It’s that time of the year where the weather is changing and national celebrations coming in think and fast my mind has gone to that major meal coming in December. Now in England you do not have to be a Christian to celebrate and now so woven into the English culture most families have some sort of celebration on December 25th. So here is a couple of ideas of how to make your December 25th a special one.
PAN-FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH TOFU BACON
- 200g Brussels sprouts, cleaned
- 2tbsp olive oil
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 100g uncooked tofu bacon (for details and recipe link see notes above), cut into small 1cm cubes
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
- Bring a pan of water to the boil, lower the heat slightly and add the sprouts to the pan. Boil for around 3-4 minutes until they have softened slightly. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of the olive oil to a frying pan. Heat over a medium high heat then add the cubes of marinated tofu. Cook for around 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cubes are crispy on all edges. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the same pan (no need to wash), then add in the red onion. Cook for around 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until it has begun to soften.
- Add the par-boiled Brussels sprouts to the pan with the onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in the cubes of tofu bacon, mix well and cook for another minute or so.
- Season if desired and serve!
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 25 g dried porcini mushrooma
- olive oil
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons port
- 2 tablespoons quality blackcurrant jam
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 teaspoons Marmite
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1.5 litres organic vegetable stock
- Peel the onions, then roughly chop along with the carrots, celery and porcini.
- Place in a large pan over a medium heat with a splash of oil and the herbs. Fry for around 25 minutes, or until turning golden, stirring occasionally.
- Add the port and jam, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, or until sticky and caramelised.
- Stir in the flour, then add the Marmite, tomato purée and vinegar.
- Pour in the stock, then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for around 10 minutes, or until thickened and reduced.
- Pass it through a sieve into another large pan, using a spoon to squeeze out all those lovely flavours.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND PEAR WITH THYME
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts trimmed and sliced in half, 450g
- 1 Bosc Pear cored and sliced 1/4″ thick lengthwise, 300g, 2 if small
- 1 Large Shallot sliced thin, 78g
- 7 Sprigs of Thyme plus a few more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Ground Pepper
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 C Hazelnuts whole or Pecans, rough chopped, 50g
Preheat oven to 425F (218C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Gently toss Brussels sprouts, pears, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper, and olive oil together on the sheet pan and spread evenly (if doubling the recipe, use two sheet pans).
Roast on center rack for 20-25 minutes rotating the pan 1/2 way through roasting. Leaves will be crispy and the pears are slightly caramelized.
Toast the hazelnuts or pecans in same oven for the last 7-8 minutes of roasting. If using hazelnuts, and while the hazelnuts are still warm, place them in the center of a kitchen towel and bring the corners up together. Gather the towel just above the hazelnuts while closing the towel tightly with one hand. Rub the bottom of the towel with the other hand, agitating and rubbing the hazelnuts together in order to remove their skins. Open the towel and remove the hazelnuts that have almost all their skin gone. Repeat the process at least two more times. Rough chop the hazelnuts.
Drizzle the lemon juice over the sprouts and pear, toss in the nuts. Gently turn the veggies and fruit over using a spatula, taste for season adjustments.
Garnish with extra springs of thyme. Serve immediately.
- 4 oz (115g) plain flour
- 1 tsp chickpea flour
- Vegetable oil
- 1/2 pint (285ml) soy milk
- Sift 4 oz plain flour, 1 teaspoon of chickpea flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add 1/2 pint of soy milk a bit at a time, stirring well until the mix is smooth.
- Get a yorkshire tin, fill each basin 1/3 full with vegetable oil. Put in the hot oven for 5 mins. Carefully remove the tin from the oven and put the batter mix into the hot oiled basins. They will bubble a bit.
- Put back in the oven and cook for 20-30 mins depending on the whims of your oven.
- You can use the same batter mix for pancakes, and if you add less milk, thick US style pancakes!
Vegan mushroom rolls
- 1 onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- olive oil
- 500 g chestnut mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 100 ml white wine
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 80 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- ½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry , (640g) (we used Jus Rol)
- almond milk
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Peel and finely chop the onion, then trim and finely chop the celery. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the chopped veg. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, finely chop the mushrooms.
- Peel and crush in the garlic, then add the chopped mushrooms. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the mustard and wine, season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has boiled and bubbled away. Set aside to cool.
- Add the cooled mushroom mixture and breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Pick, finely chop and add the parsley leaves, then pick in the thyme leaves. Stir well to combine, then season to taste.
- Cut the sheets of puff pastry in half lengthways so you have four equal-sized pieces. Spoon a quarter of the mushroom mixture along the middle of one length of pastry, moulding it into a long sausage shape with the back of a spoon.
