Valentine Love Feast Part I

So it is nearly that time of year again….that special time which either makes you want to gag or  turn into cupid himself.  I fall somewhere in between…whilst I am up for the romance (who wouldn’t be especially from the lovely Mr R?) having to make the effort after a day at work can be a bit of a challenge.  Fear not my lovely Livity friends, I have been plotting and scheming to come up with a menu fit for a loved up king, queen, or someone that you just want to spend a little extra quality time with.  You can love yourself, your significant other and just about anybody else you might have a twinkle in the eye for with this very delicious Valentine Love Feast.

As you will see from the title of this post there is another part to come, which will be available of Monday as I didn’t want to cause you to run for the hills with the length of this post.  I have tried to keep the ingredients relatively straight forward so you do not have to labour shopping for various bits and pieces and I have also considered your preparation time in designing this menu.  I hope that you and your special person will enjoy it as Valentine’s gift from me to you.

Enjoy and share the love!

Beetroot & Thyme Tea Soup with Roasted Apple and Onion

Ingredients – Serves 2 (with a bit left over for a love lunch the next day!)

650 ml filtered water

1 medium bunch of thyme

3 small to medium beetroots (I cheated and used three pre-cooked ones from the pack)

2 small onions

1 medium eating apple

sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

drizzle of  extra virgin olive oil to garnish



Preheat the oven to 180C and put the beetroot (if you are using fresh), onion and apple (all in their skins) on a baking tray to cook for about 35-40 minutes.

In a covered  saucepan bring the thyme and water to the boil on medium heat, then simmer fir a further 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave to steep until your beetroot, onion and apple have finished cooking.  Remove the bunch of thyme, scrape off the leaves and place them back into the tea

Once the beetroot, onion and apple are cooked make sure to remove the core from the apple then peel and roughly chop everything and add to the tea.  If you are using precooked beetroot instead add this to the tea at this point.  Season well with salt and black pepper and blend the soup until smooth.

Serve with extra black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Caramalised Fennel & Black Beans with Roasted Salsify & Garlic

Ingredients – Serves 2

1 bulb fennel sliced

1 medium onion sliced

3 cloves black garlic peeled and chopped  – love this stuff and no after taste/smell woo hoo

4 whole cloves garlic smashed  (lets just say these are optional and leave it for you to decide…)

400g tin of black beans

200ml filtered water

400 g black salsify peeled and trimmed

few glugs extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and pepper to season



For the Caramalised Fennel and Black Beans

Drizzle a bit of olive oil into a pan and add the fennel and onion.  Cook it on a medium heat for about 30- 40 minutes.  Caramalising the onion and fennel is very straight forward but you will need to stir about every 5-10 minutes so it does not burn, especially toward the end of the cooking time.

Once the fennel and onion are caramalised, add the can of black beans and using a wooden spoon make sure you mix all the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan – this will add flavour along with the black garlic which should also be added and the water.  Season well and leave on a medium heat, once it begins to bubble cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the liquid thickens and makes a lovely rich sauce.

For the Salsify

Preheat the oven to 180c.  Cut the salsify into pieces roughly about 12cm long.

Put the salsify in a roasting tray with a generous glug of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and the 4 garlic cloves.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning them about half way through.

Happy Valentines to you all.

Nicola x


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