New month more meal ideas! As we hit the last 4 weeks to Christmas here are some more recipes to trial before the big day. I hope you’re not like me and have planned about 5 meals now because I cant choose what I want more.
MAPLE CINNAMON CRANBERRY PEAR SAUCE
- 1 12 oz package fresh cranberries (about 3.5 cups) (rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 pear (peeled, cored and diced) (update: peeling is optional. I’ve also used apples with great success)
Add all ingredients, except the pear, to a pot and simmer on the stove, stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn’t stick, until cranberries start to burst and the mixture gets saucy, about 20 minutes.
Add the diced pear and continue to cook about 5 minutes more.
Roasted Apple and Squash Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Ingredients (2 servings)
For the dressing:
- 2 tsp walnut, almond, or olive oil
- 1 tsp raw honey (or a pinch of stevia to make it vegan)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (dark or white both work)
- 2 tbsp pomegranate juice (you can make your own from a fresh pomegranate using this method, or use a bottled pomegranate juice
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
For the rest:
- 1 firm and slightly tart apple (crispin or honeycrisp are ideal!)
- 1 delicata squash, seeded and cut into rings
- 1 tsp each dried thyme and oregano
- 1 tsp olive oil (or spray in a mister)
- 6 cups rainbow chard, chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas, raw or roasted
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Core the apple and chop it into bite-sized chunks. Slice the squash cross-wise into rings about 1cm thick, scraping out any seeds with a knife or spoon.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and scatter the apples and squash on top. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme and oregano.
- Roast the apples and squash in the oven for 20 minutes, broiling for the last 1-2 minutes to crisp the edges.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing and set aside.
- In a frying pan misted with olive oil, lightly sautee the greens until they just begin to wilt. They should be bright in colour and this should only take 1-2 minutes once the pan is hot.
- Divide the chard between two plates or bowls. When the apples and squash are finished cooking, divide them between the servings, as well as the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate arils.
- Serve with dressing (warm or cold) on the side.
SPINACH AND PERSIMMON SALAD
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 cups baby spinach washed and dried
- 4 Fuyu persimmons tough green calyxes removed, sliced in wedges
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup walnut halves or pieces
Combine the oil, lime juice, maple syrup, cumin, chili powder, and salt in a small bottle or jar and shake well.
On each of four salad plates or small bowls, place 1 cup of the spinach leaves and top with equal portions of the persimmon wedges, pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
Drizzle dressing over each salad and serve immediately. Enjoy!
ROASTED BALSAMIC BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- 200g Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4/350F.
- Add the Brussels sprouts and onion to an oven-proof dish. Pour over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to cover the vegetables evenly. Season to taste and sprinkle over the thyme, if using.
- Place in the oven and roast for around thirty minutes, stirring halfway, until the sprouts are tender but not mushy.
Roasted pear with walnut & ginger filling
- 5 comice pears
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 70 g walnut halves
- 20 g pine nuts
- 20 g stem ginger , optional
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Halve and core the pears (you’ll be using 1 for decoration), and place them all cut-side up in an ovenproof dish.
- Sprinkle over ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon and the caraway seeds and pop in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re just browning at the edges and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool.
- Place the walnuts and pine nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes – the pine nuts won’t take long to turn golden, so keep an eye on them. Set aside a few toasted pine nuts for serving.
- Once the pears have cooled, scoop most of the flesh out of 4 of the halves, leaving just enough so the sides don’t collapse.
- Chop up 4 other roasted pear halves and pop in a food processor with the scooped-out pear flesh and toasted nuts. Add the stem ginger and the rest of the cinnamon and blitz. You want a paste that’s quite textured, not totally smooth.
- Divide the pear mixture between the scooped-out pear skins. Peel and core the reserved pear, slice it thinly lengthways and arrange a couple of slivers on top of each stuffed pear.
- Decorate with a few chopped toasted pine nuts and serve, warmed through or cold. It’s great with a little peppery salad, like rocket leaves, on the side.
Nutty wild rice and shredded brussels sprout stuffed mini pumpkins.
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 6-8 mini pumpkins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound brussels sprouts halved and then shredded, about 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 1 cup raw pecans chopped
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 cup manchego cheese shredded (optional)
In a large sauce pot, bring the water to a boil, add the wild rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 35-45 minutes or until the water is gone and the rice is fluffy. Note that wild rice takes longer to cook than traditional rice. If yours still seem hard after 45 minutes, add 1/2 cup more water and cook over low heat for another 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the tops of your mini pumpkins and scoop out the seeds (reserve the seeds for roasting and then topping the dish if desired). Place the pumpkins on a baking sheet and rub each with a little olive oil, salt + pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are just tender.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts in a single layer and season with salt + pepper. Let sit 1 minute then stir. Continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Stir in the thyme, pecans and cider, cook another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wild rice (there should be around 3 cups of wild rice). Stir in the cranberries, and manchego cheese.
