Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and if, like your curious nutritionist, you have ever wondered about the origins of this day, there’s several different theories. One theory is that it dates from Roman times in the form of a fertility festival dedicated to the God of Agriculture, Faunus. With priests and naked men gently (!) slapping women with goat hides in the belief that it made them more fertile, followed by a match making event with names drawn out of jars and couples spending a year of passion together.
The catholic church recognised a few Saint Valentines, with legends linking these Saints to saving Christians and performing secret marriages as Emperor Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers.
Roll forward to the present day and you could argue that Valentine’s Day has now become far too commercial. Are we at risk of going through the motions without truly thinking what this day should be about?! Yes, we have one day a year where we celebrate love, but loving and cherishing others should not come with a price tag. It is something we should be conscious of all the time, and not just shown with flowers and a present once a year (though if my husband was to just once bring me flowers and a gift, I’d be delighted 😊). I am also very aware that others of us do not have a special ‘other’ to share the current day with them.
Valentine’s day should indeed be a time to celebrate love and life, past, present and future, and if we include in its definition, self-love, the importance being kind to ourselves and treasuring ourselves in all our glory, then it is indeed a day which we can all celebrate. While having someone to share the day with is nice, you can have a wonderful time enjoying a moment of nurturing and nourishing self-love!
With a drum roll here is my Valentine’s Day Recipes for you to enjoy. Note that the recipes serve 1, so feel free to double up if you want to! The recipes are healthy, delicious and easy and aimed to keep your self-love vibes flowing!
Valentine’s Day Menu
Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Warm Lentil Pilaf with Smoked Salmon
Suggested Play List
Wet Wet Wet – Love is all around
Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
The Shady Brothers – Addicted to your love (my personal favourite!)
LP – Lost in You
Beyoncé – Halo
Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody
Jeff Buckley – Hallajauh
Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (40 minutes cooking time)
Two tomatoes, cut in half*
½ ball of mozzarella
Fresh basil, chopped
Handful of black olives
Handful of pine nuts
Drizzle of olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the tomato halves on a baking tray, drizzle over some olive oil and roast for 40 minutes (during this time you can be relaxing with a drink, music and a good book!)
Once the tomatoes are cooked, place in a small bowl, shred the mozzarella and scatter over the tomatoes. Add all the other ingredients and enjoy!
*The tomatoes can be roasted in advance or you can use sun blush tomatoes (about 6) to save you cooking time.
Warm Lentil Pilaf with Smoked Salmon (10 minutes preparation and cooking)
100g cooked green lentils (about ½ tin or 50g uncooked weight if you are cooking them yourself)
70g smoked salmon
1 handful of peas
2 chopped artichoke hearts (the ones in oil)
Chopped fresh parsley and mint
Squeeze of lemon juice
Place the cooked lentils and peas in a saucepan. Add all the other ingredients and a glug of water (or white wine!). Let all the ingredients warm through over a low heat for 10 minutes. Season to taste.
1 small ripe avocado
1 small banana
1 generous drizzle of maple syrup
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Zest and juice of ½ orange
Handful of desiccated coconut
Blend and go baby! Add more cocoa powder and syrup to taste.
Charlotte Debeugney, a British Nutritionist and Author based in France.