Love Bites: simple dishes to steal the heart of any Valentine

by Katy Menczer - February 14, 2017

Staying in this Valentine’s Day? Turn up the romance with a lovingly home-cooked meal. These simple and delicious dishes will pair perfectly with a bottle of fizz – and are just the thing to win your lover’s heart. Both recipes serve two.

Pizza my Heart

There’s nothing cosier than sitting down and sharing a pizza with your loved one any day of the year, but by making it yourself from scratch – and fashioning it into a heart shape – you’re sure to earn maximum Valentine’s points! Feel free to substitute toppings as desired.

For the pizza dough

300g strong white flour (plus some extra for dusting)

1 x 7g sachet fast-action yeast

1½ tsp salt

175ml warm water

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus some extra for greasing)

For the topping

100ml passata

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

200g pepperoni, sliced into rounds

200g mozzarella, broken into pieces

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

A few sprigs fresh basil leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 240C/220 Fan/Gas 9.

First, make your pizza dough.  Add flour, yeast and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water and oil, mixing into the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon and then your hands until the mixture forms a soft ball of dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for 8-10 minutes until the dough isn’t sticky any more, and is smooth and springy to the touch. To test, poke a flour-covered finger into the dough – the indent will spring back when the dough is ready.

Sprinkle some more flour on your work surface and then roll out the dough, moving it around as you roll to make a circular shape until you have a large, thin disc. Fold the circle in half gently and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to trim the half circle into a ‘half heart’ shape. Unfold the dough to reveal your heart!

Gently press your fingertips all over the pizza base – this helps stop it from rising too much as it cooks.

Spread the passata over the pizza base, leaving a 2cm gap round the edge. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Scatter over the tomato, pepperoni and pieces of mozzarella.

Bake the pizza in the oven for 10-15 mins, until the base is crisp and starting to brown at the edges. Drizzle with a little olive oil, scatter with the basil sprigs and grind over black pepper. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Shortcake

Not only is this dessert super simple and delicious – strawberries will also pair perfectly with rosé fizz and what’s more, are said to be an aphrodisiac!

For the shortbread

100g butter

100g plain flour (plus some extra for dusting)

55g icing sugar

1 egg yolk

For the filling

150ml double cream

2 tbsp icing sugar (plus some extra for dusting)

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

55g strawberries, hulled and chopped (plus a few left whole to garnish)


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

First, make the shortbread. Put butter, flour, icing sugar and egg yolk into a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a dough.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 0.5cm thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut out circles – four smaller ones if you want to have individual desserts, or two larger ones if you want to make one to share. Place onto a non-stick baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden-brown. Remove and allow to cool.

For the filling, put cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form when you take the whisk out. Gently fold in the strawberries.

To serve, sandwich the shortbread biscuits together with the cream mixture and place onto a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar and garnish with extra strawberries.

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