There are many ways to impress the love of your life on Valentines, but a good way of going about this could be to cook for them. They will appreciate the effort that you have gone to to make it special for them, and you need not be hindered by cooking ability, or budget.

How about a delicious Leek, goat's cheese, walnut & lemon tart? This is easy to make, it isn't time consuming and is sure to impress that special person in you life. See recipe below.


Serves 4

Preparation and cooking times Prep 25 mins

Cook 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
  • 25g butter
  • 2 medium leeks , sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • zest 2 lemons and juice 1 lemon
  • 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 200g soft spreadable goat's cheese
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • little chopped parsley , to serve

The method

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the butter. Once sizzling, add the leeks and cook over a medium heat until softened but not coloured. Stir in the thyme and half the lemon zest, then increase the heat. Add the lemon juice and cook for about 30 secs until the lemon juice reduces, then season well. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  2. Unroll the pastry and lay on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Lightly mark a 1cm border around the edges with the tip of a sharp knife, then prick the base all over with a fork.
  3. Spread the lemony leeks on top of the pastry, within the border. Crumble over the cheese, scatter with the walnuts, then season with pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil, brushing the edges with a little oil as well. Put tart in the oven for 15-20 mins until the pastry puffs up around the edges and is golden brown. Scatter with parsley and the remaining lemon zest. Serve hot, warm or cool.

The dessert

The dessert can be just as important as the main meal. This is your chance to go all out, and completely wow your partner. Whether it's brownies drenched in sticky chocolate sauce, or something a bit healthier, there are many options. How about a tempting raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake? This is easy to make and you don't need to possess amazing proficiency in the culinary arts to make it.
Serves 4

Ready in 30 mins

plus 2 hours chilling

Ingredients

Ingredients
  • 180g digestive biscuits
  • 75g melted butter
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 200ml double cream
  • 75g sugar
  • 150g raspberries
  • icing sugar
  • chocolate melted, to serve (optional)

The method

Crumble the digestives in a food processor, add the melted butter and mix well. Place in a 20cm flan ring with a push-up base and pat down with the back of a spoon. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Mix the cream cheese, cream and sugar together until smooth. Add the raspberries and stir in, then add the melted chocolate and quickly swirl through. Spoon into the flan ring and smooth the top with a palette knife, then place in the fridge and chill for 2 hours. Serve dusted with icing sugar and a little melted chocolate if you like.

More recipe ideas

Do you want to perhaps be a bit more daring? Maybe you want to show off your culinary flare. There are a lot of websites where you can find inspiration for the perfect valentines meal, visit the BBC's good food website for a lot of different, sumptuos idea's.
 
 
Here's a little secret I'm going to let you all in on..
There's a very simple, yet, effective way of sprucing up a romantic dish. You can do this with a love heart stencil, which can be used for a wide variety of food.
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This is the simplest of techniques that would most definitely add that extra bit of thought and care into your loved one's breakfast!

You could also use the stencil to cut the toast into a love heart.. Or many other food items - this can also depend on the variety of different stencil sizes you have.

You could buy these stencils, or even give it a go at making them yourself!

Another type of love heart stencil would be tin foil - perfect for baking!
So what do you think about the idea of shaping your food into love hearts? Is it too cheesy or do you think it's a cute gesture?
 
 
Cooking a meal, whether on a date with someone you met through www.eharmony.co.uk or for your long-term partner, is a great way to create some romance. Here are four romantic meals to try: one each from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

English roast chicken with rosemary and lemon

A traditional English Sunday roast has always been the perfect opportunity to gather with the people you love and share in some good conversation. But who’s to say it has to be a Sunday – roasts can be eaten on any day of the week! Here is a great recipe for two.

Ingredients

20g pack rosemary
3 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lemon, zested and halved
½ small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 ¼ kg whole chicken, free range
4 medium carrots

Instructions

-    Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/ gas 5
-    Finely chop two sprigs of rosemary and mix with 2tbsp of the butter, along with the garlic lemon zest and chilli
-    Gently lift the skin away from the breast of the chicken and press the butter underneath
-    Use the remaining butter on the outside of the chicken
-    Stuff the lemon inside the cavity
-    Place chicken in roasting tin with the carrots
-    Season then scatter the remaining rosemary leaves
-    Roast chicken for 1hr 10mins to 1hr 30mins (or until the juices run clear)
Serve with a salad and mashed potatoes.

