Is it Valentine’s Day already? Does anyone really care?
Because I care more about good food and grown folk music, Valentine’s is just a good excuse to develop an over the top menu and a babymaking playlist to celebrate.
I turned to the interwebs for inspiration. Yeah, I enjoyed Complex’s 25 best hip-hop love songs list, but I really wanted some serious, classic soul tunes with some dirty hip hop and r&b thrown in for good measure. Some pretty music that can turn not so pretty when the hips start to swing after a couple of champagnes (oops, my, did I say that?)
What to cook? I took my cue from Junior M.A.F.I.A’s ‘I need you tonight’. Settled. If you’re a mobster, I feed you lobster. A known aphrodisiac, supposedly the goddess Aphrodite’s love for sea creatures translated to the idea that shellfish like oysters and lobster made you more desirable and virile. Nice work, Aphrodite – what a great scheme to get unsuspecting men to buy their partners expensive seafood once a year.
Here’s my Mobster Lobster Spotify mix. It’s pretty lovely if I do say so myself.
- Chickpea battered mussels with tahini yogurt
- Cold, cooked Crayfish with saffron aioli
- Rocket, fig and prosciutto salad
Recipe: Chickpea battered mussels with tahini yogurt
Battered mussels – Ingredients
1 kg fresh mussels
1 cup chickpea (besan) flour
2 cups water
1 tsp each of ground cumin and coriander
Big pinch salt
Canola oil, for frying
Tahini yogurt – Ingredients
1/2 cup tahini
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup of continental parsley, chopped
Method – the whole thang
Make the batter by combining the chickpea flour, water, salt and spices. The mix should be quite thick and not runny. Adjust the mix with more or less water/flour if you need. Allow the mix to stand for 15 mins.
Make the tahini and yogurt sauce by vigorously mixing the tahini, yogurt and lemon until very smooth. Add herbs and salt, and set aside. Meanwhile, steam open the mussels in a pot with the lid on. You want to make sure the mussels aren’t cooked too long, but they should easily come away from the shell with a fork. When open and ready, remove all mussels from shells and drain the water off with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a pan/deep fryer to about 180 degrees, or when a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Add the mussels to the batter, remove and deep fry in batches.
Recipe: Cold, cooked crayfish with saffron aioli
Buy a good sized cooked cray from the local fishmonger and if he’s extra nice, get him to cut it in half. Job done.
Saffron aioli – Ingredients and method
2 egg yolks
Big pinch saffron
80ml vegetable oil
80ml olive oil
1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice
Salt, to taste
In food processor add the yolks, mustard, vinegar and salt. On a low setting slowly add the oil and watch while it emulsifies. As it thickens, add the pinch of saffron with a teaspoon of warm water. Keep adding oil until all gone or its thick and glossy.
Recipe: Rocket, fig and prosciutto salad
Ingredients and method
200 grams rocket
4 fresh figs, sliced
5 slices of prosciutto, thinly sliced
Dressing: 2 tbsps olive oil, 2 tbsps fig vinocotto (Maggie Beer’s is great) and 2 tbsps red wine vinegar.
Arrange salad in a bowl. Make dressing by combining all ingredients and shake well. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss through the salad.
So there you have it – of course serve with booze, something like a dry Prosecco or Spanish Cava would be nice.