If you’re as lucky as I am to be in a relationship with someone who can cook, then I imagine you have found your lobster (and dauphinoise) and are ready to settle down into a life of inevitable weight gain and glee. Mr Pix is the most astonishing chef – much better than me. He has a palette like a Michelin starred artiste and can rustle up a celebration dinner from just an egg, packet ham and some stale bread. In the most distressing of life’s moments, he knows that serving me up a plate of my favourite beef stroganoff, Moroccan kebabs or even just a freshly sliced mango will put me back on track.
I’m not sure why the expression is the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach because mine is undoubtably a direct passage – more so than Simon’s!
It’s beyond contention that the ability to cook is an attractive trait in a person – whether it’s developed to the point of knocking up the Perfect Steak or just making a really decent Toad In The Hole. There is quite simply no restaurant in the world that will light you up in the eyes of a significant other quite like a lovingly put together home-cooked dish will.
If you’re concerned about the pressure, don’t be, because the ‘homemade-is-always-better’ rule applies to most things in our romantic lives. As self-confessed hopelessly romantic comedian, Nick Offerman, said, even buying cards is a ridiculous thing to do when there is paper in your printer upon which you can simply write “I love you”. What you produce – be it the meal, the card or the present – doesn’t need to be remotely complex, it just has to be from you.
It’s a Disney moment waiting to happen. You each twizzle your fork into a bowl of deliciousness, slurping and nibbling your way through the same string of spaghetti, until BOOM, you are living the lady and the tramp dream. And this killer bolognese recipe is easy to whip together and undoubtably the most delicious version you’ve had to date.
One of the most TLC recipes out there is Risotto. Not only is it a dish that requires you to show it real love and care in the cooking before you get your reward, it’s like a hug in a bowl once served. Velvet texture, silky and glossy and packed full of flavour as the rice absorbs and reduces the wine and stock. This is a total winner and will earn you bags of respect in the kitchen.
Mussel Pasta e fagioli
Ah… Valentine’s Day. Allow me to show you why ROMANCE ISN’T DEAD! Mussels (a well documented natural aphrodisiac didn’t you know!) dancing around in a party of pasta, tomatoes and the naughtiness of bacon, this might just be the recipe of a lifetime! It wows the eyes and tastebuds but is still extremely affordable. This requires so little of your time that it will allow you to relax, kick back and aim your TLC in other directions.
Like the best romantic entanglements a good chocolate fondant is hot and intense with a meltingly soft centre. Cliche or not, chocolate still ticks all the right boxes where most of us are concerned and, like a bad rom-com after a few glasses of wine, it’s peculiarly seductive. A hefty slab of chocolate bread and butter pudding is more likely to send you both to sleep in front of Love Actually than in each other’s arms – you want something a bit lighter, a little more sophisticated, and a lot more impressive. Cue the fondant.
Homemade Chocolate Truffles
The timeless chocolate truffle. These little balls of joy are perfect for making in advance. Either present your truffles beautifully on a tray with coffee or, even better, pack them up into a pretty box with a bow, thereby incorporating your Valentine’s gift into the meal. You’re welcome.
Let’s not underestimate the power of a beautiful Valentines meal. Should you make it through dessert, and are now innocently curled up in front of Frasier the following morning, then why let the romance stop there? Most people have bread and eggs in their store cupboard, so it won’t look too premeditated when you knock up an easy batch of French toast and encourage them to make another day of it with your Parisian charm. Served with fresh berries and a drizzle of sweet maple.
For the ultimate 5-star hotel experience, serve your full english alongside these incredible cinnamon rolls. This could seal the deal for a lifetime when they see your talents extend beyond a bacon sarnie. Swirls of cinnamon butter wrapped in soft, light dough and baked to perfection. Oh, this one gets me really excited!
Share your #PassionPix with me on Instagram (FOOD ONLY) and good luck on your conquest of finding THE ONE. I’ve found mine. And he’s pretty magnificent.