- Brush the almond milk along the pastry edges, then carefully fold one of the long sides of the pastry up over the filling. Press the edges to seal, then crimp with a fork. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have four long rolls, then cut each length into four pieces.
- Place the rolls on the prepared baking tray, brush with the almond milk and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Pop on the bottom shelf of the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden, then serve
Vegan Lentil “Meat” Loaf
- 2 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 6 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup spicy vegan BBQ sauce, recipe below
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked green lentils, cooled and split into 1½ cups and ½ cup
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, split in half *see note
- ½ cup almond flour
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Add the ground flax seeds to a small bowl, pour the boiling hot water over and stir to combine well. Set aside and allow it to thicken and cool.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5-8 minutes until the onions are tender. Add in the mushrooms and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms are tender, add in the thyme and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add in ½ cup of the BBQ sauce, stir to combine and turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, if it needs it.
- Process 1½ cups of the cooked lentils and ½ cup of the oats in the food processor until smooth (some whole bits may remain, that’s ok). Spoon the mixture into a large bowl, add in the remaining lentils and oats, plus the flax “egg”, almond flour and vegetable mixture. Stir really well to combine. Then get your hands in there, just like you would with a regular meat loaf or meatballs, and make sure it is mixed and mashed together really well.
- Spoon the mixture into a parchment paper lined 9? x 5? loaf pan, (leave a bit of the parchment paper hanging over so you can easily lift the loaf out when it is cooked). Using your hands, you really want to press it in good. Brush on the remaining ¼ cup of BBQ sauce over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes at 375F. Cool in the pan for about 5, pull the loaf out by grabbing the sides of the parchment paper and lifting up and allow it to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes on a cooking rack. Slice and serve.
Vegan nut roast
- 50 g pine nuts , plus extra for decorating
- 50 g linseed
- 50 g sunflower seeds
- 100 g unsweetened chestnut purée
- 50 g gluten-free vegetarian suet
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- gluten-flour for dusting
- FOR THE SPINACH TOPPING:
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 300 g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
- 260 g baby leaf spinach , or frozen chopped spinach
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 ripe avocado
- 100 g silken tofu
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/4 sweet potato
- Olive oil
- Recipe by Emma Goss-Custard
- Tofu gives this nut roast a creaminess that makes it seem decadent. You can make individual portions or 1 big tart.
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Spread out the nuts and seeds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5–6 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, along with the chestnut purée, suet and maple syrup, and blitz until it comes together into a ball. It will be sticky to begin with, so stop and scrape the sides as you go.
- 2. Place a large sheet of baking parchment on a work surface and sit the dough on it. Then, with lots of gluten-free flour on your hands and rolling pin, roll out the dough as thinly as possible (less than 5mm).
- 3. If you’re making individual tartlets, oil and flour four 10cm loose-bottomed tart tins, then cut the pastry to size. For 1 large tart, roll out the dough and cut to the size of a large, shallow baking tin, and transfer to the tin using a fish slice. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or rice and bake blind for 12–15 minutes. Leave to cool in the tray, and keep the oven on.
- 4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a pan over a medium heat, then sauté the mushrooms for 6–8 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside.
- 5. In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil and wilt the spinach (or heat through if frozen) along with the pepper. Blitz the spinach, avocado flesh, tofu, nutmeg and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.
- 6. Thinly slice the sweet potato using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, creating a pile of peelings. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small pan, then fry the peelings over a high heat, turning occasionally, for 4–5 minutes, until just turning crisp.
- 7. Assemble the tart by spreading the spinach mixture over the baked and cooled tart base. Lay the mushrooms on top, and decorate with the sweet potato slivers and a scattering of toasted pine nuts. Eat heated or at room temperature, with potatoes and vegetables.
Vegan Christmas pie
For the filling:
- 2 onions, peeled, finely chopped
- 130g (4½oz) leeks, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
- 225g (8oz) mushrooms, sliced
- 25g (1oz) dried cranberries
- 340g (11½oz) tinned butter beans, chopped
- 250g (9oz) tinned cooked chestnuts, sliced
- 50g (1¾oz) hazelnuts, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp English mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp cranberry sauce
For the hot water crust pastry:
- 150ml (5½oz) water
- 115g (4oz) vegetable suet
- 330g (11oz) plain white flour
- ½ tsp salt
- Gently fry the onions and leeks in the oil for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, 150g (5½oz) mushrooms, the cranberries, butter beans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, thyme and mustard. Continue to cook for 10 minutes – the mixture should be fairly dry. Season with salt and pepper, then add the remaining mushrooms and remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4.
- Heat the water in a saucepan. When boiled, add the suet and stir vigorously. Remove from the heat.
- Place the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt. Add the water and suet mixture.
