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A Very Veggie Christmas 12/22/10

Have a very veggie Christmas with some great recipes which will really impress your guests.

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The Vegetarian Society in the UK, has put together a fabulous collection of Christmas ideas which they very kindly allowed Veggie Buntch to republish.

Meat free Christmas recipes with a twist
Welcome to the Vegetarian Society and Cordon Vert Cookery School’s 2010 Christmas recipe collection. This year our recipes aren’t the usual festive fare, inside you’ll find such tantalising food as a pie without pastry and a dessert made with potatoes.

While the festive season is a time of celebration, for many animals it is a time of suffering. Our research-based paper, The True Cost of Christmas, is a research-based paper highlighting the issues around the use of animals at Christmas. For more information go to the website here.

Brussels Sprout & Horseradish Paté
Serves 4
(Can be) Vegan

100g x Brussels sprouts
25g x cream cheese (*use vegan cream cheese)
Half a small clove garlic, crushed
1 x scant tsp horseradish(*use vegan horseradish)
Salt and pepper

To serve:
3 x toast triangles per person
A little dressed leaf salad (include some red leaf for colour)
A little grated radish or a sprinkle of red paprika

Trim sprouts and steam until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a food processor, blend Brussels sprouts with garlic. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth. Place in fridge for 30-45 minutes before serving.
Shape either into 1 dessert spoon oval per person or three teaspoon size ovals per person. Plate individually with a little dressed salad and 3 toast triangles per plate topped with a small amount of grated radish or sprinkles of red paprika.

Savoury Christmas Gateau with Rose Harrisa Halloumi Filling
Serves 6
(Can be) Vegan

10 x large green cabbage leaves – spring greens are ideal
1 tbsp x olive oil
100g x leek, green part, trimmed and finely chopped
1 x clove garlic, finely chopped
200g x carrots, peeled and grated
100g x parsnip, peeled and grated
50g x orzo, cooked according to pack, or cooked rice
A little water
1 slice seeded bread, made into breadcrumbs
1 tsp x sesame seeds
1 x free range egg, beaten (*2 tbsp ground almonds)
1 packet vegetarian Halloumi cheese, grated (*225g plain tofu pressed and crumbled)
1 tbsp x Rose Harissa paste
To taste salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash cabbage leaves, cut out central veins and discard. Steam for 5 minutes until quite soft.
Grease an 8” wide deep oven dish. Line the dish with the cabbage so the outside of the leaves are facing down, leaving plenty of overhang as this will be used to cover the top.
Sauté leeks in little oil until soft then add garlic and sauté for further 3 minutes.
Add grated carrots, parsnips and a little water. Cover pan and sweat until soft stirring occasionally.
Add the cooked Orzo or rice and mix well. Allow to cool.
When cool add breadcrumbs, sesame seeds and beaten egg (*ground almonds). Season to taste. Mix well.
In a separate bowl mix together the grated halloumi (*crumbled tofu) with the Rose Harissa paste.
To assemble, take half of carrot and parsnip mixture and place into cabbage- lined dish. Top with halloumi (*tofu ) mixture, followed by remaining carrot and parsnip filling. Press down well.
Fold the cabbage leaves over to cover the top.
Cover top of dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
To remove gateau from dish place plate over top and turn upside down.
Brush top with a little olive oil. Allow to cool a little before serving.

Sweet Plum Dumplings
Serves 4

4 x medium sized potatoes
1 large x free range egg, beaten
150g x wholegrain flour
4 x fresh plums, halved and stoned, or tinned plums
2 tbsp + 50g x Demerara sugar
Quarter tsp x cinnamon
1 tbsp x vegetable oil
100g x breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prick the potatoes and bake in their skins for 30-45 minutes until cooked. Leave to cool then peel and mash thoroughly.
Add the egg to the potato mash along with the flour to make a dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out the dough and cut rounds with a 7cm pastry cutter – you will need two rounds for each plum half. Put one plum half cut side facing up on a pastry round then fill the hole with some of the cinnamon and Demerara sugar. Place another circle on top and press both circles together so that the plum is sealed in the pastry.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and lower the dumplings into it carefully with a slotted spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove the dumplings and drain.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan and fry off the breadcrumbs and 50g Demerara sugar until brown and crisp. Finally, add the dumplings one at a time and roll them around the crumb mixture until coated. Drizzle with a chocolate sauce and serve immediately with ice cream or custard.

