A lot of people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark creation set up to make money, but it’s actually been treated as a celebration of romantic love since the 15th Century. It’s plain to see that nowadays the greeting cards companies and gift shops all set out to exploit the day and rake in as much money as possible, but I remain (relatively) uncynical about it. Any day that celebrates love has to be a good thing in my opinion. There can be no better feeling than knowing that you make someone’s life better or happier in any way whatsoever (be it your boyfriend, family member, dear friend), and it’s always worth showing someone how much you cherish and appreciate them. The important thing though is that it isn’t the only day you celebrate it. For me it’s all about the small gestures in every day life: a thoughtful text message, a cup of tea, a bunch of flowers on a tough day, a lovingly prepared meal.
My boyfriend and I enjoyed a celebratory meal at the weekend, so tonight we’re avoiding the crowds and staying in for some home-cooked grub. If you too want to cook for your loved one, you could do worse than this pumpkin, red onion and cranberry tagine (from BBC Good Food), which is not only healthy, but also a real treat for the senses – the exotic aroma of all those spices, the beautiful jewel tones of the veg and of course the sublime taste. You can serve it with couscous if you like, but the portions are generous enough that you don’t even need an accompaniment necessarily (especially not if you’ve just had an over-indulgent weekend!).
Pumpkin, Red Onion & Cranberry Tagine
2 tbsp oil
2 red onions, thickly sliced
1 tsp each: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, harissa
500g pumpkin (or butternut squash)
1 tbsp honey
50g dried cranberries
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1. Heat the oil and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until softened.
2. Add the spices and pumpkin, combine everything well – it will smell sensational!
3. Pour in the passata, honey and cranberries, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas, cook for 10 minutes more until the pumpkin is tender and cooked. Serve with couscous if you like.