Friday, 12 February 2016

How about cooking a romantic "Pheromeal" for Valentine's Day ?!

Are you planning on cooking a special romantic meal for Valentine's Day? Bertolli with Butter have partnered up with Susan Duncan, Professor of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, to reveal six ingredients that you can use in ‘Pheromeals’ (pheromone-laden dishes) for your loved one.  They have created six recipes using these six ingredients and challenged me to make one of them.

The top six foods for love are:

· SCALLOPS: Offer sensory attributes; their texture, taste and aroma, which suggest sexuality and help put you in the right frame of mind for romance. They are also high in zinc which is essential for healthy sperm production
· CHOCOLATES: The sweet, smooth textures of chocolate are psychologically suggestive of sensuality in the right context and have been shown to de-crease tiredness and increase positive moods for up to 5-30 minutes after eating
· WINE: In small doses has calming attributes which relax us and reduces inhibitions
· CHILLI PEPPERS: Chillies get the metabolism going and increase blood flow – and contain capsaicin which can release endorphins in the brain, perfect for a romantic situation
· TRUFFLES: Contain compounds such as androstenol which are recognized as pheromones
· SPICES SUCH AS SAFFRON, LAVENDAR, AND VANILLAS: The sensual aspect of spices such as saffron and lavender go a long way to putting you in a romantic frame of mind. Repeated and extended consumption of saffron has also been shown to increase male sexual function

Here are the Valentine’s Day Pheromeals concocted by Bertolli with Butterand Susan Duncan:

Lustful Linguine

Featuring oysters and saffron to elicit lust
Perfect for: Getting out of the friend zone with a secret crush
You thought they’d always be out of your league, but the stars have aligned and you finally got the date you’ve secretly desired for months. A combination of oysters and saffron will make your intentions known and do more than excite your partner’s senses. Studies have shown this pair of ingredients to boost libido and increase sexual behaviour . And with those smooth and velvety textures being heavily associated with sensuality? It won’t be long until you’ve turned Mrs. Robinson’s thoughts from dinner, to dessert.

Serves 2

Ingredients List:
• 3 tbsp Bertolli with Butter
• 12 oysters, shucked, with their liquid
• ½ pound medium shrimp, shelled
• 4 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
• 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
• 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
• Pinch of saffron, crumbled slightly
• ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 250g linguine
• Salt to taste

1. PREP INGREDIENTS: Put the oysters, shrimp, anchovy fillets, parsley, garlic, saffron, chili flakes, black pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil together. Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
2. COOK PASTA: For every pound of pasta bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly, up to ½ cup, and then cook the pasta until al dente. Drain without rinsing.
3. STIR THROUGH: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of Bertolli with Butter over high heat, then cook the seafood mixture, stirring frequently, seasoning with salt, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pasta to the skillet and toss several times, letting the pasta cook and absorb some of the juices. Stir in some additional Bertolli with Butter for taste. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Outta My House

Featuring tomatoes, full fat yogurt and red wine reduction to produce calmness
Perfect for: The Break Up
It’s a story we’re all familiar with. You thought your partner was a bit of a dish, but things have gone stale, and the relationship has gone well past its sell-by-date. Thanks to Spaghetti Outta My House, you’ve now got the perfect plate of pasta to serve for a calm parting of ways. The high-carb, low-protein content of the dish produces a calming effect which is accentuated by small amounts of wine in the sauce. Exactly what’s needed when a soul needs soothing.

Serves 2

Ingredients List:
• 1tbsp Bertolli with Butter
• 500g plain yogurt
• 175ml red wine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp parsley
• ½ can chopped tomatoes
• 150g spaghetti

1. PREP INGREDIENTS: Warm the yogurt slightly in a sauce pan, and stir together with the garlic and parsley. Pour in the red wine, and reduce slightly. Once reduced, add the tomatoes and bring to slight heat
2. COOK PASTA: Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss together with 2tbsp with Bertolli with Butter
3. STIR TOGETHER: Place the spaghetti into a large casserole dish and stir sauce through

Pull’em Penne

Featuring cocoa and red chili peppers to generate energy and excitement
Perfect for: Sealing the deal
Everything’s been going well and you’ve made it to date three. You know you two click, and hearts are pounding. But you’re done with holding back, and it’s time for those boots to get knocking. With this high energy Pull’em Penne they can, well into the night. The cocoa infused in the pasta is a well-known stimulant and the capsaicin in the chilli increases energy expenditure . Your plate might be hot, but the room’s going to get even hotter.

