February 13, 2017

Fun ways to Cook your way to a Happy Valentine’s Day!

“If music be the food of love, play on…” Enjoy cooking these delicious recipes with the one you love, try them as a tasty treat on your own, or make these dishes for someone special this Valentine’s Day. Go on, you deserve it!

Breakfast in Bed

Enjoy a romantic breakfast in honour of Valentine’s Day. Rustle up an old favourite, or why not try some of these tasty treats instead?

Red Velvet Pancakes

(Adapted from the recipe by Erin McDowell, courtesy of the Huffington Post)


  • 2 cups of red velvet cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Non-stick spray or a small amount of oil for the pan

    For the icing:

    • 6 tablespoons of cream cheese, whipped
    • 4 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar
    • 4 tablespoons of double cream
    • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

      Whisk the cake mix together with the butter, egg and milk in a large bowl, ensuring there are no lumps.

      Heat a medium-sized frying pan or skillet, coat with non-stick spray or a little oil and reduce the heat.

      Ladle the pancake mixture into the pan and cook in batches until you see bubbles rising from the centre of the pancakes.

      Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or two.

      Remove the pancakes from the pan and place on a plate – cover with a thick napkin or tea towel to keep warm while you are mixing the icing.

      To make the icing, use a whisk or hand mixer to whisk together the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract.

      Stack the pancakes on a pretty plate and cover with icing.

      For that extra special touch, try topping with berries – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries would all go well – and garnish with a mint leaf, or a sprinkle of cinnamon. Even a sprinkle of dark chocolate, perhaps?

      Breakfast Doughnuts – by Jamie Oliver


      • 100g Medjool Dates
      • 100g wholemeal self-raising flour
      • 100g self-raising flour (keep some aside for dusting the doughnuts)
      • 30g ground almonds
      • 1 large, free-range egg
      • Olive oil
      • 320g blueberries
      • 1 tablespoon runny honey
      • 4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
      • Ground cinnamon (optional)

        Remove the stones from the dates and put them in a food processor with the flour, ground almonds, egg, a pinch of salt and 70ml of water. Combine until it resembles a ball of dough. Roughly knead the dough on a clean surface, dusted with flour, for around two minutes. Roll out the dough at a thickness of 15cm, then use an 8cm pastry or cookie cutter (or a pint glass if you don’t have cutters). Use a 3cm cutter (or the end of a cling film roll – thanks Jamie!) to cut a hole in the centre of each circle of dough, then use the leftover centre bits from the cut-out hole and any cut-off bits of dough to roll out again, so you make four doughnuts.

        Simmer the doughnuts for five minutes in a large pan of gently boiling water, turning them carefully halfway through.

        Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Drain the doughnuts and fry carefully until golden for around ten minutes, turning regularly, so that they form a crust. Once they look ready, add the blueberries to the pan, drizzle over the honey and shake the pan to coat the doughnuts, spooning the honey and blueberry mixture over the doughnuts, so they are adequately covered. When the doughnuts have turned purple, and it all looks shiny, pour in the yoghurt and distribute through the pan.

        Serve two doughnuts together at a time. If you like cinnamon, sprinkle a little over the top. If you fancy a chocolate twist to this recipe, try dusting with some dark hot chocolate.

        If you don’t feel like sweet treats for breakfast, there are some great tasting healthy options to try, too, including this quick and easy, protein-filled breakfast:

        Soft-boiled eggs with pancetta and avocado soldiers


        • 4 eggs
        • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
        • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
        • 100g smoked pancetta/bacon rashers

          Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the eggs into the water and boil for five minutes, to ensure that the yolks are still runny.

          Wrap the avocado slices in the pancetta/bacon and heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the bacon-wrapped avocado for two-three minutes over high heat until crisp.

          Serve the boiled eggs on nice plates or trays in egg cups, with the soldiers on the side.

          A Romantic Dinner

          You don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove all night on Valentine’s Day, so what you need is something that tastes great, looks good and doesn’t take too long to make. Coq au Vin is a classic, but traditionally takes a long time to prepare and cook, so we’ve found this cut down version, which should be just the thing!

          Cheat’s Coq au Vin

          (Adapted from Weeknight Coq au Vin by Tablespoon.com)


          • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped into small pieces/ready chopped pancetta/lardons
          • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
          • ¾ teaspoon of salt
          • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
          • 2 cups of frozen silverskin or pearl onions (already thawed)
          • 8 ounces of baby button mushrooms
          • 2 cloves of garlic
          • 1 ½ cups of red wine – Pinot Noir works well
          • 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
          • 2 tablespoons of flour, to thicken
          • 1 tablespoon of butter, softened
          • 2 tablespoons of chopped, flat leaf parsley

            Heat a casserole or heavy saucepan to medium heat. Cook the bacon for 8-10 minutes, until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain off the excess fat. Keep a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan for frying the chicken.

            Season the chicken with half of the salt and the pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 8-9 minutes, turning, until the juices run clear. Remove the chicken and place on one side. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and season with the remaining salt. Increase the heat and cook until just starting to brown.

            Stir in the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the wine, stock and the chicken back into the pan and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove the chicken and wrap in foil to keep warm.

            Mix the flour and butter into a paste and add to the casserole mixture in the pan. Whisk it regularly, so there are no lumps, and simmer for around three minutes.

            Serve the cooked sauce and vegetables over the chicken and garlic, along with the bacon and parsley.

            And for the vegetarians on Valentine’s? How about the classic Italian dish, Aubergine Parmigiana?

            Aubergine Parmigiana


            • One aubergine, cut into slices
            • 1 ½ tablespoons of salt
            • 8 tablespoons of olive oil
            • 8 ounces of ricotta
            • 5 ounces of mozzarella, shredded
            • ½ cup of grated Parmesan
            • 1 beaten egg
            • ½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
            • 4 cups tinned, chopped tomatoes or Passata

            Sprinkle both sides of the aubergine slices with salt and place in a colander. Put a bowl under the colander to catch the liquid from the salted aubergine. Sit for 30 minutes.

            Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. While that’s heating up, mix the ricotta, mozzarella and half the Parmesan in a bowl. Mix in the egg and the chopped basil.

            Rinse the aubergine slices in cold water and dry. Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet and layer the aubergine in the pan, browning each side.

            Spread the tomatoes or Passata in a baking dish and layer the aubergine on top. Top with cheese mixture and repeat until all aubergine and cheese mixture is used up. Pour the remaining tomatoes/Passata on top and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan. 

            Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese on top nice and brown.

            Recipe originally adapted from AllRecipes.com - updated as we tested it!

            Bon appétit! Buon Appetito! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

            1 Response


            February 14, 2017

            Thank you so much for the extra special “spoil”….Guess what is being served tonight for supper????

            Please leave your comments

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