I often approach Valentine’s Day with mixed emotions. Once upon a time, when I was a singleton, I would stay sofa-bound at home in front of the telly, à la Bridget Jones. But instead of wailing to Céline Dion on the karaoke machine, I would watch back-to-back murder mysteries, stuffing my face with all of my favourite junk foods, thinking all the while how blissful it was to be a slob without having to worry if this would be a turn-off to any potential suitor. My way of dealing with a potential future as a spinster was to eat my way through it. With a heart-shaped box of chocolate truffles.
Fast forward to today and the realisation that there is some truth to the saying that a leopard does not change its spots. That leopard is me. I still love to veg out in front of the telly with a (family-sized) bag of salt and vinegar chips, watching back-to-back DVD episodes, leaving the laundry and cleaning up to accumulate for another day (or two). What has been a blessing is that my husband doesn’t mind joining me on the sofa to watch whatever soppy TV show I happen to be engrossed in. He may feign rolled eyes at having to watch another episode of the Gilmore Girls but, secretly, I think he enjoys it. A match made in heaven, thankfully
There is no denying that celebrating Valentine’s Day as a married woman has none of the angst and anticipation as for a singleton. But one undeniable truth which I have discovered about marriage is that, if your other half was not very excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day before marrying you, don’t expect the bells and whistles to come out once you have signed the marriage deed.
So I continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day much like in my days as a singleton – alone. By that, I mean that I revel in the cheesiness and commercialism of the day and enjoy inflicting on my husband an assortment of baked goods in the requisite heart shapes, partly to give myself an excuse to make something ridiculous, and partly as a teasing gesture of affection. And if my overtly twee baking prompts any reciprocal gift, whether it be a special home-cooked meal by hubby or some bling bling, all the better
Nigella has a great recipe for Cheesy Stars in How to Eat, a fantastic savoury biscuit which has been somewhat updated as Cheesy Feet in Feast. And if you want to immerse yourself in the corny and cutesy traditions of Valentine’s Day, I think some Cheesy Hearts are the way to go.
These biscuits remind me of the savoury cheese crackers which I used to eat by the boxful back in Australia when I was studying – anyone familiar with Arnott’s Cheese Shapes will know what I mean. Of course, the homemade version does not have the same crispness, but they are nevertheless just as addictive.
Although Nigella makes these biscuits with kiddies in mind, they are also great as a tasty snack with drinks when you have guests over. And so it goes without saying that you can make these biscuits in any shape you like; just keep a careful eye on the oven as they can brown rather quickly.
The pastry itself is a breeze to make – a mere 4 ingredients with cheese being the main component. In fact, it’s so easy that with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s hard not to be a bit cheesy