As if Monday's weren't hard enough, this Monday has the added bonus of toting the date 'February 14' this year. And while plenty of restaurants will be doing Valentines Day specials, why not try making something yourself?
Sri Lankan Love Cake
After spending Christmast travelling around Sri Lanka, I was introduced to their version of love cake. Sweet, sticky and spicy, it's a hangover from the Portuguese settlement history. Featuring citrus, cardamom, all important cinnamon (there are cinnamon plantations everywhere in Sri Lanka), rosewater and honey - it's an aromatic piece of baking that's sure to make your kitchen smell pretty special.
125g room temperature butter
500g caster sugar
185g finely chopped nuts (traditionally, this recipes calls for cashew, but try a combination of macadamia, cashew and pistachio)
2 tablespoons rosewater
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
2. Line or grease your cake tin (traditionally, this is baked in a square tin)
3. Place the semolina on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 5 minutes
4. Pour into a mixing bowl with the butter and mix
5. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together until the texture becomes light
6. Add the semolina mixture and mix until combined.
7. Add the nuts, honey and spices and give it another good mix
8. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
9. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture - careful not to over mix.
10. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes.
11. After the cake is done, allow it to cool and dust with icing sugar.
Heart (of Palm)
If you're going to serve up your heart on Valentine's Day, it might be better received if you feed the object of your affection this very simple, sexy finger food.
Hearts of palm are literally the core of the palm tree, tinned for your convenience and available at most good grocers these days for about four bucks.
Once removed from the can, julienne the hell out of them and wrap each stick in a piece of proscuitto or jamon (jamon brings out a slightly nuttier flavour ).
Getting figgy with it
A time-honored classic and near impossible to stuff up. Cut a cross into each fig and squeeze from the bottom so they open out like little flowers. Sprinkle a little blue cheese on each fig, wrap the based of it in proscuitto and stick it under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt and the proscuitto begins to crisp at the top. Feed to said object of affection.