A Vegan Christmas Lunch

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Cashew cheese with roasted garlic and smoked paprika from Veganissimo by Leigh Drew

Cashew cheese with roasted garlic and smoked paprika (from Veganissimo! by Leigh Drew)

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Cashew cheese with roasted garlic and smoked paprika

Cashew cheese with roasted garlic and smoked paprika

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Roasted pumpkin, fig and walnut salad

Roasted pumpkin, fig and walnut salad

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Garden salad

Garden salad

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Potato salad with caramalised red onions and red capsicum

Potato salad with caramalised red onions and red capsicum

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green beans with pomegranate molasses dressing

green beans with pomegranate molasses dressing

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Nut roast with lemon and garlic stuffing

Nut roast with lemon and garlic stuffing

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And, then, there was trifle…

Trifle

Trifle

Ally  🙂

{Recipe} Thick Soy Cream

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I dug this recipe out last week in the hope that it would be of use to my aunty, Christine, who is gearing up for her very first Christmas as a vegan. 🙂

I wish I could be there to celebrate with her. Unfortunately, we live a ten-hour drive from each other, so we won’t be sitting down to Christmas lunch together. We spent many Christmases together in our non-vegan days, so the sharing of a Christmas vegan feast would be a very enjoyable and welcome event.

I also hope that this recipe may be of use to others who are searching for a delicious non-dairy, nut-free cream.

This recipe only requires you to have 4 ingredients on hand – soy milk, cornflour, vegan margarine and caster sugar*.

My mum discovered a trifle recipe at Vegan Family House many years ago, and we adapted the cream component of the recipe to achieve a thick soy cream.

This cream can be teamed with cakes, pies and trifle (of course!).

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Thick Soy Cream

(quantity: approximately 300ml or 1 1/3 cups)

ingredients:

2 Tbsp** organic cornflour

250ml/1 cup soy milk

90g/3oz vegan margarine

50g/1.76oz caster sugar

Method

1. Place the cornflour in a saucepan, and add 3 Tbsp of the soy milk. Mix with a fork (or whisk) until the cornflour is incorporated.

2. Put the saucepan on a low heat, and gradually add the remaining soy milk. Stir continuously with a fork (or whisk) until the mixture thickens (about 6-7 minutes).

3. Once thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat, and set it aside for about 20 minutes to allow the mixture to cool.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the vegan margarine and caster sugar together with an electric beater.

5. Add the cooled soy milk mixture a spoonful at a time to the margarine-sugar mixture, and beat until it is incorporated.

6. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container until you need to use it. It will thicken further in the fridge.

7. Refrigerate left over cream in a sealed container in the fridge, and use within 48 hours. The cream remains thick for 24 hours. If it thins a little after this time, just use an electric beater to whip it into a thicker consistency.

For another non-dairy cream recipe, see Sweet Cashew Cream.

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delicious with wholemeal wheat scones and strawberry fruit spread.

* A note about sugar:

Australian sugar manufacturers do not use bone char in the sugar refining process. Therefore, all Australian produced sugar is vegan. For this reason, I do not specify ‘vegan sugar’ in my recipes. Naturally, if you reside in a country that uses bone char for sugar refining, you may not be able to buy vegan caster sugar. If that is the case, just substitute the caster sugar for a vegan alternative. White caster sugar ensures that the colour of this cream remains white. However, for vegans, the colour of the cream is a secondary consideration to its vegan status.

** A note about measurements:

An Australian tablespoon is equivalent to 20ml or 4 teaspoons. When I refer to a tablespoon measurement, I am referring to the Australian standard. A US tablespoon is approximately 15ml or 3 teaspoons. So, to my US friends and readers, this recipe requires 8 teaspoons of cornflour. Clear as mud?

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I am going to spend the afternoon with the tiny vegans, wrapping gifts and making (more!) Christmas decorations. We are also preparing for the imminent arrival of my sister. I can’t wait to see her. Who are you spending Christmas with this year?

Merry Christmas, dear friends. Thanks for reading my ramblings this year. May your 2014 be filled with love, laughter and peace.

Ally 🙂

Each Monday, I feature a delicious recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

{Recipe} Peach, Mango and Raspberry Trifles

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I had intended to feature a salad recipe today, to break up the dessert theme that I have been on for the last few weeks. It all started with rocky road!

But, I realised that it may take some of you a little bit of time to source gelatine-free jelly, depending on where you live. I am unable to purchase it locally. So, I figured the earlier I posted this recipe, the sooner the search for vegan jelly could commence for readers who are considering trifle for Christmas.

Trifle was a feature of my childhood Christmases. Many years after I embraced veganism, my mum and I decided to attempt a vegan trifle. The recipe has evolved over the years, and this year I wanted to try something a little different – individual or mini trifles. They are delicious and very moreish.

