With Valentine’s Day coming up, I know many people will be thinking about booking a restaurant table for a romantic dinner for two. I do know, though, that going out on Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Restaurants are extra busy and there’s too much pressure to be ‘romantic’ while everyone’s looking, too! Plus, Mr E and I have been together for about a gazillion years, so I think the need to impress me has long gone. Still, I want to cook a gorgeous dinner for him, and I’ve been looking at the new M&S food to order products, where you can find some interesting cuts of meat that you’d normally have to order from your butcher, plus some great ideas for reluctant cooks, plus of course, delicious desserts.
Here at number one, we say everything with cake. Passed an exam? Congratulations, here’s a cake. Miserable because it’s cold and rainy? Have some cake. Birthday? Christmas? Just because? It’s always cake. So when the lovely people at Denby asked me to create something special to celebrate their latest collection, Natural Canvas, and, as Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, well, it had to be a cake, right? A romantic one. And you can’t honestly get more romantic than this strawberry and Cointreau layer cake with coconut cream: it’s light, fluffy, fruity and sweet, whilst managing to be just a teeny bit intoxicating, a bit squishy, and more than a tad eat-with-your-fingers messy . The perfect match.
Firstly, I’d like to say – for the purists out there – that of course I know a REAL red velvet cupcake needs proper cream cheese icing. Sadly, the object of my affections dislikes cream cheese icing. And in fact buttercream too, so I have to be a bit more creative. Using a marshmallow appeals to my lazy, cheaty side, and if you time it right, makes a deliciously gooey topping. They’re obviously not going to look the same as a perfect swirl of cream cheese, but they taste divine so it doesn’t matter.
So Valentine’s Day is coming up fast and even if, like Mr English, you’re not the whole flowers and chocolates romantic type, an amazing steak is the perfect way to celebrate with the one (or ones) you love. My lovely chums Farmer’s Choice are offering you the chance to win a really amazing Farmers Choice ‘Love Steak’ pack, containing two 250g fillet steaks, two 250g sirloin steaks, two 325g t-bone steaks and two 400g wing rib steaks, so basically everything you need for several romantic dinners, not just one!
To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is tell me what your ideal Valentine’s Day dinner is. Remember if you’re a first time commenter on English Mum, your comment won’t show up straight away.
There are also a couple of ways to increase your chances of winning: for one bonus entry, just like Farmers Choice on Facebook. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry.
For a further bonus entry, follow @FarmersChoiceUK on Twitter. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry. Usual English Mum competition rules apply. This giveaway ends at 9am on 9th February (to give us time to get the prize to the winner in time for Valentine’s Day) . Winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
***This competition is now closed – congratulations to Gloria Christiansen who won the ‘love steak’ pack!***
People seem to be really torn about Valentine’s Day. There are definitely those who see it as a cynical marketing ploy dreamed up by greeting card companies and florists (or is it restauranteurs and wine retailers?), but I personally think it’s no bad thing to remind your loved one how much you care once in a while.
With this in mind, I’ve teamed up with the lovely bunch (geddit?) from Prestige Flowers to help you spoil your valentine. Just comment below and tell me who you’d treat and why, and we’ll arrange for a gorgeous bouquet of red roses, a bottle of wine, a teddy bear and a box of chocolates to be delivered to the object of one lucky winner’s affection in time for Valentine’s day.
And hey, if you’re not lucky enough to win, you’ll find loads of perfect Valentine’s Day flowers at Prestige.
Usual English Mum competition rules apply. Prize will consist of one dozen roses, one bottle of red wine, Belgian chocolates and a cuddly bear. Competition closes 11th Feb 2013.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED- CONGRATULATIONS TO KATE GOODALL WHO WON THE PRIZE FOR HER FRIEND.
Not a lover of Valentine’s Day?
Don’t fancy chocolates?
Allergic to flowers?
I’ve got just the thing. Quality Standard Beef and Lamb have told me about one of their butchers, Antony Bowness from Tewkesbury who has created the stuff of my Valentine’s dreams: a steak bouquet. Apparently the bouquet is made up of ‘carefully sculpted sirloin steaks’.
Antony said: “I get asked every year what I’d like for Valentine’s Day and I never know what to suggest. Soppy cards aren’t really my thing and it got me thinking about what I could make for other men out there like me. I had a ‘Eureka’ moment one day when a customer came in with a bunch of flowers. I started playing around with the idea and realised it was actually quite easy to do! I mean if you can make a dress from meat, then why not a bunch of roses?”
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