Thursday, 11 February 2010

valentines day and weird aphrodesiacs

Let's face it. Valentines day is a bit of a consumer trap. Some restaurants call it 'amateur night', or 'money for jam' - an easy few bucks to be made by the somewhat non-regular dining crowd who think the holiday is one best started in a swanky restaurant in order for better odds that it'll finish in the bedroom.

As this blog covers enough restaurants, how about we just cut to the chase and focus on aphrodisiac this Valentines day? And forget oysters (zinc), red wine and chocolate (endorphins, antioxidants), let's look a little further afield:

Top 3 weird aphrodesiacs

1. Ginseng

Originating from Siberia and when translated into English, roughly means 'man root'. The Pen Tsao Ching - one of the original authority books on herbs, written by Emperor Shen Nung (aka. the guy who 'discovered' and documented tea) - talks about ginseng being consumed to enlighten the mind and increase wisdom. An all-purpose well being ingredient (or adaptogen), aside from being good for impotence and therefore an aphrodisiac, ginseng also reportedly assists in the cure or alleviation of lethargy, senility and arthritis.

Try it in a tea, as a herbal liquid, or ground up in a capsule from your local Chinese medicine centre.

more info here, image from here.

2. Absinthe

What do you get when you mix mind-altering chemicals and alcohol? Apparently, a really good time. The scientific jury is still out about this one, but Absinthe afficionados claim that it alters sensory perception, leading to a better experience in the bedroom. It probably doesn't hurt that the average alcohol content is around a 45-85%, either.

Image from Will Work For Food

3. Peas

Well, a combination of peas, onions, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, to be more specific, is written about in infamous 15th century Arabic sex manual The Perfumed Garden. There are no scientific corroborations on the theory, however when stacked up against soup of bull's penis and testicles, snake blood or Spanish fly, suddenly pea salad doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Try this simple recipe:


1 small bag of frozen peas
1 small brown onion, sliced
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
ground cinnamon
ground cardamom
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 small handfull of mint leaves
1 small ripe avocado
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Boil peas until tender. Train and set aside
2. In a hot frypan, lightly sautee onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Remove from heat.
3. Peel avocado, remove stone and mash
4. Mix peas, onion and garlic, avocado, torn up mint leaves, grated ginger and a 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and cardamom.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Consume
7. Get busy

Image from here.

P.s. If you do want to eat out in Sydney on V-day this year, here are a few good options:

1. Rise (23 Craigend St, Darlinghurst)

6 course modern Japanese degustation: $88

2. Restaurant Balzac (141 Belmore Road, Randwick)

3 course dinner including dishes like seared loin of Firstlight venison with figs, beetroot and hazelnut, for $115.

3. Flying Fish (Pier 21, Jones Bay Wharf, Lower Level Deck 19-21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont)

4 courses, including complimentary champagne on arrival for $175 per person.