Say "I love you" with these sensual Valentine's Day recipes

Abigale Subdhan / The Social
Get ready for romance with Valentine's Day recipes that will stimulate more than just your appetite. Food writer, Emanuela Fernandes, uses aprodisiacs in the below recipes. 

FIGS WITH HONEY POMEGRANATE REDUCTION AND FLEUR DE SEL

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Ingredients
  • 10 figs, halved
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • A splash of brandy
  • 10 chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 small chilli pepper
  • Fleur de sel

Method
  1. Cut your figs in halves and place them fleshy side up on a cookie sheet.
  2. In a small pot combine your honey, pomegranate molasses, and brandy and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to simmer, throw in the chili pepper (whole). Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Take out the pepper and throw in your chopped hazelnuts. Once incorporated, turn off the heat and drizzle the reduction over your figs. Make sure that each fig is topped with some hazelnuts.
  3. Preheat your oven to F400 and bake for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place them in individual serving plates and sprinkle with some Fleur de Sel and leftover honey and brandy reduction, drizzle some more over your plated figs.


PERSIAN POMEGRANATE CHICKEN STEW

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Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut in cubes
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnishing

Method
  1. Toast your walnuts in a small pan for about 8 minutes on a low heat. Once toasted, blend them until they resemble coarse salt.
  2. In a large pot, sauté your cubed chicken in some olive oil. You may need to do it in few batches so you don't overcrowd the pot and the browning happens.
  3. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  4. Add your stock and once it boils, reduce to simmer.
  5. Add honey, pomegranate molasses, spices and walnuts. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve right away or the next day.

DATE AND OLIVE TAPENADE

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Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 Green olives, pitted
  • 12 pitted dates
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 12 slices baguette
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • Red chilli pepper for garnish

Method
  1. In a food processor, combine the olives, dates, basil, balsamic and garlic and pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Season with salt and pepper. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil until the tapenade has a smooth, spreadable consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the slices of baguette lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Assemble: Spread a layer of tapenade on the crostinis. Top with crumbled goat’s cheese and chillies.


RED LENTIL SOUP WITH SAFFRON

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Ingredients
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Red wine vinegar to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 pinches of saffron threads

Method
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, soften the vegetables with the cumin and two pinches of saffron in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. In a blender, purée until smooth. Add more broth if necessary. Add the parsley. Adjust the seasoning. Drizzle each serving with vinegar and oil and top with few saffron threads for garnish.
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