The perfect singleton's supper
Being single on Valentine's Day is no reason to wallow in self-pity and furrow your brow with bitter and cynical glaring.
It can be difficult to escape the commercial saturation which pervades at every turn, from flowers to chocolate to couples' massage. Crying into a cold tin of baked beans should not be seen as the only alternative to being taken out for dinner by a guy who, let's be honest, is probably going to date you a few times, send you cute texts, laugh you into bed and then never call you again.
The best Valentine's Day I ever had was not when I was coupled up, but when I spent the evening waitressing tables of bored couples. The other ladies I was working with and I all did a secret-Santa type gift exchange and as soon as the restaurant was empty, we closed up quick and hit the bubbly.
Getting a group of similarly-minded single friends together is still a great idea on Valentine's Day. Take the opportunity to remind yourself of all the great things that being single provides. This is a time to cherish and celebrate.
Whether you want to impress someone or just want to get some friends round to laugh about how silly it all is, you deserve something delicious.
CITRUS AND BASIL MONKFISH WITH ROASTED TOMATOES
The following quantities are for one person - increase accordingly if you are cooking for a crowd.
For the salad:
A handful of rocket leaves
A few black olives, pipped and sliced
Half an orange, white pith removed and sliced
Crisp basil leaves (see below)
Juice of half an orange
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
2Tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 vine-ripened tomatoes per person, stalk attached
1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 piece of monkfish per person
Olive oil and sea salt
2Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Juice and zest of half an orange
Place all dressing indregients in a jug and whisk well with a fork. Adjust tartness and sweetness according to taste with the orange and lemon juice. Place rocket, orange slices and olives in a bowl and lightly dress. Mix together and place on your plate.
For the roast tomatoes, keep them attached to their stalks place in a oven tray with a splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. Roast at 180C for 45 minutes.
For the fish, take your fillet and rub in some olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Mix together the juice of half an orange, a glug of olive oil and a tablespoon of chopped fresh basil for the fish.
In a frying pan on a medium-high heat, place a knob of butter and a slosh of olive oil. Place about five basil leaves in the pan and fry on each side until crispy. Set aside for the salad.
In the same pan, place your seasoned fish. Sear on one side then carefully turn over. Using the marinade, spoon over, and allow to reduce and cover the fish. Flip once more, and cook until cooked through - this should take about eight minutes, and you may not need all the marinade.
Serve immediately alongside the salad and the tomatoes.
STONE FRUIT TARTE TATIN
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup of water
¼ cup of cream
1 large peach, or plums, or apricots
Flaky puff pastry
In a saucepan, place caster sugar and water. Have on a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring up to a simmer. Remove from heat as soon as it changes colour to golden (this will take about 8-9 minutes). Add cream and stir well.
In greased individual pie tins, place about 4Tbsp of the caramel mixture. Add whatever fruit you're using cut side down into the caramel, making sure the bottom of the pan is covered in fruit (this may take half a large peach, or three plum halves for example). Cover with a round of flaky puff pastry, ensuring to tuck it well into the sides, touching the caramel.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180C, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Twist the pastry slightly to remove it from the tin, and flip onto a plate. Serve with citrus mascarpone - mix one tablespoon of icing sugar, a squeeze of orange juice and a couple of tablespoons of mascarpone together with a fork.
For more of Delaney's recipes, visit www.heartbreakpie.com.