Irish stew

There’s nothing like a traditional Irish stew to warm up a cold winter night. It’s also a great meal to share together on a romantic evening. If you want to make a day of it and don’t quite know what should precede the meal, look for some date inspiration. If you live in Northern Ireland, for example, there are lots of tips for singles on dating sites like eHarmony – just visit the Northern Ireland page. Here is a simple recipe for two.

Ingredients

130g bacon, diced
500g lamb shoulder, cut into pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
200ml beef stock
2 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Half a glass of white wine
Seasoning

Instructions

-    Cook bacon over high heat until brown. Drain and leave to one side.
-    Cover the lamb with the flour and seasoning, brown over a high heat and place in a large casserole dish
-    Fry the garlic and onion until golden then add to the casserole, along with the bacon and stock. Simmer for 1 ½ hours.
-    Add the carrots, onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and wine. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Scottish Raspberry Cranachan

The Raspberry Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert, usually served on special occasions. When served at a wedding, a ring would be added into the mixture and whoever found it would be next to marry! Here’s how to make it yourself.

Ingredients

2 tbsp porridge oats
75ml whipping cream
75g fromage frais
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp whisky
200g raspberries

Instructions

-    Toast the oats in a hot dry pan over medium heat until browned.
-    Whip together the cream and fromage frais, before stirring in the honey, whisky and 4 tbsp of the oats
-    Layer the raspberries with the cream mixture in 2 serving glasses, reserving some raspberries for decoration
-    Decorate with the remaining fruit and oats and serve

Pembrokeshire honey fudge crumblies

Honey biscuits are traditionally made in Wales around St David’s day – delicious to share, although you may not want to!

Ingredients

50g flaked almonds
75g Pembrokeshire honey fudge, chopped
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g butter
125g light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions

-    Pre-heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4
-    Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
-    Stir in almonds, fudge and sugar and mix well
-    Whisk the egg and vanilla essence and add to mixture
-    Drop 2 tablespoons at a time onto a lined and greased baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes
-    Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving
Resource box

Romantic recipes
BBC Good Food’s romantic recipes

Romantic dinners for two
Eating Well on making healthy recipes together

25 Best Romantic Desserts
Recipes from Real
 
 
Seafood is always delicate and much tastier than many of us think.Amongst the many treasures that the sea gives to our palate, scallops are some of the finest but also easiest to cook, which is a good news. There are many ways to serve them and your imagination is the only limit. There are also a couple of ways to cook them, baked or pan seared, but if you are inexperienced in cooking, choose the second one.

Fresh or Frozen

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You can get some fresh scallops to your local fishmonger who will be happy to give you some advice. Failing that, go for some frozen scallops which are delicious too, as long as you remember to defrost them in the fridge some hours before.

All you need to cook scallops is a good frying pan. Heat it up without fat of any kind and put the seasoned scallops in. Sear them for a few seconds up to one minute on each side and serve. That's so simple that you will wonder why you never try before!

Bacon and Parmesan

The easiest way yo serve the scallops is with some salad, fried bacon or pancetta and parmesan shavings. For an even tastier dish, fry the bacon without fat and then the scallops in the same pan. If you feel brave, make a balsamic vinegar reduction, or just serve with a balsamic and olive oil dressing.
 
 
Love on Toast will feature various dishes that you can whip up to impress a loved one. A meal can be something very special in a relationship; it can be a great time to bond, talk and enjoy with a nice bottle of wine.
Many people think that they have to take a date or partner out for an expensive meal, but people can appreciate the effort of making a dish even more than spending money in a fancy restaurant. It can save you money and also show that the romance is there everyday- because sharing precious time with a loved one is always a special occasion.

So why not try and get creative in the kitchen? You might love it just as much as your loved one will.