Old Val will be paying a visit again on 14th February. St. Valentine’s Day is this coming Sunday for the unaware; uninitiated. Don’t duck for cover. Don’t draw the curtains. Open your doors and hearts to what he represents. His intentions and actions are heartfelt.
Val will climb aboard his white steed, shining armour in tact. The rust will have been scraped and polished off, never to be seen by the naked eye; or even clad eyes for that matter. Val doesn’t like making a spectacle of himself.
With Cupid’s arrow in his scabbard and Cupid’s bow over his shoulder he’ll be ready to take aim in less than a moment’s notice. Be sure to have your door, mind and heart open to him. He’s a good old bloke who never means anyone harm. His aim is direct, but his arrows are as soft as his heart.
St. Val is a kindly fellow who indiscriminately spreads love and happiness wherever he roams.
In truth, he hangs about throughout the rest of the year, every year, not just on the day set aside in his honour, St. Valentine’s Day.
A special day had to be set aside because many among us have short memories. We forget all too soon.
St. Valentine’s Day is Val’s unique way of jolting us into realising love is in the air, as John Paul Young has been telling us in song for years.
St. Valentine pops up on the 14th February every year to remind us that love is all around, all the time. Wet Wet Wet repeatedly inform us of this fact. Do we take heed?
Bill Nighy tells us over and over again in “Love Actually”. How many times have we watched that movie? But, shortly after the last scene; too soon after “The End” appears on the screen, once again we’re forget that love is all around. There’s a simple remedy...all we have to do is open our eyes and our hearts. It’s pretty easy, really.
St. Valentine’s Day is needed because we fail to remember the importance of love. We humans are at fault, not St. Valentine; and yet, poor old Val who only has love in his heart cops a lot of flak – unwarranted flak!
Businesses cop a lot of unnecessary flak around Valentine’s Day, too.
I wish the grouches who complain about Valentine’s Day being a commercialised beat-up would stop whingeing. I can never understand why some complain when businesses make money. I’ve always lived with the belief that was the reason for being in business...to make money; to make a profit! Without business running profitably what a bloody mess we would all be in.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, unfortunately. If it did, I’d be over at the tree-filled, uninhabited acreage across the way from my cabin, daily!
I often wonder where those who line up at Centrelink with their hands out think the money comes from – a magical, endless hole in the wall or pit in the ground! So many of them think it’s their due; their right; and too many have never lifted a finger doing a honest day’s work in their lives! And yet they expect their fortnightly payments from the taxpayers; and they are the first ones to complain about businesses make profits! They are the ones who whinge about capitalism!
I’m on the Aged Pension. I wish I wasn’t solely dependent up the pension; I wish I wasn’t dependent upon it in any way whatsoever. I wish I was a self-funded retiree, solely dependent upon me, and I alone...but I’m not. I don’t feel proud of the fact that I’m on a pension; and I don’t abuse the system. I hate being dependent upon anyone or anything; but, unfortunately, that is how the cookie crumbled for me. That’s the way it is; that’s life...that’s my life.
Open your hearts! Raid your money boxes! Buy your lady (if you have one) a bunch of red roses; or be imaginative - buy a bunch of specially-created multi-coloured rainbow roses - or have a peer over the fence into your neighbour’s garden when he’s not looking! You never know what you might find growing there!
Better still...walk along his garden path, knock on his front door and ask politely if you could, perhaps, have a small bunch of flowers for your loved one.
Chocolates won’t go amiss for your miss, either; or perhaps just a kiss.
Don’t worry! You fellows aren’t forgotten. You’re not left out on the limb; alone like a shag on a rock.
Men might not appreciate roses, but there are bunches of edible blooms available, even gluten-free ones to accommodate all desires.
A fancy frame around a photo of his dog could do the trick; or maybe a bottle of Cognac with his own snifter (brandy balloon; you know the ones with a wide, bulbous bottom. I don’t mean a Kardashian)! And, by “snifter”, I don’t mean you should buy him a new nose!
Maybe give him something in leather. Not you, silly! Okay! Okay! Whatever floats your boat!
Take him out to dine; you pick up the tab; or prepare a romantic dinner for two at home. The menu doesn’t have to be outlandishly elaborate. Load your stereo or whatever music-playing equipment you have with tunes to your liking and his to set the scene and mood.
Dine by candle light, then he won’t notice if you’ve made a blunder or two; just scrape off the burnt bits.
A gift doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; but if you’re fortunate enough to have a couple to spare, it’s no one else’s beeswax how much you choose to spend on your loved one. That, in my opinion, is a private matter between you and her/you and him.
