Valentine’s Day. The chocolate, the flowers, the gifts…but sometimes as much as you want the day to go smoothly, some things beyond your control can just sap the romance out of everything… The crowds, the slow service, the elevated taxi prices… In the face of such potential chaos and the possibility of seriously annoying your partner into not speaking to you for a few weeks, how about a homemade candlelit dinner for two? Better yet, how about deliciously healthy homemade recipes filled with these natural aphrodisiac foods to spice things up this Valentine’s Day?
What are Aphrodisiacs?
Named after the Greek Goddess of love, “Aphrodite”, aphrodisiacs are any kind of ingredient or drug that arouses or increases your sexual desire or improves your sexual performance i.e. your libido. These can range from obscure spices and herbs to boiled stews consisting of animal organs. Research evidence on the effects of natural libido boosters has been mixed; while some support their efficacy, others have not found sufficient scientific verification.
Regardless, many foods labelled as “aphrodisiacs” have health benefits beyond that of improving libido. Most of them are generally high in antioxidants, vitamins such as B, C, D, E and K, and minerals like zinc and potassium, which have been linked to sex hormone production. They also tend to improve your mood and trigger the circulation of “feel good” neurotransmitters like endorphins and dopamine. So use them unrestrained this V-Day and let The Wellness Insider help you create the perfect sex, oops, we mean, six-course for you and your significant other.
Sex-Courses of Fun
Amuse-Bouche: Smashed Avo on Toast with Fried Quail Eggs
For Smashed Avocado
2 to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, to taste
A handful of mint leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Two pieces of whole wheat baguettes, sliced thinly
A few tablespoons of olive oil
Reduced fat cream cheese spread
2 Quail’s eggs
- Cut the avocado and scoop out the flesh in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, mint leaves, salt and pepper, and mash the avocado to the desired consistency. Fold in the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. Set aside.
- Brush the sourdough with the olive oil and toast it lightly. Spread a thick layer of cream cheese onto the warm sourdough then cut it into halves. Scoop out the avocado onto each slice of toast. Drizzle the honey generously over the avocado and toast.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the quail’s eggs. Fry it for less than a minute and then carefully place them over the avocado toast. Serve in fancy plates.
Tip: If you need more inspiration for avocado recipes, check out these out.
- Avocado: The term “avocado” actually comes from the Aztec word “ahuacatl,” which means “testicle”. As if that’s not reason enough to get these for V-Day.
- Pumpkin seeds: Loaded with libido vitamins and minerals
- Pomegranate: Antioxidant bombs that can apparently help with erectile dysfunction
- Honey: This liquid gold contains the mineral boron, useful in regulating hormones and nitric oxide that plays a role in triggering erections and clitoral engorgement by enabling dilation of blood vessels.
- Quail Eggs: Nothing special about them other than the fact that eggs are one of the oldest symbols or fertility.
Soup: Ginseng and Gingko Chicken Soup
½ chicken with skin on, chopped to small pieces
30g Ginseng “beards”
1.6 litres of vegetable stock
25g dried Chinese yam*
8 red dates
8 gingko nuts
1/2 tablespoon of wolfberries
A pinch of salt
A dash of white pepper
*Substitute for sweet potato or yam if you cannot get Chinese yam.
- Put the chicken and all of the ingredients (except wolfberries) into a pot with the water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling over high heat for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to a lower flame and simmer for at least another 40 minutes to two hours, depending on how much time you have. Add wolfberries at the last 15 minutes of cooking. Add salt to taste.
Tip: Start this soup well in advance to allow it to cook or at least two hours. You can also cook the soup in a slow cooker to prolong the cooking (at a gentle pace) to bring out the flavour.
If ginseng isn’t your thing, try one of these easy soup recipes instead.
- Ginseng: This ancient Chinese herb has been long known to help libido and sexual performance, likely through its indirect effects on hormones through the central nervous system.
- Gingko Nuts: Another ancient Chinese herb used to treat sexual dysfunction.
Hors-d’oeuvres: Baked Italian Oysters
For Italian Breadcrumbs
2 slices of stale whole-wheat bread
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
24 oysters on the half shell
8 lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 230°C.
- In a food processor, add the bread, dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure about one cup.
- On a nonstick skillet at medium heat, add olive oil. Add onions, parsley, and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in Italian breadcrumbs, cheese, lemon juice, paprika and black pepper.
