart shapes, either by hand if your amazing or with a biscuit cutter if you’re not.
Put them on a lined baking sheet & bake for 20 mins
Leave to cool
Mix the icing sugar with water to make a paste and whack it on the biscuits to make them look pretty
Add glitter/roses/sugar/icing writing/whatever you’ve got lying around the kitchen

So if you’re a bit short on pennies this Valentine’s Day, do not fear. You don’t have to spend a fortune, just get a couple of bottles of wine in, whip up a top class meal and just let the evening unwind.