Arrange the pumpkins in a large baking dish and stuff each pumpkin with the wild rice mixture. If desired, sprinkle the top of each pumpkin with a little manchego cheese.
Place in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are soft and the wild rice has heated through. Serve hot!
VEGAN NUTROAST FROM JAMIE OLIVER. WITH PEARL BARLEY, WILD MUSHROOMS, PISTACHIOS AND CRANBERRIES
INGREDIENTS (1 standard loaf tin):
- 1 handful of dried wild mushrooms (for ex. porcini) (20g)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 red onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 150g pearl barley (or arborio rice for gluten-free version) (dry weight)
- 100 ml white wine (optional)
- 1L vegetable-mushroom stock *
- 200g fresh brown mushrooms (or regular mushrooms or fresh wild mushrooms when they are in season)
- 100g almonds
- 100g pistachios
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
- 1 small, fresh pepperoni pepper
- lemon peel from 1/2 lemon
- 2 sprigs of each: fresh rosemary,thyme and sage
- 2 tbsp xylitol or brown sugar
- 400g fresh cranberries
- salt, pepper to taste
Mixed mushroom stuffing
- 2 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 350 g mixed wild mushrooms
- 400 g closed cup or chestnut mushrooms
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
- 350 g stale bread
- 100 g pecans or hazelnuts
- 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 25 g dried porcini
- 80 ml olive oil
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Peel and finely chop the shallots and garlic, and roughly chop all the fresh mushrooms. Pick the thyme leaves and tear the stale bread into small chunks.
- Lightly toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, then roughly chop. Pick and roughly chop the parsley.
- Cover the porcini with 300ml of boiling water and leave aside to rehydrate.
- Heat the oil in a large, wide pan and add the shallot and garlic. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until the shallot is softened but not coloured.
- Drain the soaked porcini over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Add these and the rest of the mushrooms to the pan along with the bay and thyme leaves and cook until all the mushrooms are well softened. If they release a lot of liquid, pour it onto the diced bread and carry on cooking.
- When the mushrooms are tender and browned, tip the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
- Once the cooked mushroom mixture has cooled, add the chunks of bread, a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, the pecans or hazelnuts and about half of the porcini’s reserved soaking liquid (make sure you pour it through a sieve first to stop any grit getting through). Combine well.
- If the stuffing seems too dry, just add a little more of the reserved porcini liquid.
- Add most of the parsley and stir it through then tip the stuffing into a lightly greased baking dish of approximately 20cm x 25cm and cover with foil.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Scatter over the rest of the chopped parsley before serving.
Whole roasted cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme , (15g)
- olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 large cauliflower , with outer leaves (1kg)
- 4 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes
- 40 g flaked almonds
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley , (15g)
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- Peel the garlic, then add to a pestle and mortar with the paprika and half the thyme leaves. Bash well to a rough paste, then muddle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season.
- Zest the lemon into a separate bowl and set aside.
- Trim the outer cauliflower leaves. Trim away and discard the stalk so the cauliflower can sit flat, then cut a cross into the base.
- Rub the paprika paste all over the cauliflower, then place in a medium casserole pan. Drizzle over the sherry and squeeze the lemon juice on top.
- Cover and pop in the hot oven for around 1 hour 20 minutes, or until tender, removing the lid for the final 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, then pour in the tomatoes, tearing or slicing them up into chunks. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and pick over the remaining thyme leaves.
- Return the pan to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden.
- Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium-low heat until golden, then leave to cool.
- Once ready, take the pan out of the oven. Scrunch over the toasted almonds, then pick, roughly chop and scatter the parsley leaves on top.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then carve up and serve with pilal rice and steamed greens, or as part of a bigger spread.
Gluten Free Vegan Mini Chocolate Peppermint Loaves
- 2½ cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1½ cups organic cane sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup canola or sunflower seed oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract
- 1½ cups dairy free chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 4-loaf mini loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray.
- In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Mix together coconut milk with vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Add sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and peppermint extract to coconut milk.
- Stir and pour over flour mixture. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and stir to combine.
- Divide batter into prepared mini loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup chocolate chips on top of loaves.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan.
- Continue to cool on cooling rack. Slice and serve.
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon white rice flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup non-dairy milk – I used unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 3 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 3 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon egg whites or 1 egg, or 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 1 tablespoon water)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper so that it’s draping off both sides. Set aside.
- Place all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside
- In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
- Drop dry ingredients into wet and stir until just combined. The mix should be runny.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake in prepared oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Ours were perfect at the 43 minute mark.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and placing it on a wire rack to cool.
