And so that time of the year is almost upon us again – Valentine’s Day. I’m probably a little cynical about the date due to the fact that I’ve been single for the last six years, but my cynicism isn’t so much regarding the commercialism of all of it – with flowers being delivered to offices and workplaces (it’s only real love if there’s a public declaration of it) – or my frustration at being unable to book a restaurant on the evening of due to everything good being reserved for “tables for two”.
No, my cynicism is more that when you’re in a relationship, you really shouldn’t leave it to one day of the year to make the effort. You are with your significant other (or others, if you roll that way) over every other person for unique reasons, and I believe it’s the small, everyday things that will bring a beaming smile and spring to the daily step of people. The ability to give – to show your admiration and respect without expecting acknowledgement or anything in return – is what everyone should strive towards.
So says the girl who hasn’t been in a relationship for six years… haha.
If I were in a relationship, it would be pretty clear that what I would love to do for them is cook. When I’ve been dating, an appreciation of food is probably the key thing I look for. Food is such a significant element of my lifestyle that it is essential for me to share it with someone I care about. And I particularly love to put in a lot of effort when it comes to the weekend, and the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
I have a plethora of breakfast recipes for you to select from should you wish to make your significant other(s) something on next Saturday morning. From a delightfully crunchy Macadamia Muesli to Oatmeal Hotcakes with Berry Compote, some require more effort than others (but can be partially prepped the night before – such as the compote) but it is so worth it. My personal favourite is the Cinnamon Pancakes with Whipped Maple Butter and Candied Walnuts; prep the walnuts mid-week and store in an air-tight jar, the whipped butter can be made the evening before and chilled for the next morning. It’s a visually stunning stack of goodness. But if getting saucy with some oozy, molten chocolate is more your thing for a little breakfast-in-bed fun, try out my aptly-named Breakfast in Bed Crepes 😉
For those who aren’t so much into sweet breakfasts, I made these Homemade Baked Beans this weekend. Tangy, wholesome and moreish, pair with some delicious sides and breakfast is served. It’s so much better than the horrid tinned stuff as well, which comes swimming in a watered down tomato sauce rather than this chunky goodness.
This amount comfortably makes four servings, so feel free to reduce the ingredients by half, or to freeze the remainder for another lazy brunch at home.
You will need:
- One tablespoon olive oil;
- One small brown onion, chopped finely;
- One clove of garlic, crushed and chopped;
- 400g can diced tomatoes;
- Three springs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped;
- Two sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped;
- 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard;
- 2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce;
- 400g can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed;
- Sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper, to taste;
- Your choice of sides, e.g. wilted baby spinach, potato rosti, grilled bacon, toasted baguette, poached eggs, etc.
In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the brown onion and garlic and toss in the oil, cooking until soft and translucent. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes, adding the thyme and oregano leaves. Bring to a light simmer. Add the dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce, stirring through.
Add the drained and rinsed beans and mix through gently, before allowing it to come to the simmer again and for the beans to absorb all those gorgeous tomatoey-herbed flavours.
Serve hot with your choice of sides. The first morning I made these I just had them with some lightly toasted sourdough baguette and a beautifully runny poached egg that tasted like sunshine.
And then yesterday morning after an hour run and pilates, I grated up a leftover single potato in the fridge, combined it with some flour, Parmesan, salt and pepper to make a rosti, then served it with a small bowl of the beans with more Parmesan grated over the top, freshly chopped parsley and a handful of wilted baby spinach leaves. Divine.
Have a delightful week, all of you. If you are planning on having a special night out on Saturday, ensure you make a reservation now during the week! Otherwise I’ll catch you on Friday for a full run down on Newton’s Cuckoo Callay, who are running an amazing festival of bacon for the next twelve weeks x