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Christmas Eve in our family has traditionally been German-themed, in memory of J. – my (half) brother and sister’s dad – who died of cancer when I was 16 and they were 9 and 10. We have always had schwartzbrot (black rye bread) and herring salad (a version of potato salad containing rollmop herrings, hard-boiled egg, cubed hard cheese, beetroot and gherkins). This year I wanted to find a vegan alternative. J. didn’t cook spatzle for us but he did cook red cabbage and sauerkraut and, before we became vegetarian, lots of german sausages – so this felt appropriate.
The red cabbage with sauerbrauten sauce was really nice – very rich and a bit sweet. The recipe suggested making it with herb-crusted tempeh, but I discovered that my tempeh was out of date so, not wanting to poison anyone on Christmas Eve, I decided to make vege-sausages instead.
Oh dear… “You might think I’ve lost the plot” says Jamie, introducing his little article in Sainsbury’s Magazine about catering for veggies this Christmas….
Yes Jamie, you have! I quote:
“Finally, the biggest challenge of all, a vegan recipe. I’ve fallen in love with Indian dosas this year and, with a few festive pops of flavour, they’re the perfect solution for any vegan friends.”
I’m sorry Jamie, but YOU WHAT??? Curry for Christmas Dinner!? I mean what are you thinking!?!?! Since when did Indian dosas go well with roast potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and sprouts and and and…
You get my meaning? Please don’t serve dosas to your vegan friends, unless you want to make them feel thoroughly miserable and totally left out. Bring on the nut roast any day. We are having a nice, moist chestnut and brown lentil loaf. Yum!!!
Saturday was the Veggie Roadshow in Liverpool Town Hall. Lily and I went along while Amber had a little snooze. Lily managed to play happily for half of a very interesting talk by Juliet Gellatley on Mood Foods. I (re-) joined the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (www.vegetarian.org.uk) and came away with lots of interesting things to read. I was sufficiently convinced to wonder whether Santa might bring me a juicer this year, but Mama A thinks Santa should think about the fact that we have no more space in our kitchen for any more gadgets!
Mama A said (I quote): “this is the best thing you’ve cooked from that book”!
Corn tortillas layered with plantain/onions/garlic/spices and tofu/coriander. Quite sweet and dense but good in small portions.
Originally I was going to make sweet potato mash and cajun-marinated tempeh to go with this. Then I had the bright idea of adding coconut milk to the mash (I thought the girls would like it, and they need the calories). In went a whole can and out came sweet potato and coconut soup! Oops! So that’s what they had for dinner, but it was a bit rich for grown-ups.
Then I burnt the tempeh while we were giving the girls their bath, so finally I thought I’d better roast another sweet potato quick or else the dinner would look a little sparse, despite the hours I’d spent making it. This recipe should be relatively simple once you’ve got the general idea, and I’m sure there are many possible variations, but for me all the Millennium recipes take forever to prepare… and then there’s still the washing up!
I had my doubts about figs as a pizza topping, but this was really really nice! It was the first time I have ever made pizza dough, and it was so easy. All that kneading is quite therapeutic as well! It kept for a couple of days in the fridge wrapped in cling-film too.
I had to modify the dough recipe slightly as it turned out to be far too dry, so I got out another recipe book from the also very fabulous Greens in San Francisco and sort of combined the two. This dough contained half plain and half wholemeal flour, olive oil, soya milk, garlic, dried basil, flax powder, yeast, a pinch of sugar and water. I didn’t have any polenta, which the Millenium recipe suggests, but it worked fine without it.
Also I didn’t have time to make the suggested herb-tofu aioli so I cheated and used Infinity Foods’ vegan smoked garlic mayonnaise, which I really like.
Amber and Lily got their own mini pizza with vege-sausage, mushrooms and cheezly. I made the base a bit more “deep-pan” for them because they are still a bit suspicious of crunchy food, although they both have molars now so we are working on this!