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Monday

A solo Valentines dinner

Firstly, happy valentines day to you all.
Another year has come and gone, and yet another year flying solo.

If, like me, you are once again on that solo trip on Valentines day then you're going to have to make it a day dedicated to yourself... because let's be honest, you are the most important person in your life right now (aside from your family, but they're are on the other side of the world - in my case at least).

This year I decided to take advice from Parks and Recreation and treat ma'self.
I was going to cook myself a three course meal, then I realised the starter was big enough to be used for the main. So, really I killed two birds with one stone as the washing up was slightly less with only the two dishes.

I started with a hyped up kale salad.
Ended with strawberries and a dark chocolate dipping sauce.
Oh, and pretty much demolished a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Casual Sunday evening.

For the hyped up Kale salad you need:
Kale (shocking, I know)
Pine nuts
Pancetta
Plum tomatoes
Garlic
Mozzarella
Lime, salt, chili flakes

Strawberry dessert is pretty simple:
Strawberries
Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate
-- or whatever you decide, but I love a bit of Green & Blacks



For starters, put a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Once this has  reached a good heating point, add your chopped up pieces of garlic. Don't allow them to brown too much, but just give them a little bit of colour. Once this has happened, add your kale and about a cup of water. Now, many recipes tell you to cover the kale and leave it for about 5 minutes. I did not do this, instead I just left it for about a minute and then started moving it around the pan. Once you have done this for around 5 minutes, add a bit of lime. Keep stirring and then pour out a little bit of the remaining water (still leaving a little bit in there to allow the kale to keep cooking).

I then put the kale and chopped garlic into a saucepan and put the pancetta in the pan. Once this has cooked, combine the pancetta with the kale. Add the pine nuts and tomatoes to the pan and allow them to cook for a while. When they have reached your desired cooking point then re-add the kale and the pancetta to the pan cooking for about a minute more, and combing all of the foods together.

Drizzle with lime, salt, and chili flakes. Throw on your pieces of mozzarella, mix it all together, and serve.
I'm not going to lie to you, I genuinely wasn't a huge fan of kale before this, but I can honestly say that I actually made kale that tastes really good. Trust me, I was shocked too.


DESSERT

I don't know about you, but chocolate is a huge part of my life.
America does NOT have the best chocolate in the world, but it'll do at times. I will take a bar of English Dairy Milk any day of the week over Hershey's (if you ever take a trip to England, make sure you buy a bar of dairy milk chocolate - the one they sell in America is not the same and tastes pretty awful if I'm completely honest). But you've gotta take what you've got here. Thankfully, they still have green & blacks, so I went for that.

Evenly break up your pieces of chocolate and place them in a bowl.
Microwave for a minute, check the chocolate, mix it round a bit. If it's not melted, put it in for another minute, but check it at around 30-45 seconds just to see how melted it is.

Chop up your strawberries into quarters and serve them up.
Start dipping away my friends and treat yourself to the best valentines you will ever have! ❤️




Side note: my mum made some beautiful valentines cupcakes, but sadly she's all the way in England. She did however send me a picture, so here they are in all their glory.


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