Vegan Buche De Noel–With Chocolate Mousse Filling And Mocha Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients for Vegan Buche de Noel
1 cup soy or other non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup natural granulated sugar
2 tablespooons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Vegan Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
Vegan Mocha Buttercream (recipe follows)
Garnishes: sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rimmed 10 x 15″ pan with non-stick spray. Line with one sheet of parchment paper and spray lightly again. Sprinkle a tea towel with a little powdered sugar in a 10 x 15″ rectangle. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk, vinegar, and flaxseed meal and set aside to curdle, making a thickened vegan buttermilk. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in canola oil, vanilla extract, and soymilk mixture. Whisk together for 100 strokes until smooth. (Whisking for a portracted time like this will develop gluten and, hence, structure.) Transfer batter into prepared pan and gently smooth into the corners. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes and then invert onto prepared tea towel. Carefully peel off parchment paper. With a very sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch of cake from all of the edges. Working from a long side, fold the excess inch or so of towel over the edge of the cake and carefully roll up like a jelly roll. Tuck edges under and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully unroll, avoiding trying to flatten the cake completely. Gently spread with Vegan Chocolate Mousse. Reroll and place seam side down on a serving platter, nestling it onto a flattened side from the previous rolling. Cut off both ends at a diagonal and position cut pieces to resemble sawed off limbs. Frost with Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting. Lightly drag a fork lengthwise down the trunk and cut branches to resemble bark. Garnish as desired with sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and powdered sugar.
- Tent with foil and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving time. Slice with a sharp or serrated knife.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
1/4 cup chocolate soymilk
6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
1/4 cup natural sugar
4.5 to 6 ounces vegan semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (basically half a 9 to12 ounce bag of vegan chocolate chips), melted and cooled until almost room temperature (the chocolate should be very thick but still spoonable)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract
Pinch sea salt
Place the soymilk, tofu, and sugar into the food processor, and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the melted chocolate, extracts, and a pinch of salt. Process for several minutes until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Texture should be very thick and creamy and set-up almost immediately. Refrigerate for a bit before filling buche if necessary.
Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting
1/3 cup vegan butter, softened
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in about 2 teaspoons of water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (soy, coconut, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with coffee and cocoa powder. Turn mixer off, add 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar and a tablespoon of creamer, and beat until creamy. Repeat with remaining confectioner’s sugar and creamer, ending with last third of sugar scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Adjust consistency with additional confectioner’s sugar or creamer as desired. Beat in vanilla until incorporated. If a darker colour is desired to contrast more with almonds, add more dissolved coffee, cocoa powder, or both.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE CHRISTMAS PUDDING
- 60 g plain flour
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
- 120 g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 150 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges approx 100ml orange juice
- 60 ml vegetable oil
- 80 ml water
- 4 tbsp contreau or brandy
- 1 tsp natural orange extract optional
- 100 g dark chocolate chips
- 350 g brandy soaked mixed dried fruit & citrus peel*
- 100 g pitted dates chopped into small pieces
TO PREPARE THE PUDDING MIXTURE
If you can’t get hold of ready-soaked mixed fruit, prepare it the previous day by adding the mixed fruit and peel to a bowl with approx 3 tbsp brandy. Leave overnight.
Prepare a 1 litre pudding basin by greasing it with vegetable oil and placing a circle of greaseproof paper at the bottom.
Mix the flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, xanthum gum, cocoa powder, sugar, breadcrumbs and spices together in a bowl.
Stir in the orange juice and zest, vegetable oil, water contreau and orange flavouring.
Fold in the dried fruits and the chocolate.
Transfer the mixture to the pudding basin.
TO STEAM THE PUDDING
Tear off a large square of the greaseproof paper and tin foil, placing the greaseproof paper on the bottom. Create a pleat by making a 1-inch thick fold in the centre of both layers.
Place on top of the pudding tin and scrunch the foil around the sides to secure. Tie securely with a piece of string.
Fold in the excess paper and foil to help make it water-tight.
Create a handle by tying another piece of string to one side of the tin (where you made the knot from the previous string) and tying it on the opposite side so you can easily lift the pudding out of the pot.
Place a trivet or upturned saucer at the bottom of the pot (I used a small heat-proof container lid) and place the pudding on top. Fill the pot half way up with hot water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and leave to steam for 3 1/2 hours.
After 3 1/2 hours, lift the pudding out of the pot and leave to cool for a few minutes, until the pudding starts to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Carefully, using a spatula knife, loosen the pudding from the sides and turn over onto a plate.
This pudding can be kept, wrapped in the fridge, for up to 6 weeks.
To serve, you can eat it as it is at room temperature, or re-steam it for 2 hours to serve warm. Add some melted chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream for Christmas dessert!