Simon’s Simples: Epicurean eating

Epicurean eating

At this stage I would like to give examples of how to construct meals specifically for sensory pleasure and health-giving purposes. For example a healthy sexual appetite is normally indicative of an overall state of body health. The following recipe examples shows how to use food preparation for a romantic and sensory experience that can also enhance sexual libido without resorting to little blue pills.

In this age of Viagra it hardly seems worth mentioning the awesome power of food in provoking and promoting enjoyable sexual activity, but both food and sex share one important attribute in common; they are activities that employ all of the senses. No wonder one activity is often the precursor of the other. Here I explore recipe ideas here for an Epicurean ‘erotic meal’, one that can stimulate both the capacity and the desire for sexual activity. Let food seduce you!

The sensory aspects of eating food are a healing device in themselves. Who can resist the crisp bite of a fresh, chilled iceberg lettuce, the gush of a ripe peach, the heady aroma of Paella straight from the oven, the serotonin rush of your favourite chocolate?

Even thinking about such things starts me salivating. I just love fresh, simple food, prepared with love and skill. So in preparing food it’s important to remember all of the senses play a part. Its not just about taste, its about texture, aroma, presentation and the ordering of experiences to build on, but still complement each other, like a great piece of music. Its about the environment, the setting, the context. A memorable meal is like a symphony with each note and phrase building on and preparing for the next and the beautiful moments of culinary quietness between courses.

Just an historical note here – the Epicureans were a group of Ancient Greeks who followed the philosopher Epicurus (341 – 270BC) who taught that pleasure, particularly mental pleasure, was the highest good. Which gives all the more reason for enjoying the careful planning of an erotic feast. Of course its up to you to ‘set the scene’ for an intimate dinner with an appropriately sensual environment.

I started my quest for the ultimate erotic meal with the list below – foods from my research that are recognised as having some stimulating qualities relating to sexual health and activity – to both genders. I used both books and the internet to research foods that might ‘inspire libido’. In this context of ‘an erotic meal’ my choices included both the sensuous activity of enjoying the food and the actual chemicals contained in the food:

Anchovy (flavour) Aromatic dessert wine
Aubergines Avocado pear
Balsamic Vinegar Bamboo shoots
Basil Bean sprouts
Beef Bouillabaisse (fish stew)
Broccoli Cabbage
Cayenne Pepper
Celery Chickpeas
Chives Chocolate
Cinnamon (Nutmeg and Mace) Cloves
Cockles, scallops and clams Coffee (quality)
Dill Fennel
Figs Garlic
Ginger Grapes
Hare Honey
Ice cream Seafood

So the above, in essence are my building blocks for an erotic meal. The next stage is to group a couple of potential meals into courses and I’m going to do this straight off the top of my head! I really just chose my favourites and combined them with my strengths as a cook.

Try this yourself – scan the above elements to see what ‘excites’ you and you’ll soon be combining them in all sorts of ways – write down the ‘combinations’ as soon as they occur and build them into a menu because you already know what’s delicious!

Given the context of a ‘romantic meal’ though it is probably best to leave out things like cabbage or Brussels sprouts. Garlic is OK if you are both partaking but a handful of chopped parsley in the mix can counter-effect it’s tendency to repeat later in the evening. I’ll spare you this part of my process and go straight on to recipes for my two top meals for an intimate evening. On the next page you will see the evening menu at my imaginary restaurant ‘The Country Food Medic!’ Apologies in advance for vegan viewers.

Erotic Meal menu 1

Starter: Prawn and Avocado

I suggest a light blend of prawn and avocado to start, with plenty of chili zest and lemon to wake up the taste buds. That old 1970’s classic of prawns in half a avocado pear with a zingy sauce and a dusting of red pepper should do the trick and get you handling fruit as quickly as possible. It is simple to modify this a bit to a prawn and avocado salad and if you don’t like avocado – just use a crisp iceberg lettuce.

