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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Say it with food this Valentine’s Day

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Nothing says ‘I love you’ like eating way too much indulgent food and collapsing on the sofa on Valentine’s Day, so don’t skimp on the culinary treats this year.

Is it even Valentine’s Day if you don’t end the night by gently caressing your own stomach and savouring the last of your lovingly prepared romantic meal? Yes, it might have been fun in previous years to get dressed up and head out for a meal, but that’s not happening in 2021.

Let’s focus on the positives during this lockdown lovefest, with chief amongst them being the chance to feast on mountains of irresistible carbs and sweet treats to finish, all while decked out in stretchy loungewear. No more pushing your plate away and declining dessert? That’s an unnecessary formality and, frankly, a sin.

2021 is the year of celebrating love at home and the following have made it more than just possible. Now, it’s a pleasure to stay in and share with your valentine, galentine or palentine.

Pass the Pastan

valentines day pastaNevermind music, carbs are the food of love and we are hungry. Thankfully, Pastan is rising to the challenge of serving high-end restaurant-style Italian goodness that you can plate up at home.

The Lady & the Tramp special is the dish to look out for and will be available through Deliveroo. Earthy beetroot-flavoured gnocchi meets rich smoked paprika cheese sauce, courgette spaghetti and revels in a sprinkling of THIS crispy bacon. Add in some balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and homemade grated cashew parmesan, and you have a recipe for amazing mouthfeels, all-out love for whoever placed the order and gratitude for elasticated waistbands.

The dish costs £11. You can also order the Valentine’s Day bundle, available through Slerp. For £39, you’ll receive everything you need for an unforgettable meal, including:

  • 2 250g trofie or orecchiette
  • 500g lentil ragu, vegan cheese sauce or crunchy veg mild curry
  • 100g homemade vegan parmesan
  • 12 mini doughnuts filled with Speculoos
  • 1 bottle of wine or prosecco (biodynamic/vegan certified)
  • 1 80g Popcorn
  • 1 bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil
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Music, lighting and ambience are down to you, but at least you’ve got a bottle of olive oil at hand.

Not just Valentine’s Day, this is an M&S Valentine’s Day

m&s valentinesHaving embraced the vegan community with its Plant Kitchen range since 2018, Marks & Spencer has long been a go-to for tasty treats that are easily accessible but still a little special. Let’s face it, we all know that doing your weekly shop at ‘Marks’ is as high brow as it gets and now, Valentine’s Day is getting the lauded M&S Dine-in for Two meal deal treatment. Hurrah!

For £20, home cooks with cupid on their mind can grab dinner for two which includes:

  • Shiitake mushroom paté starter
  • No-beef creamy peppercorn pie main course
  • Potato dauphinoise side dish (fresh asparagus and Tenderstem broccoli are also offered)
  • Love heart churros dessert or fresh strawberries (served in a heart-shaped punnet, naturally)

Of course, you’ll want to wash the rich pea protein pie, creamy dairy-free dauphinoise and decadent chocolate-sauced churros down with something refreshing. That’s where an extensive drinks list, curated by famous French maître d’hôtel, Fred Sirieix, comes into play. Choose from:

  • Conte Priuli Prosecco
  • Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé
  • Vinalta Argentinian Malbec

And for the non-alcoholic crowd:

  • Elderflower Pressé
  • Orange and Mango Pressé
  • Lime and Lemongrass Pressé
  • Blackberry and Elderflower Pressé

Top tip: Don’t forget to grab a card while you’re selecting your meal deal.

Spice up your (love) life

 

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We know what you’re thinking: spicy food and romance don’t mix well. Traditionally, maybe not, but if you’re locked down with your loved one, you can afford to turn up the heat and try something a little more unusual for your Valentine’s Day feast, like a Jam Delish spread.

Caribbean takeaway that’s 100% vegan, the menu at Jam Delish is varied, authentic and thought out with extra special touches such as sugar cane chicken wing ‘bones’ that make each bite feel like the ‘real’ thing.

Located in Tooting, South Londoners have the option to collect or order through Just Eat, Deliveroo, Flipdish and Uber Eats when the craving for traditional Caribbean cuisine gets too much to bear.

Our picks for a Valentine’s meal with a difference include:

  • Mix & Match ‘chicken’ wings (a selection of BBQ and jerk flavours)
  • Callaloo & ‘codfish’
  • ‘Bacon’ mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Chicken salt fries
  • Fried sweet plantain
  • Sweet festival dumplings

This gives you a heady mix of spice, rich flavour and deeply satisfying food with music and soul running through its core. Seriously, if you don’t dance while you eat the festival dumplings, you’ve got better self-control than us. We also highly recommend trying to locate some Ting — one of the most popular soft drinks from the Caribbean — just to give you appropriate refreshment. The grapefruit variety is perfect for quenching jerk mouth.

Something Wicked this way comes

tesco valentinesWicked Kitchen, Tesco’s signature vegan line, has decided to get in the mood for love by releasing a Valentine’s meal deal to be offered alongside the Finest range. It first launched a V-day menu in 2020, because isn’t February 14 the perfect day for some big moves? First kisses, first proposals and now, first-come-first-served limited love day special meals.

Plant-based paramours in 2021 can look forward to a starter, main, side dish, veg option, dessert and drink, all for £15. The following are this year’s courses:

  • Wicked crispy mushrooms with smokey ketchup
  • Wicked Wellingtons
  • Potato and butternut gratin
  • Wicked love brownie
  • Finest Pinot Grigio, Finest South African Malbec, Finest Pinot Grigio Blush, Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer or Curiosity Cola

Costing £5 less than last year’s menu, Tesco is seeking to make the most loved-up date in the calendar as easy to enjoy as possible, with an online ordering service for the meal deal. Simply click, sit back and wait for your meal to be delivered before popping it in the oven and pretending to have cooked it all from scratch.

The connection between food and love is visceral. When we are full of great food, we feel akin to when our hearts are full, so combining the two and getting down to some serious eating on February 14th is a no-brainer.

Whether you recreate your favourite Italian restaurant at home with an elegant pasta order or get primal with finger foods, have a wonderful time. And remember the mantra of the great RuPaul: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

If you haven’t thought of a present yet, check out our vegan gift guides for men and women.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.

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