For Valentine’s Day, there are the obvious options: a dozen roses or a table for two at an overpriced restaurant. Alternatively, you can come up with something a bit more unique—and there’s nothing more romantic than cooking a special meal together.
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Homemade marshmallows are a lot easier than you might expect, and show up shop-bought versions as the pale imitation of the real thing that they are. These are light, fluffy and pillowy, with the classic combination of vanilla and raspberry—perfect to gently nibble for an after-dinner treat.
Get the recipe for raspberry and vanilla homemade marshmallows
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What’s more perfect for Valentine’s Day than edible flowers? Here rose petals delicately scattered on top of a tart add colour and interest. A delicate touch with the rose water is needed to avoid overpowering the peaches.
Get the recipe for rose curd and white peach tart
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Oysters are very much take-it-or-leave-it, but have a long history as a romantic dish. For those who love the flavours of the sea, there’s nothing better—but it’s probably better to check beforehand whether they’ll be well received.
Get the recipe for oysters with thyme mignonette
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Drinks can be just as romantic as dishes, so here’s a delicate pink cocktail that’s a bit of a change from just another glass of white wine. Pomegranate, lime juice, gin and soda water sounds like a great combination to me—not too sweet and sickly.
Get the recipe for pomegranate gin fizz
image via Veggie Balance
Of course, we need at least one chocolate recipe on this list, and here’s a rich and unctuous flourless cake that just oozes luxury and decadence.
Get the recipe for flourless chocolate cake
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There’s no reason why celebrating Valentine’s Day has to wait until the evening. Here’s a smoothie that would be a great way to start the day; carve strawberries into hearts to use as a garnish to show you care.
Get the recipe for love smoothie
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Making crème brûlée is a real opportunity to exercise the cheffy muscles. The best way to make the caramelized sugar topping is with a butane gas blow torch. This crème brûlée is has a special edge thanks to the blood oranges, the sweet fruit with dark red juice that are in the shops for an all-too-short season.
Get the recipe for blood orange crème brûlée
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We’re back to oysters! These are cooked, so a better option for the squeamish. Deep-frying needn’t be scary: just make sure you use a deep saucepan, and don’t overfill it with oil.
Get the recipe for crunchy deep-fried oysters with cocktail sauce
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Chocolate and orange is a classic combination for a good reason, and I can see how the addition of sweet dates would work really well. This dish isn’t cooked, so it’s perfect for preparing beforehand and keeping in the fridge.
Get the recipe for dark chocolate-covered dates stuffed with orange coconut cream
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We finish with more strawberries and chocolate, as the quintessential Valentines’ day ingredients—and I think that breaking the intetention to eat locally grown, seasonal produce can be justified once a year. This chocolate dip is perfect for sharing.
Get the recipe for three-ingredient chocolate lava dip
Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food and travel writer, recipe developer and photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years.