'From the obligatory [special] dinner to the unexpected glass of fresh-squeezed juice, the act of preparing food for another (or with another) speaks louder and clearer than most words. It says, with no exceptions, I love you. I want you. I care for you. You are worth the effort.'
Food and the language of love. Makes sense, doesn't it?! Strawberries, asparagus, oysters and chocolate are among the foods listed as aphrodisiacs in the chapter titled Seducing through the Seasons (pp 8-127) in InterCourses
There are strawberries in the salad?!
That's what my daughter (who was around 11 years old then) exclaimed the first time I served this little number to the family. Suffice to say, she loved it as soon as she tasted it. Yes, there are indeed strawberries in this divine salad and the flavour combination may also pleasantly surprise you and your beloved.
PRAWN AND STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH POPPYSEEDS
10 large cooked prawns
225g mesclun or mixed greens
50ml extra virgin olive oil*
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1-2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Peel and devein the prawns, then set them aside in the refrigerator to chill. Rinse the mesclun and drain well. Wash the strawberries and pat dry with paper towelling. Slice the strawberries in half, or quarters if they are particularly large. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake till thoroughly mixed. Arrange the mesclun or salad greens on a serving platter, topped with the prawns and the strawberries. Top with the dressing and serve immediately. Serves 2. *If you have citrus infused olive oil, use that. Recipe adapted (and adopted) from InterCourses by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge, Hamlyn.
A whimsical (and rather naughty) caramel fondue...
This caramel fondue has been hugely popular with my loved ones and all those who have tried it for the last 30 years or so. I hope you'll enjoy it too. Oh, just one word of advice, do try not to eat it all at once!
WHIMSICAL CARAMEL FONDUE
350g Jersey Caramels+
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup pouring cream
Combine the caramels, milk and cream in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the caramels have melted. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and keep the mixture warm. Meanwhile, cut your fruit into chunks or slices and sprinkle with a little lemon juice to stop the fruit from turning brown. To serve, transfer the warm caramel mixture into a fondue pot and serve with a platter of fruit. Serves 6-8 and will keep well in the refrigerator. + Store bought or make your own.
My 'good things' Valentine's Day recipe roundup...
I've asked a few of my fellow cooks and food enthusiast friends from around the globe to share their favourite Valentine's Day dishes, and here they are. Enjoy.
Sophia from An Ode To... shares her secret for how to keep your loved one close to your heart, and presents her special Valentine's Day Mediterranean-style eggs.
Rachel from The Food Sage says, 'Oysters. What's not to love? Especially when they can be eaten natural and fuss free. Here's a simple recipe for a retro way to serve them for your loved one this Valentine's Day.'
Eva from Kitchen Inspirations presents French Onion Soup Pillows. Imagine a tender pasta dumpling filled with braised beef broth and caramelised onion with brûléed gruyère exploding in your mouth as the broth is released immediately reminding you of French Onion Soup. Ooh la la!
Krista from Rambling Tart says 'I like to add something beautiful yet nourishing to my Valentine's Dinner, like these gorgeous roasted radishes. The roasting caramelises the radish itself, while turning the leaves into crispy, salty goodness.'
Maureen from Orgasmic Chef loves baking this soft and creamy Asparagus, Potato and Cheese Tart in a light phyllo pastry shell, and says it's perfect for lunch or a small-sized dinner on Valentine's Day.
Manuela from Manu's Menu offers this superb-looking dish of Purple Gnocchi on a Parmigiano Reggiano Fondue, topped with toasted Hazelnuts and crunchy Italian Speck. Buon appetito!
Jamie at Life's a Feast shares her musings on love, romance and chocolate, as well as this sublime French Pudding au Chocolat. Oh my!
Viviane of Chocolate Chilli Mango suggests that we select the most perfect sweet and fragrant raspberries for her exquisite Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tarts. The lemon thyme pastry crème is not overly sweet and has a fresh tang.
Barbara from Creative Culinary knows that brownies are the way to a loved one's heart and says her Bourbon Chocolate Brownies with Bourbon Buttercream Sauce are definitely for adults only, and yet are not overly boozy.
Marian at Apricot Tart will be making heart-shaped meringues topped with seasonal berries and watermelon bites. She says these sweet mouthfuls of loveliness complete an intimate Valentine's dinner.
Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake says this Chocolate Mousse Torte is rich and decadent. Perfect for your Valentine. Just top with whipped cream and berries for an elegant dessert.
Shulie from Food Wanderings says, 'My idea of Valentine’s Day is not chocolates, though I do love chocolate, but these delicate French sable cookies with a twist. I have it with a cup of Earl Grey and I am happy. That’s my idea of a romantic moment.' I think we agree!
Azita from Fig and Quince is offering this Persian mulberry-shaped marzipan concoction made with sugar, rosewater, ground almonds, cardamom with slivers of pistachio. A dainty and pretty pop of sweetness for you and your sweetheart to nibble on as you whisper sweet nothings to each other on Valentine's Day.
Janie from The Hedge Combers suggests these no-bake Individual Summer Puddings, sweet and very pretty little morsels of deliciousness for your Valentine.
And a romantic little libation, with a cherry on top...
John at Kitchen Riffs suggests a Pink Lady cocktail that's retro, romantic and just a little silly; and has a pleasantly tart elixir. Chin-chin!
Tell me dear readers, do you agree that the act of preparing food for (or with) another says 'I love you'? Which foods speak L-O-V-E to you?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes, postcards and morsels from my adventures, conversations with cookery writers
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.