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Love is amongst the most treasured elements of the human experience. It fills us with joy and peace and can be as exhilarating as it is tranquil. Luckily, despite love sometimes being complicated, there are endless flavours through which we can express it. On this Valentine’s Day, we honour all forms of love. From the romance of first encounters accompanied by silky chocolate to the golden delight of love in our families and perhaps to the most valuable love of all is love for oneself.
For the award-winning TV chef, cookbook author, marvellous mom and wonderful wife – Grace Stevens – creating delicious treats to share on Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to play with how we express our love for those around us.
Here are her top scrumptious suggestions for this Valentine’s Day.
For the enamoured couples
After a challenging time, many who have managed to become a couple during the pandemic are understandably looking to explore the outside world through exhilarating new food experiences. If you are a couple of social butterflies, signing up for a cooking or cocktail class to take together is a wonderful way to make a new memory and learn a lot – about both the food and your lover.
For those of us who appreciate the intimacy of our homes, making a special dinner together, or even just dessert, reminds us how attractive it is to have so much focus and attention paid to us by the ones we love. My favourite recipe for couples is my Mocha Coffee French Crullers. They are just fancy enough to be special but foolproof enough to make sure you stay focused on each other and not on stressing about the food. Add to this recipe a playlist full of special songs to cook to and things will heat up in your kitchen.
For the fabulous families
My favourite thing about celebrating Valentine’s day with my husband and kids is we have witnessed each other’s lives and shared the triumphs, joys and lessons that only years together can teach. As a family, we love to make a cup of tea or coffee for each other and often send encouragement via WhatsApp during the day. I also write encouraging messages on my kids’ mirrors with a marker to make sure they are reminded of how loved they are.
I love how my family will conspire with one another to make me happy. One year, after I’d seen a beautiful handbag while out shopping, my eldest told my husband and he surprised me with it as a gift. It was so thoughtful and proves that even in our pandemic bound ‘new reality’ it’s still the small things we do for each other that matter the most.
My older kids knocked it out of the park last year by cooking and serving us a meal in a mock restaurant fit for any food critic. This followed by a quiet family walk around the neighbourhood holding hands, chatting about our day, then a movie night on the couch with my delicious golden homemade caramel popcorn. It was one of the best evenings we have ever spent as a family.
For all the single lovelies
Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” I think wining and dining yourself should never be underestimated. Celebrate love by baking some sweet treats for your friends. Surprise your best friend with a delicious Chocolate Oreo muffin coffee delivered first thing in the morning to tell her that you care.
Celebrating your Bromance or Galentine’s day with dinner and a movie where all involved are allowed to shamelessly indulge in all the dessert and champagne they desire is surprisingly refreshing.
No matter where you are, who you love or what stage of life you are at, food and flavour are some of the most powerful tools we have to express our love for one another. It is at once child’s play and adult joy. From the extravagant banquets of weddings to the simply toasted cheese sarmies at the end of a long day, food is love and love is food.