This Valentine’s Day is all about the power of suggestion. Don’t spend your night sweating over a hog roast and potatoes or sculpting your sloppy curry into the shape of a heart, go for something a little simpler and leave yourself the strength for the good stuff.
For the unashamedly visually aroused among us, follow these recipes for a simple but effective night of fun.
Stuffed Butternut Squash
Take a butternut squash and make sure you scrub it really well until it is thoroughly cleaned. The cut it in half lengthways and scoop out any fibrous pieces and seeds. Place a knob of butter, a little oil, and some chopped garlic into the cavity and cook in an oven heated to 190 degrees Celsius, for roughly 45 minutes to an hour.
Spoon out the insides of the squash halves into a bowl leaving enough of the squash to retain its shape. Mash the contents of the bowl with chopped walnuts, blue cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.
Stuff everything in the bowl back into the squash halves and drizzle over the top a little but of honey, before putting it in the oven once more for just 15 minutes until the melted cheese smell is irresistible.
Again, you should rinse your vegetables, (unless you like them dirty), cut off any rough edges and lay them out on a baking tray. Roll the asparagus in olive oil and cover with crushed garlic, salt and pepper, before cooking at 400 degrees Celsius for 8 to 10 minutes until a little brown and tender. Add lemon juice to taste.
Cherry Bakewell Tart
For a no-fuss pastry base, mix 150 grams of plain flour with 75 grams of butter together in a bowl and work with your fingers into breadcrumbs. Slowly add 6 tablespoons of water until you can combine the ingredients together into a dough ball.
Next, roll out the dough, cut into it with a circular pastry cutter and mould them upwards like cups. Place the circles on a baking tray and put to one side.
For the sponge filling mix 50 grams of self-raising flour, 50 grams of caster sugar, and 50 grams of butter with one beaten egg.
Put one dollop of jam into each pastry cup, followed by 2 dollops of sponge filling, and place in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Finally mix together a little water and a lot of icing sugar and spread over the top of the cakes with a little cherry half as the crowning glory.
Copious amounts of alcohol
There are a whole host of saucy cocktails you can serve your loved one on Valentine’s Day, most of which contain a nice helping of chocolate sauce and cream, which can be utilized later, if my recipes worked their magic.
And of course…Sex on the Beach!