Raspberry & Honey Tiramisu made with Grappa- an interview on Valentine’s day

Are you a Valentine’s day lover, hater, or an in-betweener? Have I angered you just by asking the question?

I’m afraid we may have this conversation year after year, and to save you the boredom of me rehashing the old debate, and possibly throwing in a cheesy roses and red…..poem, I refer you now to the Valentine’s Day series I did last year (heart shaped banoffee pies, stroopwafel ice cream sandwiches, Raspberry Mascarpone Tarts on Hazelnut Popping Candy bases – stuff to make the non believers believe. Or eat a lot of sweet goodies, at least.

Which is half the point, isn’t it.

(Oh, and do read this at least – my sob tales of unrequited teenage love…hand me a tissue and a cookie right now!)

Back to the sweets- a delightful take on a traditional tiramisu, I made this one with raspberries and honey and grappa instead of Cointreau. I used soft lady-finger  biscuits I bought in Andorra the week before last. Why tiramisu? Well after all the bashing Valentine’s day gets from me, another others in various camps, I figured we all need an afternoon pick me up.

Honey, as you may know is believed to be an aphrodisiac. Here’s why:

“In medieval times, people drank mead, a fermented drink made from honey, to promote sexual desire. In ancient Persia, couples drank mead every day for a month (known as the “honey month” — a.k.a. “honeymoon”) after they married in order to get in the right frame of mind for a successful marriage. Honey is rich in B vitamins (needed for testosterone production) as well as boron (helps the body metabolize and use estrogen). Some studies have suggested that it may also enhance blood levels of testosterone.” via  How Stuff Works

Oh, I’ve attached a list of Valentine’s Day questions from City Press’s I Magazine. I was asked if I was a romantic, cynic or ultra romantic. I thought cynic was most fitting, but before you raise your eyebrows for those who have seen a few gushing tweets from me, have a look at the answers. I’m not sure yet what was printed (published 12 February 2012 and I’m yet to see it), so if my answers were altered or condensed, now you have context.

Hearts and kisses darlings!x

Update: just got a copy of the piece




Serves 4-6

250 g raspberries

50 ml grappa (or vodka or Cointreau)

1/3 cup honey, plus 2 T (I used a soft, creamed honey – in hot weather no need to melt)

25m ml fresh whipping cream

1/2 t vanilla extract

250 g mascarpone cheese, softened.

1 drop red food colouring gel (optional)

20- 25 ladyfinger biscuits (use best quality you can find, 1 pack)


Steep half the raspberries in 25 ml grappa and 1/3 cup of honey. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Whip the cream with 2 tablespoons of honey and the vanilla extract, till sift peak form.

Add macerated raspberries to mascaropne in a wide bowl and mix well, till incorporated and mascarpone is loosened.

Fold in whipped cream and drop of food colouring, if using.

Choose on glass dish or several smaller ones, like I did.

Lay the lady finger biscuits to cover bottom of dish. Drizzle in some of remaining grappa (a few drops goes a long way as the dessert sets).

Spoon over a layer of raspberry cream.

Repeat with a layer of ladyfingers, grappa and raspberry cream.

Use three layers if using smaller individual dishes.

Top with fresh raspberries and allow to set for 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Top raspberry tiramisu with chocolate disks (I used some from Barcelona’s exquisite Cocao Sampaka or marshmallows (the ones here I bought at the famed cake and chocolate bar Bubo, also in Barcelona – a berry yoghurt flavour).

There are so many heart-shaped edibles available during this time of year -no nicer use for them than to top a special dessert.




The couple

  • What kind of couple are you?

I’d say we’re pretty loving all year around. We prefer to keep obvious declarations of love private however, and certainly won’t plaster that all over twitter or Facebook for example. We’re not adverse to hand-holding and kisses in public, but try to keep it respectful when we’re out and about.

  • How long have you been together?

We’ve been together for 5 and a half years and will be married for 4 years in May. Yowser, that fact leaves me gobsmacked!

  • What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

The sight of the hundreds of heart shaped, cupid-and-his-bow goodies at stores flooded in just as the Christmas goods are removed makes me mad. Mad, because of the overt commercialism attached to a day. Furious that marketers lead men (and women) to believe that one day of showing affection, heart shaped box of chocolates in tow is all that is needed to demonstrate and grow love. I also feel deepest empathy for all the girls and boys waiting around for a Valentine’s day card that will never arrive and feeling unworthy. I was that girl too, years ago. Working with charities, I understand that often we need to utilise days when people sit up and pay attention, to push a certain cause. If anything, I think Valentine’s day should be the time we honour healthy relationships, make people aware of free counselling available and advocate against domestic violence. It may sounds as opportunistic as the heart-shaped-anything marketers are, but this is a sorely missed opportunity to help people understand love better and learn how to be better partners.

  • Have you ever or do you or would you usually celebrate Valentine’s Day? If not, why not?

Despite my feelings about the vulture-like mentality surrounding Valentine’s day that completely devalues it’s significance in my opinion, we usually do celebrate the day. We do so to honour our love and our concept of love, and we hope that others do the same. We’re not so far removed from society not to acknowledge popular culture, but ours will be the day we eat simple food like cottage pie, and easy to whip up semifreddo. We’ll pop a bottle of local bubbles outside and take a nap on a blanket watching the stars. In other words, simpler than our usual dining out affairs, as little fuss as possible with maximum time to chat (and make fun of the suckers who ordered the R600 bunches of roses).

  • Describe the theme or idea or mood of your menu and what inspired it

Jelle and I eat out fairly often (with company) and my foray into food has me experimenting in the kitchen every other day. The thing we value most is the rare quiet evening together with no work to discuss or complete. If like us, you believe that the principals of Valentine’s day should apply all year around and similar meals held whenever you get the opportunity, you realise that time spent together is the allure. Therefore the meal should be simple and fuss free. Maybe just a touch of whimsy to bring back good memories and have a giggle – like I did with the popping candy in the dessert

The menu

  • Starters and nibbles – tapas of marinated artichokes, my quick hummus and toasted pita bread
  • Main Course – something simple and comforting like individual angel fish pies
  • Dessert: This tiramisu?

  • Drinks and cocktails – Bubbly, maybe a few left over raspberries thrown in for colou


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