St. Valentine’s Day is a time of hearts, roses , breakfast in bed and romantic dinners. It’s not clear who the original Valentine was, but a saint’s day with that name was established on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar as early 1,500 years ago, so it can be considered a long standing tradition.

It has been suggested that Valentine’s Day may have originally been adopted in part to replace of the ancient pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia, which was between the 13th and 15th February, however, by the time of Chaucer ‘s writing Valentine’s Day had become synonymous with love.

They say that the best way to start the day is with a good breakfast and there is also the saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so if you are planning on combining these two philosophies for a wonderfully romantic start to Valentine’s day, then you might want to consider something a bit more substantial than a piece of toast but not as messy to eat as a full English Breakfast.

An Elegant English Breakfast

valentine01Ingredients per person:
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Knob of butter
A drizzle of olive oil
1 rasher smoked bacon (optional)
3 medium-sized mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp double cream
1 large egg
twist ground black pepper
pinch of sea salt

Method
If you’re using the bacon, heat a drizzle of oil in a  frying pan over a medium heat. Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until beautifully crisp, remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the sliced mushroom to the pan, with a knob of butter and fry gently over a medium heat until they brown. Set aside.

Generously butter a small ramekin dish for each person, and preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

Press the chopped parsley into the bottom of each ramekin dish. Then add about 1 tbsp fried mushrooms, then the bacon, then  pour in 1 tbsp double cream. Next carefully crack in the egg, ensuring you don’t  break the yolk. Season with salt and pepper, then put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny serve with toast soldiers.

If you want something a little more substantial for your breakfast but you don’t fancy lots of washing up then try this all in one pan recipe.

All in One Pan Breakfast

valentine03Ingredients
250g cherry tomatoes
250g sliced mushrooms
4 eggs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Twist Black pepper
4 slices hand carved ham (optional)
2 tbsp double cream
100g mature cheddar (such as Black Bomber)

Method
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Drizzle a little vegetable oil over the base of a baking dish, then pop in the sliced mushrooms. Drizzle with the remaining oil and seasoning with black pepper. Bake for 10mins  and then remove from the oven  arrange the tomatoes around the edge of the dish and add the ham (if using)to create pockets

Crack the eggs into the pockets,(or into dips made in the mushrooms if not using ham) Pour the cream over the yolks and sprinkle over the grated cheese,  return to the oven for 10 -12 minutes or until the egg white is set and the yolk is still a little runny. Serve scooped straight from the dish with thickly sliced toast.

No doubt you’ll want to inject a little sparkle into your morning with a freshly made glass of bucks fizz, and you really can’t beat mixing this simple cocktail yourself.

A Simple Bucks Fizz Recipe

valentine02Ingredients
1 (750 ml) bottle champagne or good quality sparkling wine
1/2 litre  fresh orange juice(no bits)

Method
Chill your Champagne & Orange Juice overnight
On the morning select elegant champagne flutes
Pour about one third of orange juice into the glass first and then top up with champagne.

It couldn’t be simpler and it tastes much better than any of the pre-mixed Bucks Fizz that you can buy. However, if Bucks Fizz isn’t your thing then try a Valentines Kiss simply add a 25ml measure of strawberry liqueur to a champagne flute and top up with champagne.

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com