For Valentine’s Day this year, Andy and I didn’t do much. Neither of us likes buying things, and we’re both quite tricky to buy for. Most of the VD regulars are unappealing to me, what with most flowers coming from chemical-intensive sweatshop-like greenhouses in developing countries, chocolates often containing milk, and diamonds (as well as other gems and precious metals) often bloody, or at the very least, only available through an incredibly invasive extraction process. Sure, there are vegan, environmentally friendly and socially conscious alternatives (green jewelry, vegan chocolates, and organic flowers, for instance), but I’m just not interested enough in these things to bother (though I do love chocolate, don’t get me wrong).
Then, he made an entirely original stuffing—cranberry, orange, mint and chunks of bread. He pushed rosemary down into the pumpkin, to let it infuse with the orangey flesh. And the whole thing was baked at 180 for one hour.
Alongside the pumpkin, he made Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a Vengeance. With a few substitutions. Instead of oil, he used a little bag of roasted capsicum which were packed in herbed oil (reduced to clear at the shop earlier that day). Instead of bread crumbs, he used polenta. And as a topping, he mixed some dry polenta with a bit of oil and sprinkled it over the casserole before it baked.
The result was a delicious and filling dinner. I thought the casserole was bland at first bite, but it grew on me really quickly. Andy smothered his in tomato sauce (I really think sauce, and not me, is the love of his life). The pumpkin was perfectly cooked, tender but not mushy, and the flavours of the stuffing went beautifully together.
The next night I reciprocated by making Spanikopita, based on the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. Though, the end result was probably pretty different from the recipe. Our filling was 500 grams of tofu, one package of frozen spinach, diced fresh broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, shallots, and the spices from the recipe. This was my first experience working with phyllo dough, and it was tricky but I think it worked out all right. Just next time, we might mix a thick cream sauce through the filling to make it a bit less dry. Since we had the oven on, I threw in some tater tots, and Andy made a quick plate salad with cucumber, beetroot, and green olives.
I know it's not the sexiest picture, but this was yummmm-tastic.
Is there anything more romantic than sharing a nice, warm, vegan meal on a rainy Valentine’s Day? I don’t think so.