Make an effort with these Valentine’s Recipes

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to express your love through food. Here are some romantic and delightful food ideas for Valentine’s Day:

Main – ‘Marry me’ chicken pasta

Marry Me Chicken


  • 2 medium chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 75g/2½oz sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground paprika


  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 75g/2½oz spinach
  • 100g/3½oz pappardelle pasta
  • 170g/6oz mascarpone
  • 50g/1¾oz parmesan, freshly grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • torn basil leaves, to serve


  1. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the chicken in the flour on all sides.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add ½ tablespoon of olive oil, followed by the butter. Once foaming, add the chicken breasts and cook for 4–5 minutes on both sides or until golden-brown. Turn down the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce. Turn the chicken halfway through and make sure it is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pan and slice into 3cm/1¼in strips.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic for 1–2 minutes over a medium heat in another large frying pan. Once fragrant, add the sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, oregano, paprika, chilli flakes (if liked), lemon zest and juice, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute further before adding the spinach and wilting it down, stirring often to prevent anything catching.
  4. Add the chicken to the sauce and keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a large pan of boiling salted water. Drain once you reach the ‘al dente’ stage and reserve a mug full of the pasta water.
  6. Add the mascarpone to the sauce and allow it to melt down. Tip the pasta into the sauce with some of the pasta water to loosen things up. Stir together adding little splashes of pasta water until a velvety sauce is formed. Add half of the Parmesan and stir again until melted.
  7. Share among two bowls and serve with the rest of the Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves.

Main Course – Slow cooker honey & mustard pork loin

Slow cooker honey and mustard pork loin a70d30b


  • 1½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5-6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1.8kg pork loin, skin removed and fat well scored (cut from the thicker end of the joint)
  • 300g shallots
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 2 eating apples (such as Braeburn or Cox), peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 150ml white wine
  • 250ml chicken or pork stock
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


  1. Lightly crush the fennel, garlic and the leaves of 3 thyme sprigs together in a pestle and mortar. Add 1 tbsp oil and season well, then bash to a rough paste. Rub the mixture all over the pork, then cover and chill for at least 2 hrs or up to 24 hrs.
  2. Set the slow cooker to low. Tip the shallots into a heatproof bowl and pour a kettleful of boiling water. Leave to soak for 2 mins, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle (this will make them easier to peel). Cut off the roots and remove the papery skins.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan or flameproof casserole that’s large enough to fit the pork joint. Brown the shallots for a few minutes over a medium heat, then tip into the slow cooker. Add the celeriac and apples, then season well and mix.
  4. Put the pork in the pan and brown really well on all sides, then transfer to the slow cooker fat-side up on top of the vegetable mixture. Pour the wine into the pan and bubble for 1 min. Add the stock, honey and mustard and bubble for 1 min more, then pour the mixture over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hrs, turning the meat and stirring the veg halfway through cooking, if you can.
  5. Lift the pork out of the slow cooker, wrap and leave to rest for 10 mins before carving. Serve with the cooked vegetables and some greens, if you like.

Dessert – Marmalade & whisky bread & butter pudding

Marmalade and whisky bread and butter pudding


  • 8 slices day-old crusty white bread , crusts removed
  • 50g very soft butter
  • 4 tbsp Seville orange marmalade , plus 4 tsp
  • 300ml full-fat milk
  • 248ml pot double cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • seeds 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp whisky
  • icing sugar , for dusting


  • Butter each piece of bread on both sides, then spread 4 with the 1 tbsp marmalade each. Pop the remaining bread on top to make 4 marmalade sandwiches. Cut into triangles and nestle in rows in a large baking dish. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
  • Beat the milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, sugar and whisky together, then pour over the bread. Leave to soak for 30 mins.
  • Dot the remaining marmalade all over the top of the pud and dust with the icing sugar. Bake for 45 mins-1 hr or until puffy and starting to caramelise where the bread breaks out of the custard. Serve hot or warm.

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