There’s no aphrodisiac like….eton mess?

According to greek mythology Aphrodite rose from a foaming sea in adult form atop a shell. This folkloric connection is probably as good as it gets for those hoping that oysters are supposed to deliver some magical qualities to help their libido.

In fact there appears to be little assistance for those Valentines seeking the perfect aphrodisiac to woo their lovers. There are no end of ‘Top 10’ lists that dominate a Google search on the topic. Common items that are supposed to work wonders include: Chocolate, Chillis, Asparagus, Oysters and Avocados.

The reasons for their inclusions are variously: increasing blood flow throughout the body; being packed with antioxidants and beneficial minerals; resulting in spikes of dopamine – the pleasure chemical; and the experience of a food’s sensual texture and aroma.

Whether or not these claims have any direct impact on our bedroom performance doesn’t really matter. Nor does it really matter that St Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of Spring (…won’t anyone think of the Southern Hemisphere when designing these festivals?).

Nor does it matter that Feb 14th might have been uneventful before Chaucer’s few lines of observational medieval verse supposedly set the ball rolling on this amorous occasion:

For this was on St Valentines Day
When every bird cometh there to choose his mate

Despite all hype, any reason to spend more time with your loved one(s) and share a good meal together is worthwhile. ……but if anyone knows how to grow cacao in Tassie, we’d be all ears


Beans with Tomatoes

A perfect antidote to a Tassie cold front, this dish keeps great company with barbecued meats and slow roasts but also holds it own alone with the addition of a poached egg and some toasted bread…serves 4

  • a glug of oil 1 onion, finely chopped
  • a clove or two of garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g tomatoes or 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 500g beans, topped, tailed and cut into 4-5cm lengths
  • about 1 cup total of stock & red wine
  • sea salt (and/or capers/anchovy) & black pepper

Step 1: Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion and sweat for 10 min until soft.

Step 2: Add garlic and cook gently for another minute or so

Step 3: Add tomatoes, stir well. Add the beans and stock. Bring mixture to a a gentle simmer.

Step 4: Season with salt & pepper or if you want some bursts of intense flavour to give textural richness to the dish – reduce salt and add some capers or chopped anchovy instead.

Step 5: Reduce heat, part cover the pan and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring regularly. Ready to serve when beans are tender and liquid has reduced to your liking.