The Perfect Valentine’s Day

Putting together the perfect Valentine’s Day isn’t just about picking out a bunch of flowers and penning the perfect card. If you’re looking to spoil a loved one, or even better treat yourself, we’ve compiled all the best recipes and simple details that will earn you plenty of brownie points over the next few days.

Roses were first linked to Valentine’s day during the 17th century, depicted in paintings with Venus, the goddess of love. You don’t need to dress up as a pre-Raphaelite Roman goddess to continue this tradition but you can keep it interesting by choosing which colour roses best reflect your feelings:
Red rose: Romantic love, desire (can be expressed with a single red rose)
White rose: Innocence and charm
Mixed red and white roses: Unity
Light pink rose: Grace
Dark pink rose: Thankfulness
Medium pink rose: Happiness
Lavender rose: Enchantment, love at first sight
Burgundy rose: Beauty
Coral rose: Desire
Orange rose: Fascination
Peach rose: Modesty, immortality
Yellow rose: Friendship, joy, gladness

Whittards No.18 Tea is numbered after Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 which famously opens, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. This rich fruit infusion will kick-start your valentines with a burst of summer berries and a gorgeous deep shade of red.

Staying in is the new going out, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful space you’ve created at home. Light those scented candles and drop the kids of with the in-laws because we’ve put together the most delectable Valentine’s dinner menu, perfect for cooking together.

STARTER – FOREST FRUIT BELLINI

400ml sparkling white wine, chilled
2 tbsp Tesco Finest forest fruit coulis
2 fresh or frozen raspberries

  1. Pour the sparkling wine into 2 large Champagne flutes and add half the fruit coulis to each glass.
  2. Finally, pop in a raspberry to serve.
  3. Tip: Any flavour coulis will work. For a tropical twist, try passion fruit
MAIN – STEAK & STICKY RED WINE SHALLOTS

8 brown shallots, peeled and quartered but left whole at the root
2 sirloin steaks, about 175g/6oz each
crushed black peppercorns
25g butter
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
large glass red wine, about 175ml/6fl oz
150ml beef stock

  1. Simmer the shallots in a pan of water for 2-3 mins, then drain and set aside. Season the steaks with a little salt and plenty of crushed peppercorns. Heat half the butter in a pan until sizzling, then cook the steak’s for 3 mins on each side for medium or until done to your liking. Remove the steaks and keep warm.
  2. While they rest, add the remaining butter to the pan, throw in the shallots, then sizzle in the sticky pan until starting to brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and bubble for a few mins. Add the wine and boil down until sticky, then add the beef stock and simmer until everything comes together.
  3. Spoon the shallots over the steaks and serve with green beans and chips.
DESSERT – SALTED CARAMEL POPCORN POTS

400ml double cream
200ml milk
140g toffee popcorn, plus a little to serve
2 gelatine leaves
4 tbsp caramel
from a can (we used Carnation)
¼-½ tsp flaky sea salt

1. Pour the cream and milk into a large pan, add the popcorn and bring to a gentle simmer, pushing the popcorn under the liquid and squashing gently on the bottom of the pan. Bubble for 1 min, then remove from the heat, transfer to a jug and chill for at least 6 hrs, or preferably overnight.
2. Strain the popcorn cream back into a clean pan and gently reheat, discarding the remaining bits of popcorn. Meanwhile, place the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften for 3-5 mins. When the popcorn cream is steaming and the gelatine is soft, remove it from the water and squeeze out any excess drops. Place in the hot popcorn cream and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool a little.
3. Mix the caramel with the sea salt – start with 1/4 tsp, taste, then add more if you think it needs it.
4. Divide the salted caramel between 2 glasses or pots. Pour the popcorn cream on top and chill for at least 2 hrs, or overnight.
Serve each pot topped with a few pieces of toffee popcorn and dive in!

All that is left is to exchange cards whilst relaxing into your sumptuously comfortable Maple sofa, stay on trend by creating your own card this year to show how much you care.

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