Bonjour, bonjour and apologies for the lapse in communication over the last few days. As you may have guessed I've been over in France sorting out family affairs (complicated) and carousing with friends (light relief) and have now been marooned by the snow. No-one's going to feel especially sympathetic about that, I imagine, though it may make you feel better to know that it's been chucking it down and there's a serious threat that the nearby river may burst its banks. Global warming, eh?
Anyway one subject I've been thinking about is how to tackle Valentine's Night, prompted by a spate of press releases from restaurants promoting their Valentine's menus. I guess that it's a sign of the hard economic times that they're pretty desperate to pull the customers in but I have to say that Valentine's night - along with Christmas Day and New Year's Eve - is one of the worst nights of the year to go to a restaurant. On the following grounds:
* You nearly always pay over the odds for a 'special menu' that's often not so special - and you don't get any choice.
* You eat way too much so probably just feel like falling asleep afterwards
* You pay a premium for bad champagne
* You have to sit cheek by jowl with couples who are either snogging or rowing or sitting in glum silence
So - apart from the fact that you don't have to cook - why do it?
My solution is to crack open a bottle of decent fizz and buy an indecent quantity of smoked salmon or cook something really simple like some big garlicky prawns or some scallops or a baked Camembert or even better, a Vacherin with steamed new potatoes and open a tub of really good vanilla ice-cream and serve it with a hot chocolate fondant pudding (not made by me). Not too much work, not too expensive, much more intimate.
Or am I wrong? If you've booked a table for two tell me what's tempted you. Or what your planned menu is for the Big Night. Or will you ignore it totally and just bunker down with a cup of cocoa and a good movie? Tell us all.