Romantic Vegetarian Food

When you want to make a lasting impression on her the more you can engage the senses, the more total the experience will be, and hopefully the longer lasting it will be. When you can associate this with a positive experience of yourself the better you will appear in her mind.

Although taste is the obvious sense that comes to mind when you think about food, there are five in total and none should be ignored –

  1. taste
  2. touch
  3. smell
  4. sight
  5. sound

Making roasted vegetables ticks all these boxes. I came about it by chance – I wanted to have roasted vegetables with a pie recently, went to the supermarket and found that there wasn’t a special offer on any of the varieties of frozen veg. I was shocked to find that I would have to pay full price, and the bags seemed expensive so I made a mental note of the ingredients (and fortunately the proportions were written on the bag too) and then headed to the fresh vegetable section. I never looked back.

The Ingredients:

(I am working in metric units here, but 25g is about 1oz, and 450g is about 1lb. This will make 8 portions)

  • Red Onions 700g
  • Carrots 800g
  • Parsnip 800g
  • Peppers 500g (vary the colours if possible, but Red Peppers are the first choice)
  • Sweet potato 600g
  • Courgette (Zucchini) 700g
  • Rosemary herb 30g
  • Thyme 25g
  • Olive oil and butter

Preparation:

Wash and peel the vegetables, chop some of the parsnips and carrots lengthways, but for the rest, chop into coarse chunks about 2cm (3/4 inch) square/cubed. Toss with a little olive oil and then add the herbs – the vegetables should be evenly mixed and covered with the herbs. If you are using small onions then keep them whole as they have an unusual shape when roasted and the internal layers expand more. There should be a variety of textures, sizes, shapes and most importantly colour ready for the oven.

In practice, you will probably want to have a very big bowl handy or keep the vegetables separate and use the bowl you have to mix them in proportion with each other bowl by bowl. These quantities will probably serve you for several evenings, so I place 900g quantities in freezer bags and freeze them.

Cooking:

Heat the oven to 200C (about 390F, and the oven can be heating while you prepare the vegetables to save time) and place 450g vegetables per person on a roasting tray with a few small knobs of butter dotted among them. You could use more of the oil, but after attending a lecture by Udo Erasmus once, I prefer using butter for roasting, and leave oils for dishes prepared below the temperature of boiling water.

Place in the oven near the top. After 10 minutes, you can remove the tray and stir the vegetables around in the melted butter so that they are evenly coated, then place them back in the oven

They will probably take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook, so look in on them again about 30 minutes after you stir them in the melted butter. They will have reduced in size a little, and become quite crunchy.

Ideally, if you are cooking to impress someone, try and keep them in or near the kitchen as the vegetables roast – the oven will be emitting a variety of sizzling and popping sounds and an intoxicating aroma throughout.

Serving:

This is an ideal accompaniment to quiche, tart, pies, omelets, lasagna or mousaka. For a choice of wine, I would suggest a white wine like Pinot Grigio, but wine and food combinations are very much personal choice so it’s only a suggestion.

The Logical Dimensions

To the rational mind, this is a great meal – each serving costs about €1.50 ($2 approx) and is low fat (apart from the butter), high fibre, filling and nutritious. But the important thing really is the romantic effect, and that depends on the sensual dimension.

The Sensual Dimensions

While the food is roasting, you have sound and smell. When it emerges from the oven and is ladled on to her plate, the variety of shapes and colour should immediately engage the vision so she can’t wait to put it in her mouth – and that’s where lies the special surprise: this dish is not just about taste (there is plenty) but also texture. Never underestimate the tactile effect of roasted vegetables in the mouth – one of themost sensitive areas in the body.

By creating any experience for your guest that stimulates all her senses, and associating positively with yourself, you have made great romantic progress. And in this case, you are well ahead and haven’t even left the dinner table.

Now it’s time to follow it up with dessert, or as I was once instructed by one of the sexiest women I have ever known “Steven, you have to kiss the girls and make them pie”.