Friday 13 February 2015

Stella Newman's Favourite Valentine's Dinner.

Stella's Favourite Valentine's Dinner
by Stella Newman

Valentine’s Day is all about love – and my greatest love is pasta, so on February 14th I know what I’ll be cooking. But which recipe to choose? Trying to pick one’s favourite pasta is like trying to pick one’s favourite child – impossible.

Susie, the heroine of my second novel, Leftovers, believes that pasta is like medicine - there’s a perfect one for any given malady. For example: your ex ran off two months ago with that girl he used to sit next to at work, and you’re still feeling a dull pain inside? Conchiglie with bacon, cream and peas – soothing, comforting, and with little bursts of sweetness hidden in the shells, to relieve the heartache. Or, it’s a Tuesday night, you’ve worked late, you’re tired and mildly jaded? Fusilli (little twirls of excitement) with pesto (easy, so you don’t have to labour over a hot stove) and Parmesan, which is a wonder drug, a panacea in dairy form.

Using the theory above, the decision-making becomes easier. Personally I wouldn’t go down the aphrodisiac route – asparagus and oysters don’t do much for me, in fact the only aphrodisiac that does is liquor. And pasta and liquor don’t make the best bedfellows (apart from Penne alla Vodka, but it’s really not that tasty.)

No - I’d opt for the classic feel-good, guaranteed-to-make-you-happy option: macaroni and cheese. Come on! It’s February, it’s cold outside, who doesn’t like melted cheese? Besides, if you’re in a relationship with someone who’s worth half their salt they won’t judge you for wanting to eat loads of carbs and fat.

It’s a special occasion, so the dish would have to be considerably luxed up. I’d push the boat out and use at least 3 cheeses, including a strong Cheddar. For extra decadence there’d be a baconish scenario –pancetta or lardons. And I’d sprinkle the top with crunchy garlic-buttery breadcrumbs for texture, colour contrast, and a final ‘ta da’ flourish.

And as for dessert? It would have to be warm chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream. I love brownies so much I wrote a book about them. If you’d like to make the world’s best brownie, as featured in Pearshaped – then you can find my recipe here (but do make sure you use Bourneville, it really makes all the difference.)

Happy eating!


Title: The Dish.
Author: Stella Newman.
Publisher: Headline.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Publication Date: February 12, 2015.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.

When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she's only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she's been dating.

There's just one problem. Adam's job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.

Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?

And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you're not quite telling the truth yourself?

Stella Newman. Fiction has never tasted so good.


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