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Valentine’s Day Special

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These two dishes are perfectly healthy, flavoursome, delicious and contain many natural aphrodisiacs. As many of us are trying to eat less meat and more veg, these recipes are a perfect solution – still super delicious yet completely Vegan!

The main course is a fabulously fragrant creamy avocado pesto pasta made with fresh lots of pine nuts garlic (yes garlic!), lemon juice, salt and pepper served with a balsamic rocket salad. Loaded with zinc, which is essential for producing testosterone, pine nuts have reportedly provided men with sexual stamina since the Middle Ages. Basil and garlic improves blood flow, and avocado has a reputation as a silky aphrodisiac extending back to the Aztecs. Pomegranate seeds are believed to increase skin sensitivity and cinnamon is packed full of manganese which boosts energy levels. And of course chocolate is an absolute winner – it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the same hormone your body releases during sex. It only takes a couple of squares of dark chocolate to spark dopamine production in the brain.

So if you need to have a secret dinner plan up your sleeve to impress your Valentine, you’ve come to the right place. And the best part? You’ll be praised for your efforts – despite the fact that this supper is super easy to throw together (even at the very last minute), it’ll seem like it took ages!

Pomegranate Chocolate Pots

Ingredients:
  • 200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao solids)
  • 180ml coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 pots of chocolate coconut yogurt (the CoYo brand is a great one to use.)
  • 1 pack of fresh pomegranate seeds
Method:
  1. Break up the bars of chocolate and place in a small bowl.
  2. Measure the milk into a microwave-safe measuring cup. Put it in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for 10 seconds at a time stirring each time until it’s steaming hot. (If it’s bubbling, let it sit for a moment. Very hot milk with chocolate can yield a grainy texture).
  3. Add the chocolate pieces to the coconut milk all at once and stir it with a spatula until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the salt and add enough yogurt to make up 4 small pots.
  4. Keep it in the fridge until ready to eat; then remove from the fridge and scoop enough for two people into two pretty ramekins or jars.
  5. Scatter lots of pomegranate seeds on each pot and serve with a kiss! 🙂

Creamy Avo Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:
  • 200 grams uncooked pasta (I like using thick spaghetti)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1 ripe medium avocado (pitted)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • A sprinkle of dried chilli (to taste)
  • Lemon zest, for serving
For the salad:
  • A small bag of washed fresh rocket
  • A small bag of washed fresh spinach
  • A large drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A handful of mixed pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds
Method:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. For a lighter option, serve the avocado sauce with zucchini noodles.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a food processor, combine the garlic and basil and pulse to mince. Add the lemon juice, oil, avocado, and 1 tablespoon water and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add all of the avocado sauce and stir until combined. You can gently rewarm the pasta if it has cooled slightly, or simply serve it at room temperature.
  4. Top with pepper, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.
  5. For the side salad – toss the spinach and rocket together in a bowl with the olive oil, then scatter the sunflower and pumpkin seeds on top and lastly drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
  6. N.B. Because avocados oxidize quickly after you slice them, this sauce is best served immediately.

 

By Amelia Stewart of Cook First. For more of Amelia’s delightful recipes, please visit www.cookfirst.co.uk/samplerecipes