When you think Father’s Day you might envision novelty ties and baseball, but we know the real way to a man’s heart. This year, why not score another kind of home run with something a little different and a lot more delicious?
We teamed up with nutrition and cooking duo Stephanie and Dorothy from Fig & Bloom to create a dynamite, three-course menu specifically designed to balance hormones, enhance fertility and boost libido.
What’s even better? Instead of spending the whole day and night slaving in the kitchen, you can prep most of these recipes ahead of time, so you can relax and thoroughly enjoy the evening.
Maca powder – from South America
SOME HANDY TIPS BEFORE YOU GET STARTED:
You can pick and choose from the recipes, but if you decide to make the whole shebang, here are a couple of suggestions to save you time and energy.
- Make the chocolate truffle mix in the morning, or even the day before.
- The mushroom tart pastry can also be made the day before and kept in the fridge, as can the strawberry and coconut sugar mix for the mocktails.
- In the afternoon on Father’s Day prepare and measure out all the ingredients for the spinach and mushroom tart and harira chicken dish, and make the salad, but leave out the dressing until just before you serve it up.
- When it comes to the evening, serve up the mocktails and get cracking on the chicken dish. While that is simmering prepare, cook and serve the tarts. And as dinner draws to a close, get messy making the truffles together… Enjoy!
STRAWBERRY LIME MOCKTAIL (OR COCKTAIL)
This deliciously refreshing aperitif is the perfect start to your evening. It’s bursting with vitamin C from the lime and strawberries, which is known to protect the egg and sperm from oxidative damage and improve circulation – very important for libido. We kept out the alcohol because it doesn’t support fertility or (contrary to popular belief) libido, but feel free to add it if it works for you 😉
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 handful of strawberries*, rinsed and green tops removed
- 1 tsp of coconut sugar
- 1 tsp of water
- Sparkling water (or wine if you prefer)
- Lime slice to garnish
*Can easily work with another in-season fruit like fresh peaches
- Put a couple of cubes of ice into two pretty glasses and pour over the limejuice.
- Blitz the strawberries, coconut sugar and 1 tsp of water in a blender until smooth.
- Divide the mixture between the two glasses, top with the sparkling water or wine and garnish with some lime.
SPINACH, MUSHROOM & TALEGGIO TART
Not only do spinach and mushrooms look good together, their combined nutrients make them a perfect match for anyone wanting to promote fertility. Spinach is packed with important magnesium, folate, vitamins C, E and carotenoids, which together help the body to cope with stress, support healthy DNA production and protect the sperm and egg. Our favourite mushrooms are shiitake because they contain vitamin B6, selenium and zinc, which may improve conception rates and are needed for sex hormone formation. We have also gone gluten-free here not just as an excuse to use a mix of more nutritious flours, but also because gluten triggers inflammation in some people, which has been linked to reduced fertility. You can of course use regular wheat flour instead, or just buy a ready-made savory pastry case.
‘I had not tasted taleggio cheese before but had read and heard about the gorgeous way it melts, so I decided to try it here when creating this recipe for SmartyPants and it did not disappoint! It really is the tastiest, creamiest, most divine melted cheese. A little goes a very long way. If you cannot find it though, it would be delicious with a fontina or goat’s cheese or even a bit of cheddar.’
For the gluten-free shortcrust pastry base:
(If you are not gluten-free you can substitute the flours for wheat flour, but then leave out the xanthan gum. Or buy a ready-made crust.)
- 100g (a rounded ¾ of a cup) gluten-free flour – we use Doves Farm here in the UK but in the US you can use any of these: Bob’s Red Mill, $11.00 for a 6-pound bag; King Arthur Flour, $7.95 for 24-ounce box
- 100g (a rounded ¾ of a cup) buckwheat flour
- 100g (a rounded ¾ of a cup) brown rice flour
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tbsp xanthan gum (or replace with the same amount of ground psyllium husks if you are sensitive to xanthan gum)
- 75g (1/3 of a cup) unsalted butter, chilled
- 75g (1/3 of a cup) organic lard, chilled (feel free to substitute with no-taste coconut oil)
- 1 egg white
For the tart filling:
- ½ cup finely chopped spinach
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
- 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms – we recommend a mix of wild (shiitake, oyster) but you can use any fresh mushrooms
- 2 tsp butter or no-taste coconut oil
- ¼ cup taleggio, broken into small pieces
Start by making your short crust pastry, so it can be chilled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cooking:
- Sift the flours, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum into a bowl.
- Cut the butter and lard into small bits, then rub these through your fingers with the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg white and knead into a smooth dough. Wrap in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.
