Christmas Wellington – Vegan and Gluten Free

It’s a little while since Christmas day but I’m still remembering the wonderful vegan and gluten free Wellington that we enjoyed on the day.

The filling is made from sweet potato, tofu, spinach, shallot and a light gravy stock.

I have cheated with the pastry and used Jus Rol Gluten Free pastry which is also vegan. This cheat is far from ideal but as I had other Christmas dinner duties I didn’t feel too guilty.

Pesto Stuffed Butternut Squash

A seasonal favourite of mine is roasted butternut squash. This stuffed squash with pesto and vegetables is a perfect festive main course for vegans and is gluten free so perfect for me as a coeliac too.

Start by preparing the squash. Split it evenly down the middle and clean out the seeds and pulp.

Cross the butternut squash with a deep knife which will allow the squash to roast consistently. Drizzle with a little cooking oil and basil and pop into the oven for approximately 45 minutes on a high heat.

Whilst the squash is roasting I cook the vegetable stuffing and pesto mix. Chop courgette and peppers into fine squares and cook in a frying pan with pesto. I use the Sacla free from red pesto as it’s free from gluten and dairy. Cook for about 20 minutes and then add the vegetables to the squash, packing out the seeds area and topping the whole squash. I then add vegan cheese (Sheese is my favourite brand) and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

I’m really looking forward to tucking into this over the Christmas period and hope you enjoy it too.

Parsnip and Coconut Curry

The festive period is an excellent time to tuck into a winter veg favourite. Rather than roasting, mashing or souping this recipe uses the warmth and versatility of the parsnip to set off some excellent flavours. 

Start by warming a little coconut oil in a large pan. I use a Le Creuset casserole dish as it gives me the consistent heat and even cook I’m looking for. 

Add chopped red chilli, chopped garlic, minced ginger and a little chopped coriander the coconut oil and start to stir through. Then add parsnips diced to approx 1cm cubes. 

Saute off the parnsip a little to give it a softer texture then add drained, cooked chickpeas and sliced spring onions. 

Stir so the vegetables saute evenly in the coconut oil and spices. Then add fresh plum tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut milk. Turn the heat down to a medium setting and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When cooked this dish is ideal served with rice to keep it gluten free!

Spinach and Feta Rolls (gluten and lactose free) 

I’m feeling festive… from about October normally and I’ve been practising different gluten and lactose free options for Christmas. 

Last month I tried some fig and vegan cream cheese pastry tartlets and this weekend I’ve gone savoury and tried some spinach and “feta” sausage rolls. 

As a lactose intolerant coeliac you can imagine my joy when I discovered gluten free, vegan Jus Rol puff pastry in the dairy free section of my local supermarket. At the moment allergens and free from is expanding so rapidly I seem to find something new every time. This pastry is easy to roll out, shape and eat. It’s delicious. It’s such a cheat to use ready made pastry and I’m so happy coeliacs and vegans can cheat too. 

Open the pastry packaging, roll out the pastry and let it warm a little after the fridge whilst you prepare the filling. 

I say prepare. It’s really not a tricky recipe this one. Wilt 100g spinach. I’m using my microwave steamer for 30 seconds so the spinach softens but retains some substance and doesn’t go watery. Layer the spinach in a line throughout the length of the pastry. About an inch from the edge of the pastry. Then slice your “feta” I am using a vegan Greek style cheese made with coconut milk which is very exciting. I make long slices approximately 5 mm wide. Layer the feta (or substitute) on top of the spinach. 

Take the inch of pasty and roll it over the top of the filling and press down firmly. Then roll the filling and pastry over to create a full sausage roll effect. 

I use a little soya butter to hold the very top down and then chop the long pastry length into inch long pastries. 

Pop into the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes. This is a really enjoyable and incredibly easy recipe suitable for free fromers and more. 

Lingonberry Puff Pastry Swirl

I’m practising some desserts for Christmas. Since I have some fresh lingonberries from my parents I’m going to use them in a gluten free, dairy free pastry. 

