For the lifestyle you want

Fancy cooking up a bit of food porn this Valentine’s? Here’s how…

They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, during lockdown we’ve all been feeling the love through our bellies, so why stop now?

Here are some great recipes to get your special person in the mood, but in reality, they are more likely to get them in the mood for more eating because no-one feels like getting jiggy on a full stomach, do they?

So now I’ve killed the sex vibe, you may as well don your pinny and indulge your inner Master or Mistress chef.

Sweetheart Biscuits

Baking time 18 mins, serves 30

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • A little Trex, for greasing
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2-3 drops vanilla extract
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g Trex, at room temperature
  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g polenta or semolina

To decorate

  • 250g icing sugar
  • Pink food colouring

Method

  • Position the oven shelves towards the top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease two baking trays with a little Trex.
  • Beat the egg, vanilla extract and sugar together using a wooden spoon.
  • Put the Trex into a mixing bowl with 150g (6oz) flour and the salt. Beat together with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the egg and sugar mixture. Add the remaining flour and polenta or semolina and mix together to make a smooth dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work top and roll out with a floured rolling pin until 5mm (¼ in) thick. Use 2 or 3 different-sized heart-shaped cutters to stamp into biscuits. Transfer to the prepared baking trays.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Mix 75g (3oz) icing sugar with a little water to make a stiff icing. Pipe carefully around the edge of the biscuits using a small icing bag fitted with a fine plain icing tube. Leave to set. Mix the remaining icing sugar with a little water and 1-2 drops of pink colouring to give a pale pink icing. Spread over the biscuits one at a time, so that it reaches the piped edges. Leave until set.

Recipe by Trex

Tuscan Style Tomato and Bean Bruschetta

15 mins cooking, serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 x 400g can Napolina Cannellini Beans, drained
  • 1 x 390g carton Napolina Chopped Tomatoes
  • 40g chopped Napolina Olives
  • 6 tablespoons Napolina Olive Oil
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 fresh rustic loaf, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 120g goats cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the grill. Chop 40g of olives. Thinly slice 5 fresh basil leaves. Peel and crush 2 garlic cloves.
  • Open 1 carton of chopped tomatoes and add to a mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 drained can of cannellini beans and the chopped olives.
  • Pour in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, add the basil, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
  • Cut a fresh rustic loaf into 1cm thick slices and place on a baking tray.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and grill for 1 minute until golden. Top with goats cheese.
  • Add the bean mixture and serve immediately.

Recipe by Napolina

Pasta Puttanesca        

30 mins cooking, serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 x 400g jar of Napolina Chopped Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Napolina Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and chopped 
  • 50g anchovies, drained
  • 175g Black Olives, chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Napolina Double Concentrate Tomato Purée
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 225g – 275g Napolina Regular, Quick Cook or Bronze Die Spaghetti
  • Chopped fresh basil

Method

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan. 
  • Add the garlic, chilli and cook until the garlic is pale golden in colour. 
  • Add anchovies, olives, capers,  chopped tomatoes with garlic, tomato purée and black pepper. 
  • Simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until reduced to a thick sauce. 
  • While the sauce is cooking, fill a large saucepan with lightly salted, boiling water and cook the spaghetti until al dente. 
  • Drain the spaghetti and return to the saucepan. 
  • Add the sauce, toss well and serve with freshly chopped basil.

Recipe by Napolina

Potato Croquettes

1 hour prep, 20 mins cooking, serves 14

Ingredients

  • 3 litres Crisp ‘n Dry (or enough for your deep-fat fryer)
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks (or leftover mashed potatoes)
  • Sea salt
  • Good pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 100g cooked ham, finely chopped (this could be swapped for chorizo)
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (or your favourite cheese!)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 120g panko breadcrumbs

To serve

  • 4 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 red chilli, very finely chopped
  • Few fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Method

  • Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender then drain and mash. Season with a generous pinch of salt and nutmeg. Alternatively, if using leftover mashed potato, season it with nutmeg and stir in, along with a tablespoon of boiling water to loosen slightly.
  • Fry the spring onions in a teaspoonful of Crisp ‘n Dry then add to the potato and stir in. Leave for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Stir in the ham and cheese.
  • Divide the potato mixture into about 14 pieces and form into short cylinder shapes with clean hands. Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Place the beaten egg into a shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs into another.
  • Heat the oil in your deep fryer set to 170 °C.
  • Dip the croquettes into the egg then roll in the crumbs. They will be quite soft but don’t worry if they’re not perfectly shaped.
  • Place a few croquettes at a time into the fryer basket and carefully lower into the oil. Fry for 4-5 minutes until crunchy and golden all over then drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest.
  • Put the mayonnaise into a small bowl and scatter over the chopped chilli and parsley. Serve with the croquettes. Great for a starter or snack with some chopped salad, or as part of a buffet.

Recipe by Crisp ‘n Dry

Cheddar Mac and Cheese

35 mins cooking, serves 8

Ingredients

  • 500g Macaroni
  • 850ml Whole Milk
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 50g Trex
  • 60g Plain flour
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 80g Brie, diced
  • 125g Ball mozzarella, diced
  • 70g Cheddar, grated
  • 30g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 30g Breadcrumbs
  • Optional: add 80g White truffle paste to add something special

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Grease a baking dish.
  • Melt the Trex in a large pan and grate the garlic cloves, cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add the flour and stir until golden and thickened.
  • Cook the pasta in the salted water as per packet instructions and drain completely.
  • Step 5
    Add the cheeses to the sauce and stir until melted. (Where using the optional truffle oil, this is where to add it). Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir before putting it in the baking dish.
  • Step 6
    Melt the Trex in a small pan with a pinch of salt. Add the breadcrumbs to the butter and spread a layer over the mac and cheese before baking of 20 minutes. Make sure that the cheese is bubbling once taken from the oven. (Drizzle with truffle where desired) and garnish with the thyme leaves. Serve hot.

Recipe by Trex

Billy and Jack’s Baked Double Chocolate Doughnuts

40 mins baking time, serves 6

Ingredients

  • 30 ml U:Me Coconut Oil Blend, extra for greasing
  • 140g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Large pinch sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 80ml milk
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 25g butter, cut into pieces
  • 110ml double cream
  • 1/2 tbsp black treacle

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200c/180c Fan. Grease a doughnut pan with U:Me Coconut Oil Blend.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the egg with sugar until light and fluffy then add in the milk, sour cream, oil, vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. 
  • Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until you have a thick batter, then fold in the chocolate chips. Carefully spoon into the doughnut holes leaving a centimetre at the top to allow them to rise.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the doughnuts comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a wire rack, do not glaze until they are completely cool.
  • For the glaze, add all the ingredients to the pan and over a medium heat bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let the mixture bubble away for 2-3 mins until it is a rich toffee colour, stirring occasionally. 
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. You can then either drizzle or dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze then place them on a cooling rack to set.

Recipe by U:ME

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Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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