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  • Maite Aizpurua

Valentine at Home

Love celebrations are here! I hope that this simple yet thoughtful menu will inspire you to celebrate safely at home with your loved one. To start a marinated feta recipe from the always amazing Yotam Ottholenghi, followed by a rustic main spread of whole slow roasted lemon chicken with root veggies, confit garlic on the side, and a herbaceous salad. Finished with a super decadent chocolate fudge cake and berry compote.

This meal is meant to be eaten casually, all the savory items can be on the table at the same time. The idea is that after you cook this, its time to relax and not worry if everything is perfectly warm. Enjoy!

Photography by Jessica Attie 

Food Styling and Recipes by Maite Aizpurua 

Marinated Feta


10 garlic cloves, peeled

1 lemon; just skin peeled into 6 strips

4 bay leaves

2½ tsp chili flakes

250 ml olive oil

1 tsp flaky sea salt

1¼ tsp paprika

2 blocks Greek feta, cut into large cubes


1 Heat a pan to medium high heat, once the pan is very hot, add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan, until cloves are charred. Add the lemon strips and bay leaves, and cook for about 1 minute until lightly charred, lift the pan from heat every so often as you shake to avoid burning the bay leaf. Add the chili flakes and cook, stirring continuously, until well-toasted and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2 Remove the pan from the heat, then add the oil, salt, and paprika. Stir for about 30 seconds to combine. When the oil is warm but not hot, add the feta and coat every piece in oil. Refrigerate it in an airtight container.

3 The feta will stay delicious for about 2 weeks, but make sure to take the feta out of the refrigerator about an hour or so before you want to serve it to allow the oil to desolidify.

NOTES Makes 6 servings.

Confit Whole Garlic


4-6 Garlic heads, cut lenghtwise with skin on

2 cups olive oil, or more


1 Preheat oven to 325F

2 In an oven-proof pan big enough to just fit the garlic in one layer - use more garlic if the pan is big or less garlic if it's small, you will have to cover with oil so it's best if it's just the right amount of garlic heads for the pan. Place the garlic flesh side up and cover with olive oil.

3 Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil, cook for about 30 minutes. I then like to uncover the pan and cook until the garlic turns deep golden brown, this will take approximately 15-30 minutes. However, it is not necessary to do this last step, you can just leave covered until it softens, takes approximately 1hr.

NOTES Serve the garlic next to the roasted lemon chicken, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container. The garlic and garlic oil will stay well for about 2 weeks.

Herby Salad with Olives, Pickled Shallots & Serrano Peppers


1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 serrano, thinly sliced

1 tsp honey

½ cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar

½ cup green olives, pitted and lightly crushed

2 tbsp garlic oil, find recipe below

½ cup fresh herbs, dill and parsley work well together

4 cups mixed greens, arugula and leaf lettuce for example


1 Heat up vinegar and honey in a pot until hot but not boiling, pour over shallots and serrano, then let it slowly come to room temperature. In a separate bowl combine green olives and garlic oil, let marinate until ready to serve salad.

2 Right before serving, add the pickle shallots, pickled serranos and 2 tbsp of the pickle vinegar juice to the marinating olives, stir to combine and taste to adjust for salt. In a big bowl combine the herbs with the mixed greens, pour the olives and pickles mixture over the greens and toss gently. Serve.

NOTES Makes 2-4 servings

One-Pan Lemon Whole Chicken & Roasted Veggies


4 to 5-pound whole chicken

Salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

2 lemons

1 bunch fresh thyme

6-8 carrots, cut lengthwise if carrots are thick

1 pound fingerling potatoes

1 red onion, cut into quarters

1 garlic head, peeled


1 Take chicken out of refrigeration and pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper all over, including the cavity. And allow chicken to rest for at least 30 min on the counter, this will yield a more even cooked chicken.

2 Preheat the oven to 325F.

3 Pierce one of the lemons (all the way through the skin) with a knife a few times, stuff a few sprigs of thyme, a couple garlic cloves and the lemon inside the cavity ( if lemon is too big, cut lemon in half). Drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil over the chicken and massage it all over.

4 In a sheet pan or baking dish lay the chicken. Around the chicken scatter the potatoes, onions, carrots, remaining thyme and garlic cloves, tossed with the remaining olive oil and season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cut the last lemon in half and lay around the chicken too.

5 Roast until the chicken is golden brown and cooked to 165F, about 3hrs.

NOTE Makes 4-6 servings

Spicy Chocolate Fudge Cake with Berry Compote


Fudge Cake

8oz dark chocolate (70%), chopped

8oz coconut milk, full fat

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

⅛ tsp cayenne powder

Berry Compote

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen raspberries

3 Tbsp orange juice


Fudge Cake

1 Lighty butter a tart pan, line with parchment paper

2 Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat.

3 In a separate pot heat the coconut milk gently over low heat. Stir in the cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Continue stirring until the milk is hot but not bubbling.

4 Pour the chocolate into the cream, and slowly stir until everything comes together, and milk and chocolate are fully combined. Pour the mixture into the lined pan, cover and refrigerate until it sets, a few hours, or overnight.

Berry Compote

1 Heat up the berries and the orange juice in a small pot until it begins to bubbles.

2 Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally mashing the berries a bit everytime - do this for about 10 minutes until it thickens.

3 Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

NOTE For an extra romantic dessert, serve the chocolate fudge cake topped with the berry compote. Then add vanilla ice cream, pound cake cut in cubes, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh mint!

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