Treats for your sweet (+recipes)

By Amanda Krause

Although many may dismiss Valentine's Day as a load of commercial drivel, I see nothing wrong with having one day a year on which to spend a little - or a lot of - time doing something out of the ordinary for your loved one.

There may be many out there who lovingly feed each other delicious morsels by candlelight on a nightly basis, but the rest of us approach Valentine's Day with plans for romantic dinners out or - often much more enjoyable, I think - in.

Food for Valentine's Day should be decadent and sensuous. Texture is as important as ingredients.

Good ambience is essential, so I suggest setting the scene with sultry music, beautiful flowers and generous amounts of candles.

As much as possible, prepare the food in advance, and don't have too much of it. Oysters and chocolate cake are enough to make most of us deliriously happy - provided there's room, of course, for champagne.

A plateful of oysters to share is perfect for a romantic dinner.

Try them juicy and salty, topped with a garlic mascarpone sauce and golden puff pastry, baked briefly, then slurped out of the shell - heaven.

The only sensible way to follow this dish is with chocolate.

Heart-shaped moulds are very easy to find at kitchen shops - even Spotlight - but a small cake tin will be fine.

This is a very rich, but delicate, cake because it is made without flour.

The almonds give a lovely texture, and as long as you use the best quality chocolate, the cake will not be too sweet and have a rich, pure flavour.

Team it with a few fresh blackberries or raspberries and a dollop of softly whipped cream and you both will be very happy indeed.

- Herald on Sunday

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