All You Need is Love

Time Flies So Fast!

I was just thinking how quickly the year of 2012 goes by.  It seems like yesterday we just celebrated New Year, then Lunar New Year and now we are in the month of  February and Valentine’s Day is on its way……

Is Valentine’s Day just another Western commercial gimmick to revive retail sales, comatose after New Year celebrations?

Valentine’s Day is well known here in Indonesia particularly in big cities. Many events are held (between February 14 – 28/29) usually having Valentine’s themes.

In my country, we call Valentine Day Hari Kasih Sayang (Love Day).

Why Love Day?

Because…all  we need is LOVE…….

We usually celebrate Valentine’s Day only by decorating malls/amusement parks with plenty of pink, red, ribbons and heart shapes.  Some young couples give each other cute presents (like chocolates, cupcakes, flowers, cards, jewelery, plush stuff and other sweet things). Surely many party clubs, pubs, hotels, restaurants and other public  places also have Valentine themes.

If dining out at a charming restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day is not an option for you this year, you can still enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one at home.

Cooking a restaurant-inspired dinner isn’t going to be complicated, but it will take some preparation and LOVE. You may try the following recipes which I called ‘Tropical Romance Dinner’

For starter,  this easy-to-make Salsa makes a great appetizer . The fresh cilantro adds a refreshing aroma and flavor


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes, diced – 2 medium
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels, cooked
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice


  • In small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, lime juice, corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.

For the main dish, make it ahead of time so you will enjoy the evening instead of slaving over the stove.  Last month, I made ‘Grilled Lemon Grass Spareribs’ from scratch, and it’s hands down the best I have ever tasted!

Let’s try it out


  • 1 kg spareribs cut into separate ribs


  • 2 stalks lemongrass, thick bottom part only, outer layers discarded, inner part sliced
  • 3 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 finger-length red chilies, sliced
  • 1/2 portion Caramel sauce

To make the Caramel sauce:


  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 8 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the sugar over low heatin a skillet, stirring constantly until it begins to melt and caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fish sauce
  • Return the pan to the heat and bring mixture to boil over medium heat
  • Simmer uncovered for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture turns into a thick syrup
  • Add the shallots, black pepper, mix well and remove from the heat

To make the Grilled Lemongrass Spareribs

  • Prepare the marinade first by grinding the lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chilies to smooth paste in a blender or mortar using pestle
  • Combine the caramel sauce and mix well
  • Pour the marinade over the ribs and rub it with your finger until the ribs are well coated
  • Allow to marinate for at least one hour

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celcius (350 degree F)
  • Bake the marinated ribs in the Marinade for about 20 minutes in the oven, turning over once, then turn on the broiler and grill the ribs for additional 5 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade until well browned

  • Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving platter and serve warm with LOVE

For dessert, lets freshen-up our Love with Musk Melon Iced or known as “Es Blewah’ in my country:

  • 200 grams of musk melon, finely scrape the flesh
  • 400 ml drinking water
  • 6 teaspoons red syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Put the musk melon into the glass. Add water and syrup. Add ice cubes.

Serve with lots of LOVE.

To set the scene, you’ll want to set the table with fine linen, mom’s china and crystal. It’s time to enjoy the wonderful dinnerware passed down from generation to generation in your family. Turn the lights down low, put on some sexy music, and light the candle. You’re ready to go.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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