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Valentine's day

Jump to:-    List of Aphrodisiac Foods  | Special Valentine Recipes  |  Menu Ideas | Valentine's Kitchenware | Full Menu Planner with Countdown

 

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Valentine's Day History

 

Valentine's day falls on 14th February and has its history firmly rooted in  an old pagen festival called Lupercian which was an ode to the God of Fertility and a celebration of sensual pleasure as well as being a time to meet and court a prospective mate. However, beyond this, not much else is definitely known.

 

One story  is that In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan festival but replaced it with a similar, but more morally suitable celebration. He took care to  replace the Pagan God with a Christian saint, to allay dissent from the old worshippers.  He chose St. Valentine who had been beheaded, it's reputed,  for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the Emperor Claudius (the mad one). 

 

Apparently, before his execution on 14th February, Valentine, who had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter, signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine".

 

What's in a "X" ?

In Medieval times, an 'X' was used to sign documents by people who couldn't write. Upon the mark being made, the person would then kiss the X as a sign of sincerity.

 

 

Aphrodisiac Foods for Valentines Day

 

The word aphrodisiac is derived from Aphrodite,  the Greek goddess of love. Below is a list food and drink items which are believed to have aphrodisiacal powers. Make sure you include some of them in your Valentine's day meal.


Alcohol
in all its forms is known to reduce inhibitions, so long as it's not over consumed!

 

Almonds have been a fertility symbol for thousands of years and the aroma is thought to induce passion in women

 

Aniseed  The Ancient Greeks and the Romans believed aniseed had special powers.

 

Asparagus has been considered as an aphrodisiac food for hundreds of years, so much so that during the 19th century, bridegrooms were fed three courses of it due to its reputed aphrodisiacal powers.

 

Avocado was considered an aphrodisiac food by the Aztecs who called the avocado tree "Ahuacuatl" which translated means "testicle tree".

Bananas contain an enzyme called bromelain which enhances male performance and are rich in potassium and B vitamins which aid sex hormone production
 

Basil is thought to stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility.

 

Carrots were used by early Middle Eastern royalty to aid seduction. they are also high vitamins and beta-carotene

 

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Caviar is high in zinc, which stimulates the formation of testosterone.

Chillies are said to stir up the blood and add spice to your desire

 

Chocolate contains both a sedative which relaxes and lowers inhibitions and a stimulant called theobromine which increases activity . The Aztecs called chocolate "nourishment of the Gods".

 

Cinnamon  is considered an aphrodisiac in many parts of Europe

Figs were prized by ancient Greeks as an aphrodisiac. They would celebrate their harvest with orgies.

 

Garlic  is believed to increase sexual desire.

Ginger is a stimulant to the circulatory system.

 

Honey was used in ancient Egyptian as a cure for sterility and impotence and Medieval  "Honeymooners" drank mead, a drink made with honey,  to "sweeten"  the marriage.

 

Nutmeg has been prized by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years

 

Oysters were used an aphrodisiac food by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. they are rich with zinc which have a positive effect on the libido.

 

Pine Nuts  are rich in zinc and have been used since Medieval times to stimulate the libido

 

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and has been used as a treatment for impotence.

 

Strawberries  rich in vitamin C and the ideal dessert to " hand feed" your lover

Truffles were considered by the ancient Greeks and the Romans to be an aphrodisiac, probably due to its rarity and the  musky aroma which is thought to arouse both the palate and the senses.
 

Vanilla  is believed to be a stimulant, with both the scent and flavour believed to increase lust.

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Selected Valentines Day Recipes

 

Below is a small selection of recipes which contain foods of love, making them ideal for your romantic Valentine's Day meal. Where possible, we've chosen recipes which contain 2 or more aphrodisiac foods....just to make sure! 

V = Vegetarian

 

Almonds

Almond Ice Cream V

Strawberry and Almond Tartlets  V

Asparagus

Baked Asparagus with Almonds  V

Garlic Asparagus with Ginger       V

Avocado

Avocado and Tomato Salsa   V

Avocado Vinaigrette  V

Bananas

Bananas w/Cinnamon Coconut Sauce   V

Bananas with Ginger Sauce   V

Chocolate

Little Pots of Chocolate      V

Chicken Mole Poblano

Cinnamon

Hot Compote of Figs      V

Silk Stockings       V

Garlic

Fillet of Beef Teriyaki

Gingered Monkfish in Soy sauce

Honey

Glazed Spare Ribs

Asparagus and Vanilla Risotto

Oysters

Champagne Oysters

Oysters Au Gratin

Pine Nuts

Avocado and Pine Nut Salad    V

Parsley Lemon and P/Nut Linguine    V

Pineapple

Date and Pineapple Stuffed Pork

Champagne Fruit Salad    V

Vanilla

Pollo al Vainilla

Venezuelan Chocolate Ice Cream    V

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Menu Ideas

 

So, now you have some recipe ideas for your special Valentine's Day meal using ingredients of love but there are a couple of tips you should follow to make sure your night of passion isn't spoiled.

