Make your sweetheart’s day with breakfast in bed this Valentine’s…
For extra brownie points on Valentine’s Day, breakfast in bed will do the trick, guaranteed. However, if you think a tray of charred toast and a cup of instant coffee will do, you might need to reconsider – that’s not the way to set your beau’s heart a-flutter! There are a whole host of much more impressive and exciting ideas out there – and you won’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make them either. If you’re after a bed-based brekkie yourself, perhaps print these recipes out and subtly pop them on the fridge door…
Red Velvet Pancakes
Pancakes are a classic breakfast option for good reason. A stack of these light, fluffy and oh-so moreish beauties is sure to be the perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth. For a romantic twist on this American favourite, try this lovely recipe from www.cookingclassy.com:
Ingredients (makes 16 pancakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tbsp red food colouring
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted butter, melted
Fresh raspberries and mint leaves (optional)
6oz cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup milk, more if desired
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat an electric non-stick griddle to 350°C. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside. Measure out the milk and whisk in the vinegar and allow the mixture to rest for 2 minutes. Then pour into a separate large mixing bowl and add sugar, eggs, red food colouring, vanilla and melted butter. Whisk the mixture and slowly add in the dry ingredients until combined.
To make the cream cheese glaze, use an electric hand mixer set on medium speed to blend the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in remaining ingredients and mix for a minute, adding additional milk to thin if desired. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Pour about a ¼ cup of the pancake batter at a time onto the hot, buttered griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancakes then flip and sizzle the opposite side until the pancake is cooked through.
Serve warm with cream cheese glaze and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves if desired.
You could also give a simple blueberry version a go (www.bbcgoodfood.com) – or try strawberries or bananas instead, or yoghurt and honey. You could even top yours with bacon if you’re in the mood for something savoury. And for that extra-cute finishing touch, use a cookie cutter to make your pancakes into hearts. Aww.
Sure, you could skip down to your local bakery or supermarket and buy them – but Valentine’s Day is all about showing how much you care, right? So ready-made ain’t gonna cut it this time. However, if you’re really not into baking and want to cheat a bit, Nigella’s recipe (www.foodnetwork.com) uses a packet of ready-rolled puff pastry – so there’s no excuse not to try it yourself.
1 (13oz) packet ready-rolled butter puff pastry
1 (100g) chocolate bar (milk or dark)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 218°C. Unfurl the sheet of pastry and cut into six squares.
Cut each square diagonally to give two triangles (they will appear quite small). Put the triangle with the wider part facing you and the point away from you.
Break off small pieces of chocolate (approximately 1cm/½ inch) to place about 2cm from the wide end nearest you. Then carefully roll from the chocolate-loaded end towards the point of the triangle.
You should now have something resembling a straight croissant; seal it slightly with your fingertips and curl it around into a crescent. Place on a lined baking tray and glaze with the beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and puffy.
This one is all about timing – every element has to be just-so or it won’t work. But it’ll all be worth it, I promise. In fact, its trickiness makes it all the more special; this isn’t an everyday breakfast, so it’ll feel extra indulgent. Give this recipe from www.foodnetwork.com a try – your Valentine will thank you.
1 tsp white wine vinegar
8 large eggs
3 tbsp salted butter, softened
2 English muffins, split in half
4 quarter-inch-thick rounds of bacon
Pinch of paprika (optional)
Thinly sliced fresh chives (optional)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
To make the Hollandaise sauce, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened. Place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (or use a double boiler) – make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly.
Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce has doubled in volume. Remove from heat, fold in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use.
Brown the bacon in a medium skillet and toast the English muffins. Fill a 10-inch non-stick skillet half full of water. Add white vinegar to the cooking water. Bring to a slow boil. Gently break one of the eggs into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 3 ½ minutes until the egg white is set and yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain.
To present your morning feast, place a slice of Canadian bacon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon Hollandaise over the eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley and await your partner’s praise!
When it comes to the best drink to serve alongside your morning masterpiece, there are a load of fun mocktails to choose from (after all, you don’t want your other half teetering to work after too many Valentinis).
Perhaps try a Spicy Raspberry Lemon Cooler (recipe at www.hgtv.com) featuring frozen raspberries, honey, lemon juice and ginger beer. Or for caffeine devotees, mix up cold coffee, sugar, hot water and milk and serve over some crushed ice for a morning hit with a difference.
One of these brews coupled with your pick of the above recipes = top marks from your Valentine. And (hopefully) a guaranteed payback breakfast in bed on your birthday to boot.