The ‘Marie Rose’ sauce for the prawns is simply a bit of mayonnaise with some tomato sauce and lemon juice.

Accompany this with a glass of light wine such as a Muscadet or Gerwertztraminer, even some bubbles to really get it going. This will balance and counterpoint the more earthy tastes of the main course. Switch the white for a magnificent and fruity red about halfway through the main course; this will open new layers of taste in the spices. Then bring back the white wine for the dessert.

If that starter isn’t enough dangerous fun – go for Oyster if you like it. Either serve it ‘standard’ chilled in the shell with lemon or put one in a Schnapps glass with fresh, grated horseradish, chilli sauce and a shot of cold vodka. Down it in one – it’ll certainly ‘break the ice’!

prawn and avocado salad
Prawn and avocado salad

Main course: Chocolate Chili with roast potatoes and braised celery

Excellent for cooler evenings, how about building a meal around the magnificent and warming Chocolate Chili? This may sound like a strange taste combination but it is truly one made in heaven. I use a quality, dark chocolate, the ‘Fairtrade’ versions works particularly well, (but I hope chocolatiers will choose the Criollo bean). It adds a sumptuous depth to the tomato sauce and holds the flavours and texture together in a unique way.

I realise that vegetarians will not be happy with the use of beef mince in the above recipe. Simply substitute this for Quorn mince or even soya mince. I have to say, having made this recipe with all three that for me, the vegetarian option is not quite as tasty, and that the Quorn mince works better than the soya.

chocolate chilli
Chocolate Chili and Pistachio ice-cream

Ingredients: Onions, shallots, garlic, kidney beans, parsley, oregano, basil, beef, oil, chocolate, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato pesto, butter, mushrooms, red peppers, chili pepper, celery salt, thyme, red wine (the same as you are serving).

Instructions: Chop onions, shallots, garlic to oil and fry gently to soften. Add fresh chopped parsley, oregano, basil, celery salt and thyme to infuse through oil for a moment. Add beef and mushrooms and stir to seal. Stir and fry this lightly for a couple of minutes then slop in a dash of red wine, add (chopped) tomatoes, stir, add tomato paste and pesto and stir, wash and add cooked kidney beans and stir. Salt and pepper and other herbs to taste. Drop in a couple of chunks of chocolate and watch them melt. Simmer gently and stir to satisfaction, working on the sauce. I find that a chili is best made a day before serving – it somehow gives the food a chance to mingle and develop flavour.

Serve with perfect roast potatoes (crisp skin, fluffy inside) and braised celery, all sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley. If you’ve got the chili and spice combination right, this meal should result in a light sweat and the removal of some clothing. Enjoy a glass of red wine with your conversation between courses, enriching the palate with seasonal blackberries or dark fruit in preparation for the next course.

Dessert: Pistachio ice cream with a summer fruits sauce.

Indian restaurants are famous for serving ‘sweet lassi’, a yoghurt / milky drink after a curry because the oils in milk dilute some of the powerful spices and unwrap their flavours. Ice cream can do the same, but don’t serve so much it chills the digestion. You can buy Pistachio nuts, shell them and put in a liquidiser to chop, fold them into commercial ice cream to re-chill in the freezer. I use vanilla ice-cream (with extra vanilla) but you might have a different preference, like making your own from scratch!

If possible make up a fresh fruit sauce by boiling fruit of your choice in a little water, mashing, adding sugar to make syrup and sieving to store. You can use this sauce hot or cold with a splash of appropriate liquor. Dust the ice cream with icing sugar and add strawberries or fruit of your choice. A pinch of roast, crushed almonds will add new layers to the flavour as will a grating of the chocolate you used in the chili. Try: Raspberry, Tayberry, Blackberry, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Quince, Grape themes.

