Tuesday 12 December 2017

Heart melters

cook your loved one this simple but sexy italian menu and they are sure to be impressed

St Valentine's Day is next week and we need to start thinking about our loved one -- or maybe our future loved one. Whether you're in the first few weeks of a promising relationship or celebrating a double-digit anniversary, these recipes are perfect for the occasion. I felt that an Italian-style Valentine's menu would suit, so I have shared three of my favourite recipes with you to celebrate the perfect evening.

1>Crostini with Proscuitto and chorizo

I've always thought that a crostini was the same as bruschetta, but it's not. Bruschetta is made with sourdough, and crostini with white bread.

Serves 2


>2 cloves of garlic

>1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

>4 slices of ciabatta bread, cut into ½ inch slices

>50g Parmesan cheese, grated

>4 slices chorizo sausage

>4 slices proscuitto ham

>A few leaves of rocket


>Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.

>Mince the garlic finely and add to the olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.

>Brush bread with garlic-infused olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. >Remove from the oven, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese begins to turn golden.

>Top with 1 slice of chorizo, proscuitto and a rocket leaf.

>Drizzle a few drops of olive oil on top.

2>Wild mushroom pasta

This Italian pasta dish is easy to prepare and using wild mushrooms makes all the difference.

Serves 2-4


>5 tbsp butter

>350g mixed fresh wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced lengthways

>1 clove of garlic, minced

>½ tsp salt and pepper

>250g dried fettuccine, linguine or tagliatelle pasta

>2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

>2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

>1½ tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest

>½ tsp fresh lemon juice

>Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling


>Heat 3 tbsp butter in a heavy skillet over a moderately high heat. Sauté the fresh mushrooms with the garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated and the mushrooms are nicely browned. This takes about 5-7 minutes.

>Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water for about 7 minutes. >Ladle out and reserve 3 tbsp of the pasta cooking water.

>Drain the pasta and add it to mushrooms in skillet.

>Add the remaining butter and cook over a moderately high heat, tossing and adding the pasta-cooking liquid.

>Add chives, parsley, lemon zest, and juice, then toss well.

>Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese on top.


This lovely dessert is an Italian favourite and while the origins of the dish are not clear, the direct translation of its name aptly means 'pick-me-up'.

Serves 8


>475ml boiling hot water

>3 tbsp instant espresso powder or coffee

>5 tbsp sugar, divided

>3 tbsp Tia Maria

>4 egg yolks

>2 tbsp dry Marsala wine

>450g mascarpone

>475ml chilled heavy cream

>36 Italian ladyfingers

>Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting


>Stir together the hot water, espresso powder, 1 tbsp sugar and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved. Set aside and let cool.

>Beat egg yolks, Marsala and remaining sugar in a metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, using a whisk or handheld electric mixer, until it has doubled in volume. This takes about 5-8 minutes.

>Remove bowl from heat. Combine mixture with the mascarpone.

>Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.

>Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

>Dip both sides of each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, then line the base of a 13x9x3 inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary.

>Spread with half of the mascarpone filling.

>Dip the remaining ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over the top.

>Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa. >Chill, covered, for at least six hours before dusting with more cocoa powder and serving.

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