Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‎12 days of Christmas... :)

I love this time of year! everything about the holidays makes me excited. something about it gets me in the mood to do things that i have never done before... baking new treats, wearing new outfits, and going new places.


These are some good VEGAN recipes for the HOLIDAY SEASON...

Cream of Tomato Soup



A beautifully simple dish that could be made in advance and frozen, making a perfect brightly coloured starter.

2 tins of plum tomatoes
about a cup of water (rinse out tins with it)
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 handfuls of cashew nuts
sea salt to taste

Place the tomatoes and water in a pan and bring to the boil, adding the onion, sweet potato and garlic as it heats. Once it boils, turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Place soup in a blender and add the cashew nuts. Blend and taste for seasoning, add salt as desired.

Chick-Pea Tagine

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red chilli
2 medium leek, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small glass orange juice
2 x 14 oz (400g) can chopped tomatoes
12 dried apricots, chopped
1 lb (450g) pre-cooked chick peas
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
Generous handful chopped coriander

1. Heat the oil then add the seeds and chilli. When the seeds start to emit their distinctive odor, add the leek and garlic. Saute for a few minutes.
2. Pour in the orange juice and allow to cook for a few seconds or more until some of it has evaporated.
3. Add the tomatoes along with the apricots, chick peas, bay leaf and salt to taste. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
4. Remove the chilli and bay leaf then stir in the coriander. Serve with rice.

Cranberry, Orange and Ginger sauce

3/4 cup/150g/5oz sugar
1/2 cup/150ml/quarter pint of orange juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger (or half a teaspoon of dried ginger)
2 cups of fresh cranberries
pinch of salt

Place the cranberries, orange juice and ginger in a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Give the berries a mash and add the sugar, zest and salt. Cook gently until all the sugar is completely dissolved. The sauce will thicken up as it cools slightly. Nice served hot or warm with nut roast or mushroom puff and parcel.

Lentil lasagna

140 g unbleached white / wholemeal spelt flour
2 ml salt
90 g cooked spinach (chopped, steamed and water squeezed out, chopped again very finely)
1½ tbsp olive oil

filling:
4 tbsp each of two different types of lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
½ large red onion, finely chopped
1 block tofu, drained and patted dry
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
4 fresh bay leaves

Pasta:
5 large tomatoes, chopped (no need to peel or remove seeds),
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
black pepper, to taste
1 tsp herbal salt

white sauce:
1 cup chopped, steamed cauliflower florets
½ cup soy milk
1 tsp olive oil
1½ tbsp savoury yeast flakes, crushed

1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.  Make a hollow in the flour and pour in the olive oil.  Stir to mix in the oil (roughly).  Add the spinach and stir in a cutting motion until they start to combine.
2. Tip the dough onto the work surface and knead until the spinach makes the dough moist and the dough feels soft and elastic – like play dough.  (It is correct when the dough feels thick and stiff – this makes it easier to roll out later.) Place the dough in a plastic bag and rest in the refrigerator until needed.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling:  pour the two types of lentils together into a pot and boil for 10 minutes until they are cooked and soft.  Drain and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion until soft.  Add the tofu by roughly grating it over the onions with a small grater.  Fry together, stirring from time to time until the tofu is dry.  Add the garlic and fry for another 1 minute. Add all the herbs and spices and stir for 1 minute more.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the lentils and set aside.
5. To make a quick pasta, place the tomatoes, tomato paste, black pepper and herbal salt in a liquidizer and blend until smooth.  Add to the lentil and tofu mixture.  To make the white sauce: blend the steamed cauliflower with the soy milk, olive oil  and yeast flakes until smooth.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.  Lightly spray an oven dish with olive oil.  Make sure the dish is large enough to hold all the ingredients.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 3.  Roll each part into a ball, then flatten with your hand.
7. Flour the pieces of dough and your work surface.  Roll out the dough, either by hand or with a pasta machine, until you have enough pasta to make 3 layers for the lasagne.  Cut the pasta into sheets to fit into the oven dish.
8. Assemble the lasagna: place a few spoonfuls of the lentil tofu mixture into the dish. 

Place a layer of pasta (a sheet, or a few pieces cut to fit) in the dish, spoon a third (of what is left) of the lentil tofu mixture over, place a bay leaf on top, then pour a third of the cauliflower white sauce over.  Repeat with another layer of pasta: the second third
of the lentil mixture, bay leaf, and then the cauliflower sauce.  Repeat with the third and last layer.  Place 2 bay leaves on top.
9. Bake in the oven on a lower shelf for 30 minutes until it starts to bubble, and the white sauce starts to form golden brown patches.

