The food of love: Our editor’s top picks for Valentine’s Day

Cooking at home this Valentine’s Day? Gillian Nelis has selected some of her favourite starters, mains, sides and dessert options from the Dunnes Stores Simply Better Collection.

Prawn gratin with tomato and basil crust

Morgan’s Fine Fish in Omeath in Co Louth have recently begun making a range of seafood gratins for Simply Better, and this is the latest addition to the collection. Wild Atlantic prawns in a white wine, leek and fennel sauce are topped with a tomato and basil crust and Gruyère cheese, and make a perfect starter.

Irish crab cocktail

Do starters get any easier than this? I think not. Serve this Irish crab in a light lemon mayonnaise with some crisp, fresh lettuce, and some Simply Better crackers on the side - the multi-seed rye ones are my favourite.

Irish Angus steakhouse striploin

Perfect for sharing, this Irish Angus beef striploin is sourced from Bord Bia quality assured farms, and is matured on the bone for 14 days before being further matured until 28 days. Serve it with a simple green salad if you’re planning a decadent dessert afterwards, or go for broke with the Simply Better potato gratin made with Irish garlic, Irish cream and a Drinagh vintage cheddar sauce.

Handmade seafood pie

Stressed out by the thoughts of cooking a romantic dinner? Make things easier on yourself with this seafood pie made for Dunnes Stores Simply Better by Owen and Lorna Mullins of Zanna Cookhouse in Co Wexford. Smoked haddock, cod, Irish salmon and king prawns are cooked in a creamy white wine sauce before being topped with mashed potato and a Parmesan ciabatta crumb.

Irish Angus beef lasagne

Another great option for the culinarily-challenged among you, this rich and comforting lasagne is made with free-range egg pasta sheets and an Irish Angus beef ragu. Thirty-month aged Parmesan and Drinagh extra mature cheddar up the deliciousness a notch.

Carrot and parsnip with harissa and honey

A dukkah spice blend adds a lovely, warming note to this side dish of carrot, parsnip and shallot, while sweetness comes in the form of a harissa and acacia honey glaze.

Butternut squash and aged feta with shallots and pine nuts

This surprisingly filling side dish comes with an acacia honey, lemon and cinnamon glaze that gets added to the vegetables near the end of their cooking time, adding a sweet and salty note to this combination of squash and Greek feta. Combined with some good pasta, it could also make a tasty vegetarian main course.

Irish strawberries and white chocolate panna cotta

All too often, desserts made with white chocolate can be cloying and overly-sweet. Here, Robert Bullock and his team at Le Patissier in Dubin get the balance right by pairing white chocolate panna cotta with a strawberry compote made with fruit from Pat Clarke’s family run fruit farm in Co Meath. The result is a light, fresh dessert perfect for spring days.

Millionaire’s shortbread dessert

While Le Patissier’s white chocolate panna cotta will appeal to the light dessert lover in your life, its millionaire shortbread is one for those whose tastes run to rich, indulgent treats. A gloriously buttery shortbread base layer is topped with a caramel sauce and a caramel mousse made with Irish cream and free range eggs. A layer of chocolate ganache finishes off this little pot of pure indulgence.

Apple and frangipane tarts

Classic flavours and contemporary presentation combine in these delicious tarts. Irish free range eggs are used in the frangipane, which is then topped with slices of Granny Smith apples, and then lightly glazed. All of this is contained within a perfect pastry case made by Le Patissier in Dublin. Be sure to leave the tarts at room temperature for ten minutes before eating them to let all those flavours come through.

Shop the Simply Better Collection in Dunnes Stores


Save 20% on selected Simply Better starters, mains, vegetable side dishes and handmade desserts this Valentines Day. Offer valid from 01.02.2023 until 14.02.2023. All lines subject to availability.