Love (and unfortunately Covid) is in the air

Disclaimer – click the link for full scientific explanations of Covid

Welcome to my February blog. Hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

I won’t focus too much on the lovey dovey stuff so I will let you know a few recorded stories about Valentine’s Day. You can look up “where did Valentine’s Day originate from” on Google and you get a hundred different answers.The most common seems to be from the Roman times, the earliest possible origin seems to be from the pagan holiday Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a festival that celebrated the coming of Spring, which apparently included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery (doesn’t sound like the best festival to me!) – at the end of the 5th Century it was changed to Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius. Another theory, still from the Ancient Romans (they have a lot to answer for) comes from the story of Emperor Claudius 11 who executed two men both named Valentine – on Feb 14th of different years in the 3rd Century A.D. Their martyrdom was honoured by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. If you decide to believe one of these tales or another, I think you’ll agree the stories are definitely very strange back then, times have definitely changed, except for murder, maybe some places still auction women by lottery? That would make one interesting village fete (I joke!)

We also can’t not mention the unfortunate Valentine’s Day massacre (which has inspired a lot of horror movies) the awful tragedy happened in 1929 involving the Irish gangster George “Bugs” Malone, one of Capone’s longtime enemies. The massacre involved gang violence and a lot of blood spillage, the bloody climax in a garage on the city’s North side on February 14th. George “Bugs” Malone was shot to death by men dressed as policemen.

I bet you wished I stuck to the lovey dovey stuff now?! A very quick history lesson over, why don’t we do some baking?! Sorry I realised I have gone from murder to baking within one paragraph….

Now time to bake! Brand new recipe for me, Cherry Shortbread Hearts, click on the link for the full recipe. I made a few changes to the recipe, firstly, I made these gluten free by using gluten free plain flour with a quarter teaspoon of xanthum gum. Secondly I don’t like almond extract I think it tastes really nasty and fake so I left this out. Thirdly when I made up my dough I weighed and sieved all the dry ingredients into a bowl then poured them into a food processor with my butter and blitzed until a dough was formed, I added the finely chopped cherries and just stirred them through, I then put the dough into the fridge to chill for a couple hours. When the hearts went into the oven I cooked them for 12 minutes before taking them out to cut out a middle, for which I used a mini heart cutter (if these came out whole I’d cook these too) to fill the hearts I used homemade bramble jelly not cherry jam (don’t overfill the middle), when I put them back in the oven I cooked them for a further 5 minutes or golden brown, then leave to fully cool before turning them out. enjoy! See below for my attempt.

My dough and heart cookie cutter
I used the mini heart cutter to cut the middles out of the cookies after cooking in the oven for 12 minutes add some jam into the holes in the middle of the cookies, then for a further 5 min cook or until golden brown
Fresh out the oven! Careful don’t take them off here just yet wait until they’re completely cool or they’ll crumble, I even put mine in the fridge!
Ta da! After finally cooling (in the fridge) they were finally ready to turn out. Think I made too many, times like this I miss sharing these with my friends and family!

I thought I’d share with you my “alternative” top 30 love songs, check them out and let me know what you think!

I hope you have enjoyed my February blog, a little different to my others. Watch out for my blog in March, which will be a (lockdown) birthday edition! It’s mine, my best friend’s and my mum’s birthday in March. We can’t forget St Patrick’s Day either (lets hope the history is slightly less dark than Valentine’s Day).


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