Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing recipe ideas for “love foods” or foods to share with loved ones. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.

Food plays such a valuable role in our lives. Apart from it’s nutritious purpose, food also fulfils other functions. You just have to watch a cooking competition show on TV to hear words like ‘passion’, ‘love’ and ‘what I live for’ or even ‘dream’ to know that food, and the art of cooking it, is about much more than just staying alive.

The food we eat, or more accurately, the way we feel about it can increase our hormone levels, and affect the productions of oxytocin, the love hormone.

While there doesn’t seem to be a food stuff that actually increases oxytocin itself, the hormone is stimulated by touch, smell, and pleasure, so you can see where good food comes in.

There are certain foods, however, that are reputed to act as aphrodisiacs. In other words, they increase sexual desire (despite there not being any actual evidence that they actually do!). In light of Valentines day being tomorrow, I thought it would be great to create a menu that was so good it stimulated the oxytocin, while being an aphrodisiac and coming with the ‘act of service’ inherent in cooking a meal. What better way to say I love you without buying into commercialism.

There are ten ‘main’ foods commonly referred to as aphrodesiacs, and these are: Asparagus, Almonds, Avocado, Banana, Basil, Chocolate, Figs, Garlic, Honey, and Oysters. I won’t be including all of these in today’s recipes, but here’s a menu including most of them in a Starter, Main and Desert, fit for a queen and the one(s) she loves.

[pinit] Serves 2 adults (and 1 toddler)

Aphrodesia Salad

Recipe Type: Starter, Salad
Author: Luschka
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 2
A light, flavoursome salad, ideal as a starter.
  • 2 loosely packed cups of leafy greens
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Asparagus shoots
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 tbl spoons flax or other seeds
  • ½ cup Almond flakes
  • For the dressing:
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • Oregano and Rosemary, finely chopped
  1. Heat a frying pan or griddle pan, and add a small amount of olive oil. Gently grill the asparagus for 1 – 2 minutes, turning regularly. It should maintain it’s firmness, but have a slight browning from the pan. Remove and chop into 2cm pieces
  2. Cut the avocado lengthwise down the middle, removing the pip and skin. Chop into squares.
  3. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
  4. Combine chopped tomatoes, asparagus and avocado with the greens, toss.
  5. Sprinkle over seeds and almond flakes
  6. For the dressing:
  7. Combine two tablespoons of lemon juice with two tablespoons olive oil, stir in the spoon of honey and the minced garlic clove and herbs. Blend thoroughly. The olive oil will separate once in a bowl, but just swirl it up again before serving.
  8. Drizzle over salad after dishing up.
For the Main course:
Aphrodesia Chicken in Lemon and Garlic

Recipe Type: Fig Lemon Garlic Chicken
Author: Luschka
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 4
We know few busy parents who have time to make a three course meal, so this dinner is quick to prepare, and if you make it ahead, it’ll just allow the flavours to beautifully infuse. This recipe serves four, so if you have leftovers you can pop some in the fridge or freezer for a second meal.
  • 6 chicken pieces
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 1/2 fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dried figs, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Brown chicken over medium high heat, 5-6 minutes, turning once.
  2. Combine the stock, water, lemon juice, lemon rind, mustard and garlic, along with the onion and figs in the pot.
  3. Stir well until all mixed, making sure the chicken is covered in liquid
  4. Cover and cook for …
  5. Serve over quinoa, couscous, bulgurwheat or rice.

For Desert

Aphrodesia Chocolate Basil Flourless Cake

Recipe Type: Desert
Author: Luschka
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8
I first saw this recipe at Jess Thomson and have wanted to try it for ages, but never had the occassion. It doesn’t rise, and is really more of a torte, but it is decadent. This is a very unusual and beautifully rich chocolate cake, with a strong flavour of basil, which I love. If that’s a little too ‘wild side’ for you, you can substitute it with mint, but you’ll be missing out on one of your aphrodesiac foods (but honestly, you could add it to either other course!)
  • For the cake:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (65% to 75% cacao)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil (leaves only)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • For the ganache:
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (65% to 75% cacao)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C
  2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of wax paper or parchment paper, and butter the paper.
  3. Place the butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the mixture is smooth, transfer to a large mixing bowl, stir in the vanilla and salt, and set aside.
  4. Next, make a basil sugar: pulse the sugar and the basil together in a food processor until the basil is very finely chopped and uniformly green in color. The sugar will look slightly wet. I did it on a fast speed and it was practically sweet basil soup!
  5. Add the basil sugar to the chocolate mixture once it’s cool and whisk until smooth. (If your chocolate isn’t cool, it’ll cook the eggs in this next step) Whisk in the eggs one at a time, blending completely between additions.
  6. Sift the cocoa powder over the batter and fold it in until no dry spots remain.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  8. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the cake barely begins to crack. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a round serving plate.
  9. While the cake cools, make the ganache: place the chocolate and the cream in a small saucepan, and stir constantly over very low heat until melted and smooth. Using a flat spatula or knife, spread the ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, if desired.
  10. I happened to receive a ‘love’ stencil in a magazine a few days ago and couldn’t resist sprinkling some icing sugar over the top.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, let cool completely, then cover and keep at room temperature up to 3 days.


Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.

  • Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares Well-Traveled Muffins, A Family Recipe, which is the recipe that’s followed her around the globe and won her husband over: banana-carrot muffins.  You can also fine Mercedes on Facebook.
  • Mari at Honey on the Bum shares Peek-a-boo, I love you!, a recipe she loves because her kids love it and love to help make it, and it can change as the seasons and holidays change with just the switch of a cookie cutter.
  • Angela at EarthMamas World shares a delicious vegetable black bean soup recipe. She adds a special Valentines Day twist for her kids! You can also find Angela on Facebook.
  • Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares two super easy coconut themed Valentine’s treats;No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Truffles and Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Truffles. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook.
  • Sarah at Why Food Works shares WFW: Know your numbers – the IMPORTANT ones!. Love your health first – heart disease is a big problem in America, and eating a higher fiber diet can improve our cardiovascular function: try Sarah’s Nutty Quinoa Pilaf to show your loved ones you care about their hearts! You can also find Sarah on Facebook.
  • Amy at Anktangle shares her recipe for simple and delicious coconut macaroons. They’re sugar-free, gluten-free, and most importantly: free of any processed additives you’ll find in many store-bought desserts. You can also find Amy on Facebook.
  • Lindy at Poppy Soap Co. shares a cheeky recipe for Chocolate Love Waffles! These are sure to be a Valentine’s Day hit!  You can also find Lindy on Facebook.
  • Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a painful recipe that required some love for her to make. You can also find Jorje on Facebook.
  • Luschka at Diary of a First Child lists the ten foods commonly regarded as aphrodisiac foods, and shares three recipes that include eight of those foods, with a printable menu for your easy three course dinner. You can also find Luschka on Facebook.
  • In a guest post at Hobo Mama, Crackerdog Sam shares his son’s favorite soft pretzel recipe: half whole-wheat and a lovely upgrade to a mall treat.You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook.
  • Need a wholesome treat for your honey’s sweet tooth? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her recipe for amazing homemade heart-shaped nut butter cups. With natural nut butter and coconut oil chocolates, these are two great tastes that will certainly taste great – and healthy – together. You can also find Code Name Mama on Facebook.


Festival Of Food: Aphrodesia, Food Of Love

  1. Well I love all 10 foods, but the oysters. But hey 9 out of 10 is pretty good 😉 I am making you Aphrodesia Chicken in Lemon and Garlic tonight! Thank you.

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