“Sorcha,” he called softly, and she turned, eyes narrowed against the rays of the sinking sun, then wide and gold with surprise at the sight of him.
“Welcome home,” he said, and held out the small bouquet of leaves and twigs.
“Oh,” she said. She looked at the bits of leaf and stick again, and then at him, and the corners of her mouth trembled, as though she might laugh or cry, but wasn’t sure which. She reached then, and took the plants from him, her fingers small and cold as they brushed his hand.
“Oh, Jamie— they’re wonderful.” She came up on her toes and kissed him, warm and salty, and he wanted more, but she was hurrying away into the house, the silly wee things clasped to her breast as though they were gold.
He felt pleasantly foolish, and foolishly pleased with himself. The taste of her was still on his mouth.
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 18 – No Place Like Home)
Have you made your plans for Lovers’ Day yet? While I’m not one for boxed chocolates and/or canned Hallmark sentiments from the card rack, a spontaneous posey is quite different. I’ll gratefully accept one of those any day of the year, given that they’re almost as rare around here as on the Ridge.
But I’m not complaining! In fact, I’ve been celebrating the romantic side of My Englishman all weekend, ever since he surprised me with his idea to get off our little island for a couple of days. He’s booked us a one-bedroom apartment with a water view for two nights in Victoria, a short ferry ride away from our rock in the sea.
Not all that surprisingly, I’m in charge of dinner reservations. Since we don’t get out to the big city that often, choosing the right restaurant is a big deal for me. And as an over-particular diner, I have to say that Valentine’s Day is probably my least favourite night of the year to eat out. Usually extensive selections are reduced to 3 or 5 course set menus and choice sits second fiddle as restaurants focus on expeditious service to seat as many as they can on the busiest and most “romantic” night of the year.
My solution is simple. We’re going all out for a meal on the 13th. On the 14th, we’ve got a plan for breakfast in bed with pastries from a glorious bakery down the street, and a picnic/movie date for later in the afternoon. We’ll probably finish with Chinese delivery for dinner, as, along with a movie in a real theatre, food delivered to our door is quite the treat for us.
If you’re still planning, or not up to dining out in a packed, hormone-riddled restaurant, I’ve got a few Outlandish suggestions for you. And since not everyone can celebrate at dinner, I’ve included a few ideas for different times of the day.
I hope you all have a wonderful day, celebrating love and friendship with the special folk around you.
So…did you see Duncan and Phaedre’s liaison coming? I’ll admit it surprised me, but at the same time, put a smile on my face to imagine them finding solace in each other, if only for a brief time.
Unusual these days, egg coddlers were common in the 50s and 60s. My Dad and I used to make coddled eggs almost every Sunday, and when I moved out of the house, he sent one of his prize coddlers with me. These days, you’ll find them new online, or used in thrift shops. A small canning jar with lid is a good substitute in a pinch.
Buttery, crunchy and sweet, Fiona’s scones are a good choice if you have a bunch of Valentines to feed. You can even make and form the scones ahead of time, freeze, then bake them fresh on Friday morning.
Nothing says love like butter and carbs…bake the bread the night before, then warm it in the oven as you make some coffee and finish the eggs to take to your favourite human, still snuggled up in bed.
For the wee ones, aye?
Light as air and sharp with aged cheese, sharing these with your cuddle companion and a bottle of wine will take you right back to Paris and Jared’s house…or maybe the palace?
Fight the North American temptation to fill these with chicken salad, and instead let them shine on their own.
One of my favourite, unsung-hero recipes on OK, this simple tart always pleases…whether it’s a brunch for eight or an afternoon dalliance for two.
Historical hand pies make eating on a blanket easy. No cutlery required. You could also go sweet with these and fill them with berries.
Another handheld, picnic friendly idea! Equally delicious baked rather than fried.
Claire enjoyed this dish alone with a bottle of chianti, while contemplating her return to Jamie. A rather lonely setting, I’ve always thought. This pasta deserves to be enjoyed by two!
Another one of my favourites, these mussels are to die for. They can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. All that’s left to do is toss the salad, slice the bread, set the table and pour the wine just before you pop these into the oven.
A great choice if you’re short on time and looking for a nice little dinner that comes together quickly. Just don’t let thoughts of the Bonnie Prince’s dismal failure at Culloden spoil your night.
How about a pizza making session in the kitchen for just the two of you? Or the whole family for that matter! Kids get very excited about putting their own pie together (my niece, at least.)
Dessert & Late Night
Red and white, fruity, creamy and boozy, this easy to put together dessert just screams Valentine’s to me. You?
The topic of BJR is little off track when we’re talking about love, but this is chocolate, aye? The lavender adds a delicate floral touch and the pairs perfectly with a wee dram. Break out the top-shelf single malt…it’s Valentine’s Day.
Our Claire’s, Caitriona Balfe, favourite dessert on set. Make it special by assembling individual desserts in champagne flutes or on small glass plates.
Need a lot of dessert? Maybe to take to school with their handmade cards? Or because your special someone just wants to hoard them all to him/herself? Brushing the chocolate on these is another fun kiddie project.
Obviously a more adult activity here…
The best hot chocolate, ever! Add a shot of Creme de Menthe for a pepperminty-chocolate treat. Just try to avoid thinking about that chap in the cask from Voyager. <shiver>
The perfect finish to a day spent in love! Snuggle up with your honey and show them the trailer (again). I mean, after eating from Outlander, what else is there to do?
Là Bhàlantain sona dhut
(Happy Valentines Day) everyone!