My Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

In exactly 7 days your Facebook feed will be bursting with posts from friends gushing about how they love their partner to the moon and back (what sort of stupid saying is that?) and how they don’t declare their love for them often enough so today they want the whole world to know. By whole world, they mean their 278 friends. These are the same people who were moaning about their boyfriend/girlfriend/friend-with-benefits/whatever-they-have-labelled-it just last week.

Instagram becomes an Interflora catalogue, beautifully shot pictures of huge bouquets filling your feed making you feel a bit deflated, then feeling better when you see your mate Jenny only got some from the petrol station and you realise that no flowers at all are better than those wilted specimens. There’s the occasional ‘the boy done good’ caption on a Michael Kors handbag or a Pandora charm bracelet, a few proposals, and usually one post that makes you think ‘what the heck has he done wrong to get you such an extravagant gift?’ Valentine’s Day is stupid. Its commercialism at its finest, a ridiculous excuse to spend money and make others feel bad when they don’t.

OK, so now I sound like a bitter old spinster. I’m not. And there was a time when I was doing the whole ‘I love my boyfriend so much it hurts’ social media posts. My whole body literally convulses when I see such things on my Timehop. It’s not that I don’t still feel the same way, but after 8 years together and living in the same house, I think we are both in agreement that we at least kind of like each other and don’t need a certain day of the year to show it. That’s not to say if he bought me flowers I would throw them back in his face, hell no, I would take those flowers straight to my Instagram feed.

So is Valentine’s Day all bad? No. Like all made up celebrations, it involves food. Therefore, I still quite like it. I absolutely refuse to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day itself. I can only imagine the awkwardness of couples trying to be nice to each other or having to speak about something other than Eastenders. Or even worse, public displays of affection. That’s enough to put me off my creme brûlée for life. We do usually go out to eat though, normally the week after when everyone else is back to silently plotting to kill each other. I don’t know why we do it, but it’s become a sort of tradition now. Even though we don’t exchange cards or gifts, it’s nice to partake in something by way of a celebration. Though I do admit, if the celebration didn’t centre around food, neither of us would even pretend to be interested.

If you do want to be a melt and are stuck for ideas on how to treat that special person in your life, then carry on reading. These salted caramel and chocolate love pots are an absolute triumph. Yes, they are ridiculously sweet and rich, but isn’t that what love is all about?

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Love Pots

Serves 2 very greedy lovers / 4 normal, civilised people / 1 incredibly depressed singleton spending the night in their pjs watching Bridget Jones in a bid to feel better about themselves

What you need:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 a 397g tin of condensed milk
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

What you do:

  1. First you need to make the caramel layer. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan over a gentle heat and once combined add the condensed milk. Turn up the heat and stir whilst the mixture bubbles ferociously. Do this for a minute or two until the caramel has thickened and turned a shade darker. Now add the salt. The best thing to do is add a little, taste and add more if you need to. Please don’t go sticking your finger into the caramel to taste it unless you want to end up in A&E. Put some on a spoon, let it cool for a minute then taste it. You want the salt to intensify the flavour of the caramel and to leave a little tingle on the sides of your tongue. Once satisfied, pour the caramel into some little pots and leave in the fridge to set for at least an hour. I used these vom-inducing heart shaped pots.
  2. Once the caramel is set, you can make the chocolate layer. Quite simply put the cream, chocolate and golden syrup into a pan and melt together over a gentle heat until all is smooth and combined. Leave it to cool and thicken a little before pouring over the caramel layer and popping them back into the fridge to fully set, which will be an hour or two minimum.
  3. To serve, remove them from the fridge half an hour before eating so that they soften slightly and sprinkle with a little more sea salt. I used pink salt as it looks so fittingly romantic.

Enjoy whilst looking longingly into your lover’s eyes and getting chocolate all over your face. Warning: This could lead to babies.

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Washing Up Score: Oh who cares, it can wait ’til the morning.

 

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