We’ve all cooked up a steak or two for Valentine’s Day, and darned delicious they've been too. But if you fancy taking it up a notch this year, try one of these traditional dishes with a twist. Go on, live on the edge

 

1. Steak in cocoa

Who’d have thought a juicy steak would benefit from a cocoa-powder rub before cooking? In fact, it gives a beautifully rich, indulgent, caramelised taste to the meat. For a little extra kick, add ½ tsp cayenne pepper for each 1 tbsp cocoa powder. 

 

2. Posh scrambled eggs

If they’re done right, scrambled eggs are a hard-to-beat Valentine’s treat. Up the ante with a grating of fresh parmesan for an extra-special finish.

 

3. Spicy seafood pasta 

Quite frankly, this dish is pretty special on its own. But if you really want to push the boundaries, serve with caviar. OK, we’re not talking real deal beluga caviar – black lumpfish caviar does the trick nicely. Follow the recipe as usual, then, just before serving, add a spoonful on top of each serving. 

Tagliatelle

Via: Sainsbury's 

 

4. Pumpkin farro risotto with sage and pesto

This pumpkin risotto with sage pesto is not only vegan-friendly, it's also completely gorgeous to look at. To intensify the flavour, roast your pumpkin with a spoon of chilli flakes before stirring them into the rice.  

Pumpkin farro risotto with sage and pesto

Via: Sainsbury's 

 

5. Slow-cooked lamb shank

This warming, hearty dish is a winner – and you can make it even more special by serving it with creamy mashed potatoes with a drizzle of truffle oil over the top. 

Lamb

Via: Sainsbury's 

 

6. Oyster mushrooms and prawns on toast with fino sherry 

Already a very special supper dish, spice things up a bit with a layer of tomato and chilli sauce between the toast and the mushrooms, or with a sprinkling of tabasco or chilli oil on top of the finished dish.

Oyster Prawn Toast

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Philip Webb 

 

7. Warm duck salad 

Duck is very special when cooked to perfection, and makes a wonderful warm salad. You can elevate the dish to new heights by adding a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Duck Salad

Via: Sainsbury's 

 

8. Bacon maple syrup drizzled pancakes

Starting the day with a stack of American-style pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup is hard to beat. Add an extra-special fruity dimension by popping a handful of blueberries in the pancake batter before frying. They’ll add attractive splashes of purple and will complement the glorious savoury sweetness of the dish.

bacon pancakes

Via: Sainsbury's