Following on from last week’s post, ‘Top Seven Most Romantic Dates’, we thought it useful to provide all the love birds out there with some hot tips for Valentine’s Day cocktails and candlelit dinner recipes. Read on for our simple, summery, saucy, and in-season ‘tit bits’ of delectable romantic delights!
Homemade Raspberry Lemonade with Vodka & Sparkling Wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup of water
¾ cup raspberries; pureed and pushed through a fine mesh sieve; plus more whole berries for garnish if desired
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-6 cups cold water (this will vary depending on your taste)
1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
2. Measure 3/4 of fresh raspberries and puree them in your blender or food processor.
3. Push the raspberry puree through a fine mesh sieve to separate the seeds from the pulp.
4. Once the simple syrup has cooled, combine the raspberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice in a large pitcher.
5. Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.
Splash a nip of vodka into a high ball glass and add the raspberry lemonade. Top with sparkling wine and decorate with fresh raspberries threaded on a toothpick. Fun, striped straws can be bought from many delis, gift and ‘kitchen-y’ shops.
Raspberry Lemonade recipe courtesy of My Baking Addition.
A Simple Glass of Sparkling
If homemade lemonade is not feasible, you can’t go wrong with a quality glass of sparkling wine garnished with a strawberry cut out in the shape of a love heart…
Cherry & Brie Tartlets
Now this is not a My Kitchen Rules competition, so you don’t have to make your puff pastry from scratch!
1 pkg (450g) puff pastry
115g triple cream Brie, cubed
1-2 cups cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut each piece of pastry into sixteen 5cm squares. Fit into tartlet or mini muffin pans. Top each with a piece of Brie, a couple cherry halves, and about 1/4 tsp chili sauce.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the filling is bubbly. Let cool slightly, but serve warm.
Makes 32 pieces (plenty for leftovers the next day, or simply reduce the ingredients)
*Photo courtesy of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers and Babble.com
Scallop & Raspberry Salad
Carry the raspberry theme through to the entree, with this light and fresh grilled scallop salad that is quick and super easy to make.
1 bag spring mix salad
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 mango, cut in slivers
1 hass avocado, cut in slices
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Prepare salad by adding spring mix salad to a large bowl. Top with raspberries, mango, avocado and red onion.
Preheat a large skillet / heavy based pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper scallops and add to hot pan. Brown on each side and place on top of salad.
Make the dressing by adding the honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice to a mixing bowl. Mix well to combine. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve (you could also combine this with the main course pizza below and serve together).
Recipe and image courtesy of babble.com
Okay, this original heart shaped pizza is a US recipe and calls for hand-made pizza dough. I love home-made dough but that’s a lot of kneading when we’re in the middle of a heat wave. Plus not everyone has time. Feel free to google simple pizza dough recipes if you want to be a purist, or just buy fresh pizza bases and cut in the shape of a heart. Add your tomato paste or jar of pizza sauce, onions, herbs, and whatever toppings take your fancy. Place in a moderate 180C oven and cook until the mozzarella cheese (or boccocini or parmesan) goes brown. Voila!
Tropical Daiquiri Ice-Blocks
Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light – Strawberry Daiquiri
Pineapple juice (or your favorite tropical flavour – guava or mango would all be good)
Add equal parts of daiquiri and fruit juice to a bowl and stir to combine.
Pour into popsicle mold and add popsicle stick.
Place in freezer until fully frozen.
Petit Fours and Night Cap
There are no steadfast rules here. If you are time poor or not capable of eating so many courses you could just skip the ice-blocks and head straight to the petit fours and creamy night cap cocktail.
Bailey’s Cool Raspberry
60ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
Place 4-5 raspberries at the bottom of a rocks glass and lightly muddle them.
Top with crushed ice.
Add Baileys Irish Cream.
Garnish with three speared raspberries.
Recipe courtesy of Blisstree, photo courtesy of Bailey’s.
Chocolate Dipped or Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
300g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped (or white or milk chocolate)
500g strawberries, washed, dried
170g cream cheese beaten till fluffy
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar
Place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir occasionally with a metal spoon until chocolate melts.
For heart shaped chocolate dipped strawberries, cut a triangle from the top of the strawberry to create a ‘love heart’ shape, dip that end into the chocolate (using a toothpick is a good idea), then pipe cream on top (optional).
Alternatively, slice the bottom tip off a strawberry (preferably medium to large size) so it stands upright on a plate and hollow the centre of the strawberry using a small sharp knife. Pipe cheesecake mixture inside (if you don’t have a piping bag, place mixture inside a zip lock bag and snip one end). Dip the tips in chocolate (optional). Can be served immediately or chilled, covered in the fridge, for up to two hours.
Heart shaped strawberry recipe courtesy of Taste.com / Cheesecake stuffed strawberry recipe courtesy of Food.com
We would love to receive your feedback on the recipes in the comments box below… Eat Drink Love, From the Flowers for Everyone florist crew.