Let’s Reclaim Valentine’s Romance.

Happy couple on a bench in park

Red Roses. Heart shaped chocolates. Elegant lingerie. A romantic meal for two. Valentines’ Day is approaching and if you’re thinking what we’re thinking – the gifts are just a bit too predictable these days. And, as they say, predictability kills romance. So we thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe for an alternative Valentines Day treat. One that gets back to romantic roots, is less about sales and more about soul-mates. Something that will mean your other half will never forget where they were on the evening of the second Friday in 2014…

Lots of us leave work on Valentine’s and nip into the florist, confectioners and off license so that – as we come through the front door – we’re suitably armed with a bouquet, chocolates and bottle of plonk. Whilst the more extravagant amongst us might have booked an evening out, dinner for two at a swanky London restaurant with a chef’s signature in the logo. But that’s all a bit, well, predictable. So here’s our Valentine’s alternative. It’s a recipe that we hope will melt hearts, and we don’t mean the chocolate ones.

  1. To begin with tell your better half that you’ve planned a surprise for Friday 14th – that you’ll meet them direct from work – and to keep their diary clear.
  2. At 4.30pm send them a ‘meet me’ text. Choose somewhere romantic in Central London. It could be by the River – maybe Southbank or Tower Bridge/the Tower of London or perhaps Big Ben, or the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square. You choose, but keep it iconic landmark London. Don’t forget to give a time, and for added fun include something cryptic and mysterious. You could give them a romantic code phrase: “Valentines is overrated” with the reply, “But not this evening” Oh, and tell them you’ll be wearing a red-rose in your lapel.
  3. Pack the following into a bag: a flask-full of piping hot-chocolate (best made from cocoa powder with Milk and sugar) and a hip flask of Irish Cream. Make sure you bring two cups.
  4. Get to your chosen location. Settle yourself in 10 minutes before the rendezvous time. Find a bench with a view, sit, and read a paper. Keep the paper up in front of your face until your partner arrives, then ham it up with the code phrase.
  5. Suggest you take a stroll along/around/through the landmark location. Take in the air, enjoy the view and most importantly turn off your phones – have a conversation.
  6. Find a suitably romantic spot and break out the Thermos, pour the Hot-choccy and add a decent shot of Irish Cream. You could even try doing that thing where you romantically cross arms to drink. Just don’t spill any.
  7. If you’re feeling really romantic – and brave – choose an recite a poem. John Copper Clarke’s ‘I wanna be yours’ is suitably urban. Or if you’re feeling more classic, then perhaps Keats’ A Thing of Beauty might be more your cup of tea.
  8. Undoubtedly, after all that exertion, you’ll have worked up an appetite. So some suitably spicy hot comfort food should round the evening off nicely. Falafel or samosas from a street vendor, yum. 

Whatever you decide to do on Valentine’s Day we hope you have a lovely time.