I really do enjoy cooking, and there is no better time than to get in the kitchen to try out fun recipes, than in the run up to Christmas. So many amazing flavours and festive smells, that will take you back toy our childhood, and be things that you want to make year after year.
Britannia Living sent me a little parcel of goodies to get creative with in the run up to the festive season. The ingredients that they sent over were:
- ground cinnamon
- fresh rosemary
- whole cloves
- chill flakes
- dried cranberries
So I really had to get my thinking cap on! Here are the recipes I created with the ingredients, and a few extra bits, of course. Would love to hear what you think and if you give them a go! All the recipes are suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
Christmas Nut Roast
Serves: 4-6. Preparation: 15 mins. Cooking: 1 hour 10 mins
- 200g red lentils
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 50g sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 50g dried cranberries, chopped
- 200g mixed nuts, chopped
- 50g mixed seeds
- 1½ tsp chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- sprinkle of chilli flakes (to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Cook the lentils in plenty of water for 15 minutes, then drain using a fine sieve. While the lentils cook, heat a little oil in your largest frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes.
- Add all the other ingredients, except the seasoning, to the pan. Stir really well, add the cooked lentils and stir again, seasoning to taste.
- Line a loaf tin (approximately 20cm x 10cm) with non-stick baking paper and spoon in the mixture. Bake for 50 minutes and allow to cool slightly before removing and cutting into thick slices.
Now on to the dessert recipe: Pistachio & Maple Bites
Using the pistachios from the hamper, this makes a delicious creme for the cookie like macarons. The natural-yet-vibrant green of the pistachio crème is also striking and gives a nod to all things festive, right? Luckily, they are vegan, so are suitable for those with dairy or egg allergies. The only sweetener is the maple syrup, so they’re not quite so naughty either.
Makes: 12 to 14 cookies. Preparation: 15 mins. Cooking: 12 mins
For the cookies:
- 100g dairy-free margarine (like Pure)
- 135ml maple syrup
- 300g plain flour (gluten-free options would work too)
- 1 tsp baking powder (again, gluten-free would work too)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
For the pistachio crème:
- 100g raw pistachio nuts
- 60ml dairy-free cream
- 45ml maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 175°C / gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Melt the margarine in a pan and then stir in the maple syrup.
- Add in about 250g of flour along with the baking powder, vanilla and salt. Stir the batter until all the ingredients are fully combined. Add the remainder of the flour and combine. The mixture should be very thick but do not add more liquid.
- Scoop out walnut sized balls and roll them in your hands to make them nicely rounded. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t let them go brown. Once they firm up a bit and they are not moist they are done. Let cookies cool on the sheet.
- To make the pistachio crème smash the pistachios in a food processor until they become smooth and paste-like (as if you’re making your own nut butter).
- With the processor blades turning, drizzle in the soy cream followed by the maple syrup and the vanilla. Process until completely smooth.
- Once the cookies are fully cooled drop a dollop of the pistachio crème on to the flat side of a cookie and top with a second cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
No, onto the last part of the meal, a festive drink! Being teetotal myself, a mocktail is the order of the day. So I thought I would use the remainder of the ingredients from my hamper to create a festive drink.
What says Christmas better than eggnog?
Here is a non-alcoholic version that is super simple to make:
- 2 cups milk of choice
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sweet condensed milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1/2 cup sugar of choice (I used coconut)
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
Combine the milk, cloves, cinnamon and condensed milk over low heat in a sauce pan until the mixture is heated through. Slowly increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to the boil.
In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Slowly add about 1 tbsp of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, at a time. Once you have added all the hot mixture, pour it all back into the saucepan. Heat gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently (it should all thicken up).until thickened.
Add the whipped cream, nutmeg and vanilla powder to the mixture and then heat through. Avoid boiling it!
Strain the mixture to catch the spices, and then you’re done! Let it cool before drinking, as it is best served cold.
There you have it, three festive recipes for the upcoming season. I would love to hear what you think and if you try any of them out.
*this is my entry to Britannia Living’s festive recipe challenge. All opinions are my own.