Delicious, heart-warming dishes to celebrate love in Valentine’s month.

Serves 8

What is not to love about sweet banana, buttery biscuits and a load of nutty, chocolate cream? I feel my Granny Susan, who ate bananas with double cream and a sprinkling of caster sugar, would agree.


For the case:
  • 325g digestive biscuits
  • 200g slightly salted butter, melted
  • 100g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped

For the caramel filling
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 125g slightly salted butter, cut into small pieces

For the top
  • 3–4 bananas
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 Tblsp Nutella

  • Begin with the case: in a food processor, blitz the digestive biscuits until you have fine crumbs (or, put into a freezer bag and whack with a rolling pin). Tip into a bowl with the melted butter and 75g of the chopped hazelnuts, and mix to combine. Press the mixture into a 26cm loose-based tart tin, then pop in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • For the filling, add the sugar to a large, non-stick frying pan, put over a low-medium heat and allow to melt: do not stir! Once melted, turn up the heat and simmer hard until it has turned a deep, golden colour. Turn the heat to low and slowly stir in the condensed milk. It may not come together immediately; keep stirring and it will become smooth and uniform in colour – about 10 minutes. Add the butter, stirring until melted and combined. Pour into your chilled case, smooth the surface and put back into the fridge for at least an hour.
  • When you’re ready to serve, peel and slice the bananas, toss with a little lemon juice (this will stop them from going brown) and lay over the caramel. Whip the cream to soft peaks, fold in the Nutella, then spread over the bananas. Sprinkle over the reserved hazelnuts to serve.

If you’ve got time to spare and prefer a less labour-intensive approach, an alternative method for the caramel layer is to place the unopened tin of condensed milk in a saucepan. Cover with boiling water, then simmer over a low heat, uncovered (checking the water level remains at least 2,5cm above the tin) for about 3 hours. Allow to cool completely before opening and tipping the contents into the prepared case.

Serves 2

I am a total sardine convert. In this recipe, the rich and oily sardines are balanced with sweet onion, sharp lemon and the crunch of warm, garlicky breadcrumbs. I challenge you to make this even if you think you hate fishy fish!

  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • 120g tin sardines in olive oil, drained and oil reserved
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • 200g linguine (or spaghetti)
  • Zest (grated rind) and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ quantity Breadcrumb Topping (recipe right)
  • Salt

  • Heat the olive oil and the reserved oil from the sardines in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary. Turn the heat to low and fry slowly until sweet, sticky and golden (this should take about 15–20 minutes).
  • When the onion is nearly done, boil the pasta in a pan of salted water according to the pack instructions or until tender, reserving a mug of the cooking water, then drain.
  • Tip the pasta into the sauce, then mash in the sardines and add the lemon zest and juice along with enough of the reserved cooking water to make the sauce coat the pasta.
  • Mound the pasta onto plates and liberally sprinkle with the golden breadcrumbs.

Serves 4

A versatile, crunchy addition to many dishes. Great for adding some extra texture and a boost of flavour. Try experimenting with chilli flakes, caraway, fennel or cumin seeds, chopped nuts or other citrus zest.

  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs (see Tip)
  • 35g blanched almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
  • Zest (grated rind) of 1 lemon (optional)

In a frying pan, heat the oil with the garlic, breadcrumbs (and almonds, if using). Fry for 5–10 minutes, stirring often until golden. Stir through the lemon zest, if using, and serve.

To make 100g fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from about 2 thick slices of crusty bread and rub into large crumbs. Keep any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days; they won’t be quite as crisp but will still be delicious.

Serves 2

Patatas bravas meets marinara sauce. The Marsala makes the potatoes sticky and sweet, but it can be swapped out for anything similar you have to hand, or stock or water.

  • 2 large baking potatoes, each cut into about 8 long wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 200ml Marsala wine (or vegetable stock or water)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (use ½ tsp if they are extra hot)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C. On a large oven tray, toss the potatoes with the garlic cloves (bashed with the skin on), the olive oil and the rosemary, then season. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Add the Marsala (or stock/water) and then roast for a further 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce: heat the olive oil and add the sliced garlic, oregano and chilli flakes. Cook for 1 minute or so, then add the tomatoes. Season, bring to the boil then cook for 15 minutes on a medium-high heat. Blitz the sauce with a stick blender until smooth(it can be left chunky, if preferred).
  • Remove the sticky potatoes from the oven and serve straight away with the sauce.

Serves 4 (makes about 12 pancakes)

Delicious fluffy pancakes are a great brekkie. I like adding frozen raspberries or blackberries to the pears and drizzling with a crazy amount of maple syrup.

  • 320ml yoghurt, plus extra to serve
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 410g tin pears in juice, sliced into wedges and juice reserved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1 Tblsp butter, plus extra for frying

  • To make the pancakes, combine the yoghurt and eggs in a jug. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and half the sugar, then whisk in the contents of the jug to make a smooth batter.
  • In a small saucepan, add the pears and the reserved juice with the lemon juice, remaining sugar and the nutmeg. Bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes until the pears are soft and the liquid has largely evaporated. Stir in the butter, then set aside.
  • Melt a little butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then dollop in a heaped tablespoon of the batter for each pancake and cook for 2–3 minutes per side until golden and springy. You will most likely need to do this in batches.
  • To serve, divide the pancakes between four plates and top with the pear compote and a little extra yoghurt, if you like.

Recipes from Take One Tin by Lola Milne.

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