- Place oysters on a pan. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over oysters. Bake the oysters at 230°C for 7 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl. Serve with lemon wedges.
- Oysters: Folklore speaks of how (THE) Casanova seduced a virgin by slipping an oyster from his lips to hers. Can it get sexier? These shellfish are a powerhouse of zinc and dopamine.
Salad: Arugula Salad with Fig, Feta and Walnut
2 cups baby arugula
1 cup chopped figs
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
½ cup crumbled feta
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup extra olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in the bottom of a salad bowl.
- Place the arugula, walnuts, feta, cranberries and figs in the bowl and toss together with the dressing and serve.
- Figs: These sexy-looking fruit are loaded with amino acids that boost sexual stimulation to increase libido.
- Walnuts: Another ancient fertility symbol due to their vaginal-looking shape. They are also a prime source of beneficial fatty acids like omega-3, which, again, help with hormone production.
Main course: Salmon with Spicy Saffron Coconut Cream and Sautéed Asparagus
Two salmon fillets, about 200g each
½ teaspoon ground cumin
For Saffron Coconut Cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped*
1 chicken or vegetable cube
1 cup coconut cream
Large pinch saffron
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
* Adjust amount of chilli according to the desired spiciness
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Put the salmon fillets in a large baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and season each fillet with cumin, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until salmon cooked through.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions, stirring continuously and fry for three minutes. Add garlic and chilli, and cook for one more minute.
- Add saffron, chicken/vegetable cube and stir in the coconut cream slowly. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes. Add milk or water if sauce is too thick, and stir occasionally.
- While the sauce simmers, cook the asparagus. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cover and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional ten minutes.
- Saffron: Fair warning, this precious spice might burn a considerable hole in your pocket, given that it costs as much as gold. Then again you can’t be surprised given that Cleopatra infused saffron into milk and bathed in it to due to its aphrodisiac properties. Saffron has even shown to helps increase sperm motility.
- Hot Chillies: Capsaicin found in chillies give them the spicy quality that stimulates your tongue to release adrenaline, which increases your heart rate an triggers endorphins. Don’t rub them on your partner though; the burning sensation they experience will most definitely kill any sexual desire.
- Salmon: Aside from being great for your heart, salmon helps your libido by contributing to the production of estrogen, testosterone, and progresterone.
- Asparagus: Being chockfull of vitamin E, this phallic-shaped vegetable increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the genitals. The high levels of potassium are also related to sex hormone production.
Dessert: Vanilla-Spiced Chocolate Fondue with Apples, Strawberries and Cherries
1 cup full-cream milk (go on, it’s V-Day!)
110g of 75% dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Strawberries, cherries, apples and salted pretzels for dipping.
- Pour the milk into the fondue pot*. Bring to a simmer at setting 4 (medium).
- When the half and half is bubbling lightly, lower heat to setting 3 (medium-low) and add the chopped chocolate, half at a time, whisking with a whisk until smooth.
- When chocolate is completely melted, whisk the vanilla into the fondue.
- Reduce the temperature to setting 2 (low) and serve with apples, fresh strawberries, cherries and salted pretzels.
- Serve with Port-style Wine
Tip: If you don’t have a fondue pot, use a saucepan and heat the milk over medium heat to a gentle simmer. Pair with a Port-style wine with touches of cinnamon spice to add some sweetness and boost the mood.
- Chocolate: Phenylethylamine is the compound in chocolate that evokes excitement and a sense of well being. With the combination of natural caffeine, which increases energy levels, you can be assured a quite the night.
- Strawberries: This fruit just looks sexy. Doesn’t hurt that they are rich in vitamin C, which is important for the production of sex hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain to escalate libido.
- Cherries: Another sexy-looking fruit is the humble cherry. Vitamin C and potassium are found in this fruit too. But it’s the anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help sustain a healthy sex drive.
- Red Wine: Quite like cherries, red wine is also high in antioxidants that decrease inflammation and get your blood pumping. Of course, it also enhances the mood.
Our last tip: The recipes can only do so much. Don’t forget ambience; some low lighting, aromatic oils and candles, and a sprinkle of rose petals on the bed. A nice warm bath for two before dinner wouldn’t be such a bad idea either. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash