Christmas is associated with the word ‘traditional’. To be truly traditional, try sourcing your vegetables from your local farmers’ market. It’s psychologically satisfying to know that you will be serving your guests the very best local, seasonal produce, and keeping the planet chemical-free at the same time.
To present your guests a traditional Christmas lunch with a twist, try serving a gourmet vegan festive pie (recipe below) with seasonal vegetables and an exquisite non-meat red wine jus.
You and your guests can enjoy both the feel-good physical factor of organic food, rich in vitamin and mineral content, and contemplate the meal’s origins with a real sense of goodwill.
To complement your theme of a traditional Christmas that treads lightly, try embellishing the dining room with holly, ivy and oranges decorated with cinnamon and cloves.
Festive Christmas pie – ‘Nut Wellington’
- Chestnut puree – unsweetened, one can
- Walnuts 110g
- Brazil nuts 110g
- Hazelnuts 110g
- One onion
- Celery – two sticks
- Chestnut mushrooms – 225g
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbspoons olive oil
- 375g of vegan puff pastry (see online recipes or ready-made packs are available)
Chop and sauté the onion, garlic and celery until soft. Grind the nuts into small pieces (fold in a clean tea towel and crush with a rolling pin). It is possible to use a blender, but try to avoid blending them to a pulp. Put the ground nuts in a large bowl. Mix well with all other ingredients except mushrooms.
Line a loaf tin (approximately 23cm x 13cm x 7cm) with the puff pastry.
Slice the mushrooms, and place them in a layer in the pastry-lined tin.
Add the mixture of the other ingredients over the mushrooms.
Fold a rolled layer of pastry over the top.
Bake in the middle of a moderate oven until golden brown (about 40 minutes) – 177°c (350°F) gas mark 4.
Vegan red wine jus
Sweat two chopped onions and two minced gloves of garlic.
Add one stick of chopped celery and then cook until softened.
Add enough red wine to cover the mix by a centimetre and then reduce for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add 850ml of stock. Then simmer and reduce for 10 to 15 minutes.
To finish, add:
- Half a tablespoon of mint sauce,
- Half a tablespoon of cranberry sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Marmite
- A dash of veggie Worcester sauce
- 4 tablespoons of tomato purée
- Salt and black pepper
- Blend until smooth
Whizz up this simple, dairy-free cream, as the perfect accompaniment for festive vegan options, such as pears poached in red wine, and vegan Christmas pudding; or use for light vegan desserts such as Quince Cream (below)
Vegan double cream
- 125g tofu
- 75ml sunflower oil
- 100ml soya milk
- 15ml vanilla essence
Blend all ingredients, ideally using an electric blender, until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
- 450g quince
- Caster sugar (to taste)
- 25g candied peel
- 225ml vegan double cream
Cardamom espresso – serve with vegan chocolate truffles for total luxury
Add a few cardamom pods to your favourite coffee beans before blitzing, and serve your guests an impressive, aromatic espresso. For ‘cappuccino’, add heated soya milk, whipped to a froth with a hand blender.
Post lunch, you might notice how easy the pots are to wash compared to a traditional, meaty baking dish, leaving you plenty of time to join your guests for a country walk. Some might say that’s just part of the good karma.