Beetroot and Dill Consomme with Chestnut and Mustard Parcels
Serves 4

Consomme Ingredients:
600g x fresh beetroot, washed, peeled and finely chopped
2 x cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 x large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 x stick celery, thinly sliced
1.5 litres boiling water
1 x good quality vegetarian stock cube
1 tsp x dried dill

Serve with: chestnut and mustard parcels (see recipe below)
Chestnut & Mustard Parcel Ingredients
Makes 8
1 tbsp olive oil
Half leek, washed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium tomato, skinned and finely chopped
25g vacuum packed cooked chestnuts
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp paprika
8 rectangles filo pastry, sized 25cm x 13 cm (10″ x 5″) defrosted
Extra olive oil for brushing filo pastry

Consomme Method:
In a large saucepan add beetroot, garlic, carrot, celery, boiling water, stock cube and dill.
Bring to boil and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.
Using a colander lined with muslin strain off vegetables and store for other uses. Allow liquid to cool. Return liquid to clean pan.
Carefully strain the liquid through a clean mesh sieve lined with muslin.
Return liquid to clean pan and reheat before serving. Serve in warmed bowls with one Chestnut & Mustard Twist in the centre (see separate recipe). (Alternatively for a thicker soup blend at point 4).

Parcels Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a small pan fry the leek and garlic in oil. Add tomato, chestnuts, mustard and paprika and cook on gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Brush each filo pastry with olive oil and fold in half. Place 1 ½ tsp of filling in each filo square and bring sides up, twisting the top.
Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Serve hot – placing one parcel in centre of Betroot & Leek Consommé if making the recipes together.
Keep remainder for serving with drinks.

Walnut and Spiced Plum Christmas Cob
Serves 4
(Can be) Vegan

1 x  round cob loaf or boule
2 x tbsp olive oil

For Spiced Plum Sauce:
10 x  ripe plums, roughly chopped (use tinned if fresh not available)
6 x tbsp full bodied vegetarian red wine (*use vegan red wine)
4 x star anise
8 x cloves
6 x allspice berries

For the Rough Walnut Pate:
2 x tbsp olive oil
1 x slice seeded bread, made into breadcrumbs
150g walnuts
1 x shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 x stick celery, finely chopped
1 x clove garlic crushed
50g of the bread from hollowed out loaf
10g Flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1 x chilli – deseeded (optional)
1 x tbsp soya sauce

2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 32 spears) – use tender stem broccoli or green beans if not available
150g vegetarian brie or camembert (*do not use for vegan cob)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
To hollow out cob loaf: place cob loaf on its side and cut off a lid. Using your hands hollow out centre leaving just a little bread on the crust – do the same for the lid. Reserve 50g of the bread for later. Brush inside of hollowed out loaf and lid with olive oil.
For spiced plum sauce: place all ingredients in medium pan and cook on low heat until plums have softened – you may need to add a little water to prevent plums sticking – the end mixture should be soft and moist (not wet). Remove spices and discard. Allow sauce to cool.
For walnut pate: sauté both the shallot and celery in oil until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for further 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients (except 50g of walnuts) to a food processor and process until walnut mixture comes together but is still rough and not quite a paste. Roughly chop remaining 50g of walnuts and add to mixture.
For the asparagus/broccoli: cut asparagus in half and discard bottom half. Gently peel asparagus to expose pale green colour. Steam for between 2-3 minutes, depending on size, until soft. Allow to cool. If using broccoli or green beans, trim ends and steam for 2-3 minutes.
To assemble and cook: divide the walnut pate in half and place one half in bottom of hollowed out cob loaf ensuring mixture goes right into edges. Press down well.
Place half of the asparagus over the top alternating the spears end to opposite end. Spoon half the plum sauce on top, then add slices of cheese (*omit for vegan recipe). Top this with the remaining asparagus, then the remaining walnut pate and lastly the rest of the plum sauce. Press down well. Place the bread lid back on top.
Wrap whole loaf in tin foil and bake in oven for 1 hour – to test if the loaf is ready, take out of oven remove the lid and place a knife in the centre. If the knife comes out very hot the loaf is ready.
Allow to stand for a few minutes before cutting into wedges.
NB: this recipe works with individual good quality rolls and will fill 6 depending on the size of the rolls. If using individual rolls, bake for 15 minutes instead of 1 hour. Can be eaten hot or cold.

Individual Ginger and Bourbon Trifles
Serves 4

600ml water
2 x sachets Vege-gel
1 x tsp natural orange extract
3 x tbsp bourbon
3 x tbsp ginger syrup (from the stem ginger jar)
3 x tbsp caster sugar
50g crushed ginger nut biscuits
80g stem ginger, chopped
250ml vegan custard
To garnish vegan whipped cream (optional), mint leaves

Mix the first six ingredients together in a large saucepan then bring to the boil.
While you are waiting for the water to boil, put half of the biscuit crumbs in 4 tall glass tumblers and press down gently to form a base. Now divide the stem ginger between all the glasses.
Once the water mixture has come to the boil pour it into the tumblers leaving about a 4cm gap at the top. You might find it easier to pour the liquid into a jug first than directly into the glasses. Leave to set in the glasses – this will take at least an hour.
Cover the top of the jelly with the remaining biscuit crumbs then top the glass with vegan custard.
You can top with whipping cream if desired for extra presentation. Garnish with a sprinkle of biscuit crumbs, a few pieces of stem ginger and a mint leaf. Serve immediately so as not to let the crumb mixture go too soggy.
NB: Soyatoo brand vegan whipped cream can be purchased in a carton or a spray can if you are looking for this ingredient.

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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