 

1. Try to pick at least 1 course which you can prepare in advance. Absence may make the heart grow fonder but not if when you return from the kitchen you're all flustered.

 

2. Don't over-load yourselves with too much food. No matter how wonderful it tasted, stuffing yourselves to the gills will leave you feeling lethargic and won't do anything for your energy levels. Leave them wanting just a little more.....YOU!

 

Below are a couple of menus which should both tickle the taste buds and stimulate the senses without dampening the ardour.

 

Menu 1

(vegetarian)

Steamed asparagus with melted butter

Great to feed to each other and needs little prep

 

* * * * *

Parsley Lemon and Pine Nut Linguine

The carbohydrates in the pasta are an excellent source of slow released energy

* * * * *

Champagne Fruit Salad

Pasta can be filling so finish with this light dessert

which can be prepared ahead of time

Menu 2

 

Champagne Oysters

Zinc AND alcohol. Very light

 

* * * * *

Fillet of Beef Teriyaki

Lots of aphrodisiac ingredients in this one

 

* * * * *

Little Pots of Chocolate

A deliciously smooth and sensuous end to the meal which can be prepared in advance

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Valentines Day kitchen and tableware items

Make your meals even more romantic with these heart shaped items

specially selected for you by Recipes4us

 

 

 

 

          

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And finally to make things even easier .....

A complete Valentines Day Menu with countdown

This menu has been designed to make light of preparing and cooking a three course meal for two. 

A fully timed count-down follows the menu. Just scroll down to see how easy it's all going to be.

We've included check boxes so when you've printed it off, you can tick the boxes once you've  completed each stage.

Don't forget to print off the recipes too!  They're all at the bottom of this page.

 

Aphrodisiac Appetiser

Oysters or Scallops cooked with Shallots and Pink Champagne

I Love you in Italian - Ti amo

 

* * *

Two Hearts as One Main Course

Individual Beef Wellingtons

with Scalloped Potatoes and Green Beans

I Love you in Cantonese - Moi oiy neya  

 

* * *

You're the Zest of my Life Dessert

Individual Orange Crème Caramels with grated Chocolate

I Love you in Russian - Ya lyublyu tyebya 

 

The Countdown

Tick the check boxes when you've done the step.

 

6-24 hours before serving

 

£ Make the Dessert up to step 8 and refrigerate the cooked unmoulded  ramekins. Place the chocolate in the fridge to make sure its hardened.

 

2 hours before serving the starter

 

£ Prepare  the beef wellington  to step 7, cover loosely with foil and refrigerate.

 

£ Complete step 9 of the beef wellington, cover and set aside.

 

£ Top and tail the green beans place in a saucepan and set aside.

 

1-1/2 hours before serving the starter

 

£ Turn the oven on to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and leave to warm.

 

£ Prepare  the scalloped potatoes to stage 4.

 

You can use the time between the next stage to lay the table, tidy up or whatever. DON'T FORGET THE SERVING CUTLERY AND CRUET SET. You won't have much time after this so it's probably your last opportunity to spruce yourself up for your loved one.

 

 

25  minutes before serving the starter

 

£   Increase the oven temperature  to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.

 

£ Prepare the starter to step 6.

 

£ Remove the potatoes from the oven, uncover then return to the lowest shelf in the oven

£ Place the beef wellingtons on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

5  minutes before serving the starter

£  Place the covered pan containing the sauce for the main course on a very low heat.  

£ Cover the green beans in the pan with water, add salt and place the pan over a very low heat. 

£ Complete step 6 of the starter.

SERVE AND EAT THE STARTER

£ Check the green beans, and if they are not tender enough, increase the heat and boil vigourously, checking the water level. 

£ Complete steps 10 and 11 of the beef wellington recipe and  transfer any remaining sauce to a sauce boat.

£ Drain  the bean and transfer to a covered serving dish. 

£ Transfer all the dishes/platters and  plates to the dining table. 

SERVE AND EAT THE MAIN COURSE

£ Complete step 8 of the dessert.

SERVE AND EAT THE DESSERT

 

Afrodisiac Appetiser  20mins

Champagne Oysters or Scallops

 

Serves 2 Hot Starters Hors d'oeuvre  Fish seafood Gluten Free Wheat Free

Ingredients:

6 Fresh Prepared Oysters or Scallops, opened, juice reserved 

25g/1oz Butter

1 Shallot, finely chopped

1 teasp Freshly Chopped Tarragon

150ml/5fl.oz. Pink Champagne

Salt and Black Pepper

Instructions

1. Melt half the butter in a pan add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute.

 

2. Add the champagne and any oyster juices, chopped tarragon, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

 

3. Remove the oysters or scallops from their shells (reserving the shells) and add to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

 

4. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the oysters/scallops back to their individual shells and keep warm.