- Carefully gather the mixture into a ball, turn onto a work surface and knead the pastry for 5 minutes.
- Lightly grease a 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed deep pie dish.
- Take three-quarters of the pastry and roll it out. You should not need to dust your work surface with flour. Carefully line your pie dish.
- Spread the cranberry sauce over the pastry base and add your pie filling. Fold excess pastry over towards the centre of the pie. Trim excess pastry, leaving a lip of 3cm.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid. Place it on the top of your pie, trim the excess pastry, then pinch the two layers of pastry together to seal in the filling. Brush the top with a little soya milk and place in the oven for 1 hour, or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Carefully release the catch on the pie dish and lift onto a serving dish.
VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD MEN
- 1 batch flax egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 3 Tbsp molasses
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (softened)
- 3/4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups gluten-free baking / pancake mix
In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax egg by mixing flax and water and letting rest for 5 minutes.
Add softened butter, molasses, almond butter, brown sugar, salt, spices, baking soda and beat on low with a mixer, or vigorously whisk.
Add gluten free flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir until well combined. Your dough should hold its shape when pressed, but not feel dry. I found that 1.5 cups (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) was about the perfect amount, but this will depend on your blend.
Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (preferably overnight).
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (176 C). Carefully roll out dough to a little thicker than 1/8 inch between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment/wax paper, generously sprinkling the bottom layer and the top of the dough with white or brown rice flour before rolling. You don’t want it too thin or they’ll be too crisp.
Remove top sheet and, working quickly, dip your cookie cutters in rice flour and cut out shapes. Next, lift the plastic wrap (with all of the dough) and place it on a baking sheet or large plate and freeze for 5 minutes to let them firm up. This will make them easier to transfer to your baking sheet for baking.
Next, use a lightly floured spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet, working quickly. Leave 2 inches for spreading.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they appear only slightly browned on the edges. They’ll continue firming up as they sit on the pan. Let rest on the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Once cooled, decorate with frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar. I think a perfect, simple frosting option is piping on a mix of 2 cups icing sugar, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1-2 Tbsp almond milk (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Just make sure it’s on the thicker side so it doesn’t run.
Store covered at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer term storage. The batch should make between 25-35 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter / or if you decide not to cut them and roll them into balls.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE TART WITH HAZELNUTS AND ORANGE
- 1 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- zest of one orange
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 24 ounces 2 bags vegan chocolate chips
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon dark rum, optional
- 1 tablespoon orange juice or 1 teaspoon orange extract
- toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- candied orange, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10″ tart panand set aside.
In a food processor chop the hazelnuts until they are a coarse crumb. Add the remaining crust ingredients and process until well combined. The crust should hold together when pressed between your fingers. Spread evenly onto tart pan, pressing it up the fluted sides. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.
To make the filling, place the chocolate chips, rum, and orange juice in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk and coconut oil to a scald (just before boiling point). Pour over chocolate chips and cover for 3 minutes. Remove lid and gently stir together until thick and dark. Pour evenly into cooled crust.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and orange peel and return to refrigerator for another hour, until chilled all the way through.
Store in the refrigerator.
Vegan Christmas cake
- 200g chopped dates
- 250ml water
- 150g raisins
- 150g sultanas
- 75g chopped walnuts
- 75g cranberries
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g rice flour
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 150ml orange juice
For the icing and decorations:
- The water from 1 tin of chickpeas (aquafaba)
- 500g icing sugar (sifted)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vegetarian glycerine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60ml water
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 cup of cranberries
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- In a saucepan, bring the dates to the boil with the water and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the raisins, sultanas, walnuts, cranberries and mix through all the spices. Stir through the ground almonds, rice flour and baking powder.
- Once the dates have softened down, add them to the mixing bowl along with the orange juice, and combine until everything is mixed together.
- Grease a 7inch cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mixture and spread evenly. Wrap the tin with baking paper so the edges don’t burn and bake in the oven for 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack.
For the icing:
- In a bowl, whisk the aquafaba until frothy, add the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time until it has a meringue like consistency. Add the lemon juice, glycerine and vanilla extract and stir through.
- Spread a crumb coating over the cake, and ensure it is even. Leave to set for an hour before covering with a thick layer.
- Leave to set overnight.
For the sugar glazed cranberries:
- In a saucepan, melt the caster sugar in the water over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
- In a bowl, cover the cranberries in the sugar syrup, drain the excess sugar syrup and leave until tacky, sprinkle over half of the granulated sugar and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, turn them over and sprinkle with the rest of the granulated sugar. Leave overnight.
- The next day, the icing will be firm enough to allow you to decorate with the sugar coated cranberries.