Sunday, 12 December 2010

Winter festivities

I'm not a big Christmassy person, it takes me quite a while to get into the 'spirit'. Yesterday, however, I had my boyfriend's brother and his wife around for dinner in the evening so that was the incentive to put the Christmas decorations up and that got me in the mood. What I like about the time of year is indulging in the year's harvest after sprucing up the house to bed in for the cold spell. I decided to get a real tree this year and some new decorations. With the decorations sorted, I got the dinner made. First I made some bread dough and mixed in some black olives after the first knocking back. I cooked the bread first on a hot dry skillet and then into the oven for 15 minutes or so to cook through. I served the bread with dukka and olive oil and vegan cream cheese with chives (the 'Sheese' brand).
I served the bread and dips with hot spiced cider and hot berry cordial for the driver. I added Steenberg's mulled wine spice and a little vanilla extract to the cider before heating.
For the main course, I had been waiting to try out this tofu pot pie. I changed it about a lot, making an ordinary shortcrust with some turmeric in (no sweet potato). I baked a homegrown kabocha (cut in half, seeds scooped out, baked cut side down for an hour), then peeled off the skin and chopped into chunks, I filled the bottom of the pie crust with the kabocha and sprinkled over the nutritional yeast.
In went the filling, which was:
1 red onion
1/2 cup edamame
2 blocks flavoured Taifun tofu, cubed (1 smoked, 1 basil)
1/2 pint soya cream
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons herbes de provence
1 small tin cooked chestnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fry the onion in some oil, add in the tofu, edamame and chestnuts and heat though. Then stir through the paprika, nutritional yeast and herbs and lastly the soya cream. Let everything heat through and mingle for about 15 minutes, then let it cool off before piling on top of the kabocha and putting the top on the pie. I baked it for about an hour.

As the pie was quite substantial, I freshened it up with a festive salad- toasted pumpkin seeds and 100g pecans (dry fried and a little soy sauce at the end), the seeds of half a pomegranate, half a fennel bulb, very finely sliced, 2 grapefruits (supremed), lots of rocket and baby leaf spinach. I tossed the lot up with balsamic vinegarette.
Dessert was spiced pear and almond cake with a new blueberry ice-cream (Swedish Glace brand).
Cream 250g caster sugar and 250g vegan margarine.
Beat in 3 teaspoons of egg replacer, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or other mixed spice, 200g self-raising flour, 100g ground almonds. Use some non dairy milk to loosen the batter up a bit (I needed about 1/3-1/2 cup).
Line the tin and fill with preserved pear halves, or home poached pears if you're a domestic goddess. Pour over the cake batter, sprinkle with a little demerara (sucanat) and bake for an hour. I mad the cake by topping the batter with the cake, which made it sink a bit.
Try adding the pear first and then the batter, it should stop a sinky cake. It tasted great anyway, adding ground almonds in place of some of the flour makes a cake really luxurious:)

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