Don’t take too long before the delicious aroma of fresh coffee percolates from the kitchen, even if it is just decaff. Leave it long enough to normalise the teeth after ice cream. Serve the coffee ‘Turkish’ with two or three exclusive and high quality chocolates (preferably with a Pistachio element). Take turns eating each chocolate, even sharing them and describe to the other person what is happening to your taste buds.

You still have a glass or two of wine left to complete the meal, that’s if you haven’t started on the Amaretto already!

menus for erotic meal
Erotic Meal menu 2

Paella is classic dish that can’t really be improved on, but this best known of all Spanish meals works well if you replace the pork, chicken and ham with seafood. That is of course if you like seafood. A lighter meal than the first but the aromas and colours are out of this world! I suggest here as a vegetarian alternative a smoky tofu cut into small cubes and flash fried.

Otherwise, use fresh-caught ingredients wherever possible. This meal starts best with a clean tasting white wine for fish, but the dessert may lead on to a fruity red – Pinot Noir seems to have the highest polyphenol content.

falafels with spicy salad

Starter: Nut falafels with a spicy salad

You can either purchase a nut mix or break down some fresh nuts using a pestle and mortar or electrical device. I used some nuts from a packet and added fresh Brazils and almonds to the nut mix. I shredded some brown bread – about the same amount as the nut mix, and added chopped onion, peppers and chili along with seasoning. Add an egg and mix it up to form small balls, which you can then shallow fry until they turn light brown. Sprinkle some Soy sauce over the top and serve these with a light rocket / spicy / hot salad with lemon dressing.

Main course: Seafood Paella with wild saffron rice and a coleslaw salad

Ingredients: Olive oil, onions, garlic, boullion, saffron, bay leaf, wild rice mix, green peppers, tomatoes, green peas, green beans, mushrooms, available seafood: prawns, crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, possibly some white fish.

Also a light touch from fennel, dill, parsley, thyme, anchovy. Keep hot pepper flavours down in this course, as these will kill the delicacy of the saffron in the rice.

Salad is basic coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrot with mayonnaise) with ginger, red pepper, chives, sage, celery, mint, watercress added, dress with balsamic dressing. Serve with lemons.

seafood paella
Paella with coleslaw, fruit salad and coffee

Instructions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add chopped onions till softening; pour in bouillabaisse (or fish stock). Season with salt and pepper; add saffron and bay leaf and other herbs. Add rice. Add herbs to taste.

In another pan, add some oil, chopped peppers and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add peas, beans and some more broth and cook until vegetables are tender.

Add this mix to rice when cooked along with mushrooms and seafood. Leave some in their shells to add flavour and finger fun to the meal. Take out the bay leaf.

Cover and complete cooking – in the oven works well but watch it ‘fluffs’ the rice rather than dries it out. You can use Paella rice in this recipe which fluffs-up the best. Please ensure that all seafood is thawed and cooked properly.

Dessert: summer pudding or fruit salad

Try summer pudding (the recipe for this is earlier in the book in the ‘strawberry’ section) with a fruity red wine to complement, but a fruit salad works equally well and is a little lighter if you find white bread ‘cloggy’.

Combine dried fruits such as apricots, figs and dates with grapes, roast almonds, strawberries, acai, raspberries, tayberries, blackberries, orange, lemon, apple, cloves, wine, liquor etc. This adds the potential ‘food fun’ and you might like to line up some interesting jellies especially for this. The next course could be you!

Choosing food elements for ‘healing’

The process of choosing enjoyable meals for a particular health benefit, as illustrated above, can be applied to many types of illness, disease and inherited genetic weakness. However, don’t get carried away with medicalising food – the main elements here are enjoyment and pleasure!

  1. Research the particular condition and write a list of all of the foods and food types that may benefit. Remember also to research food types that may aggravate the condition and avoid them.
  2. From the list choose foods that you enjoy and select a good balance of food elements for nourishment.
  3. Construct recipes including these foods and prepare them in such a way that the nutritional elements remain in the food

This is truly medicine from the kitchen, and cooking the way it is meant to be!