Anti-Valentines Day


Cancel your plans, this time the girls come first.

There is an old wives’ tale that says that the way to the heart is through the stomach. I’m a bit of a feeder, if you will excuse the term, I desperately serve my loved ones food, and nothing brings me more joy than one of them saying it’s delicious. With that in mind, there’s only one way to celebrate V-day, and that way (as always) involves copious amounts of something delicious. After all, food is the fuel for love.

“Let’s stick to cake and tea, and make a pact to get royally pissed at the weekend.”

There’s just one problem:  it doesn’t matter if you are a single lady or tied down to the old ball and chain, Valentine’s day can be a little bit garish. It is in need a classy refurb, don’t you think? Fear not, G&T are here to save the day. Why not do it a bit differently this year. Lose those tacky nuances and gather your loved ones around your gaff and celebrate an Anti-Valentine’s day.  We aren’t talking about a vodka infused, ice cream and jammies sesh in the style of Bridget Jones… come on, you’re better than that (well, okay we’ve all been there, but let’s keep the ice cream safe in that freezer for now…) We are talking about cooking  something delicious and sharing it with the people who always text you back.


So, here’s the plan; you all get together, single or not; your boyfriend can have you another time. Unfortunately, Valentines falls on a Tuesday this year so it will have to be a relatively controlled evening. Let’s stick to cake and tea, and make a pact to get royally pissed at the weekend. The recipe we are providing is for a delicious cake called the Persian Love Cake. It’s basically a cardamom spiced sponge with rosewater icing and decorated with all sorts of Middle Eastern goodies. It has a rather twee story to go with it: In ancient Persia, a beautiful princess longs for a prince to notice her but he’s to busy being a LAD to realise. Seems some things never change. However she bakes him this cake and the smell of it baking instantly gets his attention and he goes looking for her.  Long story short, they fall in love. Not sure if it was with her or the cake, but either way it was a happily ever after, worth a try in your pursuit for Adonis.


Its aromatic and sweet and goes perfectly with a cup of herbal tea. We would recommend anything with a floral hint to compliment the rose such as Waitrose Jasmine and Rose tea (£2.89) or Tea Pigs Fennel and Liquorice (£1.30). Failing that, Rosé wine will just about do as well, and most importantly it matches the colours. For all of you with a c’est la vie mindset on a weekday evening, we recommend Ancora Pinot Grigio Italy, priced at a reasonable £7.50 per bottle from Tiny’s Tipple in Chorlton. As it’s a Pinot, it is generally drier than other’s of it’s pink kind so it won’t overpower the sweetness of the cake. Serve it really chilled, straight from the fridge.

“What’s better than a film about psychopathic behaviour, knife wielding and bunny boiling? Its the stuff dreams are made of when going through a break up”

With music this week we only have one piece of advice: Stay away from Adele, and other beautiful yet depressing artists. Pretty much everything else goes; but try and stick to empowering classics like Destiny’s Child, Ms. Lauyrn Hill or Fleetwood Mac. We highly recommend their seminal album Rumours; there isn’t an album that celebrates a messy break up any better. Honestly, if you think you’ve had it tough, try being Stevie Nicks in 1977.


“Try and stop yourself from singing something sexy like Barry White Feels So Good as it sensually falls into the tin.”

However, it might be fun to watch some films too, and you have two choices. First road you can go down is super romantic films, only to totally ridicule them. Or you can avoid Romance all together, and watch something about as romantic as Athletes foot. Fatal Attraction (1987) must be top of our list. What’s better than a film about psychopathic behaviour, knife wielding and bunny boiling? Its the stuff dreams are made of when going through a break up. As well as that family-friendly movie, we could recommend other classics, like Stephan King’s Carrie (1976),  American Beauty (1999),  or an even more recent flick like  Jennifer’s Body (2009 – great soundtrack) if you  are after something truly lacking in romantic sentiment.


There are games you can play as well, like pin the tail on the Fuckboy, (literally just print off a pic of your ex, and then get experimental with the tail), pass the pre-nup, or even break up text Bingo. You could even get crafty by making voodoo dolls or take charge and show your girlfriends how to burn their Ex’s hoodie (in regulation with the local fire department’s requirements of course.) Seriously though, hosting should know no limits, just remember the fire extinguisher.  Maybe we’re somewhat teasing, maybe we aren’t… But in all seriousness, if you did want to conduct some releasing rituals with your friends this Valentines, it’s a really cleansing way to rid of any past anxiety all choked up in a recent breakup, and a healthy way to move on with your future. Click here for some great ideas.

Persian Love Cake

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

8-10 cardamon pods

225 butter

400 caster sugar

4 eggs

310 plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

85g ground almonds

250ml milk

 400g  icing sugar

rose water (to taste)

To decorate, rose petals, pistachios and figs


Heat your oven to 180.c and grease a 20 cm diameter circular cake tin and dust with flour and sugar. It is important to ALWAYS do these things first, even though it is tempting to drive straight in to the cake mix…almost quite literally. Baking is an art of precision and speed. Ingredients can deteriorate very quickly and they just won’t work in the way they should. So, as a rule of thumb, always make sure the oven is fully preheated, and the cake tin prepared before you begin anything else.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, ground almonds, ginger and cinnamon.) In a pestle and mortar grind up 10 cardamon pods. Remove the outer husks once they are broken and you will be left with the seeds. Grind these up as finely as you can and then mix into the dry ingredients. In another bowl or mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, like a cloud or a Mr. Whippy…not like a cat, that isn’t what makes this cake Persian. Add the eggs one by one until well combined. Beat in 1/4 of the dry mix and then slowly fold in the rest little by little. Add a little milk if the mixture it too dry. It should run slowly off the back off the spoon.

Pour the mixture in the the baking tray, and try and stop yourself from singing something sexy like Barry White Feels So Good as it sensually falls into the tin. Bung it in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. When the cake is done it should start to smell delicious and fill your whole kitchen. You can also tell if its ready when  its springy to touch or when you poke a skewer  in the middle and it comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.


While the cake cools, make the icing by combining the icing sugar with two tbsp. rose water. Add more water, a spoon at a time, to get the required constancy; it should be thick but pourable.


On a wire tray, rest the cake and pour the icing and let it luxuriously fall over the cake like a sexy waterfall. Let it dry and set and then go to town on decorations. Traditionally the Persian love cake is decorated with dried or fresh figs (cut almost to the bottom twice in a cross shape and squeezed gently at the bottom to pop it out), rose petals and pistachios. But, you go girl; you make the God damn rules.


Cake, tea (and/or rosé), your best girlfriends and a small effigy of your ex to stick pins in. What more could a girl ask for? Embrace those around you who will always be there for you.

Happy love day.


See you next Thursday.
G&T x



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Hello! We are Ginseng & Thyme, two friends and work colleagues from Manchester with a passionate affinity for food, drink and lifestyle. Here’s our food story, what’s yours? Twitter: @ginsengandthyme Instagram: @ginsengandthyme

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