Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is just another ploy to get us to spend money. With set menus pitched at double the standard price on the 14th February, just the suggestion of heading out for a romantic meal for two is enough to make anyone wince.
In fact, if you’ve been out for dinner over the last couple of years, you will have noticed that even your local (usually reasonably priced) restaurant is happy to hike up its prices for the night.
Instead, why not stay in this Saturday night, keep out of the wind and rain and prepare your own speedy Valentine’s Feast before snuggling up on the sofa in front of a Rom Com?
Here are just a few quick dishes that will help you speak the language of love:
One of the most well-known aphrodisiacs and a firm Valentine’s Day favourite, zinc-rich oysters are easily accessible at this time of year and not all that expensive.
Even better, oysters are at their best when raw, which means almost no prep work at all.
Simply crack open the shell (with care) and squeeze some lemon juice over the oyster meat before serving. Add a little bit of extra glamour by plating up on a bed of ice and make yourself seem extra sophisticated.
Avocado and asparagus salad
Great for serving as a healthy starter, this salad can include almost anything you have lying around in the fridge but is best when it features spinach, cherry tomatoes and walnuts with good quality olive oil and lemon drizzled over the top.
On the surface there may not be anything too sexy to this dish, but in actual fact the vitamin E in asparagus and avocado is crucial to the production of important hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone.
Spicy chicken stir fry
Not the most obvious of choices, but there are several good reasons for making a stir fry part of your Valentine’s Day menu.
It’s fast, light on the digestion and healthy. But most important of all, a chicken stir fry gives you the chance to go heavy on the chillies.
Chillies contain capsaicin, a chemical that increases circulation, gets the blood pumping and increases the sensitivity of your nerve endings. Served with a range of fresh veg and a couple of Dicksons chicken fillets, this is a meal that will win you easy brownie points.
Bananas and chocolate
Chocolate is always a winner for Valentine’s Day. With a number of chemicals in cocoa boasting aphrodisiac properties, it’s no surprise that men and women raid the supermarket shelves for fancy chocolate at this time of year.
Bananas may be a less obvious food of love, but in actual fact the high levels of potassium in bananas are also beneficial to amorous couples.
If you don’t have time to knock up a full cheesecake or trifle this Saturday, why not turn on the oven slice open the skin of your bananas and stuff in a few blocks of chocolate. Leave these for 5 minutes until the banana has softened and the chocolate has melted before tipping out the whole lot into a bowl and serving with some ice cream.