This Christmas I managed to get all my presents bought and everything organised well in advance in an attempt to enjoy a stress free festive period. The tree was bought, the decorations out and the shopping done. But unfortunately, whilst patting myself on the back for having successfully navigated through the big day build up relatively stress free, I was suddenly overcome with a sinking feeling (familiar to Blondies like me!) that happens with the dawning of the realisation that you have totally forgotten about something critical!
As usual, the annual Christmas feast in my mother’s had been weeks in the planning and preparation due to her many years of practise in perfecting the complex operation that is the Christmas Dinner. Traditionally my duties on the day would be setting the table and doing the washing up before retiring to the couch to allow the inevitable food coma to run its course. So it was while I pondered this relaxing schedule of events that the sudden aforementioned onset of anxiety occurred, and with that, the familiar recognition that a Blonde moment had just passed.
I was to have my first Vegan Christmas! And seeing as I’d be the only one at the table, I’d forgotten that I’d have to cook it all myself! Whilst I was vaguely prepared in having the ingredients for a couple of pre-practiced recipes, ones which I would have been quite confident of succeeding with on a normal day, the sinking feeling came from the realisation that this was no normal day in the kitchen.
The organised chaos that traditionally occurs on Christmas Day in the tight space of my mother’s kitchen is usually best avoided as she becomes a whirlwind of carefully orchestrated multi-tasking efficiency that has taken decades to perfect. And now, I realised that I had to step into the Lion’s den, to carefully navigate the limited free spaces that temporarily opened up, to be ever wary of disturbing the normal flow of operations, to tactfully negotiate a portion of the limited oven space and in general to anticipate the orchestras movements in order to provide harmony and not discord.
So having been inspired by a recent trip to the cinema (and before panic had a chance to set in!), I decided to stop thinking about the complexities of it all, to take a deep breath and rely on The Force to guide me through…
I know that Blondies tales usually follow a particular arc and some of you may be disappointed, and indeed surprised, with the lack of schadenfreude in the conclusion of this episode but I somehow managed to stay in tune with the chaos and negotiate my way through the pitfalls to successfully produce a wonderful Vegan Christmas Dinner which was enjoyed by everyone at the table!
So as I retired to the couch, proud of my achievements, another sinking feeling came upon me…but as I anticipated the passing of yet another Blonde Moment, I realised that the only thing I had forgotten was the inevitable onset of the post Christmas Dinner food coma…Zzz
Moodely Manor Roast (Christmas Special Limited Edition)
*Thanks to itshealthylicious for the present of this!
Nut Roast Stuffing Combo
Marinated Roasted Butternut Squash Wedges
Rosie’s Wonderful Roast Potatoes
Chopped and Spiced Red Cabbage
Now let’s share a couple of these wonderful and easy recipes
Peel the potatoes, cut into even-sized chunks. Boil for 10mins, until the outer edge is fluffy but not falling apart. Drain and leave to steam for 5mins.
Then, give them a vigorous toss in the colander to roughen up the cooked edges.
Pre-heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a large baking tray before adding the potatoes. Roll them in the oil making sure each one is covered and give them a sprinkling of salt before returning to the highest shelf of the oven. Roasting times can vary depending on your oven and whether you have other things cooking in there but after about 40 mins, turn the potatoes and return for a further 20mins. If you like them really crispy (like me!) add another 20mins…Sprinkle with a little more crushed salt before serving.
Super easy and versatile nut roast recipe! Feel free to improvise with this…!
1 medium sized red onion, chopped
1 fl oz / 30 ml vegetable oil
2 tsp / 10 ml yeast extract in 1/4 pint hot water
8 oz / 225g chopped mixed nuts
2 tbsp ground almonds or cashews
4 oz / 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 handful of Pinenuts
1 handful of goji berries
1 handful of seeds
1 tbsp sage
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
Saute the onion in the oil until soft, not browned.
Combine all of the ingredients together; the mixture should be sticky and kind of moist.
Turn into a well oiled ovenproof dish or bread tray and bake for 40 minutes or until the top starts to harden.