I’d totally forgotten that Valentine’s Day drops by next week.
In the midst of Chinese New Year preparations and a crazy schedule of meeting up with as many friends and family now that I’m back in Singapore, while simultaneously trying to combat jet lag, a sore throat and the flu, it had completely slipped my mind that the designated day for lovers all over the world is just round the corner.
And because I’m going to be traveling around Australia’s lovely Sunshine Coast with my family, grandparents and Juan, this year’s Valentine’s Day will more likely be a Family Day.
The first time I celebrated Valentine’s Day, it was almost a decade ago.
I was 18, young, naive, innocent and impressionable, and had assumed that the bouquet of flowers, the elaborate dinner and the bottle of Hugo Boss perfume I had received was a declaration of true love that I could believe and trust in. It turned out that it was just a facade, an obligation during Valentine’s Day which later proved full of empty promises, a couple of years’ of disappointment and a disdain towards those who only showed affection on that one day a year.
It took me years to stop frowning upon Valentine’s Day – an overly commercialized day whose significance may have been hyped up for more than its worth, a day when roses suddenly double in prices, when singles feel left out and inferior, and when everyone expects something special from their significant other.
I believe that if you love someone, there shouldn’t just be one dedicated day a year to be nice to your partner.
Love should be constant throughout the year, not just available in yearly spikes, nor only demonstrated when the TV shows and movies say you should.
Instead, why not choose any other day to take your partner out for a treat, whether at a fancy restaurant with beautiful white china and fine cuisine, or maybe just a simple picnic basket filled with cheeses, salami, biscuits, together with some chocolate, wine and grapes, complete with a lake as the backdrop and no one else around? A day when he or she least expects it, a day when no special occasion should warrant an elaborate dinner or a homemade dessert, and treat him or her to a special head massage, a relaxing afternoon and simply take the effort to make him or her feel extremely special.
For me, that would be the perfect Valentine’s Day. Maybe not exactly on February 14th, nor on birthdays or anniversaries. Just any random day, picked to be special, because I’m worth it.
Before you start thinking I’m a bitter soul at heart and hate Valentine’s Day because I don’t know what love is, let me assure you that it’s not true. If I didn’t know love, I wouldn’t have relocated from Singapore to Latin America for Juan, or given up a stable job in a prestigious bank to move to Argentina without a job, just because. I’ve long gotten over this disdain towards Valentine’s Day, but I still don’t see why it should be THE only day to treat your special someone.
Just like our lives, a loving relationship is the sum of a zillion tiny details.
The small note left in your wallet to tell you you’re loved; the single rose, standing in a small vase of water by the kitchen table on the first day of Spring; freshly squeezed orange juice delivered to you in bed; a pretty present from the States because you were missed during his trip; or plans you make regarding life in the longer term. Maybe it was the fact that he lets you choose the prettiest and nicest Skittles flavors, even if he likes them as much as you do, or the fact that he shares his seafood pasta with you, even if he’s still hungry. Or that he holds your hand even in the hot summer heat, because he knows you feel closer that way. Or how about when he tells you he’s full instead of saying what you cooked didn’t taste so good. It could even be that he lets you use his computer 80% of the time because you’re always tapping away at the keyboard, blogging about the latest dish you cooked.
I’m a believer that special treats should be given all year round – whether in small doses or large, in expensive restaurants, a casual park or at home in the kitchen.
And sometimes, the simpler the better.
Something sweet and homemade.
Something that tastes and looks like chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting..
You know, that sort of buttercream frosting that lands chilled and cold on your tongue, and then starts to dissolve into a creamy delight.
CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (Makes 1 large cake)
Chocolate buttercream frosting recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life’s recipe
1) 1 cup of milk cream
2) 2 cups of sugar
3) 2 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
4) 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
5) 4 eggs
6) 200g of butter, softened but not melted
7) 200g of icing sugar
8) 1/2 cup cocoa powder
9) 1/2 teaspoon of salt
10) 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
11) 4 tablespoons of milk or milk cream
1) Mix milk cream and sugar together until sugar is dissolved
2) Sift in self raising flour and 2 eggs, one egg at a time
3) Mix well to get a homogenous mixture
4) Add in 3/4 cocoa powder and last 2 eggs
5) Mix well to get chocolate cake batter
6) Pour batter in a well-greased baking tin
7) Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg cel for 40 – 50 min, or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean
8) Mix softened butter and icing sugar together until homogenous texture is achieved
9) Add in cocoa powder and and salt and mix until homogenous again
10) Add in vanilla extract and milk cream
11) Mix until all ingredients are well combined
12) Cut chocolate cake horizontally in half after cake has cooled
13) Spread half the amount of frosting on the bottom half
14) Cover with top half, and spread the remaining frosting all over surface of cake