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Romantic Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is nearing, and, for many of us, going out is not an option. So how can we make a meal at home a little more special for our loved one? Think nuts! Tree nuts are versatile and full of flavor and texture.

Here are some ideas for making your meal a little more romantic and special using nuts.

  • Oysters – Rather than just serve oysters in-shell, since it’s still cold outside, try a smooth oyster chowder. Decorate with a sprinkle of toasted nuts such as pistachios or walnuts and place an oyster on top! Or, if you’re a raw oyster purist, offer a mignonette (a sauce made typically with vinegar, pepper, and herbs) with raspberries and finely diced nuts to add a sweet and textural “wow.”
  • Cheese plate – Toasted nuts are a wonderful addition to your cheese plate, but you can personalize it more by stuffing some oysters with nuts. Almonds are commonly used, but you could also snuggle in some macadamias or hazelnuts for a lovely nibble with your glass of bubbly.
  • Pasta – There’s probably no more romantic a dish than a lovely pasta with some braised steak or even duck. Take a feather from the Italians’ cap and make a sauce using nuts (they commonly use walnuts, but you could use any nut) to make a creamy sauce. Simply soak some bread in milk, then squeeze out and puree with nuts, garlic or truffle oil, some fresh herbs such as basil or marjoram, and a little parmesan cheese.
  • Asparagus – Topping your perfectly blanched asparagus with a sprinkle of goat cheese and chopped toasted nuts such as hazelnuts, cashews or pine nuts is delicious, especially paired with a special glass of wine.
  • Stir fry – If you’re inspired to go Asian this Valentine’s Day, a stir fry, no matter what you use – chicken, beef, prawns or vegetarian – will be elevated with a scattering of toasted nuts such as macadamias, cashews or almonds.
  • The grand finale – Nuts and dessert possibilities are endless:
    • A lush parfait with crème fraiche, berries and nuts is light and luscious.
    • Pecans are wonderful in pie, but they also make a flavorful topping for a flourless chocolate cake or pudding.
    • The simplicity of sliced fruit and nuts is a perfect ending to a meal and allows you to linger with a glass of port, and a side of romance.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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