Saturday, February 13

VALENTINING




Valentine Breakfast 

Creamy Raspberry Smoothie and Coffee

Valentine Brunch 

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice 

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Boiled Eggs 
Pot of Fennel Tea 


Valentine Dinner

Sparkling Water
Cuvee Royale Cremant de Limoux France
Caesar Salad, 
Grilled Aged Ribeye Steak,
Chili Prawns, Baked Potato and Grilled Tomatoes
Charbonnel and Walker Pink Champagne Truffles
Mint Tea



I have always loved Valentine's Day. When I was growing up in Northern California, I anticipated February 14th more than Christmas. The moment, Valentine cards hit the stores, I agonized for weeks over which ones to buy. Inexpensive box sets were popular, but I didn't fancy them. Most classmates mothers picked up cheap, cartoon inspired Valentines at the supermarket. Forty cards for 99 cents. This carelessness meant there was a good chance of receiving three identical Spiderman cards, when Valentines were exchanged in class.

For a hypersensitive, self conscious kid like myself, receiving a flimsy, unsigned Valentine was an unthinkable transgression. The only thing worse, was receiving no Valentine at all. In our school, the average class size was thirty. If I went home with one less card than the number of kids in my class, I was devastated. On the other hand, if someone deemed me worthy of two cards, it made my week.

I bought my Valentines at the five-and-dime, where they had a much better selection than the supermarket. If I hung on to my allowance for several weeks, I could buy three 12-packs of large, luxurious, folding cards, with matching envelopes. These elegant Valentines were super sized, so I didn't have to agonize over who would get the biggest one.


The art was better on the posh cards too. Sometimes, much to my merriment, there would be a red, flocked heart, or a daring cupid, embossed in sparkly gold. These extra special cards were given to my mother, teacher and the tall, shy, bookish boy I had a secret crush on. While the teacher and boy changed every year, my passion for Valentining never dimmed.

Days before we gave out Valentines, I sat at the dining room table deciding who would get which card. Once I had it figured out, I signed the card in bright red ink (the same kind of pen the teacher used to correct papers) tuck it into the envelope and write the recipient's name on the front. When all my cards were done, I tied them into a tidy bundle with ribbon, and tucked them into my school desk. Each time I opened the desk and gazed at the cards, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment. Obviously, Hallmark should have recruited me straight out of grade school.

Besides the cards, the other part of Valentine's Day I was mad about was the pretty cupcakes. Somebody's mother always made dozens of cupcakes for the whole class. Often it was my mother. Decorating little chocolate cakes, with pink icing and candy hearts, became a Valentine tradition in our home. A lifetime later, I cannot see a dainty cake, without thinking of my fun loving mum.


Many women who consider Valentine's Day their favourite celebration. It's not just because it is an intensely romanticized occasion, but also because it is marked with some of our favourite things. Flowers. Chocolate. Bubbly. Candles. Cards and affection. It is the year's most feminine occasion. And why not? We can use more days devoted to the heart.

This is the perfect opportunity to indulge yourself and your best beloveds with gorgeous meals and treats. For less than the price of dinner for two, you can stretch your love feast over sixteen hours. Paired with romantic music, Valentines, fresh flowers, and candles, your own cozy casa is the place to be.

What Y
ou Need For Two Large, Luscious Smoothies

Pomegranate Juice 1-1/2 cups
Organic raspberry yogurt - 1 cup
Banana - 1 large

Raspberries (frozen) 300g
Passion Fruit Garnish, or chopped almonds (optional)

What You Do

In blender or food processor, fitted with slicing blade, combine juice, yogurt, banana, and raspberries. Blend thoroughly. Pour into two pint size glasses. Garnish with passion fruit, or chopped almonds. Serve with a kiss.

What You Need For Brunch

Sparkling White Burgundy, Cava de Lugny, France

Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Thinly sliced Smoked salmon

Spring Onion
Buttermilk
Free Range Eggs

Pome dei Moro Tomatoes

Baguette

Butter 

Charbonnel and Walker Pink Champagne Truffles


I love swing music, especially when crooned by Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra. This CD is romantic, sentimental, flowery, downright gushy, everything I want on Valentine's Day. Just look at some of these songs:
My Funny Valentine - Davis
There's My Lover - Martin
Easy To Love - Davis
Body And Soul - Sinatra
Kiss - Martin
Vieni Su (Say You Love Me Too) - Martin
Fifty songs for a fiver. Downloaded from iTunes.
Richard often puts together a compilation of romantic tunes for us online with SpotifyPlug the word "Romance" into Spotify's search engine and see what comes up.