Sage and Onion Roast Potatoes



4 teaspoons of dried sage or 8 teaspoons of freshly chopped sage
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil/ Prefered oil
1 finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons of medium oatmeal
Potatoes, peeled and cut to desired size (this coating is enough for about 4 or 5 lbs/2 or 3 kilos.)
salt to taste

Par boil the potatoes then just when they are beginning to soften remove from heat and drain. Place in baking tray and rub the coating all over them (careful!) - roast in a hot oven until nice and crispy (30 minutes plus). You might want to baste with a little more oil half way through for extra crispiness!
Variation: sesame roast potatoes - coat the potatoes in sunflower oil and plenty sesame seeds before roasting - this has a lovely flavour too. Pictured are plain roast pots coated in flour prior to roasting and the oil heated in a hot oven first and also roast parsnips and peppers roasted in a mixture of sunflower oil and maple syrup.


Ice Cream Bombe




1 vegan sponge cake, thinly sliced up
some jam to spread on the cake
1 or 2 tubs of vegan ice cream
a small bag of unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
a handful of glace cherries
some white chocolate buttons
a bar of good dark chocolate


Line a round pudding bowl with cake slices (leave some for the base) and spread a layer of jam over them. Get your other ingredients ready before taking the ice cream out of the freezer, then layer it up. A layer of ice cream, a sprinkling of nuts, ice cream, cherries, ice cream, buttons, ice cream then the last slices of cake on the base. Cling film the whole bowl really well and use a plate to press down and squash all the layers together well. Bung it in the freezer until you want to eat it (can be made weeks in advance). Place in the fridge for about an hour before removing from bowl (may have to run outside of bowl under hot tap, being careful not to wet the pudding!) and pouring the melted chocolate over the top (it sets fast on the cold bombe). Slice up and enjoy :)

Triple Chocolate Variant: use chocolate cake, and chocolate ice creamand maybe even chocolate spread though cherry or apricot jam would be good too :)


Chocolate Yule Log Cake





1 chocolate cake baked in a loaf tin
1 batch of vegan chocolate 'butter' icing: Beat together half a cup/130g/4oz vegan margarine with 1 and a third cups/210g/7 oz sifted icing sugar and one tablespoon of cocoa (also sifted to avoid lumps). Beat in a few drops of natural vanilla extract.
1 tablespoon of icing sugar for dusting
1 festive cake board or large plate and decorations of your choice (fake flowers or berries, holly leaves, small baubles etc.)
Cake Assembly:
Cut the corner off one end of the cake and turn it round to look like a branch - arrange on the cake board or plate.

Secure the branch with some of the icing. With a knife smooth off the corners of the log to make it rounded. Cover the entire cake with the rest of the icing, then use a fork to make lines and knots like a log :) Dust with icing sugar. Decorate it with your wishful content.


Jewel Biscuits


Delicious and colourful biscuits or cookies - the 'jewels' are optional but very bright and special - makes about 25 medium (3 inch/9cm) biscuits.
150g/5oz/three quarter cup caster sugar
150g/5 oz/three quarter cup vegan margarine
5 tablespoons of soya milk
300g/10 oz/1and a half cups of plain flour
teaspoon vanilla extract (or according to pack instructions)
boiled sweets - in different colors


Preheat oven to 200C/400F and grease baking sheets. Cream together the sugar and marg. Mix in the soya milk and vanilla and then the flour. The mixing of the flour is best done with your hands. You should have a workable dough (add more flour if it's too wet or more soya milk if too dry and doesn't hold together well). Roll out on a floured board (to just under 1 cm thick) and cut into shapes - cutters in festive shaped such as stars, trees and angels are lovely but plain round ones are effective too - you can use a drinking glass if you don't have cutters. Lay on baking sheets. Make a hole in the middle of each biscuit - plain round, diamonds, stars - whatever you like, as long as it is big enough for your sweet! Place a sweet in each hole. Bake for about 10 minutes for soft bake cookies or a little longer for dryer, crunchy ones. The sweets will melt down and fill the hole in the oven and then reset once cool.


Easy Christmas Fruit Cake



This cake has no added sugar or fat (suitable for a range of diets) but is still really sweet and rich. It should be stored in the fridge and eaten within one week.


8oz/250g/2 cups of cooking dates with the stones removed
10 fl.oz/300ml/1 and a quarter cups of water
6oz/175g/1 and a quarter cups of wholemeal flour
1 lb/450g/3 cups of mixed dried fruit of your choice - including lots of dried apricots works very well
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
4 tablespoons of orange juice


For decoration: You can either do a traditional marzipan and white icing topping or use rows of different nuts such as walnuts, pecans, brazils and almonds.


Heat the dates and water until the dates are soft. Remove from heat and mash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a greased 2lb/900g cake tin and level top. If using the nut topping place rows of different nuts on top of the cake prior to cooking. Bake at 170C/340F for about an hour and a half until cooked. Once cooled the nut topping can be glazed with a little syrup (melt some sugar into hot water) or you can ice traditionally.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful recipes! I love that they are vegan and healthy, and no doubt they taste as delicious as they look in your photos! Thanks for the inspiration. I'll try to make one or two of your recipes. Veroni

    ReplyDelete