IT’S THAT time of year again folks.

The shops are full of everything Valentine – ‘’love tack’’ – encouraging us to go out and buy a romantic setting.

The little touches can really go the extra mile with a small bunch of flowers waiting on the table and scented red candles for that perfect romantic atmosphere.

Cooking a meal for two creates a special memory, and a Valentine’s Day menu always ends with a chocolate dessert of some sort – maybe it’s because it’s seductive after the steak dinner and a few glasses of cheap plonk.

But it does tick all the right boxes where most of us are concerned.

It can’t just be any old pudding though; a hefty slice of Black Forest gateaux, or a big slab of cheesecake or are more likely to send you both to sleep in front of the telly.

You want something lighter, a little bit more sophisticated than the supermarket Tenner Meal Deal.

Cue my self-saucing chocolate pudding – just the perfect ‘’naughty’’ afters, and one’s mind automatically turns to Nigella the domestic kitchen goddess who seductively licks her lips and doesn’t come with an age-rating.

Winter is also the time of year for indulging, locking the door and staying put at night – it’s earth’s way of telling us to warm up and expand the waistline.

My self-saucing pudding certainty has the comfort factor without you having a scrap of guilt, putting on hold your bikini body aspiration till after Easter.

This amazing chocolate pudding borders on witchcraft and romance, and I bet anyone who makes it for the first time puts it in the oven thinking ‘’this will never work’’.

Even for me it’s hard to take in the idea of pouring boiling water over a cake batter, and the poor old oven having to soften the mess for you.

But when you take the cake out of the oven there will be a lovely risen sponge on top, which magically creates its own rich, dark chocolate sauce on the bottom.

This pudding is very easy to make and is highly recommended for a Valentine dessert, even if in the world of puddings it may not be the best looker.

But what it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in taste.

It also has ease and speed on its side, being ideal for a quick teatime treat, as well as a touch of magic which we all look for in the kitchen now and again rather than the place looking like a bomb-site.

Time not spent scrubbing whisks, bowls and tins quickly increases the excitement of baking, and with little washing up needed, it allows more time in the backyard chopping up firewood ready for the big cozy night in!

Yes, that’s right, no messy kitchen chaos, this is a muddled mess pudding which emerges as a soft, damp sponge cake sitting over a gooey layer of sweet chocolate heaven - my kind of Valentine pudding obsession... that’s not a problem is it?

Every day must be a Valentine Day with scented candles and Barry White blasting out from the CD player!