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You can make the cake a day or two in advance (and store it  in an airtight container). Allow the jelly to set in the fridge – and soak the cashews – overnight. Then make the cashew cream and custard on the day that you want to serve the trifles.

I used 360ml capacity glasses. This is definitely an adult-size dessert.

Ingredients

(for 6 individual trifles)

1 vegan sponge cake or vanilla cake*

1 1/2 – 2 cups of custard

1 packet of gelatine-free jelly (jello) crystals, strawberry or raspberry flavour**

2 cups of thick cashew cream (recipe here) OR other non-dairy cream

4 ripe peaches

1 ripe mango

18 raspberries, preferably fresh

strawberry fruit spread (refined sugar free)

Method

1. Bake or acquire the cake that you will use for the trifle bases. Cut the cake in half, horizontally, and spread strawberry fruit spread on both sides. Sandwich the pieces back together again. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the trifles.

2. Make the jelly (jello), according to the packet directions, the day before you want to serve the trifles.  Allow the jelly to set in the fridge overnight.

3. Just prior to assembling the trifles, make the custard according to the packet directions then set it aside to cool and thicken.

4. If you are making the cashew cream, keep it in the fridge until you need it.

5. Wash all of the fruit, then dice the mango and peaches.

6. I used a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut pieces of the cake, but you can use a sharp knife to cut circles of cake that are slightly smaller in circumference than the base of your glasses.

7. Line up all of your ingredients and your glasses.

8. Place a dollop of custard in the bottom of a glass, then place the cake segment on top. Add pieces of fruit to cover the cake and to fill the gaps between the cake and the glass. Then, scoop about 3 tablespoons of jelly (jello) on top of the fruit. Cover the jelly with custard, then cover the custard with a thick layer of cashew cream. Place 3 raspberries on top of the cream. Refrigerate.

9. Repeat with the remaining glasses.

After assembling the individual trifles, I had a small amount of cashew cream and jelly (jello) left (about 1/4 cup of each). I was also left with about 1/8th of a cake.

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Add a dollop of custard and a piece of cake.

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Add pieces of peach and mango.

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Add about 3 Tbsp of jelly (jello).

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Cover with custard.

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Add the cream, then top with raspberries.

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Variations – 

  • You may choose to make a ‘whole’ trifle rather than individual tiny ones. In this case, use a large, flat-bottomed, glass bowl. Cut the cake into large pieces, then follow the directions as they are outlined above, using all of the jelly and cream. You may also want to increase the amount of fruit to about 6 peaches and 2 mangoes.
  • To transform this into an adults-only decadent dessert, add a dash of kahlua coffee liqueur to the cooled custard (before assembling the trifles), and mix well.
  • If you want to reduce the sugar content, omit the jelly.
  • Gluten-free option – Use macadamia nut pieces or gluten-free biscuit pieces in place of cake, or bake a gluten-free vanilla cake. Also, ensure that the custard powder is gluten-free.

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The tiny vegans’ verdicts

As I mentioned, these aren’t child-size serves. It took my daughter, 9 years old, two days to eat her trifle. If you want to make the trifles for children, use smaller quantities and tinier vessels.

7-year-old Tiny Vegan and 4-year-old Tiny Vegan were not enamoured with the cashew cream, and were unable to finish their trifles in two days (luckily the parents of Tiny Vegans were on hand to assist with Operation Devour Trifle). I gave Little Baker a spoonful of my trifle – and he spat it onto the floor! I think the jelly caused this reaction. Never mind, I think he is too little for dessert anyway.

My daughter, on the other hand, was captivated by this dessert.

* Click here for a simple sponge cake recipe. This is the recipe that I used for these trifles. I recommend that you halve the recipe (as I did). Also, you don’t need to ice (frost) it.

** If you are ordering vegan jelly online, you may not have a lot of flavour options. I suggest avoiding orange flavoured jelly in this trifle. I speak from experience. 🙂

I order my jelly here.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by (most members of) my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Do tell! What desserts will be making an appearance on your Christmas table this year?

Ally 🙂

{Recipe} Rocky Road

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I regard rocky road as a Christmas time indulgence.

Aargh, Christmas!

I know that some of you are preparing for Thanksgiving, while others may still be recovering from Halloween (or the Virtual Vegan Potluck 4.0!). In that case, the thought of Christmas is a little confronting. Nevertheless, it will be here before we know it!

I have been considering the recipes that my family may indulge in for Christmas lunch this year.

Well, in all honesty, I’ve mostly been thinking about the desserts. 🙂 But, one has to start somewhere when planning a menu!

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Vegan marshmallows are quite pricey in my part of the world, so rocky road only makes an appearance in our home on special occasions, like Christmas.

