Showing posts with label Romantic food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romantic food. Show all posts

Friday, 14 February 2014

Tomato tart fine for Valentines

The French used to call tomatoes 'pommes d'amour', love apples, back in the 16th century. The pope thought that these juicy red globes were the devil's fruit. As far as aphrodisiac foods go, I'd rather a tomato than anything sweet.
This week I visited Hampton Court's newly discovered 18th century chocolate kitchen, previously used as store rooms. Chocolatier Thomas Rosier and his wife Grace (who was a celebrity chef of the time with her own fashionable chocolate cafés), lived at the court and was the only servant permitted to serve the king directly. Hampton Court is worth a visit, the red coated attendants are all historians, there are also hourly recreations with ghostly mistresses sweeping through the rooms bidding good day to tourists. We met Henry VIII who implored us to tell Katherine Parr the advantages of marrying him. She, of course, was the only wife of six to survive. I mentioned Valentine's Day coming up, that he could give a love token to Katherine. But Henry said Valentine's Day didn't exist in his time. Prior to Chaucer in the 14th century, there was no connection between the martyr Saint Valentine and romantic love, but Ophelia mentioned Valentine's Day in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

I do love a heart shape, and food writer Emma Marsden has just published an entire cookbook of heart shaped foods 'Heart on a plate'.  Another good cookbook for Valentines is Helen Graves book 'How to cook your date into bed' in which yours truly has a guest recipe, a post-shag cocktail, my mustardy Bloody Mary.

Here is my simple recipe, Tomato tart fine,  for Valentines day. Again the whole thing is done and dusted within half an hour, if you buy ready-made puff pastry in a sheet.

Serves 2

1 sheet ready-made puff pastry, cut into a large heart
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt
4 tablespoons of olive oil
5 tomatoes, thinly sliced (or more cherry tomatoes, cut in half)
1 tbsp Pink peppercorns (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200cº.
Unfurl your pastry sheet and cut out the largest heart shape that you can from the sheet.
Mince a clove of garlic with some sea salt, using the flat of your knife to press down. The salt will help to purée the garlic.
Mix this minced clove and salt with the olive oil. Drizzle half over the puff pastry heart.
Lay down the tomatoes all over the heart, leaving a border of 1 cm around the edge.
Pour over the rest of the olive oil/garlic mix. Brush it particularly on the edges.
Scatter some pink peppercorns over the tomatoes and some more sea salt.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Serve with a glass of pink champagne.

love from msmarmitelover xxx
Beautiful white china heart plate by Sophie Conran at Portmeirion £32

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cheesy Valentine's recipe

Soft, creamy and grassy Neufchatel cheese from Haute Normandie 
This is hardly a recipe, it's so simple. But it's a great starter for a romantic meal, something that even non-cooking men (or women) can do. Serve it with a green salad and it becomes a main dish.
Neufchatel* cheese in it's classic heart shape is one of France's oldest cheeses.  It's a Camembert-like soft cheese from Normandy designed to woo, legend has it, the British soldiers during the 100 year war.

Heart to heart recipe

1 Neufchatel cheese heart
1 jar of artichoke hearts in oil (artichokes are reputed to be an aphrodisiac)
1/2 clove of garlic
1/4 glass of white wine

For dipping:
Sour dough, cut into fingers
Pitta bread, cut into strips
or celery heart sticks....
Carrot batons
Red pepper strips

Slash an opening in the middle of the heart and stick a slither of garlic and the white wine in the cheese.
Place it in a baking dish and surround by the artichoke hearts.
Place it in a medium oven for 5 to 10 minutes or so.
Serve with the suggestions above for dipping into the creamy melted interior of the cheese. The artichoke hearts also contrast nicely with the cheese. Serve with a white wine such as a Riesling, perhaps a Gerwurtraminer.
For dessert why don't you make Coeur à la crème? Another easy recipe.

*(Waitrose stocks these I believe.)