Recipes for romance – dishes to make this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day always puts pressure on people to make grand gestures. But it shouldn’t be like that. Sometimes, a beautiful meal at home can be enough to show your partner how much you love them.

Valentine's Day recipes

Friends of ours have a Valentine’s Day tradition of taking it in turns each year to cook a three-course meal for one another. I think that’s a great way to celebrate romance.

Christina and I aren’t all about the big gestures to show the person you love how you feel. And like with many gifts, it’s the effort you put in that shows more than the thing itself.

Of course, some of us are all about the gift, and if you’re not sure, you should check out the 5 Love Languages we wrote about a while ago.

This Valentine’s Day, Christina and I are planning to follow our friends’ lead and make something special at home. It’s often way better than the overrun understaffed restaurants, and who wants to share their romantic evening anyway?

Six romantic recipes for Valentine’s Day

Cheesy breakfast strata with roast cherry tomato

This breakfast strata is pretty epic and needs a bit of prep, but looks spectacular and tastes even better.

Valentine's Day recipes - Australian Eggs brekkie strata

Here’s what you need

– 4 thick slices crusty Italian bread (ciabatta or pana casa), cut into triangles
– 30g unsalted butter
– 1 brown onion, finely chopped
– 4 cups baby spinach leaves
– Salt and pepper
– 6 eggs
– 2 cups milk
– 1 cup grated vintage cheddar
– 200g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
– Basil leaves to serve

Here’s what you do

1. Arrange bread triangles with points up like shark fins in a lightly greased lasagne dish.

2. Soften onion in the butter in a frying pan, then wilt the spinach. Add salt and pepper then spoon over the bread. Set aside.

3. Beat together 3 of the eggs, the milk and cheese. Pour over the bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight) to soak.

4. Stand the strata at room temperature while the oven is preheating to 180°C fan forced. Using a large metal spoon, make 3 indentations into the bread mixture. Crack the one of the remaining 3 eggs into each indentation. Cook for 20–25 minutes or until golden and eggs are cooked to your liking.

5. Roast the tomatoes on an oven tray for 10 minutes. Serve the strata with tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

Based on a recipe created by Australian Eggs

Grain, pomegranate and dukkah salad

If you’re looking for something light and fresh for lunch this Valentine’s Day, this salad is ideal. You can vary the amount you make really easily depending on how hungry you both are – or if you want to make this again another time for a party with friends.

Whether it’s just the two of you in for a romantic lunch or a group of friends getting together for laughs, this is a crowd-pleaser. You can also make this ahead of time to assemble quickly just before eating.

Valentine's Day recipes - Australian Eggs grain and pomegranate salad

Here’s what you need

1 cup wild rice
3 eggs
½ cup store-bought dukkah (or this recipe for macadamia dukkah)
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup coriander leaves
1 cup rocket leaves
½ cup toasted flaked almonds
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Orange dressing

1 orange, rind finely grated and juiced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Here’s what you do

1. Cook the wild rice as per instructions – this can take a while, so allow up to 35 minutes.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add eggs and simmer for 6 minutes for soft-boiled eggs. Drain and stand in cold water. Crack shells and gently peel. Place dukkah on a plate and roll the eggs in the dukkah. Set aside.

3. Combine rice, mint, coriander, rocket, almonds, pomegranate, cranberries and chickpeas in a large bowl. Place on a platter.

Orange dressing

4. Place the orange rind and juice, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

5. Drizzle the salad with dressing. Halve the dukkah-coated eggs and place on top of the salad. Sprinkle with extra dukkah to serve.

Based on a recipe created by Australian Eggs

Smoked salmon, leek and feta tarts

Smoked salmon leek and feta tart recipe - Mr & Mrs Romance

Light, delicious and perfect for lunch or dinner, a picnic or a sit-down meal. You can make them as individual mini pies like these or as a bigger pie to share. They’re also surprisingly easy to make.

You just need shortcrust pastry, tinned smoked salmon, eggs, leeks, cream and feta cheese. Check out the details on the recipe here.

Burgers with love

If you’re after a more indulgent but lower key dinner to get the romance rolling, what about a delicious burger? I know I’d be pretty happy if Christina decided to do that on Valentine’s Day.

Here are my top tips for cooking the best burger.

Weekly Edition El Loco Slip Inn burger

Chocolate mousse

Dessert can be the most romantic part of a meal. And even more so when it’s Christina’s special chocolate mousse. I managed to persuade her to share her recipe – check it out here.

Curry favour

It might sound weird, but if there’s one thing I miss from the UK it’s the Indian food. The noble curry is a way of life there. A while ago I put together a series of my favourite curries and the recipes to make each one.

So if you or your partner gets revved at a ruby, you need these recipes in your life.

Valentine’s Day is always a tricky one. It’s important not to feel forced into doing something – nothing kills off romance more than mandated affection! Rather, see it as an excuse to do something nice for one another.

Life gets in the way of our best intentions, so having a reminder at least once a year can’t be that bad a thing, can it?

Valentine's Day recipes

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