Because I am a bloke, I actually really, genuinely could not give a fig for Valentine's Day - a Hallmark holiday, that isn't even a holiday. Stink, bro. Pointless.
But, as my tirelessly reliable fruiterer Sanjay, from the iconic Cuba Fruit reminds me - when our ladyfolk say they don't care about Valentine's Day, they don't actually really mean it. And if you don't make with some sort of Valentine's bounty, a form of cold war (albeit very subtle) may ensue...
Astonishingly, having just gone to pick up some rocket and an omega plum, he has managed to convince me that I will also be requiring a bunch of roses - good lord - do I have "sucker" written across my forehead?
The day actually began spectacularly well. I was awakened by the sound of Plus One clattering about in the kitchen. She has made me batch of one of my favourite things - cheese scones, with parmesan and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Hot out of the oven when I wake, dripping with butter - awesome. A lovely way to be woken. I put most of the rest of the batch in a plastic container to take to work.
I go to the dogpark, where I meet The Mayor and some of the Tanera regulars. I share the scones, explaining that I brought butter as well, but that kind of got eaten by Lola and Lucy Dogs on the way there. Oops. There is an amusing interlude where Lola takes a flyer at one of the dog park people, chomping the scone right out of her hand. Disgraceful. Even I wouldn't do that.
The rest get shared out at Slow Boat. It feels good to have food to share - it makes people like you more, I'm sure.
I have lunch at Phong Vu, in the Left Bank, with my buddy Stanno - a big, delicious bowl of steaming pho each, fragrant with herbs and chili, and a heady, rich, intoxicating broth. We then share a piece of cake, with chocolate caramel ganache, at Milk Crate. It is very bromantic.
A friend visiting from overseas tells me he hasn't had a lot of joy finding a table that evening for dinner - well, naturally. It's Valentine's Day!
The previous day I called in at On Trays, where Mrs Scheckter asks if I will be cooking something nice for P1 for Valentine's Day. "Of course!" I reply "I do that every night..." I'm just not sure what...
Now, while everyone may have their own idea of what romantic food might encompass, but I think it needs to be light, tasty, fresh and flavourful. It needs to be a bit spesh.
And this is what I made;
The Omnivore's Valentine's Day Corn Fritters and Bacon
For the fritters, you will need;
-2 x corn cobs (cooked in their husks in the microwave for 8 minutes)
-a heaped tablespoon of flour
-a teaspoon of baking powder
-pinch of salt, a grind of black pepper
-half a red chili, seeded and chopped
-a handful of chopped coriander
-4 x bacon rashers (Freedom Farms free range is my favourite)
-a handful of crumbled feta (oh, how I love Zany Zeus...)
-two handfuls of rocket leaves
-a diced tomato
-extra chopped coriander
For a dressing;
-juice of a lemon
-equal quantity of olive oil
-teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
-crushed garlic clove
-salt and pepper and sugar to taste
Fry the bacon until it is brown and crispy and place in a warm oven. Keep the bacon fat in the pan to fry your fritters in, for more flavour - delicious.
Strip the corn cobs into a bowl and mix in the other ingredients, mix well, then spoon into the hot pan (use a little extra oil/ butter if need be), forming four fritters that are just about all corn. It will look like they wont stick together, but they bloody well will. Fry til golden brown, then flip. When you press down on them with a fish slice and they don't squirt raw egg - they're done. PS - don't form them into love hearts or anything silly like that - that would just be really crap.
Make the dressing by putting it all in a small jar and shaking til it emulsifies a little - taste it, and season accordingly. Dress the rocket leaves with as much dressing as they need to be well coated without being soaked through.
Lay the fritters onto the plate, dress with the rocket leaves, lay the bacon on top, crumbled feta, tomato and some extra chopped coriander leaves. Give the plate an extra drizzle of the delicious dressing. Finesse it a little - go on - make it look nice.
Voila! Tasty, vibrant Valentine's Day dinner, as easy as falling off a log.
I bought flowers, I made a nice dinner.
I am officially no longer the world's worst boyfriend - hoorah! And while I may not care that much about it as an event, it is always nice to cook and care for those you love.
What did you get up to for Valentine's? What did you eat? Or what did you cook? Anyone have really flash Val Day dinner?
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