This will be the first Valentine’s recipe we’ve created on the blog, and we’re doing so as the pandemic rages on. Many people took up baking to get through the lockdowns of 2020, and this trend has continued into 2021. Take your bread-game up a notch, with our heart-shaped loaves!
Seeing as there’s nowhere to go for this year’s Valentine’s Day, it looks like we’ll all be staying in to celebrate. All the more reason to make this day into a culinary affair. Our heart-shaped bread bowls are so cute, and are cuter still when they’re filled with our deep red beetroot soup. The subtle notes of coconut milk and the crumbly vegan feta, along with deliciously fresh bread for dipping, make this recipe the perfect romantic dish to cook for your loved ones.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be exclusively for romantic love. Whether you’re celebrating with a partner/spouse or you’re with your children, or living with friends, treat them to something pretty and delicious on this international day of love!
For the bread bowls-
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 40g soft butter
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- 300ml tepid water
For the soup-
- 500g Beetroot
- 1 Red Onion
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Jar of Sun-dried Tomatoes (use the oil for seasoning)
- 150g Celery
- 500ml Stock
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Milk (must be creamy)
- 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
- Salt & Pepper
- Vegan Feta
Note: Bread can be messy and a little time consuming to make, so we found it easier to make the bread the night before making the soup. The bread will still be quite fresh if stored correctly. We proved the bread for 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the soup took around an hour to prepare and cook.
- Sift 500g strong white bread flour into a big mixing bowl, then add 40g of soft butter. On one side of the bowl add 7g of yeast, then on the opposite side of the bowl add 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. This is done to stop the salt killing the yeast. Mix the ingredients together.
- Add 150ml of water to the mixture and use your hands to combine. Keep adding water as you go, to make sure all the flour is picked up. The dough should be soft and formed when you’re done – if it’s sticky, be sure to balance it out by adding a little more flour to get the consistency just right.
- Lightly flour your work surface for kneading the dough. Push down on the dough with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Slowly spin the dough around as you go to make sure it’s kneaded evenly. Knead for 5 minutes to make the dough extra stretchy.
- Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it up with a damp tea towel. Leave it to prove for 1 hour. You want the dough to double in size. This should take around an hour, but it will depend on the temperature of your room – it should be warm, but not too warm.
- When the dough has doubled in size, put it back on the lightly floured surface. Knead it again for a couple of minutes to release any trapped air. Listen out for the slight ‘pop’ of the air leaving the dough.
- Leave to prove again, preferably for another hour. We left ours for another 45 minutes and it turned out fine, but an hour is optimal.
- Preheat the oven to 220c. Using a sharp knife or a dough cutter, split the dough into two equal parts. Shape the dough into rough circles, then use the knife to slice a little triangle out of the top and a little off the sides to create a heart shape. Use your hands to soften the edges, and then gently fold the scraps of dough into the base. Folding the dough into the base of the heart doesn’t look pretty, but it makes for a stronger vessel for the soup.
- Line an oven pot or a dish with greaseproof paper before adding the dough. We used a casserole dish, as we don’t own a real dutch oven. If you don’t have a pot, place your bread on a tray and add a tray of water to the shelf below your bread as it bakes. The water will create steam to help give your bread a nice crust.
- Bake each loaf for about 30 minutes. The bread should rise and have a slightly golden top. The ultimate test is to tap the bottom of the loaf to check that it sounds hollow. Leave to cool.
For the soup-
- Trim the stems and wash the beetroot. Be sure to leave the bits of stem closest to the beetroot still attached, as this helps it to maintain its rich colour whilst cooking.
- Boil the beetroot until it’s slightly softened and preheat the oven to 200c. Chop the red onion, remove the rest of the stems from the beetroot and chop it up. Place these on a baking tray, along with the chopped cloves of garlic. Add all the sun-dried tomatoes, and use a glug of oil from the jar. Season with salt & pepper and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove the ingredients from the oven and add them to a large saucepan. Add the chopped celery and 500ml of vegetable stock. Simmer until the tips of the celery are stained pink.
- Using a hand blender or food processor, blend up the ingredients to make the base of the soup. Add the coconut milk to make the soup thick and creamy. Taste to make sure the subtle coconut flavour comes through. Add the ground ginger and a little more salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a sharp knife, carve out the middle of the bread to make the loaves into bread bowls.
- Decant the soup into the bread bowls and crumble the vegan feta on top to serve!
I hope you enjoy this recipe made especially for Valentine’s Day. February is a cold month, and this hearty bread and soup dish is just the thing to warm you up.