SAINT VALENTINE was an Italian bishop, San Valentino, a third century Roman Saint commemorated on February 14.
Since the Middle Ages he has been associated with a tradition of love and marriage, but most likely the association of love is mostly fictional.
So at The Little Geranium in La Cala we are celebrating a week of love (running from today to February 17) and this year I have focused on the Italian theme.
I have recreated some classic Italian dishes from the Middle Ages, that Saint Valentino may have enjoyed himself, but I’ve given them a modern twist!
There are many aphrodisiac foods that stimulate parts of the brain that make us feel …well, more sexy!
Try some with your loved one and test them out.
There is a whole load of evidence that makes a biological and believable association between some foods, and sex drive.
Here are my top 10 aphrodisiac foods:
1. Shellfish, especially scallops, oysters and prawns, contain zinc – essential for production of testosterone
2. Chillies release endorphins and adrenalin
3. Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine which stimulates excitement
4. Red wine to get your blood pumping!
5. Honey, liquid-gold for sexual vigour
6. Asparagus, high in potassium, which is linked to hormone production
7. Strawberries, loaded with Vitamin C, essential for production of sex hormones
8. Figs, high in amino acids which boost sexual stamina
9. Bananas, rich in Bromelain linked to increasing sex drive
10. Vanilla, smells sexy and has a calming effect So using some of those ingredients over the next two weeks I am going to share with you some fabulously romantic recipes.
The first of those is a simple, but delicious dish, Scallop and Prawn Marinara, which originates from Naples.
It is made principally from tomatoes and garlic, olives, red wine and herbs. I take all these rustic flavours and cooked them together, slowly.
I then blend the sauce to a fine tomato sauce, it is packed full of flavour. The fish I am using are hand dived scallops and large prawns, but you could use anything you fancy including mussels, clams, sea bass or salmon.
In this recipe I make the plate of scallops and prawns with the pasta look like a piece of art on a beautiful plate. I drizzle with a little truffle oil at the end.
Scallop & Prawn Marinara
Ingredients for two (as a starter, double the quantity for a main course).
• For Pasta
1 packet fresh linguine pasta 200ml olive oil approx. 2 teaspoons of truffle oil 50g of unsalted butter
• For the Sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 red onion, chopped 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced A few leaves of fresh basil to finish 1 tablespoon green olives, stone removed 1 can chopped tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground thyme 1 small glass of red wine Juice of ½ lemon Maldon salt to season
• For the fish
4 King Scallops 4 King Prawns Olive oil Maldon salt Juice of ½ lemon
- Fill a large saucepan with lightly salted water with a little olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about three minutes. Drain well in a colander in the sink and cool with cold running water.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a thick bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about three minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and then add the tomato paste, oregano, olives and thyme. Pour in the red wine and add the lemon juice. Season to taste. Simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Now, in a hot frying pan add in a little olive oil, fry the prawns and the scallops without moving them allow them to seal and colour on one side, (one minute) season well and squeeze the lemon juice over.
- Now flip them over and cook the other side for one minute. Set aside and rest.
- Take the sauce off the heat and whizz it up in your food processor, or use an electric hand blender, until absolutely smooth and silky. Keep the sauce warm in a saucepan.
- In a clean saucepan heat up the butter until warm, and add a little olive oil so that it doesn’t burn. Drop in the pasta and with a wooden spoon, turn it around so that it heats up fully. Add the tomato sauce until the pasta is fully coated. Season.
- Finally put the cooked fish in a bowl, and using a fork, make a neat little pile of pasta with the fish served around it. Drizzle with truffle oil and dress with basil leaves and serve.