Next make the tart filling:
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Slice your mushrooms and then sauté them in the butter or non-taste coconut oil over a medium heat for a few minutes until they are just golden.
- Wash and dry your spinach. Chop in to small pieces and stir through the olive oil and unrefined sea salt.
- Split the short crust dough in half. Take each half and make it into a round ball in your hand until softened. Place them separately between 2 sheets of parchment paper and then roll each one until flattened but not too thin.
- Top the flattened piece of pastry with the spinach, cheese and mushrooms, then push in the edges to create a raised side.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should just start to bubble and become golden brown on the edges. Serve immediately.
HARIRA MOROCCAN CHICKEN WITH A PERSIAN HERB SALAD
This delicious, flavoursome dish gets its vibrant, orangey colour from the turmeric, saffron and red palm oil. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, while saffron may improve sexual performance! The red palm oil adds vitamins A and E, needed for sex hormone production and to support egg and sperm quality. Adding some carrots at the end will boost beta-carotene levels, important for progesterone levels in women, and the rapeseed oil is there simply to enhance beta-carotene absorption. It is also believed that orange foods nourish the ovaries and testes through The Flow chakra.
Eating protein from a variety of sources, like here with the chicken, rice, chickpeas and lentils, may also support fertility. This dish also contains good levels of zinc, a deficiency of which can leave you with little sexual desire. While zinc is needed by women, and may increase sensitivity of sexual tissues, it is one of the most important nutrients for male fertility – being key for every aspect including sperm formation, sperm motility and testosterone production. Many men suffer with low testosterone, which can be due to lifestyle choices such as drinking too much alcohol which can deplete zinc.
A final note: try to chop your onion and garlic a good ten minutes before you add them to the pan – this will increase their allicin levels, a chemical produced when these veggies are cut into or crushed, which is thought to enhance male libido.
‘Harira is a traditional Moroccan tomato and lentil-based soup that I first tasted back in the 90’s on one of my modelling trips to Morocco. I was there during Ramadan when this delicious dish is traditionally served at sunset to break the fast. Many years later harira went on to become a family staple in my household. ‘
We have created a lighter version here and added in some key fertility-supporting ingredients, like red palm oil. But you can adapt it easily – if you want a heartier version then cut the chicken off the bone at the end and add a little stock to make a lovely nourishing soup. Or if you want to keep it vegetarian and leave out the chicken then there is still plenty of lentil and chickpea protein in there, and you can add whatever other veggies you want.
We have given you enough for 6 people, not because we think you should necessarily share it (!) but so you have leftovers. Or freeze the sauce and save the chicken for a next-day salad. If eating it with the kids leave the spicy harissa on the side.
Makes 6 portions
- 3 lbs free range chicken thighs and legs, organic if possible – get the best quality you can find
- 2 yellow onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tbsp no-taste coconut oil (Nutiva makes a nice one)
- 3 ½ cups of chicken stock – we usually have some homemade in the freezer, but if you do not have any feel free to use a nice organic, ready-made version, or a cube of organic bullion.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes (preferably BPA-free tins like Muir Glen or Trader Joe’s, since BPA is a hormonal-disrupter and at high levels is known to affect fertility)
- 2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 12 saffron threads soaked in a cup of warm water
- 4 oz lentils
- 4 oz wild rice, rinsed and drained
- 7 oz dried and soaked chickpeas or 1 can of chickpeas (BPA-free preferably), rinsed and drained
- ½ – 1 tbsp harissa, depending on how spicy you like it
- 1 piece of ginger the size of a large thumb, grated
- 1 small bunch of cilantro, washed finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of flat parsley, washed and finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp unrefined red palm oil
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil, preferably organic, unfiltered
- Fresh herbs and/or fresh hot pepper for garnish, if you like
- Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Chop your onion and garlic up finely and set aside for ten minutes until needed.
- Heat ½ tbsp of no-taste coconut oil in a large pan, big enough to hold the whole dish.
- Once it is very hot put the chicken pieces in and brown for a few minutes on all sides. Set aside.
- Put the same pan with the remaining oils left by the chicken on a low heat and start sautéing your onions first and then garlic until golden brown.
- Return the chicken to the pan and add your stock or broth. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set on a plate.
- Add the can/tetra pack of chopped tomatoes, cup of soaked saffron water, lentils, rice, turmeric and white wine vinegar and simmer on low for 20 – 25 minutes (check to see when they are done). In the last 5 minutes of simmering add the chickpeas.
- Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the finely chopped carrot for a further 2 minutes.
- Add your harissa, grated ginger, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, red palm oil and rapeseed oil. Stir through and turn off the heat.