 

5. Increase the heat under the pan and whisk the remaining butter into the sauce, a little at a time.

 

6. To serve - place the oyster/scallops (in their shells) on individual plates and pour the sauce over the oysters. Serve immediately as a starter accompanied with the remainder of the bottle of champagne.

 

Two Hearts as One Main Course   40mins plus cooling

(Individual Beef Wellingtons)

 

Serves 2 Hot Beef Main Course

 

Ingredients:

2 x 175g/6oz Fillet Mignon (Beef fillet)

Black Pepper

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

25g/1oz Butter

1 tbsp Onions, finely chopped

75g/3oz Mushrooms, thinly sliced

50g/2oz Smooth Liver Pate

225g/8oz Puff Pastry

Beaten Egg to glaze

 

For the sauce

150ml/5fl.oz. Red Wine

150ml/5fl.oz. Beef Stock

A large knob of Butter

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas mark 6.

 

2. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan until very hot, add the beef and seal and brown well on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

 

3. Reheat the oil and butter in the frying pan, add the mushrooms and onion and sauté gently until soft. Set aside to cool a little.

 

4. Once cool, in a small bowl mix together the mushroom mixture and pate until well blended.

 

5. Divide the pasty into four then on a floured surface, roll the pastry pieces out large enough so that when you place a fillet on top there's a border of about 2.5cm/1-inch.

 

6. Divide the pate mixture between the two pieces of pastry then spread evenly over the centres leaving a 2.5cm/1-inch border of pastry on all sides then lay the meat on top. Brush the edges with a little beaten egg, lay the remaining two pieces of pastry over each fillet, pressing down firmly  to seal well.  Cut off any excess pastry to within 12mm/1/2 inch of the  meat and brush the top of the parcels all over with beaten egg to glaze.

 

7. Roll out the pastry trimmings thinly and cut into small heart shapes. Use to decorate the top of each pie, then brush with beaten egg. Can be covered lightly with foil and refrigerated for up to 45 minutes if required.

 

8.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20minutes.

 

9. Meanwhile, place the wine and stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and continue to boil until reduced and syrupy. 

 

10. Add the butter to the sauce, stirring with a wooden spoon.

 

11. To serve - transfer the beef Wellingtons onto individual serving plates and pour a little of the sauce around each one. Serve hot.

 

Scalloped Potatoes      90 mins    

Serves 2    Gluten Free   Wheat Free   Eggless Accompaniment    Vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

325g/12oz Potatoes

Salt and Pepper

50g/2oz Butter

180ml/6 fl.oz. Milk

 

Instructions

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas mark 4 and grease a shallow ovenproof dish.

 

2. Peel and very thinly slice the potatoes, using a mandolin if you have one. Arrange a layer of potato in the dish, season with salt and pepper, dot with butter and pour over a little milk. Continue to layer the potatoes in this manner until all are used up.

 

3. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

 

4. 200C, 400F, Gas mark 6,  remove the lid and continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

You're The Zest In My Life Dessert   70mins

(Individual Orange Crème Caramels )

 

Serves 2    Desserts cold Vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

For the Caramel

100g/4oz Granulated Sugar

60ml/2fl.oz. Water

Other ingredients

300ml/10fl.oz. Milk

2 Eggs, beaten

1 Egg Yolk, beaten

A few drops Vanilla Extract

25-50g/1-2oz Caster Sugar

The Juice and Grated Zest of ½ an  Orange

 

Instructions

Make it even more romantic  by using this lovely little heart-shaped ramekin but don't forget to buy 2!

 

 

1. Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, Gas mark 3.

 

2. Make the caramel by placing the sugar in a small saucepan together with the water . Allow the sugar to dissolve over a low heat then bring to the boil. Continue to boil rapidly until it turns a deepish amber colour then remove from the heat immediately.

 

3. Pour the caramel into the base of two ovenproof ramekin dishes, swirling around the bottom and up the sides. Set aside.

 

4. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat to hot but not boiling.

 

5. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract and sugar.

 

6. Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture then stir in the orange zest and juice mixing well then pour it into the dishes containing the hardened caramel.

 

7. Place the dishes in a baking tin filled with 5cm/2inches of hot water, cover loosely with foil then carefully place the water bath into the oven and cook for 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool before refrigerating. Chill until cold.

 

8. To serve - invert the crème caramel onto individual serving plates, tilting the plates to the caramel juice encircles the crème caramel, then grate the chocolate over the top and around the edges of the plate.

 

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