Recipes for romance with Martin Griffiths

PUBLISHED: 11:31 21 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:31 20 February 2013

Recipes for romance with Martin Griffiths

Recipes for romance with Martin Griffiths

Heart-warming recipes to give your St Valentine's dinner an energy-packed boost

You just cant do February foods without thinking of Valentines Day and lovers loved and lovers lost. With the music playing and the lights down low, now is the perfect time to cook up a romantic gesture.

There are numerous foods of love. Think oysters. Think chocolate. Its true that B vitamins and zinc in seafood, including oysters, are linked to fertility. However, theyre not the only foods to contain these vital lovers ingredients as dairy products, wholegrains and dark-green leafy vegetables all help when it comes to fertility. (Although a plate of curly kale doesnt have quite the same ring about it as a dozen oysters.)

The bodys happy hormones (the endorphins) are said to be release after eating certain foods and top of the happy hormone list is chocolate.
Overeating and drinking on Valentines night is as destructive to your love life as under-eating. Too much food and drink will induce sleep and too little may leave you feeling hungry and short of energy.

Try grilled fish or lean meat served with steamed vegetables and attractive looking side dishes that have high organoleptic qualities (those that stimulate the senses). After all, as all good cooks and lovers know, isnt the first bite with the eyes?

Ruby Red Soup

Beetroot is continuing to enjoy a renaissance and it forms the basis of this simple but hearty soup

Serves 2

  • 1 medium sized beetroot, around 150g

  • 1 large potato

  • 1 large apple

  • 1 medium onion

  • Seasoning

  • 1tsp cumin

  • 2tsp crme fraiche

  • 400mls milk

1 Peel and chop all the vegetables and add to a saucepan
2 Add the milk, seasoning and cumin and bring to a gentle boil
3 Cook for around 25 minutes and the vegetables are just cooked
4 Pour the ingredients into a blender and blitz well
5 Return the soup to the pan and reheat before serving
6 Use the crme fraiche to create a lovely heart shape on the soup when serving

Pan Fried Spiced Sea Bass Fillets with Steamed Vegetables

Serves 2

  • 2 sea bass fillets

  • 8 florets of broccoli or purple sprouting

  • Marinade

  • 1tsp freshly ground ginger

  • 1tsp olive oil

  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1tsp sesame oil

  • 1 small red chilli finely chopped

  • Juice and zest of 1 lime or lemon

  • Seasoning

1 Mix the ginger, seasoning and all the oils together in a bowl
2 Add the fish fillets and allow them to marinate for half an hour
3 Steam or lightly boil the broccoli for 5-6 minutes
4 Remove the fish from the marinade and fry, skin side down for 5-8 minutes
5 Place the broccoli on a pretty plate and top with the fish fillets
6 Drizzle over the remaining marinade

A small amount of fresh pasta and mushrooms goes well with this dish and it is rich in zinc, essential vitamin b and protein

Chocolate and Cherry cupcakes

Its hard to get past St Valentines night without thinking about the pleasures offered by chocolate. Melting chocolate over a pan of simmering water and adding some cream and butter helps you create an easy chocolate fondue for dipping fresh fruits. If you want to explore the pleasures of chocolate, some wonderful small-scale chocolate shops around the county offer a wide and wonderful choice of chocolates from around the world. (Legges of Bromyard are starting to create their own chocolates and producing a special Valentines box) Otherwise, you could make these simple chocolate and cherry cup cakes and pop them into your lovers lunch box.

Makes 12

  • 175g caster sugar

  • 150g softened butter

  • 125g self raising flour

  • 100g plain chocolate

  • 50g cocoa powder

  • 3 eggs beaten

  • 1tsp baking powder

  • 100g glac cherries

1 Melt the chocolate by putting it in a heatproof bowl and placing it over a pan of simmering water until it melts
2 In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and eggs
3 Add the sifted flour and gently stir in the melted chocolate
4 Add the cherries and spoon the mixture into cup cases or silicone moulds and bake in a pre-heated oven, 180c, gas mark 4, for 20 minutes until risen and just firm to the touch
You can add a variety of toppings including melted chocolate or maybe roses made from royal icing. The cherries can be changed for chunks of fudge or pieces of chopped up Mars bars!

Hearty Biscuits

Show your love by baking these crisp
heart-shaped biscuits with an orange twist

  • 225g plain flour

  • 115g soft butter

  • 140g caster sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

  • 50g cocoa powder

1 Pre-heat the oven to 180c, gas mark 4, and line a baking sheet with baking parchment
2 Mix together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy before adding the egg yolks one at a time
3 Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, orange zest and juice and knead into a dough
4 Roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 5mm thick
5 Cut out the heart shapes with a suitable cutter and cook on the prepared baking sheets for 15 minutes and just lightly browned

Options: Exchange the orange zest for finely grated ginger and decorate with messages of love using Love Hearts sweets

Time for wine

Dont neglect the wines made locally. There are some excellent small family run vineyards in the county and many of them produce excellent dry sparkling wines, which compete on price and flavour with certain French options. The Chinn family from near Ross-on-Wye recently launched a delicious new sparkling Herefordshire wine. Available from Truffles Delicatessen it makes a perfect wine to celebrate Valentines night.

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