Valentines Day used to happen this way: me preparing madly at night while little babes slept in their beds. Morning would dawn and hey-ho it would be Magical Hearts everywhere. Then we'd wander the neighbour looking for excitement. Drop into coffee shops for kid hot chocolates, visit the library for special storytimes. Wander past the florist on the way home for a nice rose or two. Then home for dinner, exhausted from all the fun. Bedtime involved happy valentine stories.
Now we're all older and, well, different. Some of us are rather self-conscious about making too many public displays of affection, not to mention having a number of high school commitments due every second of every hour. And this was probably the first year I was too harried (from various volunteer jobs - why does everyone think stay-at-home-mums have lots of time on their hands?) to be ready for it all. Like I said, different.
I didn't manage to make heart-shaped cards, but I did produce some heart-shaped pancakes with home-made peach butter. Somewhat to my chagrin this eclipsed the card situation. And I am nothing if not quick to take advantage of an Opportunity Coming My Way.
Dinner will be MY valentine to you all, I announced.
And so it was. Chili truffle filling sitting in the fridge? Cake toppers! The rest of it turned into a miniature cupcake batter.
FDPG's hand there? She withdrew it after one taste. My chili truffle recipe isn't something to be truffled with.
Winter greens sitting in the garden? Doused with sizzling garlic oil! Mandarins peeled and tossed alongside! Fennel blub and sorrel leaves on top. It was a Nutty Madcap Salad, but don't tell Max or he won't eat it ever again just because of the name I gave it.
I've got a new crush in the foodie world, and this was his Quick Puff Pastry recipe, wrapped around some very rare steak, thinly sliced raw fennel, and a few chunks of jalapeno havarti.
It was really good, if I do say so myself.
And for dessert there was a chocolate cake.
A really excellent chocolate cake.
I don't have a photo of it.
I wish I did.
Some of us had heart-shaped chili truffles on top of ours. Some of us kissed afterwards, and felt glad that we'd had all these nice heart-shaped days.