Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day Meal 2012

Vegan Ravioli

Homemade ravioli filled with Basil Almond Feta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce and homemade Garlic bread

Vegan Ravioli

All washed down with chilled Champagne - sublime!.....and for dessert?

Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding and Sauce with Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding

No complaints here!

A few shots of the table earlier in the day

Our kitchen and dining area is still not finished - those are borrowed chairs! Still no paint or blinds either, thankfully it's private here!

It was an amazing meal, absolutely delicious and honestly better than anything vegan we would get in Cork :-) All recipe components are on the blog here except the sticky toffee pudding, I'll post relevant links and step by step photos of the ravioli later, right now I've got Champagne to finish!

 Happy Valentine's Day to you All!!! 

Edit -February 15th:
Well, it was a great dinner and evening, I'm not sure we've ever gone out for Valentine's Day dinner as I just love making something special at home. I also like to include my son, after all, it's a love day right? ;-) I think I may have made too big of a deal out of it though as he asked me this morning "when is St. Pancake Day?" Oh dear...

Anyway, on to the food! You'll probably recognize the pasta dish as it is essentially my Jumbo Pasta Shells filled with Basil Almond Feta in Creamy Tomato Sauce except I made ravioli instead using my pasta recipe. I much preferred it this way as I had to put quite a lot of almond feta into the shells and it was a bit much, the small amount you can get into the ravioli was just perfect. That sauce just goes so well with it all, the creaminess making at feel very special indeed. Although the pasta recipe is already on the blog I did take new step by step photos so I'll re-blog it here:

Ravioli with Basil Almond Feta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

200g Pasta or '00' flour, about 1 2/3 cups
120ml water, 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Please note I halved this recipe and got 22 ravioli out of it, 11 for me and my husband and that was a perfect amount for us.

Mix flour and salt together and stir olive oil into water. Pour the liquid into a well into the centre of the flour and mix together with a fork until a dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, add more flour until it is no longer sticky. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into 4 sections, take one section and roll out very, very thin. Also make sure you cover the remaining dough so it doesn't dry out. I used a dry tea towel. I then like to take whatever size cutter I am using and just gently mark out on the dough, without cutting through, just so I have a guide where to put the filling. If you click on this photo you can faintly see what I'm talking about. Place a blob of filling in the centre of your guide mark:

Roll out another section of dough, equally as thin then wet around each blob of filling with some water and place the other sheet of dough over top and gently press down on the blobs and try to get out any air bubbles:

Take the same cutter you used as a guide and just place around the filling and cut out the ravioli

Repeat and re-roll any scraps of dough and keep repeating the process until all the dough is used up

Now take the ravioli and just press down around the edges with a fork to fully seal them

And repeat until they are all done and place on floured baking paper

They are ready to boil now but I had actually made these earlier in the day and just left them out covered with a tea towel and they were fine to boil by dinner time. If you were making them a day in advance I would suggest keeping them on baking paper and covering with cling film and refrigerating. 

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, I like to add a bit of olive oil to ensure they don't stick together and drop in the water. Boil for about 3 minutes or when they rise to the surface. Make sure you drain really well as they like to hold on to water and you don't want your sauce getting watered down. I drained in a colander, gave it a good shake, left it about a minute then gave another good shake. They are pretty strong, I never had 1 split open either while boiling or draining.

For the filling I just made the almond feta as usual then measured out 100g of the baked and cooled feta and stirred in a good handful of chopped fresh basil until creamy:

The sauce is the Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce that we love so much, I made no changes for this.

And the Garlic Bread is also from my standard recipe using the baguette version.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This recipe comes courtesy of The Vegetarian Cookery School website and I was so impressed with it. I have never made sticky toffee pudding before, vegan or not, and have actually only eaten it once when I was vegetarian. I did love it though and was keen to make a vegan version which this recipe thankfully already is! 

As a first attempt I couldn't have asked for more as they turned out beautifully, great taste and lovely texture and was a perfect finish to our meal, it really made the Valentine's Day meal special :-) We served them with vanilla Swedish Glace Ice Cream which went beautifully with these, use whatever your favourite vegan vanilla ice cream is but don't omit it! An essential side here ;-)

I only made a very few changes:

♥ I didn't add the orange zest or ginger as I just wanted a plain, standard sticky toffee pudding.
♥ I halved the ginger mostly as I didn't want it too spicy for my son.
♥ Mine only took the 20 minutes and were getting quite brown on top but a toothpick came out clean.
♥ I omitted the Grand Marnier from the sauce, again, as I wanted this plain.

I wasn't too sure if the kind of dates mattered here, just FYI I used deglet noor dates as really, that's all I could find and the puddings were fantastic so I'm guessing they were fine to use. When it says to simmer until the dates are soft, I'm guessing mine took around 5 minutes of simmering, the milk will turn brown from the dates and the mixture gets thickish. I was also impatient and added the date mixture to the marg and sugar when it was still warm, it didn't seem to affect the outcome :-)



  1. I've always wanted to make sticky toffee pudding. This one looks so good I will have to make it! :)

  2. Looks fabulous, can't wait to try the ravioli, but would also love th recipe for the sticky toffee puds. Tried making a vegan version but not got it quite right yet.

  3. Thanks all! The post has been updated now, just click on the 'read more' text at the bottom of the post :-)

  4. Everything looks amazing. Nick & I usually spend v-day at home too, it's fun to cook something together & it's nice not to be surrounded by a sea of other couples!

  5. Thanks guys! Totally agree Jojo :-)

  6. Ooh - it looks like you had a fantastic time! ^^ And that toffee pudding looks so sublime!

  7. Thanks! We sure did, and I highly recommend that sticky toffee pudding!!

  8. Wow Debbie! I'm coming to you the next time I have to plan a romantic dinner. You're so talented! I on the otherhand, made a sandwich for dinner, lol.

  9. haha, thanks! But don't knock a good sandwich!! ;-)


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