Ladies, let’s talk.
Valentine’s Day can be hard. If like me you’ve never received a Valentine’s card (despite being exceptionally good looking and charming), you may be feeling a little bitter, all the while conveniently ‘forgetting’ that special, Hallmark holiday has rolled around yet again.
So, how is one to handle such emotional torment? Public meltdowns on the tube are probably not acceptable. That guy holding the flowers for his girlfriend? Not his fault. Ok, not entirely his fault, but he’s still parading around, publicly declaring his undying love through material items and pretty flowers. Salt on the wound, man. Not cool.
Trust me, I’ve been there, and although I may not be single now, I am alone once again on Valentine’s Day. All of a sudden I’m back in the game, violently thrown into a state of what I like to refer to as singleton-induced panic and fear. I’m dreading the couples, the flowers, the hopefuls, the hearts. I’ve already set aside an outfit, the same one I wore to the last funeral I attended.
Naturally as a veteran of V-day I’ve learnt a lot through trial and error over the years, so I thought I’d share a few pointers on how to make the next 24 hours a little more bearable. Yes it does involve alcohol and food, and (sadly) no, it doesn’t involve Ryan Gosling.
1) Instead of spending the evening alone, do date night with one of your other single girlfriends. You won’t have to worry about food being stuck in your teeth or snort-laughing into your glass of wine, plus splitting the bill is an easy compromise for all that pre-date prep that you would have otherwise spent 3 hours doing.
2) Don’t watch The Notebook alone with your cat. Or with anyone for that matter. Yes, Ryan Gosling is totally dreamy and yes it is indisputably the greatest love story of all time, but it’s only going to end in tears. That kinda love isn’t real, chances are you’ll end up marrying a dentist.
3) Do buy yourself a Valentine’s card and chocolates. If you’re feeling super empowered and all Beyoncé go all out and get yourself some flowers, too. Just because you don’t have a Valentine doesn’t mean you can’t have the perks of having one. Also calories don’t count today so go nuts, girlfriend.
4) On that note, don’t send yourself flowers to work. That’s just taking it to another level. A level that you do not want to reach, and whilst it is as funny as it is desperate, way too much thought, money and dignity will be lost on the whole charade.
5) Cooking at home? Whether you’re alone, with a last resort or with friends, all that ‘drowning your sorrows’ business is gonna mean you’ll need to soak said sorrows up again, and here’s where this bad boy come in. This pizza is simple to make, tastes the bomb and fits in well with the day’s decided colour theme. Nothing says romance like sharing a pizza – haven’t you seen those Ristorante Pizza adverts?
Balsamic Onion, Red Cabbage and Prosciutto Pizza
Makes two 10″ pizzas
225g fresh whole wheat pizza dough (I used Whole Foods)
Simple tomato sauce*:
400g tin cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
Small bunch of basil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large red onion, cut in half and then into half rings
8 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
50g shredded mozzarella
40g buffalo mozzarella, torn
4 slices of Prosciutto
a few teaspoons of mascarpone cheese
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
Oregano leaves to garnish
Preheat oven to 250°C and put in your pizza stone or baking tray to preheat.
First make the tomato sauce by adding all of the ingredients to a blender and blitzing until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
To make the balsamic onion, melt the butter on a medium heat and sauté the onions until softened but not brown, around 5 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and add the sugar. Bring to a rapid bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and become sticky. Season to taste.
Divide the dough into two balls and using your hands gently pull the dough at the sides to create your pizza, just try and get it as thin as possible but don’t worry about the shape – it’ll pass as rustic. Place each pizza on parchment paper, and add the sauce, cheese and balsamic onion. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden and the cheese is crisping ever so slightly.
Once out of the oven, drape over the Prosciutto, sprinkle with the shredded cabbage and decorate with dollops of mascarpone. Garnish with fresh oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
*yields about 1 jar. Will keep up to a week in the fridge – use it on anything!