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Valentine's Day Recipes from La Cucina Di Sandra for Romantic Dining at Home

LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 5

Many will dine out on Valentine's Day, but how about the option of a romantic dining experience at home? Sandra Del Greco from leading Melbourne Cooking School La Cucina Di Sandra has designed a menu with recipes for your sexy romantic Valentine's meal with a delicious Italian flavour. Catch one of Sandra's awesome Italian regional cooking classes in Richmond and visit her website.

Valentine Day Bites/Menu

These recipes are designed for a special get together such a Valentine Day dinner.

All are extremely easy to prepare, require little or no cooking, are sexy, and deliciously special.

The quantity of the servings could be increased for the scallops dish making it a substantial main course.

Oysters and burrata


2 small glasses – a shot glass type or a liqueur glass

6 freshly shucked oysters

1 small burrata – available at good continental delicatessens and markets delis

Remove the oysters from their shells and allow them to marinate in their own water for a few hours.

Remove the burrata from the fridge a few hours before your guest arrives.

Chop the burrata in small pieces, remove the hard knot and the skin (reserve for another use).

To serve, place three oysters at the bottom of each shot glass, top with one or two teaspoons of their water, top with one tablespoon of burrata.

 LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 3


Basil ricotta cream with Calabrese caviar

Crema di ricotta al basilico con caviale Calabrese

LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 8


For the ricotta cream

200 gr of fresh ricotta – the best quality you can buy – drained for a few hours

1/4 bunch of basil, leaves only

Black Pepper and a small pinch of sea salt

1/2 tbs of extra virgin chilli olive oil

For the Calabrian caviar

**2 tbs from a jar of Oroazzurro antipasto delizioso, pesce ghiaccio in olive oil

(available from Mediterranean Wholesalers)

**If unable to find the marinated fish substitute with 100 gr of Italian or Spanish style marinated anchovies  readily available in good delicatessens.

1 small Roma tomato, peeled, deseeded and sliced in long strips

1/2 tbs of extra virgin chilli olive oil

To serve

Small fresh basil leaves

Toasted slices of baguette

Transfer the fish from the jar to a fine sieve and drain the oil it is preserved in. Drain and chop the anchovies in small pieces, if substituting.

Once well drained, add 1 tbs of good quality chilli olive oil and marinate for about an hour.

Transfer the drained ricotta and finely chopped basil to a food processor, turn the motor on and add the chilli olive oil, whip the ricotta with the basil and oil until a smooth cream texture is achieved, taste and add a little more chilli oil if you prefer. The ricotta should be of a light green colour.

To serve spread one tbs of ricotta cream on a bread slice, top with one tbs of caviar or anchovies add a few slivers of tomatoes and small basil leaves. Add another toasted slice of baguette on the side of each plate.

LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 7 


Scallops with cauliflower cream and hazelnuts

(Capesante all piastra con cavolfiore e nocciole)

LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 4

For the cream of cauliflower

200 gr of cauliflower

20 ml of red vinegar

80 ml good extra virgin olive oil

White pepper and sea salt

Scallops & dressing

8 very large large white scallops without roe

Sea salt

20 gr toasted hazelnuts – crushed with a knife

Good quality extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & white pepper

Divide the cauliflower into florets and cook in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes or until very soft.

Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

Whiz the cauliflower with a stick blender, together with the vinegar, salt and pepper, add the olive oil a little at the time. The cream you obtain should be fluid and frothy, add some of the cooking water to achieve this consistency, if needed.

Bring the scallops to room temperature and brush with a little extra virgin olive oil on both sides.

In a hot heavy based frypan or hot plate sear the scallops on each side and cook for no more than one minute on each side.

To serve, rest four scallops per person on two tbs of cauliflower cream, sprinkle with white pepper and sea salt. Cover the scallops with a generous sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts.

 LaCucinaDiSandraRecipe 5


Baked figs

Fichi arrosto agli aromi

4 to 6 fresh black figs (depending on their size)

Juice of 1 orange

Quarter cup of red wine + 2 tbsp

2 to 3 tsp of Vincotto (optional)

2 cloves

1 stick of cinnamon

A pinch of grated nutmeg

1 tbsp of honey

Pomegranate seeds

Toasted almonds

Heat the oven to 180°.

Cut the figs, 3 quarters of the way down in quarters and place in an oven dish.

Put the orange juice, the red wine, the vincotto, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and half tbsp of honey in a saucepan with a heavy base. Simmer for a few minutes and taste, add more honey if the sauce is not sweet enough.

Pour over the figs and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until caramelized.

Allow to come to room temperature and serve with pomegranate seeds, and toasted almonds.

You could also add some whipped cream if you like.

Image credit: Katie Kingsley