It’s not about how much money is spent. None needs to be spent at all; a loving, caring gesture is free. The thought and the love are what matter most of all.
As I inferred previously, I don’t believe Valentine’s Day is over commercialised. I hope businesses do well out of the day. Everyone benefits if businesses boom. I say “Good on them!” if their tills fill and refill.
I hope Valentine’s is a fruitful time for all operators in the business of catering to the romantic whims of the public, in whatever which way.
Money makes the world go ‘round...so does love. Let us not forget it.
Share a smile -even if you make just one person’s day worthwhile, it is worthwhile. (Remember to put your teeth in first)!
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
Prawns-Scallops in Ginger Butter: Bring 80ml dry white wine, 175ml veg stock, 1tsp freshly grated ginger and 1 minced garlic clove to a gentle boil in pan; add 1 small carrot and ½ leek, thinly sliced. Simmer 5mins on low heat. Add 10 scallops and 150g, peeled, deveined king prawns; add 110g butter, cubed. Cook until butter melts and seafood cooked; season; sprinkle with chopped chives.
Chicken Valentine: Preheat oven 175C. Flatten 2 boned chicken breast halves until about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Combine 1/4c cream cheese with minced garlic and herbs. Spread half on each chicken breast; top each with basil leaves; then top with 2 slices prosciutto on each and 1tbs chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes on each. Roll up; secure with toothpicks; season. Heat oil in ovenproof skillet; brown chicken, seam side down first, until slightly golden; place in oven; bake 40-45mins, until cooked; remove to cutting board; discard toothpicks; let sit 15mins before slicing the chicken.
Red Velvet Valentine Brownies: Heat oven 180C; line square tin with paper. Chop 200g dark chocolate and 135g milk chocolate. Set aside 150g for topping. Put the rest in pan with 185g diced butter and 275g brown sugar; heat until melted; stir occasionally. When melted put into bowl; cool slightly. Clean pan; melt rest of chocolate; set aside. Stir 3 eggs, one by one into melted chocolate; add 2tsp or so red food colouring until mixture is deep red colour. Sieve over 85g plain flour and 40g cocoa powder; fold to combine; pour into prepared tin. Pour the melted chocolate onto brownie in 4 evenly spaced lines; create a ripple effect. Bake 25min; cool in tin 10mins. Beat 150g cream cheese, 1tsp vanilla paste, 50g icing sugar and 50g softened butter. Cut brownies into squares or heart-shapes; spread with frosting; chill; pop a cherry or strawberry on top.
Valentine’s Vegan Panna Cotta: In medium pan, heat 1-3/4c full-fat coconut milk until very hot; add zest of two blood oranges; let steep 30mins. Then add 4tbs evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar) and 1/2c blood orange juice; bring to a simmer; remove freom heat; whisk in 3/4tspn agar agar powder. Place back on heat; cook over low heat, stirring frequently, 5-10mins, or until agar agar is totally dissolved. Let cook for a few minutes; pour into 4x177ml (3/4 cup) ramekins. Cover; chill until set. For sauce: Using 2c fresh or frozen raspberries, sprinkle berries with 2tbs sugar or evaporated cane juice and 1tbs blood orange juice; let stand 5-10mins. To serve; spoon the raspberries and juices over the top of the panna cottas. Alternatively, you can unmould the panna cottas onto plates and top with the sauce; serve immediately.
Valentine’s Delight: Fill cocktail shaker with ice; add 3tbs bourbon, 2tbs of a sweet ruby port, 2tbs Kahlua and 3tbs thick cream; shake vigorously for 10secs; strain into large chilled martini glass; gently sprinkle ground nutmeg on top.
More Amore: Divide evenly between two glasses – 30ml strawberry liqueur, 2 large strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced. Top each glass with chilled dry sparkling white wine or champagne. Garnish with fresh strawberries.
A lover’s caress in a moment of despair
A friendly smile when none seem to care
Simple understanding to listen to share
Affectionate devotion a feeling so pure
A melodic inspiration forever to endure
A mother’s enchantment at baby’s first cry
Contentment profound as it suckles her breast
Its grasp of her hand as she lays it to rest
To witness a smile a trembling first step
First words to be spoken tears that are shed
Eagerness and anticipation of what lies ahead
Is a love so complete it can never be compared
The balmy showers of spring
Laying brown dust as they pass
The scent of freshly cut grass
On a crisp clear summer’s morn
Tender green leaves eagerly adorn
Tall trees patiently awaiting
Their debut at summer’s dawning
Gossamer clouds in skies of blue
Sparkling white sands are only a few
Of the loves of life that I pursuePoems by Lee