I will tell you a secret.
Am thoroughly confused about Valentine's Day.
Blame it on my crazy Libra scales.
Every year around Valentine's Day I am torn between the romantic and the cynic.
And hang somewhere in between!
Rationally, I totally agree with the cynics or the non believers or the critical or the I-do-not-like-popular-culture types or the romantically challenged (this phrase is borrowed from a friend) or whatever you call yourself . Lets face it. Val Day has gone horribly commercial. It has become a money making hoopla for the flower & balloon sellers, card & chocolate & condom companies, restaurants, gift shops and a whole lot other retailers. Media goes on and on about it as if all the problems of the world have vanished. I find myself nodding my head when someone says that you should be loving your partner 365 days a year and not go over board this one day. I completely understand when a friend says Valentine's Day makes singles stressed and depressed! Sailed in that boat too. So true, each and every point and all the other points you have mentioned and I have missed here.
Then I read the romantics oohing, ahhhhhing, coochie cooing about roses (albeit genetically modified), anything and everything heart shaped (and sometimes downright ugly), candlelight dinners, loving partners, romantic gifts and my heart kinda gives a tug. Just a tug, mind you. I read a badly written love poem/letter/bog post and while otherwise I would have just closed the link, near to this day, I smile indulgently. I heart romantic cards. And the lovely flower bouquets (but cringe at their exorbitant prices). I like the idea that the world for at least one day is talking about love and not war. I love the way all the food bloggers baked chocolate goodies and/or cheese cakes in honour of the special day! I got to drool over the photos, which is the next best thing to eating them. I grab the excuse this day provides to gorge on chocolates and other yummy desserts! I love reading a spunky romantic novel.
The girl who grew up on a staple of M&Bs, gets swayed.
Then I sway right back.
I am sure Saint Valentine did not plan it this way (lets give him some benefit of doubt), but this has become a pretty excluding kind of celebration. The invisible line between those smugly married/in relationship (borrowed from Bridget Jone's Diary, second part I think) and the singles of the world becomes really apparent on this day. Its like 'mere pas pyar hain, tumhare pas kya hain?' (borrowed from Deewaar, where else) [For the uninitiated there is a very popular Hindi movie called Deewaar, where one brother flaunts his success to the other brother. Roughly translated this line meanly 'I have love, what do you have?' You can find more details about the movie here.] While starting and maintaining relationships are getting more and more difficult in this complex world, Valentine madness is on the rise. No longer do you celebrate privately, you need to share it with the whole wide world through all the social media on your finger tips. This kind of sends the singles tipping into deeper depths of depression.
But I would be lying if I say I do not enjoy all the extra efforts my husband makes on Val Days. I would definitely be dishonest if I said his efforts does not make me feel precious or cherished or special.
My friend in her Facebook note says '' In spiritual sense this is a day when we look outside for happiness, that red rose, that surprise gift, that long drive and chocolate cake.''
So it goes on and on, my scales dipping precariously from one side to the other. If you have some pills of thought to stabilise my scales and soothe my nerves, please do share. Romantics and the romantically challengedboth are equally welcome!
To get to the food part, this Valentine's Day we decided to spend the evening at home. My husband decided to cook us a special dinner. I was happy being his sous chef for the evening.
We have been eyeing Gordon Ramsay's Stuffed Chicken Leg for sometime. Finally decided to make it. A preparation where a boneless leg and thigh piece of chicken is stuffed with sausage meat and then the whole thing is wrapped in streaky bacon and poached, then chilled and then fried. You can find the recipe here. We pretty much followed the master chef, except for a few tweaks here and there. I am not writing down the recipe here. Will just share with you the things we did differently.
In his recipe the chef does not cook the sausage meat. Since I am
Added some dried plums and finely chopped spring onions along with the stipulated pistachio nuts with the sausage meat.
The trickiest bit in this recipe is wrapping the chicken parcel with bacons. Husband managed that pretty well.
This was the first time we poached in little foil parcels like the Michelin star chefs keep doing in their recipes. Glad to report our parcels stayed put. I was freaking out thinking all the contents of the parcels would be out swimming in the boiling water. But the parcels behaved themselves.
Once the parcels were fried till the streaky bacons were crisp, my husband sliced the parcel and served it on a bed of salad leaves and some cherry tomatoes. We had port to go with it.
It seemed like I am sitting down to a restaurant meal. The bacon was crispy and salty, while the chicken was soft and smooth and the plum and the pistachios added another level to the sausage meat. Eaten together it was very different and new, in a good way. Truth to tell I did not need the sauce at all. Husband said he liked it, otherwise found the meat a little dry.
For us Indians used to all our masalas, this is a tad bland. This is where the paprika and garlic in the sausage meat comes in handy.
If you are out to impress someone, this is a fail proof recipe.
It sure impressed me. Hence the title of this post 'the way to a woman's heart'......:-)
Oh I got an award from a blogger friend. This post has gone on and on, so will share it next time. Promise.