Have you heard the phrase “Cooking can be like foreplay”? It turns out that cooking with your long-term partner can be a real turn-on and it can also help two people meeting for the first time to discover if there’s that essential spark between them.
Preparing food stimulates all the different senses, but especially the sense of touch, inadvertently brushing against each other whilst working together creates a frisson of excitement.
Olga Levancuka, a UK-based relationship expert and lifestyle coach, said:
“Making sushi is ideal as it’s a technique most people aren’t familiar with so it’s fun learning how to complete each step together. Sushi is sexy, sophisticated and exotic. What’s more, like good sex, it’s a sensual experience providing physical pleasure from all the different textures.”
Yutaka’s sushi pizza is perfect for Valentine’s. Not only is everything about it heart shaped, once made, it can be cut in two to provide a couple with a large temaki (cone) sushi each. Added to that, several of the ingredients have supposed aphrodisiac properties – nori seaweed is packed with vitamin E, often referred to as the sex vitamin. Smoked salmon is full of Omega 3, another potential aphrodisiac and avocado is bursting with benefits. Ginger and wasabi are also noted for their warming properties, perfect for setting the tone for a romantic evening.
Yutaka Sushi Valentine’s Pizza for Two
• 2 Yutaka Nori Sheets
• 250g Yutaka Sushi rice
• 3 tblsp Yutaka Rice vinegar
• Yutaka Silken Tofu
• 2 tsp Yutaka Yuzu
• 1 tbsp Yutaka Tamari soy sauce
• 2 tblsp sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• Smoked Salmon
• 1 red pepper
• Mayonnaise in a squeezy bottle
• 2 large tomatoes
• 2 medium avocados
• Juice 1 lemon
• 1 banana shallot – finely grated
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• Dash of Tabasco sauce
• Salt and freshly milled black pepper
First, make the sushi base – wash the rice 3 or 4 times with cold water. Drain rice with sieve. Add 330ml water and the washed rice to a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 25-30 mins. Do not open the lid. Mix rice vinegar, sugar and salt together and fold into the cooked rice after it has cooled down.
Cut each Nori sheet into half a heart shape and place on baking tray to make a completed heart shape.
Marinade Tofu slices about .5cm thick and cut in the shape of hearts in Tamari soy sauce and 1 tsp Yuzu for 20 mins. Drain, then dip in a little cornflour and fry quickly on a high heat setting in an oiled pan, until brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen roll.
Make the guacamole
Skin the tomatoes (pop them into a basin of boiling water, leave for a few minutes and then skin). Quarter them and scoop out seeds and discard. Chop the flesh into small pieces.
Halve the avocados and remove stones. Peel off skins, chop flesh and put into bowl, then pour over lemon juice and 1 tsp Yuzu and mash. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilli powder, Tabasco and salt and pepper (you can use a food processor for this). Taste for seasoning and then chill mixture in fridge.
Carefully press the seasoned sushi rice on to the nori sheet heart and, with the back of a spoon, smooth to a thickness of around 1cm, taking care to go right up to the edges – refrigerate for 20 mins.
Using a small heart shaped cutter, cut out smoked salmon, cucumber and red pepper heart shapes.
Now to build the pizza – first spread the guacamole over the sushi rice, making sure to keep an edge of plain rice. Decorate with smoked salmon, cucumber, red pepper and Tofu shapes heart shapes. Finally squeeze mayonnaise in lines over the top of the pizza.