- Grab a lovely plate, scoop up the sauce and arrange a piece of chicken on top. Garnish with a few herbs and tiny slices of hot pepper, if you like, and serve with the Persian herb salad.
PERSIAN SALAD (goes beautifully with the Harira chicken dish)
‘I first ate this salad at my lovely Persian-American friend Lala’s house. Not only is she a gorgeous and wonderful cook but her amazing stories of escaping through the mountains of Iran in wartime are truly incredible. This salad is so simple and easy but a true flavor explosion in your mouth and the nutrients are just over the top. I say to chop the herbs but remember Lala standing over the salad bowl with a pair of kitchen scissors just snipping them right in to the bowl!’
- ½ romaine lettuce head
- A large handful of each of the fresh herbs you want to use – we love parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, mint and chives.
- 1 pomegranate
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- Pinch of unrefined sea salt
- 1 tsp water
- Start with tearing up the romaine lettuce – if you tear it and not cut it, it will not go brown around the edges. Put in a salad spinner with the fresh herbs and rinse and dry well.
- Chop or snip your herbs.
- Cut the pomegranate in half and drop the seeds in to a bit of warm water – this will make it easier to clean and separate them from the skin.
- Put the lettuce and herbs into a salad bowl and sprinkle your pomegranate seeds over the top.
- Put all the dressing ingredients into a jar and mix well.
- When you are ready to serve the salad, pour over the dressing and turn until it is evenly dressed throughout.
CHOCOLATE & PASSION FRUIT MACA TRUFFLES
We have saved the best for last with these truffles that are guaranteed to get your motors’ running!
Maca is a supposedly fertility-enhancing “aphrodisiac” from South America. Together with the chocolate it contains a protein called arginine. Arginine is talked about as another fertility food, possibly working in a similar way to Viagra by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow to sexual tissues in men and women. The chia coating on the truffle adds more zinc, the passion fruit extra crunch and vitamin C and the goji berries a final antioxidant flush. These truffles are so nutritious and quick to make they can easily become a cherished after-dinner staple in your household (just keep them out of the kids’ reach).
- ½ cup soaked macadamia nuts (soaked in a little sea salt/apple cider vinegar for 4 hrs)
- 1/3 cup ground almonds
- ½ tbsp maca powder
- ½ fresh apricot
- 2 passion fruit
- 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
- ½ tsp red palm oil (or no taste coconut oil would work as well)
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Juice of ½ of a lemon
For the coating:
- 1 tbsp goji berries
- ½ tbsp chia seeds
- Pinch of unrefined sea salt
- Strain the macadamia nuts and discard the vinegar mix.
- In a high-speed blender or small Cuisinart-type mixer, blitz the strained nuts, ground almonds, maca powder, apricot and passion fruit seeds until it forms a smooth paste.
- In a double broiler (or a metal bowl on top of a pot of boiling water), add the chocolate chunks to the bowl and melt slowly, stirring with a spoon. Make sure it does not burn (remove it from heat just before it is all melted).
- Add the melted chocolate to the blended nut mixture. Then add the red palm oil, coconut sugar and lemon juice and blend until really smooth.
- Scrape into a glass bowl and refrigerate for a few hours (or the day before you want to make the truffles).
- Blend together the goji berries, chia seeds and tiny pinch of unrefined sea salt until they are a fine mix and set aside.
- Scoop a small amount of the cold chocolate mixture and roll between your hands until you form a ball. Then take a small amount of the goji berry/chia mix and roll it on to the outside. This will give a pop of color and lovely crunch to your truffle.
- Continue until you have no more mixture left. Serve with coffees on the sofa…
Whether you make all the recipes or just the maca truffles (we HIGHLY recommend the maca truffles) we hope this inspires you and your partner to keep discovering the sensuous, sexy magic that’s waiting right in your kitchen.
Fig & Bloom is a nutrition and cooking consultancy based in London, England. They turn evidence-based nutrition into delicious, nutrient-dense meals, supporting the health of women across the world through all stages of life, from fertility through to pregnancy, breastfeeding and into the golden years. Fig & Bloom founders Stephanie and Dorothy like to keep it real – as Mums who met on the school run, they understand the practicalities of fitting individualized science based nutrition into real life.
Written by Fig & Bloom, June 2015
Stephanie Ridley, Nutritional Therapist
Dorothy Barrick, Holistic Chef and Recipe Developer
Food photography by Yvonne Chakraborty
Know anyone who’s might like to spice things up this Father’s Day? Share this with them!
What about you – what are your plans for Father’s Day? We’d love to hear in the comments!
Posted on June 19, 2015