An Unconventional Valentine’s Day

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Having a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day with is a privilege. A privilege most of us don’t have. Coming into this “holiday” a single lady/man can sometimes be difficult depending on how much you actually care about the day. I’m going to continue assuming you care quite a bit about it but even if you don’t, bear with me because you can still enjoy this. As I was saying, coming into this holiday “single as a pringle” can sometimes be hard because you’re bombarded with all these messages about love and finding your SO the “perfect” Valentine’s Day gift which is usually just a promo to get him/her/them a box of ordinary, everyday chocolate that seems special because of the pink or red packaging and hearts all over the place or a giant teddy bear holding a heart that says “Be mine” with a humongous bouquet of flowers. Thing is though, just like Christmas (which is a whole other story on its own), these are just ploys to get you to spend your money on some frivolous overpriced shit so the big corporate guys can stack some more paper. Lemme tell you something, those corporate guys and can miss me with that shit and cash me ousside, how bow dat? However, as much as I hate the players, I cannot hate the game. These people are just trying to get paid like the rest of us and I can’t disrespect that hustle.

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The only problem I have with this is that people tend to get lost in the sauce. They keep drinking the kool-aid that makes them believe they can only celebrate Valentine’s Day a certain way or else it’s not right. Treat your main chick to a romantic dinner. Buy your side chick a plastic rose. Tell your crush you like them. Cool story bro, but that’s basic as fuck. Plus! What if you’re single!? This only works if you have a SO to do it with. All a single person has is this empty feeling that they’re not good enough because they don’t have anyone to waste money on on the 14th of February. And what about people who are born on this day! How and when do they get to catch a break? How can they have a birthday dinner if the menu for that night is centred round love and hearts and is the boring old beef fillet with a choice of sides as a main and a chocolate molten lava cake for dessert? BORING!!!! I sound like all I’m doing is hating which is exactly what I am doing but someone needs to say these things.

Let’s cut the bullshit people! There’s not only one way to celebrate this holiday. You know, I was trying so damn hard to look for a recipe to share with you for Valentine’s Day and all I could think of was chocolate and raspberries and as lovely as that combination is it’s kind of overdone and generic just like the rest of the Valentine’s Day traditions. I was honestly not willing to share with you something that I felt was overdone and generic. Any time of the year, chocolate and raspberries is a classic combo but for Valentine’s Day it all of a sudden becomes basic and bland. It’s like pumpkin spice lattes. They’re delicious and all but completely overdone and are now synonymous with Autumn and white girls in Uggs who, in other words, are “basic bitches”. You’re great, but I’m not down. To girls who are called basic bitches, don’t let the haters get you down, keep living your best life and keep doing you, boo. I support you, but I just don’t get down like that on a personal level. So enough with being basic this Valentine’s Day, instead of cupcakes we’re having nachos.

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As we’re told to “spread the love” on the 14th of February, which is a lovely message, we kind of forget to take care of ourselves in the process. But if we do remember, we get ridiculed for being sad single people on Valentine’s Day or even worse, we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. This, of course, only applies if you actually care about this holiday. If you do care and you do feel bad, I got your back, Jack. This one is for you. Get yourself into comfy PJs this Valentine’s Day, make yourself some grand ass comfort food in the form of delicious filling nachos and watch some good series and movies. If you’re in a relationship and have someone to celebrate this day with be a little unconventional and instead of taking them out to a restaurant for an overpriced and generic “Valentine’s Special” dinner menu make them your own Valentine’s dinner with this beautiful love filled fully loaded nachos recipe served best with a red wine. (Probably, I don’t know. I don’t drink wine. Google what wine pairs well with Mexican comfort food) It’ll be cheaper and your SO is guaranteed to appreciate it loads more than a restaurant because you made it yourself. Lastly, if you’re the type of person to not give the slightest ounce of fuck for this holiday then make yourself some nachos because even though it’s taco Tuesday this Valentine’s day, in the spirit of being unconventional, bend the rules a little.

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Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

Ingredients
Taco Spice Beans
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed*
  • ½ cup sweetcorn**
  • 2 ½ tsp taco spice seasoning
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried oregano and thyme each
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper
Method
  • Put about a tbsp. of oil (I use coconut) I a pot over a medium heat. Once the oil is heated place the onion, garlic and tomato paste in. Cook until the onions have softened and are translucent.
  • Then add the rest of the ingredients plus water equating to about the volume of half the tin of chopped tomato and excluding the sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook and let simmer for about 10 minutes over a medium to low heat.
  • Once cooked and the dish has thickened a bit add a pinch of sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Notes
  • *If you cannot find black beans, kidney beans work just as well. You can cook your own beans but a tin of beans is easier and more convenient.
  • ** you can use fresh, frozen or tinned sweetcorn

 

Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ red onion finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely diced
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tabasco sauce
Method
  • Cut each avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh using a tablespoon. Then mash them using a fork until the mixture is mostly smooth. It does not have to be 100% smooth. Lumps add to texture. Place mashed avo in a bowl.
  • Add to the bowl the onion and jalapeno and mix until well combined. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and tabasco.
Spicy Roasted Tomato Salsa
  • 5 medium to large tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 large red chili
  • ½ red onion
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
Method
  • Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet/pan with the garlic, chili, and onion and season generously with salt. Place them in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the ingredients have slightly blackened, flipping the chili and garlic half way through. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle.
  • On the chopping board chop all the ingredients until fine but still quite chunky. If you don’t want the salsa too spicy remove the seeds before you slice and dice the chilli. If not, keep the seeds in there. You can also use a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until mixture is finely yet chunkily chopped for this part.
  • Transfer to a bowl and season with salt, a pinch of sugar, and balsamic vinegar.

 

Vegan Nacho Cheese
  • ¼ red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper minced
  • ½ potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp hot English mustard
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper
Method
  • Heat about a tablespoon of oil (I use coconut) in a medium pot. Once heated add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until ingredients are slightly browned. Then add the potato and carrot and stir well cooking for about 2 min. Add about a cup of water and boil until potatoes and carrot is soft and fully cooked. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes
  • Place the entire mixture into a high speed blender or food processor. Drain the cashews from the boiling water and add it to the blender with the potato carrot mixture. Add to that the nutritional yeast, mustard, paprika and cumin. Blend the mixture until very smooth. Slowly add the almond milk until you get the correct consistency. You’re looking for the consistency of nacho cheese, thick but liquidy: almost the same consistency of shop bought custard. If the mixture is too thick after adding the almond milk, add more until you get the consistency right.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more nutritional yeast if you want a more cheesy flavour and add more cumin and paprika for extra spice. Add more mustard or a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavours.
  • If you don’t have a high speed blender chances are the mixture isn’t super smooth. To make the cheese smoother, pour the nacho cheese into a bowl over a sieve and sieve through. Or use a cheese cloth to strain out the cheese and make it smooth. Note that using a cheese cloth will take longer and be more cumbersome but will result in a smoother texture and finish.

 

 

Assembly
  • 1 large bag of nacho chips
  • 1 batch taco spice beans
  • 1 batch guacamole
  • 1 batch spicy roasted tomato salsa
  • ½ batch vegan nacho cheese
  • 1 ½ tbsp sliced spring onion (green/white part)
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander*
  • 1 red chili or jalapeno pepper sliced
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
Method
  • Place the nacho chips onto a serving tray. Then layer on the beans. Follow with the salsa, guacamole, and finally the nacho cheese. Garnish with spring onion, tomato, coriander and chili. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Notes
  • *If you don’t like the taste of coriander you can swap it out for fresh parsley

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