Christmas Menu 2015

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There’s no end of upsides to traveling for most of the year. There are however a number of downsides to working while traveling. Sometimes it yields amazing success: my discovery of morninga and baobab oil, my buckling down to meditate finally, and others a busted oven, parcels of kitchen equipment lost in transit and exploding creme brûlée torches. And occasionally all the bad stuff clusters into one, like these last few weeks as I’ve been getting together my Christmas menu and shoot.

Half baked ideas and Christmas loaves this year for sure. But rather than go nuts and smash all my (functioning) kitchen equipment (as I was wont to do in the good old mast cell rage days), I had a mini freak out and decided you guys would be cool with my trying to arrange what I could into a mini shoot and just release the recipes without photographic clout.

The great news is that thanks to the busted oven I’m not cooking a second Christmas dinner this year. There’s always an upside if I look really hard enough. Maybe I’ll need to whip out a subatomic particle seeing microscope, but it’s usually there.

Vegan Christmas Loaf

Prep Time: 10mins | Cook Time: 20-30mins | Servings: 4-6 

vegan christmas loaf with herbed quinoa

Did I ever mention that I was vegan for a couple of years? Around three I think it was. It was mostly for the animals but for health reasons too. Now it’s for the animals and our environment. But now’s not the time to get preachy. There’s plenty of meaty recipes to follow – but here’s what we’re going with this Christmas. 

You can use absolutely any beans or vegetables in this recipe. You can use chicken or duck eggs rather than chickpeas (or other beans) and you can omit the grains entirely. Have fun with this – make it well in advance of the big day just to check it out and customise to your taste. 

Please remember, pretty much all the ingredients are optional, so don’t stress if you can’t tolerate or don’t have them. The photo above shows the Christmas roll with the herbed quinoa which you’ll find in the sides section. 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or beans or starchy veggie like butternut or sweet potato)

1 cup cooked quinoa flakes

1 cup par boiled veggies (I used butternut, yellow beets, carrots and parsnips)

1 red onion, chopped

1 cup mixed fresh basil, thyme, coriander, chives and parsley (or your choice), finely chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, pressed

2 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp grated turmeric

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp nigella sativa seeds

1/2 cup chestnut flour (or any other gluten free)

6 tbsp chickpea water (optional, for better binding)

PREPARATION

Pre-heat oven to 200C/380F.

Sauté your onion in a little oil. Add in the veggies for a minute or two. Place all ingredients into a food processor or a bowl to mush together by hand. Season to your taste and then place in a bread tin or any other oven ready dish in any shape that you find pleasing.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool and then carefully cover with a plate and flip over. Slice and enjoy.

BENEFITS

Antihistamine: onion, basil, thyme, coriander, parsley, garlic, ginger, turmeric, nigella sativa, chives.

Anti-inflammatory: onion, basil, thyme, coriander, parsley, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chestnut, chickpeas, olive oil.

Pomegranate (or apple) Glazed Root Veggies 

parsnips on wood floor

Prep Time: 5mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Servings: 2-4 

Mmmmm, I love pomegranate glazed anything. It’s really better to make the pomegranate syrup, but that takes hours…so I just par boil the veggies in pomegranate juice and then bake. Though I normally make absolutely everything from scratch, I tend to let things slide at holiday time, so I use bottled organic sugar free juice. You can use any fruit juice you like, or something like coconut nectar/agave/coconut sugar. 

INGREDIENTS

2 large beets (I used golden and red striped), quartered and sliced

2 large parsnips, chopped

4 large carrots, chopped

1 large swede (or any other root veggie), chopped

4 large jerusalem artichokes (or any other), chopped

pomegranate juice, enough to cover the veggies (about a quart)

oil for roasting

PREPARATION

Pre-heat your oven to 200C/380F.

Boil the veggies in the pomegranate juice till half/par boiled. Drain and transfer to a pre-oiled baking tin. Season to your taste and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. You could also add a little liquid sweetener or pomegranate syrup if you have it.

BENEFITS

Antihistamine: pomegranate.

Anti-inflammatory: pomegranate, beets, parsnips, carrots, swede, jerusalem artichokes.

Herbed Warm Quinoa (or rice/cauli) Salad

Prep Time: 10mins | Cook Time: 5-10 mins | Servings: 4-6

Go for any variation you’re into here: rice, barley, or go grain free with cauliflower rice, which is basically just a cauliflower chucked into a food processor and lightly pulsed. It’s all good believe me. I no longer eat many grains myself, but hey, it’s Christmas, so I let it all hang out. I added yellow cherry tomatoes which are supposedly lower histamine according to Dr. Janice Joneja but you can absolutely leave them out. 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked quinoa (I used half red half white)

2-4 cups arugula or lamb’s lettuce

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms (optional, appear on some lists as high histamine)

1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 medium carrots, chopped

1 cup mixed herbs: basil, coriander, oregano and thyme

olive oil

optional tahini sauce

2 tbsp tahini (on some lists as high histamine)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (on some lists as high histamine)

1 tbsp olive oil 

1 tsp high quality organic mustard (on some lists as high histamine)

1/4 cup water

PREPARATION

Sauté the onion, carrots and mushrooms if using in a little oil. Add in the quinoa, herbs and yellow tomatoes for a moment and then turn off heat. Place in a bowl and mix in the greens.

Tahini sauce

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve on the salad.

BENEFITS

Antihistamine: onion, lamb’s lettuce, basil, coriander, thyme, oregano.

Anti-inflammatory: onion, arugula, lamb’s lettuce, basil, coriander, thyme, oregano, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, tahini.

Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5mins | Cook Time: 10-15mins | Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup ginger coconut sugar (I used Coconom – you can use coconut sugar and a little fresh grated ginger)

1/4 cup water

squeeze of fresh lemon

1-2 tbsp duck fat (optional – really incredibly tasty though!)

PREPARATION

Place the cranberries in a small pot with the water. Bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer and add in the coconut sugar (and grated ginger if using), stir till dissolved. (I recommend using the ginger – gives it extra zing!) Squeeze in the lemon. The mixture should start firming up now.

Optional – stir in a little duck fat/jus from your roasting duck (I highly recommend this!)

BENEFITS

Anti-inflammatory: coconut, cranberries, lemon.

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