Sunday, 15 February 2009

Valentine's Dinner

vegan ravioliArtichoke Heart, Mushroom and Pine Nut filled Ravioli (heart shaped because vegans can be cheesy) with home made garlic bread.

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Decided to go with an Italian theme for Valentine's Dinner and try something with artichokes, as like the eggplant posts below, not something we have that often. I based the filling recipe on one I saw online but made quite a few changes. It was delicious even on it's own but way too lemony - so I will adjust that here and the pasta is the same recipe from my last ravioli post. It was very good as a filling but didn't really go with a tomato based sauce, both are quite acidic and the tomato flavour overpowered the more delicate flavours in the ravioli. It would be best kept simple, a 'cream' sauce or just some garlic olive oil drizzled over would be nice.

The 'tiramisu' isn't very traditional. I've seen recipes for vegan tiramisu's around but I'm really not that keen on vegan cream cheese except in Vegan Cupcakes take over the World's cream cheese frosting. So I thought I would try a standard vegan white cake, bake it twice to dry it out, soak it with a Kahlua and espresso mixture then frost it with the cream cheese frosting. I was worried this might get too sweet and rich, and, well - it is. It was delicious but has a bit too much frosting and not enough cake so I would adjust that next time. Also, due to it's richness it needs to be cut much smaller than the usual size square of tiramisu. Otherwise a success, just needs some tweaking.

Pasta recipe is here but half would do for 2 people.

Artichoke, Mushroom and Pine Nut filling:
88g mushrooms, sliced
50g shallots, chopped
100g marinated chargrilled artichoke hearts, chopped*
30g vegan margarine
4fl oz white wine
1 tsp olive oil
25g toasted pine nuts
1/2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme (or regular)
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp salt
black pepper

Fry the shallots in the oil until soft. Add the artichokes, mushrooms, garlic and salt and pepper. Fry until mushrooms are soft and it is dry. Deglaze with the white wine then add the margarine, lemon and thyme then season to taste. Cook over medium high heat and reduce till there is no more liquid. The margarine may separate a bit but that's ok. Tip all of this into a food processor with the pine nuts and whiz until smooth. Set aside.

Roll 1 segment of the dough out till very thin on a floured surface - set aside. Roll out another sheet about the same size. Using whatever cookie cutter you like gently mark the dough without cutting through. Spoon some of the mixture on this leaving the edges bare:

With your finger wet the plain edges of the ravioli with water then place the other sheet of dough over top making sure to get out all air bubbles before pressing down around the edges to seal:

Then using the same cutter you marked the dough with cut around the mound all the way through.

Set these aside on a floured plate then re-roll the scraps and continue. Boil 4 at a time for about 5 minutes (they will rise to the surface) in salted, slightly olive oiled water. How many you need for a main meal depends on the size of your cutter, these were quite large and 4 per person was sufficient (with the garlic bread).

*a lot of artichoke antipasti in jars have lactic acid, which may or may not be vegan. For those of you in the UK I used Waitrose cook ingredients Apulian grilled artichokes in olive oil. No lactic acid and marked 'vegan' on their website.

Garlic Bread:
I just used my previous recipe but used a par baked baguette, slice it diagonally (not all the way through) along the top of the entire baguette. Spread the 'butter' in between each slice and spread some more over the whole top, wrap it in foil and bake for 10 minutes in 200C oven. Unwrap the foil and baked again a few minutes more or until golden.

Sorry, but all recipes came from current cookbooks. Used 'My Sweet Vegan's' cake recipe from her green tea tiramisu, Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World's cream cheese frosting and soaking liquid from the tiramisu cupcakes. For the cake though, after cooking, cooling and slicing in half, I put them back in a very low oven (150C )for about an hour to dry out. I wanted them to get more ladyfinger like to soak up as much of the espresso/Kahlua mixture as possible. It worked really well, too well maybe as I could have done with more soaking mixture! Serve small as it's so rich, you could get 12 servings from an 8x8 inch pan.


  1. What a lovely V Day meal! I like the heart shaped ravioli :)

  2. What a lovely dinner for valentine's day. I love the heart shaped ravioli and the tiramisu looks delicious!

  3. I've been meaning to make a tiramisu for a while. You've inspired me yet again! ;)
    Looks sooooo yummy!

  4. Hi! Thanks for all the nice comments, sorry I haven't responded till now - have a terrible cold! (Love your blog Jennifer!)

  5. These look sooo cute! I want to try all your recipes, they look so tasty and amazing! I'll let you know when I try the first one... I love your blog! I need to start seriously with mine, I'm too lazy!

  6. Thanks so much Violet! :-)


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