I know what you're all thinking. "Oh Delaney, you're so predictable doing a bitter post about Valentine's Day being a big pile of over-commercialised rubbish".
Well, maybe I am predictable. But it's true. I detest Valentine's Day. I like love, and I like being nice to people. I would positively squirm with excitement if I received a big bunch of fresh flowers at my doorstep or on my desk some day. But on February 14? Blergh. Not only does it force people to be unoriginal, it also leads to inevitable scornful waves of hatred when little blonde promo-girls hand me flyers about couples massage with the tag line: "Can't stand to be apart from your loved one for a whole hour? Try couples massage!" while I'm innocently walking down the street. Eww. Likewise, I couldn't care less that Michelle Obama thinks happiness is the key to a happy marriage, and I care even less that our Prime Minister still loves his wife, and is having dinner with her tonight. Come on people!
I did however, five years ago, have quite the memorable February the 14th. I'd just come back to Wellington after a summer at home, and had just started working at a restaurant and bar. We realised, once the bookings were full of tables of two, that it was all ladies working that Tuesday, and we were all (some happily, some not so much) single.
Instead of filling with dread, we decided we'd do a secret-santa type gift exchange. The four of us pulled each others names out of a pint glass and each spent $20 on making our nights not-crap. I gave my recipient a rice tin with a plant in it, and the plant lives to this day I'm told. I received a fresh flower pot, and chocolates and a card with a poem in it. That night we served bored looking couples who didn't look like they went out for dinner too often, and once they all emptied out we got on the bubbles.We were joined by a friend of one of the girls - another single waitress who had spent the evening at a nearby restaurant, then headed to another bar and proceeded to have one of the best nights ever.
Having just met these ladies, it proved to be quite the bonding session. We threw quotes at each other from favourite movies and TV shows, including but not limited to Super Troopers and Old School, as well as The Office, Ricky Gervais stand up and The Secret Life of Us, before we sealed the friendship deal over music. The friend I met for the very first time that night collected CDs, and had every Loop Select CD compilation in her collection except one. The only one I'd ever heard of and had been given, incidentally. I agreed to give her my copy and a friendship was born.
We met on Valentine's Day and today is our five year friendship anniversary. We went out for morning tea today and I made her heart shaped orange cookies with fresh passion fruit icing.
Orange zesty cookies with fresh passion fruit icing
125g softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Orange zest, and the juice of half a orange (one of those really juicy NZ navel oranges if possible)
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla well. Add egg and beat well. Add zest and juice. Sift over flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Roll into balls, or sprinkle some flour on the bench and roll some dough flat and use a heart shaped cutter to carefully make shapes. The dough is pretty soft though, so they work really well as just rounds pressed down lightly with the back of a spoon, and then sandwiched with icing (in the style of melting moments).
Bake at 190*C for 15-20 minutes until golden.
Icing is made by filling a bowl with icing sugar, adding a knob of butter, a dash of vanilla, the insides of 1 and a half passionfruit (leaving yourself a half to taste test while making it) and stirring together with a spoonful or two of boiling hot water.
The non-heart shaped ones have been consumed by me and my lovely flatmates, with an appropriately anti-Valentines day themed playlist in the background, including this absolute boomer of a tune by Eamon which I had totally forgotten existed.
And just to prove I do actually still have feelings, this post is dedicated to my wonderful wonderful friends. I LOVE YOU!