The feast day of St Valentine (February 14th) is, traditionally, the day on which lovers send anonymous notes to one another, declaring their love and on which those in love prepare romantic meals for each other.

The feast day itself was established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I to celebrate the martyrdoms of one of two early Christians buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome. In fact, it was only in the Middle Ages, through the words of Chaucer and his contemporaries that St Valentine’s day became the day of lovers.

Regardless of the history, the day is now a major occasion for those in love and the recipes given below will, hopefully make the day go with a swing. Recipes are included here for Breakfast, Dinner and a Lovers’ cocktail:

Ginseng Banana Muffins

2 tbsp ginseng powder
2 medium bananas (very soft)
2 medium eggs
100g sugar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
210g plain flour
1 tbsp oil
1/8 tsp salt

Mash the bananas in a bowl then mix with the sugar and oil until thoroughly blended. In the meantime, stir together all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then stir this flour mix into the banana mix and combine thoroughly.

Line muffin tins with baking cups then fill the well no more than 2/3 full with the muffin mix. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 175ºC and bake for about 15 minutes, or until well risen, browned on top an cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before warm before serving. (Makes 12 muffins.)

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