The Feast of Saint Valentine….or Valentine’s Day as it is more widely known!
I have read all sorts of stories about Valentine’s Day, where the celebrations originated and how it all came about. How did it come to be that on February 14th of every year we all go giddy over our loved ones and shower them with gifts and love letters – sometimes of the anonymous variety? I thought I’d better do my research. From what I can gather it seems to be the coming together of a multitude of cultures, festivals throughout history, religious beliefs, saints, authors, and poets. A day that we all share, all over the world. A time to express our love and gratitude for each other without limitations. A day that we have globally contributed to with our own cultural adaptations, historical understandings, tales of folklore and …….chocolate.
I was particularly delighted to discover that some of the very first references to Valentine’s Day consist of a feast, the Christian celebration the ‘Feast of Saint Valentine’ which according to some sources is an adaptation of a Pagan festival. For me there is a natural connection between love and food, could there be a more thoughtful gift than a nourishing meal that you have taken your time to grow, prepare, cook and present to a loved one? I think not. We owe some of our more romantic attachments to Valentine’s Day to famous authors throughout histories such as Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century), William Shakespeare and John Donne (16th century). This is perhaps where the giving of poetry or love letters started to take root.
However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, I see it as an opportunity to show gratitude for the ones close to you, whether it be a partner, parent, sibling or close friend. I also see it as an excuse to cook up some delicious, indulgent food, not that I need one! I have put together three of my favourite ‘sharing the love’ dessert recipes below. There should be something there for everyone, whatever your tastes and they are all grain free and gluten free, there is even a Vegan option.
If you’re a chocolate lover or your lover is a chocolate lover then my ‘Vegan Mousse with Tangelo’ is for you. This is sure to impress with an easy yet fancy plate up when it’s all ready. This one is chocolatey, spicy, and zesty and most of all refined sugar-free! You can also top it all off with some edible flowers just to give it the full Valentine’s Day treatment.
Next up, this is one for all you savoury favouring folk. A super delightful twist on a cheese platter, my ‘Goats Cheese Mousse with Grape’ has all the satisfaction of a creamy dessert but takes a back seat on the sweetness. The toasty Wattle seed crumb and grapes three ways (roasted, pickled and fresh) give an unbelievable combination of textures. Get fancy with your plating and top with blue cornflowers, it’s just the prettiest dish. Perfect for that perfect person in your life. This recipe is also refined sugar-free.
Finally, last but by no means least. For all you speedy lovers, this one is super practical for all those people doing Valentine’s Day in a rush. My ‘Breakfast for Dessert’ is also great for those of you celebrating love for mums, dads and family members. It also works the other way, ‘Dessert for Breakfast’, perhaps you’ve had someone stay the night! You can have this dessert on standby. The granola can be pre-made and the frozen yogurt too, then you can just whip it out when you are ready to go. I use fresh berries but you could also use frozen if this is more convenient. Top with chocolate shavings and edible rose petals, delightful!
Whatever you end up doing on Valentine’s Day, enjoy your day of love. If you’re alone on Valentine’s Day then just love yourself! Cook up something wonderful for yourself, you deserve it, after all, loving ourselves and treating ourselves every now and then is just as important.