Food for the Fanciable

You often hear the phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, (and lots of women too) and why wouldn’t it be? You can show how nurturing and dependable you are, especially if you make your loved one a homemade meal. So here are a few simple recipes, which you can mix and match to make the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner.
(Disclaimer: my Italian roots seem to have made this list a bit biased, I guarantee all these dishes are great though!)

Starter:

Crackers:

A box of crackers (e.g Ritz crackers are a good shape and size);

Toppings (try and gauge what your date might like/dislike and pick two or three types to be safe):
smoked salmon and cream cheese;

philadelphia, olives and dried tomatoes;

honey mustard, turkey ham and fruit preserve;

cheddar cheese and sliced pear

 

Bruschette:
Nice loaf of white bread;

Fresh tomatoes;

Olive oil;

Basil leaves (optional);

One garlic clove;

 

Chop the tomatoes to 1cm3, cut the bread in slices and rub the garlic clove over each side, when guest has arrived bake in the oven until golden brown. Drizzle olive oil over the bread (not too much) and add the tomatoes on top, serve warm. Add basil leaves to decorate if you want.

Additionally you can change the topics however you want, for example try adding slices of mozzarella cheese.

 

Melon and prosciutto:

Really easy but looks fancy! Buy thinly sliced prosciutto (italian ham) and drape over melon slices.

 

Main:

 

Lasagna (serves 4, so you can have the leftovers!):
What you need:

2 cans of chopped tomatoes;

100ml water;

1 onion;

500g minced beef (or veg of your choice, eg courgettes, broccoli, peas);

1 mozzarella cheese;

parmesan cheese (grated) – optional but adds flavour;

lasagna sheets (fresh ones are best, but boxed ones are cheaper);
500ml milk;

50g all purpose flour;

50g butter;

nutmeg;

italian herbs and crushed chillies,

2 tablespoons olive oil;

salt and pepper to taste;

sugar

 

Preheat the oven at 180°C.

Dice the onions and add to the pan with the olive oil, cook until golden brown. Add the minced beef and cook thoroughly. When the meat has started to brown, add the chopped tomatoes and water. Add a pinch of sugar. Let it simmer at a medium heat until most of the water has evaporated. Flavour with the italian herbs, salt, pepper and some crushed chillies to taste.

In a separate pan melt the butter, once melted add the flour while mixing, keep the fire at a low-medium heat. Once combined add the milk a little at a time, making sure to mix well before adding more milk. Add a pinch of salt and some grated nutmeg to taste. Keep mixing until it becomes creamy. This sauce called “besciamella” burns easily so be careful.
Make the lasagna by layering them in this order: pasta sheets, besciamella, tomato sauce, cheese; in as many layers as they fit in a oven proof dish (about 23×18 cm). Cover with tin foil and cook at the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, uncover and cook for a further 10-20 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted. Serve hot.

 

 

Dessert:

Strawberries dipped in chocolate! Do I need to say more?
Buy toppings and melt different kinds of chocolate to have a chocolate fondue.

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