Valentine's day saved by Foodmark experts
Does the mere mention of Valentine's Day strike terror into your very soul, leaving you hot under the collar at the prospect of getting things right on the big night: the flowers, the chocolates, the perfect restaurant? We asked three top Foodmark chefs to share their expert tips to help make this Feb. 14th a night to remember - for all the right reasons.
Andrew Kloss, Chef, Wild Ginger)
It's important that a romantic evening is fun for both of you, so try to keep things simple by preparing the food the day before - just pop it in the oven to make the big night a stress-free affair. Whether you're cooking as a couple or presenting a meal to your partner, a low-key supper is always a safer bet than an elaborate multi-course meal that leaves you feeling stressed.
Things are unlikely to go to plan if you don't have a plan, so be sure to do your homework. Prepare something that you both enjoy eating and that can be shared. A favourite of mine is steamed fish, served whole, that's big enough for two. The heady aromas of the marinaded fish, once cooked, are certain to impress your dinner guest.
Paul Kennedy, Chef, Mango Tree
Valentine's Day shouldn't be all about red roses and lovey-dovey expressions of undying love. If you want to discover the true path to your partner's heart, put some love into your cooking - it's the secret ingredient to any romantic meal.
Ensure the food is simple to prepare and full of flavour. Quality ingredients may cost a little more but, if you're really out to impress, they're worth the expense. Romantic favourites include: oysters, prawns, lobster, crab, fillet steak, corn-fed chicken and rack of lamb. Special occasions like this are a good opportunity to be adventurous and try recipes you wouldn't normally prepare; your efforts definitely won't go unnoticed.
Of course, an easier way to attract your partner's attention is through the universal language of chocolate. Try dipping strawberries in it, making a fondant out of it, or a delicious mousse - if in doubt, cover it in chocolate. Whatever your decision, try to spend the evening with your partner rather than in the kitchen.
Ankur Chakravarthy, Chef, Zafran
If you're looking to add a little spice to a romantic meal for two, Indian cuisine is the perfect way to woo the one you love. There are so many spices to choose from, each offering a different taste sensation - many Indian spices also have medicinal properties.
Great food requires only the freshest available ingredients. Choose wisely and always use the best quality, which will be reflected in the finished meal. Nothing says "I love you" like seafood: consider using caviar, oysters or fresh lobster. It's a good idea to light a scented candle throughout the cooking process to avoid those lingering sea smells through dinner. Other romantic flavours include saffron, quail, asparagus and fresh berries.
Whatever you decide to cook, it's best to keep it simple. Concentrate on basic flavours and good presentation. Put some passion into your cooking - it'll show once the food reaches the plate. Another good idea is to serve your intimate meal on bigger plates that are made for sharing - in Indian culture, we believe that sharing food increases love and affection.
We hope these hints help to make your Valentine's Day meal a resounding success. If you have any Valentine's tips or advice, feel free to share these with our readers. Happy cooking!