Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Valentine’s Day means something different to all of us. To some, it’s a moment to shower a partner with affection. Then, of course, there are those who use the day to celebrate their friends, and finally there’s the nay-sayers, to whom it’s nothing more than a corporate holiday.
But whether you’re totally invested or you think the whole thing is a soppy cringe-fest, there’s no reason you can’t use February 14th as an opportunity to cook up something delicious for your nearest and dearest.
Yep, here at Twisted we’re firm believers that the best way to anybody’s heart is through their stomach.
So, to spark some inspiration, we recruited four big-dogs from the food world to share the recipes they cook to show love – be it the romantic or platonic kind.
Whether you’re looking to dial up the romance this evening or celebrate single life with your besties, why not knock up one of these bangers?
Jesse Elias (Gordo’s Pizza)
Jesse Elias, of London’s Gordo’s Pizza, says it’s all about his lemon pasta recipe (Credit: Jesse Elias)
“When living in New York, I came across this little Italian joint that made this lemon pasta…and I was obsessed about it, so obsessed that after begging and begging they passed me down the recipe of this banger (obviously over the years I tweaked it here and there).
“Not only does it hold a special place in my heart cause it reminds me of New York, but its also one of the first things I ever cooked for my now fiancée, so when ever we have it, its a nice little reminder of wine, fags and late nights versus bottles, mr tumble, and dirty nappies.”
Jesse’s Lemon Pasta Recipe
- 120g dried pasta (traditionally spaghetti but I fuck with all types)
- 50g finely grated Parmesan
- 60g salted butter
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- Unwaxed lemon
- Black pepper
- Get a saucepan of water on to boil and get your pasta in to cook.
- Melt the butter over a low heat and add in the garlic, make sure it doesn’t start to brown.
- Gradually add in the Parmesan letting into melt into the garlicky butter.
- When the pasta is nearly cooked squeeze in half the lemon juice to the butter sauce and add a good grinding of black pepper.
- Drain off your pasta toss it back in the pan and pour over your butter sauce.
- Give it a good mix and serve up with some freshly grated Parmesan, lemon zest and a final grind of black pepper.
Tip: the chef in New York that taught me this told me to toss the Parmesan rind into your pasta water to infuse it with extra umami.
Suzie Bakos (The Little Sauce)
Supper club aficionado, Suzie Bakos knows the way to anyone’s heart is a warming ramen (Credit: Suzie Bakos)
“Ramen has to be one of my all-time favourite meals. I can always eat ramen, no matter what! And it’s my number one comfort dish of choice.
“From enjoying authentic ones in tiny ramen shops in Tokyo to making my own variations for my loved ones, it’s something I never get bored of and that’s probably because of how different each bowl can be.
“The one ingredient that truly makes a ramen (apart from the broth of course) is a gooey, fudgy egg. It’s so easy to make your own and when done to perfection, it’s a real hit for your dinner guests.
“For me, it’s a great dish to make for the ones you love the most, I mean, it’s literally a hug in a bowl!
“And for someone who rarely shows affection, it’s my way of saying “Love you!.” So, with that said, here’s my recipe for making your own fudgy soy eggs at home. Enjoy!”
Suzie’s Fudgy Soy Eggs Recipe
- 2-4 eggs
- 100ml soy sauce
- 150ml water
- Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Two tablespoons sugar
- Mix the soy, water, vinegar and sugar in a jar or air-tight Tupperware.
- Boil medium eggs between 6.15-7 mins depending on how runny you’d like the yolk.
- Plunge into an ice bath and leave for 10 minutes.
- Gently tap the egg shells onto a chopping board and slowly peel them – peeling under the water helps with keeping the egg intact.
- Place into your jar and add a weight to keep them submerged or use kitchen towel as a substitute.
- Leave overnight or for up to one week in the fridge. Best enjoyed with a delicious bowl of ramen.
Ping Hambi (Ugly Dumpling)
Ping Hambi’s restaurant, Ugly Dumpling, puts a twist on traditional Asian food (Credit: Ping Hambi)
“Dumplings are little parcels of love! They represent prosperity and luck, each one carefully made by hand with precision, thoughtfulness and the perfect filling chosen to please its recipient. Then a moment of hush and reverence to enjoy the first bite through the dough to the delicious flavour in the centre – or all in one decadent mouthful!
“There’s a great tradition of dumpling making across Asia and that’s part of the feeling of love wrapped up in them too. You can remember loved ones long gone and feel history all around you as you conjure up old family favourites.
“They’re great to make as a group with friends and family before sharing them together. I love choosing unexpected fillings based on flavours from around the world, creating new favourites for my loved ones.”
Ping’s Pork and Prawn Dumplings
For the filling:
- 500g chopped raw prawns peeled and deveined
- 800g mince pork
- 3 stalks of spring onions chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
For the dough:
- 250g medium level gluten wheat flour
- 125-130 ml water
- Mix together the flour and water to create a dough ball and leave to rest for 15mins covered in clingfilm. Knead the dough and roll it out into a long rope. Cut the roll into equal sections of about an inch.
- Press each piece into a small disk shape with the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out into a thin round piece. Place a small amount of filling into the centre of the dough.
- Now to fold. There are numerous ways of folding a dumpling. For this one I opted for a classic one-directional pleat. See a how to video here, technique 3.
- Once wrapped, set the stove to a medium heat and put about two tablespoons of oil in to a non-stick pan.
- Place the dumplings in the pan and spread them out evenly careful not to crowd too many in together.
- Next add a small layer of water just to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let the dumplings cook on in the steam for about 5 minutes.
- Lift the lid to check on the dumplings and once the water has evaporated continue to fry them off without the lid on until the dumplings are crispy and golden.
- You can add a bit more oil if needed, and you could turn the dumplings over if you want to crisp off the other side of them too.
- Once cooked, plate up, add any garnishes you like, and enjoy!
Brodie Meah (Top Cuvee)
Brody Meah, of natural wine bar Top Cuvee, shares his Valentine’s dish (Credit: Brody Meah)
“The dish I like to make for a loved one, my wife in this case, is a classic steak tartare.
“It’s fancy enough to make for a romantic night in but not so difficult to prepare that it’s annoying to make.
“Of course there’s always a bottle of wine on our table and this dish pairs wonderfully with a natural Gamay, particularly something from the Auvergne region.
“Serve it as a starter or with a side salad and good bread for a slap up dinner!”
Brody’s Steak Tartare
- 70g finely chopped fillet steak
- 1 rich egg yolk
- 10g good quality dijon mustard
- 20g finely diced shallots
- 6g chopped flat leaf parsley
- 50g good quality olive oil
- 20g finely chopped cornichons
- 20g Heinz ketchup
- 10 dashes tabasco
- 5 dashes Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce
- Combine ingredients 3-8 in a mixing bowl and refrigerate while you finely chop your beef.
- Once chopped, add a few tablespoons of your sauce and mix to combine.
- Put your tartare on a plate (using a ring mould if you like symmetry), make a little dent in the middle and gently place your egg yolk on top, finish with some flakey sea salt.
- The secret to this recipe is finely chopping everything into equal sizes and confiting egg yolk if you have time!
Anyone else’s Valentine’s Day just get a whole more delicious?!