Nix the pralines! Here are the 6 tastiest Valentine’s gifts!
A box of chocolates? A little unimaginative as a gift for your loved one on Valentine's Day, right? In theory, a bunch of flowers is not much better — but only in theory.
The following decorative snack creations don't just say: "Someone's gone to a lot of effort," they also look so inviting, they're just begging to be eaten.
1. A bunch of bright flowers
- ham of your choice, cut into long slices
- salami, cut into long slices
- sliced cheese
- cherry tomatoes
- fresh parsley
- ½ cucumber
- In order to create the blooms for this bunch, fold the ham and salami slices in half once lengthways, then roll them up on themselves, starting from one end, to create your red roses.
- Cut a small rectangle out of each of the cheese slices. Roll these up as you did with the meat and then roll up each one inside a larger rectangle of cheese.
- Repeat these steps with all three ingredients until you have the number of roses you desire.
- Arrange your meat and cheese roses close together on the upper third of serving board to form the bunch. Place the tomatoes in between them and around the edges. In order to complete the picture, add some parsley leaves in individual flowers or in between them.
- To create some stems for your bunch of flowers, wash the cucumber then cut it in long strips. Tie the strips together with some pretty gift ribbon then place the bundle of stems under the bunch of roses.
2. Ham & Cheese Pastry Roses
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- round, halved slices of cooked ham
- cheese slices cut into rectangles
- First, cut the puff pastry into six bands of equal width. Then cover each band evenly with the halved slices of ham. Then do the same with the cheese rectangles on top of the ham.
- Now carefully roll up the strips and place your pastry roses in a muffin pan. It's best use a metal pan for this, because, unlike silicon models, they have a stable structure.
- Place the pan in a convection oven and bake for 15 minutes at 360°F.
3. A bunch of tulips
- cherry tomatoes
- 3½ oz cream cheese
- spring onions (also known as green onions)
- In the end of the tomato, make two deep cuts in a cross shape. Place a straw in the hole in the middle and use it to bore through to the bottom of fruit. Repeat this step with all the tomatoes.
- Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese and squeeze some cheese into each tomato.
- Take as many onions as you have tomatoes, peel off the outer layers, and then wash them and cut the ends off. Then insert the onions as "stems" for the tulips into the tomatoes, white end first.
- Use a piece of onion to tie the "stems" together, and arrange everything artfully on a serving dish, as the perfect finishing touch for your Valentine's Day surprise.
4. Fiery Flowers
- long slices of ham of your choice, cut in slices
- First, wash the jalapeños and cut them in half. Instead of cutting the peppers in half with a single cut, use a knife to cut a zigzag around them in order to separate the two halves. Next, use a teaspoon to hollow out the halves with the stalk, removing the cores.
- Now — as you did in the first recipe — fold your slices of ham in half lengthways, roll them up into roses and insert them into the half peppers you have just hollowed out.
Tip: Use some freshly ground black pepper on top as a garnish.
5. Small tulip skewers
- 1 cucumber
- 1 peeled carrot
- freshly chopped chives to taste
- Chop half the cucumber into thick slices, then cut every slice in half. For every half slice, cut out the fleshy core of the cucumber, but do it by making two cuts that leave a right-angled indentation.
- Now cut the carrot into thick slices as well. Make cuts in each slice so that you cut away two small triangles of carrot, so that the slices resemble the side of a tulip blossom.
- Next, stick a half slice of cucumber on a toothpick. On top of that comes a slice of carrot so that the skewer is transformed into a flower.
- Now grab the rest of your cucumber. Cut off a section about 4 inches long. Cut this in half lengthways and place both halves on a serving board. Plant your toothpick tulips in the cucumber halves.
- Sprinkle with chopped chives as a garnish according to taste.
6. Sunflower with dip
- sour cream
- Start by putting the sour cream in a small bowl and grinding some pepper on top. If you want something with a little more to it, add some chopped chives as well. Now stand the bowl on the upper quarter of a serving board.
- Arrange the celery under the small bowl on the free section of the board.
- Peel the carrots, cut them in half and stack them in two rows around the bowl. Your sunflower is complete!
With so may choices, there should be something here for everyone. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater, whatever your tastes, the festival of love is for everyone!