Love of Food... Food of Love
On Valentines Day, why not experiment with a few of the irresistibly romantic ingredients and recipes that are, for various reasons, associated with love. Many foods around the world have been linked to love, but the simple truth is that any food can be an aphrodisiac as long as you really love to eat it.
Some foods have a mythological association with love, such as Apples which were a symbol of love in Greek mythology, or Artichokes which are seen as an incarnation of the young nymph Cinara and so thought of as a symbol of the female sex. Or what about Asparagus.... 'They push from the earth like phalluses, so a man who eats many asparagus...' enough said!
Some might be simply because of the emotional feelings that the food evokes. It might be because a certain food was served at a memorable occasion, with romantic lights and music.
It can also be linked to the chemistry of the food. Some foods may actually contain trace amounts of chemicals and hormones (like serotonin) that are produced by our brain when we fall in love or feel happy. This is true of both chocolate and chilli.
Some other interesting associations include...
Lemons are a symbol of eternal love and faithfulness in marriage because a lemon tree expends so much energy to produce its fruit and some species flower numerous times per year.
Foods containing grans such as pasta and bread are associated with Ceres, who was the Goddess of agriculture and fertility.
Saffron which is the queen of female aphrodisiacs associated with female homosexuality in part because it is named after Sappho, the ancient Greek poet who was born on the island of Lesbos. In general it is considered a female stimulant and was believed to strengthen the uterus.
And of course Wine... the ultimate love potion, in fact the word 'vino' is a direct descendant of Venus, Goddess of Love!
However you choose to celebrate Valentines Day, why not prepare something special for dinner served with a glass of your favourite vino - raise your glass and HERE'S TO LOVE XX
PRAWN & AVOCADO CHILLI SALAD
Prep time 10 minutes
350g large cooked ready to eat prawns
large handful basil leaves
120g bag baby green salad leaf
Lincolnshire Drizzle Sweet Chilli Dressing
lime wedges, to serve
Up to 1 hr before serving, peel and stone the avocados, then cut into thick slices and put in a large bowl with a tbsp of the sweet chilli dressing and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix lightly to coat all the slices (this prevents them turning brown).
Chop the basil and add to the bowl along with the prawns. Toss everything together lightly.
Scatter the baby green leaves over a platter, then spoon the prawns, avocado and basil mix over. Drizzle with a little more chilli dressing and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
AVOCADO & SMOKED SALMON STACK
· cucumber 1, halved, seeded and finely diced
· 4tbsp Lemon Dressing
· avocado 2 ripe but firm, peeled, stoned and finely chopped
· lemon 1, zested and juiced
· chives chopped to make 2 tbsp
· tomatoes 2, seeded and finely chopped
· capers 2 tbsp, rinsed
· smoked salmon 200g
Toss the cucumber with 1 tsp of Lemon Dressing. In a separate bowl, gently fold the avocado with ½ the lemon juice, 1 tbsp chives and season.
Spoon 1/6 of the cucumber mix onto a plate in a chef’s ring approximately 8cm, and fill in the circle, making a layer of cucumber. Top with 1/6 of the avocado mix, and spread out to the sides of the ring. Drizzle with a little more Lemon Dressing
Add a layer of smoked salmon, covering all the avocado, then lift off the ring to leave a three tiered stack.
Repeat with the remaining mix on 5 more plates. Spoon over the rest of the dressing and garnish with 2 large cooked prawns and some salad leaves of your choice.
Or keep it simple with a wholesome and delicious bowl of spaghetti coated in our Vegan Garlic Pesto and topped with walnuts for extra crunch.