I use dark chocolate or ‘milk-style’ non-dairy chocolate, but you could use non-dairy white chocolate if you prefer. Many rocky road recipes contain glace cherries, but I prefer to use dried papaya. You may prefer to use another variety of dried fruit, or a vegan ‘gum- style’ lolly (candy) like ‘gummy bears’.

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Ingredients

250g/8.5oz non-dairy chocolate

100g/3.5oz vegan marshmallows, roughly chopped

2 generous Tbsp dried papaya (paw paw) OR other dried fruit OR vegan ‘gum-style’ lollies, finely chopped

1/2 cup raw macadamia nut pieces

1/3 cup desiccated or shredded coconut

Method

1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Add all of the ingredients, except chocolate, to a medium mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Melt the chocolate. I use a large glass bowl, resting over a saucepan that contains a small amount of boiling water. Ensure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Do not allow water or steam to come into contact with the chocolate. Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat.

4. Add the other ingredients to the bowl of melted chocolate. Mix well with a spatula, and ensure that the ingredients are well-coated by chocolate.

5.  Scoop the rocky road mixture into the loaf tin, and press down with the spatula.

6. Refrigerate for approximately 90 minutes, or until ‘set’. Then remove rocky road from the tin, and cut into 12 pieces.

Indulge!

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Are you wondering what the tiny vegans think of rocky road?

4- year-old Tiny Vegan doesn’t like marshmallows. That rules out rocky road for him, since I’m not going to make it without its star ingredient. And, Little Baker is too little for chocolate. The other tiny vegans enjoy it, of course. No surprises there!

But, now that I have made rocky road in order to share the recipe with you, I probably won’t be making it for Christmas day after all. I have just had my rocky road ‘fix’ for the year.

What is your favourite Christmas day dessert?

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally  🙂

If you missed the recipe that I took to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, click here. 

{Recipe} Nut Roast with Lemon and Garlic Stuffing

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Nut Roast with Lemon and Garlic Stuffing is a versatile, cruelty-free dish for Christmas.  It serves 4-6 people, and is delicious accompanied by a homemade tomato-based sauce. It can be frozen cooked or uncooked. Nut roast can be enjoyed hot or cold.

This nut roast is adapted from a recipe in the pages of the very first vegan cook book that I owned. The book was pre-loved when it came in to my life in the mid-90’s. The Vegan Health Plan: A Practical Guide to Healthy Living by Amanda Sweet was published in England in 1987 (this book is now out of print):

The Vegan Health Plan

As you can see, my copy is very well-loved and well-worn. Held together with masking tape!

I have been making this nut roast for Christmas day lunch for over a decade. Mat enjoys it, as do two of our children. Unfortunately, our Least Adventurous Eater is not susceptible to the charm that is nut roast. Suffice to say, it is popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.

On Friday morning, I awoke to rain and a mild day. Perfect weather for using the oven. I knew it was my nut roast day! After dropping the kids at school, I carted my ingredients and my two littlest boys to my parents’ house for a morning of cooking.

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Ingredients

225g/8oz  finely ground nuts (I use a combo of pecan, walnut, almond. I use a food processor to grind raw whole nuts, but you can take a short cut by purchasing nut meal if you prefer.)

100g/3.5oz wholemeal breadcrumbs (I process slices of wholemeal bread in a food processor)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 heaped Tbsp wholemeal flour

150 ml non-dairy milk (I use soy or almond)

150ml vegetable stock (I use half a Massel salt-reduced vegetable stock cube dissolved in150ml water)

1Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Black pepper

for the stuffing:

75g/2.5oz wholemeal breadcrumbs

50g/1.5oz vegan margarine, melted

1/2 small onion, finely grated

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp lemon zest

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C/350 F. Grease and line a  loaf tin with baking paper.

Make the nut meat mixture first:

2.  In a large saucepan, saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of water, until soft. Add the flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and gradually add the milk and stock, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened.

4. Add the tamari (soy sauce), nutmeg and pepper. Stir well.

5. Add the nuts and breadcrumbs to the saucepan and mix thoroughly to form a thick but moist mixture.

6. Prepare the stuffing: In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients, and mix well.

7.  Put half of the nut meat mixture into the loaf tin and press down firmly with your hands or a spatula. Pile the stuffing on top and press down with your hands or a spatula. Lastly, put the remaining nut meat mixture on top of the stuffing and smooth the top.

8. Bake for approximately 60 minutes until the loaf is brown and firm (in my oven, it is ready at the 55 min mark). Cool slightly in the tin before removing.

9. Turn the nut roast out onto a board or plate, upside down (ie. the bottom of the nut roast when it was in the loaf tin, is now the top).  Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.

If freezing the nut roast, ensure that you thaw it before baking.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe – one that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally

[post updated on 13 Nov 2013]

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