Our special Valentine's menu is designed to arouse the appetite and boost your health

9th February 2007 at 00:00
What food should you prepare for your loved one on Valentine's Day? His or her favourite, obviously. But if you don't know what it is - or think it's unhealthy -try something new. Nutritionist Kathy Cowbrough has drawn up a special TES menu for the occasion. "There's no such thing as an aphrodisiac," says Kathy, "although the Greeks said onions 'dim the eyes and excite amatory propensities'. But the rich colours and smells of this meal should have a stirring effect. And it's good for your heart in both senses."

THE MENU

Starter

Pitta chips (like crisps) and hummus dip sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

Health notes: Wholemeal pitta and the chick peas and sesame seeds in hummus are great sources of fibre. Sesame seeds can also help reduce bad cholesterol. Preparation: Take wholemeal mini-pittas, split in half and then cut in two, drizzle with olive oil and garlic and bake for six minutes in a hot oven.

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MAIN COURSE

Pasta with roasted vegetables and goat's cheese (andor strips of chicken or lean beef, or pieces of fresh tuna, if a veggie meal would quell the ardour).

Beetroot, orange, pear and red onion salad.

HEALTH NOTES: Any fruit and vegetables are good but those with darker colours (red, orange and green) are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals act as antioxidants, which are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

PREPARATION: Stir-fry meat or fish with olive oil, chopped ginger and minced garlic, or grill with oil, lemon and herbs. Roast veg with olive oil and herbs.

Toss vegetables and any meat or fish with pasta and crumble goat's cheese on top.

Combine beetroot (cooked or tinned) with orange, pear and onion and dress with 2tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1tbsp orange juice, 1tbsp olive oil and seasoning.

DESSERT

Chocolate-dipped fruit and almond platter.

HEALTH NOTES: Any fruit - fresh, frozen, dry or tinned - is good. The cocoa powder in dark chocolate contains phenolic compounds, thought to have antioxidant properties.

PREPARATION: Make an hour ahead to allow chocolate to set. Melt dark chocolate over a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Dip pieces of fruit and almonds in it and place on non-stick paper on a baking sheet.

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