Hello lovelies! Sending wishes from Zimbabwe to wherever you are in the world, hoping you had a blissful, loving Valentine’s Day.
How did you spend yours? With your significant other, your dog or your Netflix? What did you eat? Did you gorge yourself on copious amounts of Belgian chocolate? Did dietary constraints force you to settle for salad instead? Leave a comment, send me an email, I’d love to hear about your adventures!
As for me, I spent mine in the kitchen preparing a 3 course dinner that I later shared with my mother and my brother. Now before you start feeling sorry for me, you should know that I was perfectly content to have spent my day this way. On the outside it looks unfabulous: peeling butternuts, mincing garlic and squeezing lemons. For any other person, this might have been a punishment for crimes committed against former lovers. Personally, there is nowhere I feel more at peace. Watching a dish come together is one of the most beautiful things I can witness. Inspiration washes over me, my brain kicks itself into gear and my hands get to work crafting my masterpiece.
If you follow me on Pinterest then you might have noticed that I’ve been frantically pinning to my board labelled ‘Outdoor party’. This is where I put all my picnic, dinner and party inspiration if they’re going to be held outside. I felt the need to go over the top (as I often do), be extravagant, do something special. So I dug out the fairy lights from the tomb of our Christmas decorations, cut some flowers, lit a couple of candles and voila!
I don’t believe in needing a special occasion to celebrate love. Love should be something that we celebrate everyday but in that moment, I truly felt the Valentine’s day spirit. This was the first year that I didn’t receive any roses/presents but I didn’t feel that that was a reason to be depressed and cry about how I’ll never find love. No matter what your relationship status may be, know that you are loved. You can find love wherever you look: in the way your mother fondly rushes to address your pressing needs, in the way your dog looks at you knowing that you are its entire world, or even in the way the till keeper slips you an extra chocolate and doesn’t charge you for it. When despair creeps up on you, when it seems the world is closing in on you, when you have hit the wall and it seems like there is nowhere left to turn, remember this; YOU ARE LOVED. Stick a note on your mirror, call your mum and she’ll remind you, stroke your pet and observe how it responds to your touch. Believe this: you are loved.
I believe in spreading love. In being a beacon to the world, carrying that love wherever I go and passing it on to everyone I meet. A candle does not extinguish itself in lighting another; you do not lose anything by giving to others. It’s easy enough to spread love to the people in your immediate environment, but have you ever thought to spread love to strangers? This week, I encourage you to do that as you go out into the world. Smile at the waitress serving your table, tell her you like her hair but do not ask for her phone number. One can be kind to others without expecting it to come back. When you go to the grocery store, give the person packing your things a sincere thank you, tell them that you appreciate their service. Okay yes, that is their job and they are paid to do it, but what do you lose by brightening up another person’s day? Wave to the guard at Sam Levy’s Village, express gratitude to those who serve you, show admiration towards those you serve. Give a flower to the cleaning lady, she knows you better than most of your friends. Create love. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it can be small and sincere. My point here is to give yourself to others, for there is more joy in giving than there is receiving.
Shall we move on to the dinner proceedings? It was basically a gallery of things I have already posted on the blog, and one that is soon to be posted here. We began with Spicy Butternut and Coconut Soup, one of the first recipes I ever posted on the blog. This was served with some crusty bread that I am guilty of purchasing. I realised way too late that we had no flour in the house so I sent my dad to grab a baguette from the local bakery.
Moving on to the main, we dined on a vegan bunny chow that is still in the testing kitchen, but with any luck it will be on the blog next week! If you’re confused as to how a bunny chow can be vegan, allow me to explain. Bunny chow doesn’t actually contain rabbits. It’s a traditional South African lamb curry that is served in a hollowed out loaf of bread. As I am vegetarian, I decided to substitute the lamb with potatoes. You already know my bread situation so I had to serve it with rice. For extra flair, I served this with homemade pickled red cabbage and red onion and some crispy steamed green beans. Lush.Dessert was kept simple and sweet, after such a heavy main I opted for a light palette cleanser in the form of this Coconut Mango Sorbet. Although I didn’t have a specific theme in mind when planning this menu, I somehow managed to include coconut in all 3 courses. Wicked.
Another common factor in all 3 dishes is that they were all vegan. I have a big heart, I fall in love easily and with everything around me. I see the beauty in the delicate blossoming of a rose, in the slow determined step of a tortoise and in the rolling mountainous landscapes of my home country. I am in love with the world around me. Out of that love comes a deep respect for all creatures great and small. There seems to be a widespread belief that animals are below humans and that they were put on this Earth to serve us and our needs. As for me, I disagree with this belief in its entirety. It is for this reason that I gave up meat. I am striving towards veganism, but with things like this it is important to take them one step at a time. As for now, I am in content in leading a cruelty free lifestyle, and at peace in the knowledge that no animals were harmed in the making of my dinner. If you would like to talk about vegetarianism, share your thoughts, or ask questions and find out more, feel free to get in touch with me!