When you prepare your own meal for Valentine's Day, love radiates from your heart, seeps into the food that you have lovingly prepared and gives it the magical quality that ignites the soul. When you serve your Valentine an elegant meal do it with your best china and lots of beautiful candles, a bottle of good wine or champagne if you like, and a warm and loving smile. Have some of your favourite music softly playing in the background. Scatter some rose petals and remember the real aphrodisiac is you!
Cream of Courgette soup with tarragon
1 chicken bouillon (stock) cube
500 g small courgettes (zucchini) firm and a shiny green
2 sprigs of tarragon washed and drained
1/2 teaspoon of crushed peppercorns
1 large tablespoon creme fraiche
salt to taste
Wash trim and slice the zuchinnis/courgettes. Fill a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water, add the bouillon/stock cube and bring to the boil. Add the sliced courgettes/zuchinnis. Cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the peppercorns, creme fraiche, and salt, and then blend. Pour into soup bowls and add the sprigs of tarragon as a garnish.
Tagliatelle with pancetta and sage
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/2 bunch fresh sage washed and drained
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices pancetta ham
200 grams fresh tagliatelle pasta
60 grams of grated parmesan cheese
Saute the pancetta and drain on paper towel. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan and add the sage leaves and saute for 1 minute. Drain. Cook the pasta according to the instructions with 1 tablespoon of oil added to the water to keep the strands of pasta separate during cooking. Drain the pasta and add the butter and ricotta. Stir together. Heap the pasta on two plates and top each pile with the pancetta, sage leaves, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Heart with Raspberries
100 grams bitter chocolate
1 teaspoon raspberry liqueur
150 grams fresh raspberries
100 grams of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plain flour
100 grams unsalted butter
Icing sugar to decorate
Preheat oven to 300F or 150C
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, butter, egg yolks, raspberry liqueur and flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and then fold into the chocolate mixture. Butter a heart-shaped or round cake tin. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for forty minutes. The cake should be slightly runny in the centre. If using a round cake tin then cut a piece of cardboard into a heart-shaped pattern approximately the same size as the cake. Remove the cake from the tin and place the heart shaped template on top and use a sharp knife to cut out a heart. Cool. Wash and drain the raspberries. Just before serving, arrange the raspberries in an even way over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with icing sugar (use a tea strainer) and serve immediately.
Remember you do not have to wait for Valentine's each day to prepare a special romantic meal for your soul mate. A romantic meal is more delightful and surprising when it is not served on Valentine's day.
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