February 10, 2017

Deliciously Dark Valentine's Dinner

There are endless ways to spend Valentine’s Day, whether out on a fun-filled date, getting pampered at a spa or just staying in and treating yourself to a slow, moody and indulgent night at home. If listening to your favourite records, getting cozy and making a delectable spread is your jam this year, forget the salad and turn your kitchen into a den of seduction and sensory pleasure. Stocksy food photography genius, Nadine Greeff has just the right idea with this dark and sensual set, with appy, main and dessert sorted for a sexy dinner in.

Stuffed Eggplant Involtini


  • 3 eggplants, trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices
  • ¾ cup olive oil, or as needed
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ½ cups drained canned crushed tomatoes
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish


Heat oven to 375°F. Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brush eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and cook, turning until tender. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine feta, pine nuts, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon zest and parsley. Mix in egg and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and divide stuffing evenly among them, placing 1 to 2 tablespoons at one end of each slice. Roll up slices tightly to secure filling and place in a baking dish to fit snugly.

Pour crushed tomatoes on top of eggplant rolls. Drizzle olive oil evenly on eggplant and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bake until cheese has melted and eggplant is bubbling—25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and grated parmesan cheese.

Pair with rosé or a fruity chardonnay

More images in this gallery >>

Coq au Riesling with Mushrooms


  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 125g bacon/pancetta, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 chicken pieces on the bone
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced and whole
  • 500ml Riesling wine
  • Salt & pepper
  • Handful of fresh thyme


Melt the butter and oil together in a large pan.

Brown the chicken pieces all over and remove from the pan.

Add the shallots and bacon—allow to fry until the shallots are soft and translucent and the bacon is cooked.

Add the garlic and allow to saute for another 30 seconds before removing the mixture from the pan. Leave the juices and crispy bits in the pan.

Add the mushrooms and allow to fry for 5 minutes.

Add the shallot and bacon mixture along with the browned chicken back to the pan.

Pour in the wine and allow to come up to a boil. Turn down the heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Garnish with fresh thyme.

More sumptuous images in this gallery >>

Honey Roasted Seasonal Fruit with Thyme


  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6-8 assorted plums and pears halved, pitted
  • Additional fresh thyme sprigs
  • Toasted pine nuts and almonds


Preheat oven to 475°F. Stir first 4 ingredients in large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over high heat until butter melts. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add plum and pear halves, cut side down. Cook fruit without stirring for 2 minutes. Turn fruit over and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until caramel is deep brown, checking frequently to prevent burning—about 4 minutes.

Transfer fruit to serving bowls. Spoon sauce from skillet over fruit and garnish with toasted nuts and thyme.

Pair with a Riesling or Sauternes.

More juicy images in the gallery >>

In her photography, Nadine Greeff captures the beauty and vitality of raw ingredients, complete dishes and the stories behind them. Nadine’s scope of work has included publishing a cookbook, shooting food for magazines, designing food packaging, social media, and branding supermarkets and foodie websites.

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