We all know that celebrating Valentine’s Day can be filled with pressure to get it right. Making an effort doesn’t mean getting wrapped up the stress of booking that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. That restaurant will be there the rest of the year and V-Day is always a busy night for eateries.
Instead, these are our tips for creating that impressive Valentine’s Day date from the comfort of your own home. Creating an effortless event that will still be memorable.
There are flowers and there are flowers that impress. We all know the message that carnations from the petrol station send. Instead, head in the other direction and get hand-picked blooms that bring the room to life.
We like the selections at Hattie Flowers which are both local and sustainable. This means your florals come from the heart and are kind to the environment, too.
Or to make more of a statement, East London’s Rebel Rebel florists will send you flowers in a vintage handbag.
For those outside of London, Wild At Heart send stunning bouquets while also running a charity to support stray dogs and the perils of puppy farming around the world.
You do not need to leave the house for restaurant-quality meals at home. Our service includes everything you need to create an impressive Valentine’s main. Leaving you only the starter and dessert to source. While we can’t help you watch Valentine’s dates go wrong on the neighbouring table, we can help you impress your own partner.
Swaledale’s Native Breed Ribeye Steak comes with bone marrow boats and all the sides you need for a successful Valentine’s main. For a fail-safe cooking method, check out our guide to the perfect steak here.
For a quick and easy - but still impressive meat-free option, our seasonal orrichiette recipe makes an ideal Valentine’s main.
Ever thought that wine tastes better when served in a restaurant? There may be some truth in this but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve sensation wine at home.
First select the right wine to pair with your meal. If you are having our steak night box, you can add on a bottle of VDF ‘Comax Ethylix’ Rouge Casot de Mailloles to the delivery. Or talk to your local independent wine shop to help match the wine to your chosen meal.
One of the reasons restaurant wine can taste different when you drink at home is due to storage. Restaurants will store their wines in a wine cellar, often where they can control light and temperature, which will affect the flavour.
The other big reason why there might be a difference in taste is due to glasses. Make sure you fully rinse off any soap residue from your glasses as soon as you wash them. This will help reduce any differences in taste. So you can still get that restaurant quality wine at home.
Desserts make the meal. If you have a savoury palette, you can find plenty of savoury dessert options here. For the traditional sweet dessert, you cannot go wrong with chocolate. Our chocolate fondant recipe is simple to make. The key is opting for quality chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa solids.
We like 73% Nicaliso Dark Chocolate from bean-to-bar producer, Land. With touches of citrus and spice, it makes for a luxurious fondant dessert.
And you can always finish off the evening with a Black Lines Cocktail.
Ingredients for 4 fondants served in 4 ramekins of 8cm diameter
Time: 40 min
Dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids): 150 g
Unsalted butter: 80 g
Plain Flour: 20 g
cocoa powder: 10 g
Medium size eggs: 2
Egg yolk: 1
Icing sugar: 90 g
Vanilla pod 1 or 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Icing sugar to serve or golden edible leaves for proper 80’s vibe
To coat the moulds :
Butter as needed
Cane sugar as needed
Hand mixer or whisks
2 x Mixing bowl
4 ramekins of 8 cm in diameter
First, coat the mould with butter and then dust with cane sugar making sure to cover all the surface, then leave them aside ready to be used.
Start with chopping roughly in pieces the dark chocolate, then place it in a heat resistant mixing bowl and melt the chocolate on a bain-marie. Once the chocolate is melted add the butter and mix all until the butter is combined within the chocolate. Once ready, place aside.
Now add the sugar, the eggs, the yolk and the vanilla pod seeds (or the vanilla extract) in a mixing bowl and blend with a hand mixer or a whisk until foamy, then add the melted chocolate and butter and mix well together with a hand mixer or whisk.
Now it’s time to incorporate the flour and the chocolate powder into the mixture using a spatula, best if before you sift them to avoid possible lumps.
Divide equally the mixture into the ramekins and bake them for 14 min in the preheated oven (180c static or 200 fan).
When ready, run a knife around the edge of ramekins and turn the chocolate fondants out onto serving plates and decorate with icing sugar
Suggestion: pair with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of clotted cream on the side.
Tip: you can prepare and freeze this in advance and bake them from frozen when needed, but remember to add an extra 4 min to the cooking time.
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