So Christmas has been and gone, too quickly as usual but I hope all had a fabulous few days filled with love, joy, good food, friends and family.
Mine was interesting, and not quite as planned. Unprecedented storms hit my part of the world causing widespread flooding, power loss and damage. I was blessed not to be too badly affected by this compared with others who woke up on Christmas morning to a lake in their living room.
We had no power on the 23rd and on and off power on Christmas eve. I had driven 70 miles north on Christmas eve to visit some family and the late drive home mid storm was rather distressing. Christmas morning I arrived for work at the wildlife hospital to find they were suffering the third day of power loss. The biggest issue was the lack of incubators but we managed as best we could.
Thankfully the power stayed on at home on Christmas day, though if I could have, I would have swapped my power with the hospitals lack of in a heartbeat. Mat and I spent the rest of the day at home, we enjoyed a lovely meal, opened presents and went to bed watching new DVDs blessed with a full tummy.
Yesterday was a failed trip to Gloucestershire which we never made due the floods and general boxing day traffic. We came off the motorway early and visited Mats parents instead. I got round to baking the stollen I had planned to bring to Gloucestershire as a gift, which is waiting at Mat’s parents’ house to be collected on Saturday. Hopefully it will still be OK by then.
I used Sophie’s recipe but used 2 vegan egg yolks from The Vegg instead of the flax egg, replaced the various dried fruits and nuts with just 400g of dried mixed fruit, I used 1.5 tsp each of ground cinnamon and allspice to flavour the bread which I added with the flour for ease of distribution and finally I added an extra 100g of marzipan as this was being made for a marzipan lover! It came out great and to present it I sliced it thickly, covered it in a blanket of golden powdered sugar, wrapped it in parchment and secured it with ribbon.
We’re still working through Christmas day leftovers but for me, that’s the best bit – who could be bored of a rich mushroom and chestnut Wellington and crispy potatoes?
Christmas dinner was mushroom and chestnut Wellington, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots and sprouts, mashed swede, leeks in white sauce, the most realistic cauliflower cheese ever, homemade bread sauce and lemon and parsley stuffing, all served with vegan friendly gravy and mint jelly.
Dessert was a strawberry and coconut trifle.
Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 500g/18oz chestnut mushrooms
- 200g/7oz cooked and peeled chestnuts
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- 6 tbsp vegan friendly white wine
- 100g/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 small bunch (15g) of flat leaved parsley
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 sheet of rolled vegan puff pastry such as Jus-Rol
- 1 tbsp soya milk
- In a large pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onions for a few minutes until the onions are softened. Turn up the heat to medium and add the mushrooms and fry again for a further five minutes until the mushrooms are golden. Add the marjoram and the chestnuts and continue to cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the wine and allow to bubble away until the juices have reduced by half and the strong alcohol smell has gone. Stir in half of the breadcrumbs then gradually add the remaining until you get a firm yet spoon-able mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200’c/400’f and line a baking sheet with non stick parchment.
- Place the cooled filling and parsley in a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky texture and the parsley is combined in the mixture.
- Unravel the pastry sheet directly onto the baking sheet. Place the filling along the centre of the pastry then fold the pastry over to seal the filling and pinch the edges, ensure the seal is on the tray. Brush with soya milk then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden and the base pastry cooked. Check it after 20 minutes as you may need to cover it with foil to stop it browning too much.
Low in sodium
Very high in vitamin B6
High in vitamin C
Adapted from The Ordinary Cook
Strawberry and Coconut Trifle
This recipe takes a little thinking ahead as you need to place the coconut milk cans in the fridge overnight for the cream to separate from the water. The recipe simply won’t work without this step. You also need to allow a few hours for the custard to set up before finishing off the trifle. If you can’t wait for the coconut milk overnight, you could make a quicker thick soy cream from Ally at Made of Stars.
This recipe can be made 2 days ahead, stored covered tightly in the fridge.
Ingredients: Serves 8
- Half a loaf cake (about 400g) – I used a Farmhouse Fruit Cake
- 1 jar (340g) strawberry conserve
- 1 punnet (225g) fresh or frozen and defrosted strawberries
- 100g vegan gingernut biscuits
- 1 carton (525ml) Alpro soya custard (or make your own)
- 2 (400ml) cans of full fat, emulsifier free coconut milk
- Remember to place your coconut milk cans in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, take a large glass serving bowl and line the base with slices of cake.
- Warm the conserve with a little water to loosen just until pourable, pour evenly over the cake then leave to cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.
- Arrange all but a few slices of strawberry over the conserve followed by half of the biscuits crushed into chunky crumbs.
- Pour the custard over this and leave to set for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
- Take your cans of coconut milk out of the fridge carefully, try not to disturb the cans too much as you don’t want to re-amalgamate the cream and water. Open the cans and scoop out the separated thick cream at the top of the can into a large bowl (save the water for curries and smoothies). Use an electric whisk to whip the cream until fluffy.
- Spread the cream carefully over the custard, scatter over the remaining crushed ginger biscuits and arrange the reserved strawberry slices on top. Chill until needed.
Very low in sodium
High in vitamin C