Your recipe for a Valentine’s Day feast!

Your recipe for a Valentine’s Day feast!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and here at Bookends HQ we’ve been busy playing Cupid…

Whether you’re planning to celebrate with a romantic date night with that special someone, or a Galentine’s evening in with your best friends, we’ve pulled together all the ingredients you need for a Valentine’s Day feast!

For a wonderfully light starter, why not try Saliha Mahmood Ahmed’s Qubooli Rice Salad from her gorgeously vibrant cookbook Khazana. This dish is fresh, punchy, and packed full of Indo-Persian flavours!

Next up, we love Gino D’Acampo’s Farfalle with Clams, Mussels and Purple-Sprouting Broccoli from his latest cookbook, Gino’s Italian Adriatic Escape. The perfect dish to impress that special someone, or equally lovely as a tasty dinner for friends.

And if you’re after a vegetarian alternative that’s still packed full of flavours and Adriatic charm, Gino’s Aubergine and Caciocavallo Cheese Bake is a wonderfully simple dish that’s nonetheless sure to impress.

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day menu without a serious serving of chocolately goodness, and The Brownie from Great British Bake Off contestant Liam CharlesLiam Charles Cheeky Treats delivers in a big way. The ultimate snack for a Valentine’s girls’ night in, or a sumptuous dessert to top off your romantic dinner, these brownies are sure to be a winner!

Take a taste of Italy after this week's Bake Off

Take a taste of Italy after this week's Bake Off

Feeling inspired by this week’s Bake Off? Escape to Italy and cook up a storm in the kitchen with some recipes from Gino D’Acampo and Rachel Roddy before curling up with Prue Leith’s book The Prodigal Daughter

Wondered why Prue and Paul have chosen Italian theme for this week’s episode? Not only is Italy a nation of foodies, but it provides the cultural backdrop for Prue’s beloved Angelotti family from her Food of Love trilogy. In this second book in the series, we see Angelica moving away from the family Italian food business.

 

The Prodigal Daughter by Prue Leith:

It is 1968. Angelica Angelotti has grown up in the Italian food business started by her English mother and Italian father. Now she is using her cooking talent to strike out on her own, moving to Paris to go to culinary school. There, among the excitement and wild emotion of the student barricades, she falls in love with her charismatic but unreliable cousin Mario – a manic depressive ten years older than her whom her mother had sacked from their restaurant.

Navigating a blossoming career, from the Savoy hotel pastry kitchen to the world of food writing and presenting, alongside an increasingly toxic relationship, eventually proves impossible. Angelica has to leave Mario, and makes the decision to move back to the family home in Gloucestershire to help her other cousin Silvano with a new branch of the family business – reopening the local pub, the Frampton Arms, as a restaurant. As they get to know each other better, Angelica realises her mistake: she chose the wrong brother.

But when Mario reappears, determined to win her back, and as other jealous relatives plot the downfall of the Frampton Arms, will Angelica be able to hold on to her business and the man she’s come to love?

ZABAIONE WITH LIMONCELLO & STRAWBERRIES

(ZABAIONE AL LIMONCELLO CON FRAGOLE)

Recipe extracted from Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape by Gino D’Acampo

Zabaione is an old Venetian dessert traditionally made with Marsala wine (or sometimes vin santo), but here I’ve given it a southern Italian twist by using limoncello – a lemon-flavoured liqueur that is produced mainly in Campania. It’s made from Amalfi lemons, which are famous for their wonderful sweet flavour and fragrance and exceptionally large size. Raspberries are equally delicious with this dessert.

Serves 6

200g ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
140ml limoncello (lemon-flavoured liqueur)
80g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus extra for decoration
120ml double cream

METHOD

  1. Put the strawberries in a medium bowl with 4 tablespoons of the limoncello and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl (preferably stainless steel) with the lemon zest and remaining sugar. Whisk using a balloon whisk until pale and creamy.
  3. Set the bowl over a pan of very gently simmering water. The base of the bowl should not touch the water. Add the remaining limoncello and whisk constantly until the mixture foams and thickens. This should take about 5 minutes; remember, the mixture will thicken further as it cools.
  4. Fill a slightly larger bowl with iced water and set the bowl with the zabaione mixture inside it. Leave to cool completely, stirring occasionally (it should take about 25 minutes).
  5. Put the cream in a medium bowl and whip until thick enough to form peaks. Gently fold a quarter of the cream into the cooled zabaione, then the remainder.
  6. To serve, divide the strawberries and their juices among 6 dessert glasses and top with a large dollop of zabaione. Sprinkle over some grated lemon zest. Serve immediately

 

From the award-winning weekly Guardian Cook columnist and winner of the André Simon and Guild of Food Writers’ Awards comes an Italian food book of sumptuous recipes, flavours and stories from Rachel Roddy’s Two Kitchens in Sicily and Rome.

‘This is a recipe book that reflects the way I cook and eat: uncomplicated,  direct and adaptable Italian family food that reflects the season. The  two kitchens of the title are my kitchens in Rome and Sicily. In a  sense, though, we could have called the book “many kitchens” as I invite you to make these recipes your own.’

For the last twelve years, food-writer, cook and photographer Rachel Roddy has immersed herself in the culture of Roman cooking, but  it was the flavours of the south that she and her Sicilian partner, Vincenzo, often craved. Eventually the chance arose to spend more time at his old family house in south-east Sicily, where Rachel embraced the country’s traditional recipes and the stories behind them. In Two Kitchens she celebrates the food and flavours of Rome and Sicily and shares over 120 of these simple, everyday dishes from her two distant but connected kitchens. From tomato and salted ricotta salad, caponata  and baked Sicilian pasta to lemon crumble, honeyed peaches and almond and chocolate cake, they are the authentic Italian recipes that you will want to cook again and again until you’ve made them your own.

Try out Rachel Roddy’s recipe of delicious almond and chocolate cake here