Valentines Day Recipes
If you're planning to cook your way into your partners heart this Valentine's day keep the following ingredients in mind; asparagus spears, strawberries, chocolate, chilli, avocado, honey and oysters, as they are all classed as aphrodisiac foods.
Ingredients: 12 oysters (ask the fishmonger to open them for you), 3 finely chopped bacon rashers, 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 4 tbsp double cream, lemon wedges to serve.
Place frying pan on a medium heat and add bacon. Allow to fry in its own fat until brown. Add the breadcrumbs and brown lightly.
Mix the cream and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon onto oysters, season then add bacon and breadcrumbs. Place topped oysters until the grill until brown and crisp. Place on plates with lemon wedges.
Roast asparagus with sun-dried tomatoes
Ingredients: 450g trimmed asparagus spears, 240g jar of sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, basil leaves to serve.
Preheat oven to 200oC, 180oC fan or gas mark 6. Place asparagus spears in a roasting tray and drizzle with 3 tbsp of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 mins.
Add tomatoes to tray and roast for another 5 mins. Asparagus should be tender.
Divide asparagus and tomatoes between 4 plates. Pour over some more oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Scatter over Parmesan and garnish with basil leaves.
Avocado and tomato bruschetta
Ingredients: 250g cherry tomatoes, 2 avocados, extra virgin olive oil, 1 ready-to-bake ciabatta, lemon juice, handful of rocket leaves, balsamic vinegar.
Preheat oven to 220oC, 200oC fan or gas mark 7. Cut off and discard the ends of the ciabatta, then divide into 16 slices. Brush lightly on each side with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Place in oven for 8-10 mins.
Mean while half the tomatoes and mix with olive oil and season. Place on a baking tray and cook for 5-8 mins until tomatoes are soft.
Peel, stone and chop avocado into cubes, mix with lemon juice.
Arrange baked ciabatta between plates and spoon over tomatoes. Top with avocado, rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Honey Chilli Chicken
Ingredients: 1.5kg chicken breast, 6 shallots, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp Chinese chilli sauce, flour, salt, thumb size piece of ginger, 1/3 cup water, oil for frying.
Dice chicken and coat lightly with flour, season lightly with salt. Fry the chicken in two batches in deep hot oil, until golden brown then reduce heat and cook through. Place each batch on kitchen roll to remove excess oil.
Leave just a tablespoon of oil in the pan and add grated ginger, saute for 1 min. Add honey, stir and cook for another minute.
Combine the cornflour, water, chilli sauce, lemon juice and soy sauce and add to honey and ginger. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously until thickened.
Add the chicken and mix with sauce on the heat for 3 mins or until chicken is heated through. Add the sliced shallots and cook for 1 more minute. Serve with steamed rice.
Honey-glazed Salmon with Pineapple Salsa
Ingredients: Salmon fillets (4 although depends on size), 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce, 1 tbsp pineapple juice, 1 thumb size piece of ginger crushed, 1 clove of garlic crushed.
Pineapple salsa - 1 ripe tomato cubed, 1/2 red pepper chopped, 2 jalapenos deseeded and chopped, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar.
Combine the honey, teriyaki sauce, pineapple juice, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Place salmon fillets in a sealable container and pour over marinade, refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
Grill fillets under a medium heat skin side down for 2-3mins, turn over and cook for another 1-3mins.
For salsa place all ingredients in a pan and simmer over a low heat for 5mins. Chill until needed and serve with the salmon.
Gnocchi with Blue Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Ingredients: 300g blue cheese (can use one of combination e.g. Stilton, Roquefort, Shropshire blue), 500ml double cream, small bunch of parsley chopped, small jar of sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, 1 bag of potato gnocchi, salt and pepper.
In a small pan crumble 200g of the cheese and add the cream. Place on a high heat and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer. Season, stir well and allow to reduce. Add sun-dried tomatoes and parsley and heat through
Meanwhile add gnocchi to a pan of boiling water and cook as per instructions (gnocchi will float to the top when ready).
Drain gnocchi, add to the sauce, mix and serve with green salad or garlic bread.
Lovers Chocolate Mousse
Ingredients: For Dark chocolate mousse - 150g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), 2x egg yolks, 142ml double cream, 50g caster sugar, 3 tbsp milk.
For White Chocolate Base - 40g white chocolate (broken up), 35g cornflakes, 1 mango, toasted almond flakes.
Dark Chocolate mousse - Place heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and break dark chocolate into bowl, heating until melted. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Mix egg yolks, sugar and 3 tbsp of cold water in a large bowl. Whisk mixture and then beat to thicken, continue until you have a pale yellow foam that holds soft peaks.
In another bowl whisk together cream and milk, then beat until foamy and holds a soft shape. Take care not to over beat.
Once melted chocolate has cooled to the same temperature as yolk mixture, add yolk mixture to chocolate and fold in until completely mixed. Now add whipped cream and fold in with a large metal spoon using a figure of eight motion. Place in fridge.
White Chocolate base - lightly crush cornflakes with a rolling pin in a bowl. Melt white chocolate as before and add to cornflakes.
Peel mango and slice into approx 18 thin slices.
Portion half of the white choc base into 6 small glasses. Place 3 mango slices down the side of each glass. Spoon dark chocolate mousse into glasses to about a third of the way up. Add another layer of white choc base, followed by another of the dark chocolate. Scatter almonds on the top and chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
Ingredients: 1 packet frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of water, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lime juice, 2 cups mixed frozen berries, mint leaves.
Combine the frozen strawberries, 3 to 4 mint leaves and the vanilla extract in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30mins. Add water by the 1/4 cup if mixture starts to become too thick. Remove from heat, cover and chill.
Once chilled, strain the strawberry mixture and place in a blender, add 1/2 cup of water, honey, lime and lemon juice. Whizz until smooth.
Add mixed berries large wine glasses and pour in strawberry gazpacho. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.
Baileys and Chocolate Creams
Ingredients: 50g dark chocolate broken into chunks (at least 70% cocoa solids), 100ml double cream, 50ml Baileys, cocoa powder, fresh strawberries sliced.
In a saucepan mix cream (reserve 2 tbsp of cream) and Baileys, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted. Spoon into two large wine glasses allow to cool.
Whip remaining 2 tbsp of cream until slightly thickened, spoon over cooled chocolate mixture. Chill for at least 1hr to set.
Decorate with sliced strawberries and a dusting of cocoa powder.