Food is Love – Dani Valent

Valentine’s Day is just one day a year but any day is a good day for romance. I’ve gathered together some of my favourite seductive, saucy, huggable dishes for delicious wooing and canoodling. Members have access to all the recipes and videos below. They are also in my beautiful 26-page Food is Love eBook. It’s a great addition to your e-bookshelf!

If you’re setting up for a special dinner, here are a few styling tips. Candles are a romantic cliché but for good reason. Their flickering, flattering glow sets the mood and the intention: this is a special occasion with a special person. Flowers, of course! Spelling your names or a message with Scrabble letters are a nice little touch and can allow for incidental accidental finger touching ;) I love these pretty lotus napkin folds too.

And guess what, I have created a romantic music playlist! My selection of songs is loving but not soppy – it’s more ‘woo, baby, you’re amazing’ than ‘oh darling, let me stare into the limpid pools of your eyes’. So, we’ve got a bit of jazz and Crazy Love from Van Morrison, plus lots of female voices before getting jiggy with never-gets-old smoothies Barry White and Al Green.

The Romantic chapter in my Entertaining cookbook also has a heartfelt menu for dining à deux. That’s the spread above. How lovely does it look?

Lovers’ Cocktails

Blueberry Spritz

The basis for this refreshing cocktail is a ’shrub’ which you can think of as an acidulated fruit cordial, or a fruity drinking vinegar. We then turn it into a spritzy gin-based cocktail but it’s also brilliant with soda. Valentine’s Tip: Get started on the shrub a few days prior.

Casa Daiquiri

Get into the loving spirit with a fresh and frisky cocktail. Thanks to chef Jesse Gerner for this seductive Spanish sip. Valentine’s Tip: A large glass with two straws, or if that’s too awkward, make sure you’re listening to my Romantic music playlist.

Spicy Starters

Chilli Lime Crumb

Guaranteed to liven tastebuds and get eyes sparkling, this flavoured salt turns melon cubes into love bombs: arrange fruit on a platter and sprinkle with the spicy salt. Valentine’s Tip: Dip halved grapes and melon cubes into the crumb and pop them straight into your Romeo/Juliet’s mouth! Beware… it’s a little spicy.

Steamed Oysters with Ginger & Spring Onion Oils

Oysters are a famous aphrodisiac…or supposedly! Did you know famous love-dove Casanova used to have 50 for breakfast? I wouldn’t necessarily believe everything I hear but I do think oysters are strangely perfect, just like love. Valentine’s Tip: Discuss the science behind aphrodisiacs while slurping oysters together.

Frisky Mains

Inside-Out Chicken Parmigiana

I love this chicken dish because it’s impressive but easy, with classic pub flavours and a little extra pizzazz. Importantly, it’s the perfect dish to prepare ahead of time: make your rolls, steam your spuds, then finish it all off when your guests arrive or the family is clamouring.. Valentine’s Tip: This is a fun dish to cook together and bring you closer.

Beef Rotolo

This rolled beef dish is easy enough to serve for a mid-week meal and pretty enough to present at a dinner party. Steak is rolled with pesto and steamed in the Varoma over stock, which is then the base for a mustard sauce. Valentine’s Tip: Prepare your rolls the day before so you’ve got more time to stare into each other’s eyes.

Sweet Finishes

Cheese Platter Chatter

A cheese platter is a wonderful, easy way to woo with food. Get the inside word on how best to craft a cheese platter with cheesemonger Anthony Femia. Valentine’s Tip: Cutting the last morsel of cheese into ever-tinier halves is a cute way to come closer.

Tarte Tatin

One of the world’s great desserts and extra fun to make together, serve it whole for attacking à deux with plenty of cream or ice cream. Valentine’s Tip: It’s French so of course it’s romantic. Say “tart tatt-tang” to sound extra French!

White Chocolate & Bailey’s Parfait

Ice cream isn’t just for kids! This sophisticated parfait becomes extra delightful when frozen in homemade paper cones. It’s creamy and dreamy with rubbly crunch from pistachio and chocolate. Valentine’s Tip: Eat your ice cream lasciviously!

Instant Chocolate Mousse

I love this recipe! What’s not to love? Chocolate mousse, more or less healthy, and made in a minute! It’s a winner. Valentine’s Tip: Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand and hand – serve this to your sweetheart and you’ve won a heart forever!

Valentine’s Brunch

Surprise your sweetheart with a Valentine’s Day breakfast or, if dinner has gone particularly well, keep the good times rolling with a delicious morning meal.

Egg In A Jar

This amazing brunch is based on a famous Los Angeles dish that I have a hard time saying but no problem eating! It’s called The Slut, and it’s from a stand at Grand Central Market called Eggslut. Valentine’s Tip: Chat about places you’d like to visit together…including LA, baby!

Pierogies & Pretzels

These pretzels and pierogies are classic central European comfort food not the culinary acrobatics Grant is better known for but they’re no less delicious for that. Valentine’s Tip: Form pretzels into heart shapes before baking.

Buckwheat Kedgeree

Did someone say brunch? Whether you’re serving this for the morning after the night before, or to someone you’ve lived with for decades, there’s something sustaining and hearty about this Anglo-Indian rice dish. Valentine’s Tip: Sprinkle the eggs with chilli flakes for extra sparkle.

Black Rice Pudding

Good morning, I love you! That’s sure to be the response when you serve this bright, sunny and sustaining dish for breakfast. It’s like a tropical holiday no matter the weather. Valentine’s Tip: Top with a little Persian fairy floss for extra flounce.

I love my Elk top & Obus pants

What’s this site all about?

My business card says ‘Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.’ I do all these things with equal passion, which is why I’m sometimes sitting at my laptop with an apron on! This is where I share all my best bits of writing, recipes and videos. There are free areas of the site where you can stay up to date with my journalism and get a taste of my cooking adventures. Sign up as a member and you’ll get access to my awesome and ever-growing library of cooking videos and recipes, focusing on Thermomix.

This is a place for inspiration, chefs’ secrets, practical tuition and happy creativity. If you like cooking and eating delicious food and basking in the compliments of family and friends, this site is for you. You’ll be amazed what you can create with my recipes and videos as your guide.

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© Dani Valent 2024