Serves 2

Ingredients List
• 200g Cocoa penne pasta
• 2 chilies chopped
• 1 can diced tomatoes
• 10 cherry tomatoes
• 200g jumbo prawns
• 2 crushed garlic cloves
• 1 handful fresh marjoram
• 2 tbsp Bertolli with Butter

1. PREP INGREDIENTS: In a pan, sauté garlic with Bertolli with Butter until fragrant then add in chillies, tomatoes and dices tomatoes. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and put in prawns. When prawns turn red season with salt and pepper
2. COOK PASTA: Cook cocoa penne according to instructions on pack
3. STIR TOGETHER: Place pasta in large bowl and stir ingredients through, mixing in extra Bertolli with Butter for taste

Take a Chill Pill Carbonara

Featuring brown sugar chicken to improve mood and trigger comfort
Perfect for: Rescuing Valentine’s Day from a lover’s quarrel
Maybe you’ve forgotten to get a gift or make a reservation, and your date has been left questioning how well you really know each other. They’re annoyed and there’s a whole lot to make up for. If you’ve failed the initial Valentine’s Day challenge, serve this comforting Take a Chill Pill Carbonara to help smooth things over and save the rest of the night. It is choc-full of comforting sweetness and protein, which improves your mood; and thanks to research revealing people’s positive response to warm foods, the rest of your dinner conversation will hopefully be less heated.

Serves 2

Ingredients List:
• 3 tbsp Bertolli with Butter
• 25g unsmoked back bacon, chopped finely
• 1tsp brown sugar
• 125g chicken breast, cut into strips
• 200g dried spaghetti
• 2 free-range eggs, beaten
• 2 free-range egg yolks, beaten
• 75ml Elmlea Double Light Cream
• 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
• freshly ground black pepper

1. PREP INGREDIENTS: Fry the bacon in Bertolli with Butter, gradually adding adding brown sugar as you go. Add the chicken into the same pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through
2. COOK PASTA: Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.
3. STIR TOGETHER: Put the beaten eggs in a large bowl. Add the spaghetti to the eggs and a little of the reserved cooking water and mix well. Add the cream, 2 tbsp Bertolli with Butter, Parmesan, cooked chicken and caramelized bacon and stir to combine

You’ve Tortellini Me a Thing or Two about Love

Featuring truffles and scallops to stimulate romance
Perfect for: The proposal
It’s the big one. After months of dates and dinners, you have four small words to say, although it might take you the whole night to get them out. Thanks to You’ve Tortellini Me a Thing or Two about Love, you have the perfect meal to make sure you get a “yes” to the big question. It’s full of truffles, which have a musky scent that will get the ladies imagining a man’s touch, as well as scallops, for a final aphrodisiacal push … Not that you’ll need it once they’ve seen that ring!

Serves 2

Ingredients List:
• 2 tbsp Bertolli with Butter
• 1 pack of cheese Tortellini
• 2 scallops (approx. 200g)
• 2tbsp truffle oil
• Garlic to taste

1. PREP INGREDIENTS: In frying pan, sauté scallops in Bertolli with Butter, garlic, and truffle oil
2. COOK PASTA: Cook one pack of cheese tortellini according to directions on packet
3. STIR TOGETHER: Place pasta in large bowl and stir through with Bertolli with Butter, then scallops

We tried the Take A Chill Pill Carbonara and it was delicious. I substituted Greek yogurt for the double cream to lower the fat content a bit and also added leeks. The brown sugar chicken is an inspired addition and it's a great way of using up leftovers after the Sunday roast, meaning you could have this every week, rather than saving it just for Valentine's Day !

Disclosure : I received a shopping voucher to cover ingredients fot the recipe.


  1. Loving the names of the dishes! Recipes for every occasion :)