I’m starting by cooking the lingonberries into a jam with sugar and a generous measure of gin. For additional Scandinavian points I’ve used Helsinki gin I bought during a holiday. 

Once the lingonberries have formed a chunky and tasty jam it’s time to start on the puff pastry. 

Did I say start? I meant unwrap. I am cheating terribly but the reason for this is the discovery that Tesco now do a gluten free, vegan, ready to roll puff pastry. It makes life so easy! 

Roll out the puff pastry so it makes several long pieces about 3 inches wide. Then spoon a thin layer of jam into the pastry and fold it over so you have an open tube of pastry and jam. Form the tubes into a circle, wrap it tight and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. 

These are delicious served warm and they are definitely going onto my Christmas menu! 

Vegan, gluten free Shepherd’s Pie (My Christmas dinner special)

It’s early December and as I am hosting Christmas at mine this year I am having a practise run of Christmas dinner. My husband is cooking for himself and the meat eaters and I am doing a special dish for myself and my vegan sister in law.

As a lactose intolerant coeliac it can feel hard at Christmas, you can definitely feel left out when it comes to advent calendars, mince pies and Yorkshire puddings. This dish will almost definitely have everyone feeling jealous of me though.

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Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup dried red lentils

1 brown onion

3 cloves garlic

Chopped sage

2 Kallo French Onion Stock Cubes (gluten free and vegan)

1 tablespoon Pure Soya Bread

Start by chopping the onion and garlic cloves and adding to a large pan with the dried lentils and 2 Kallo French Onion stock cubes and cover the ingredients with boiling water. Kallo stock cubes are fantastic as they are gluten free so they tick all my coeliac boxes. The French Onion Stock cubes are excellent for soups and gravy which is why I’m using them in this dish.

Switch the hob to a medium heat and cook at a simmer the lentils and onion  in the stock for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s important to monitor the levels of liquid during cooking. I have had to top up with additional water as the lentils absorb water.

Red lentils will breakdown and lose their shape but the brown lentils should retain their distinct has the consistency of gravy with cooked lentils and onion. It’s important the consistency is quite thick as this mixture is the base of the shepherd’s pie. (see photo below)

Whilst the base of the pie is cooking peel and chop the sweet potatoes and cover with boiling water. Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft and ready for mashing. It’s important not to over cook the sweet potatoes as they do fall apart much more easily than potato and can lose their nutrients. Although you could use other potato I’m choosing to use sweet potato because they are higher vitamins including vitamin A, C and B6 as well as being full of minerals and potassium. Sweet potatoes are also lower in carbohydrate and one of your 5 a day. In addition they taste great.

Once cooked drain the sweet potato and pop back into the pan with the tablespoon of soya butter and the chopped sage. Mash using either a masher or a fork.

Line a baking dish with a thick layer of the lentil mix, even the mix and then top with a layer of the sweet potato / sage mash. When the layers are even use the fork to create smooth lines which will add crunch when cooked.

Cook in the oven at a temperature of 200 for 30 minutes.

Once cooked this shepherd’s pie is perfect as Christmas dinner. Sweet and festive with the sage and sweet potato topping and with a rich base and garlic. This is home made, vegan and gluten free comfort food at its best.

Truly cannot wait for Christmas now.

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Homemade Vegan Chocolate

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In the downtime between Christmas and New Year I am going to put a lovely gift to good use and tell you all about it.

Following an illness last year a severe lactose intolerance is one of a few triggered dietary requirements. I’ve been veggie for years but always still enjoyed chocolate and cheese which I have really missed in the last year, over Christmas when I have seen so much food eaten and not been able to share in family and friends meals it has really been quite tough. Imagine my delight then when on Christmas day I unwrapped a vegan chocolate making kit. That’s right. A VEGAN CHOCOLATE MAKING KIT.

Choc Chico’s does state on the box it is for children but I plan on having a great time away.

The kit contains 100% organic ingredients and has pure cocoa butter, cocoa powder, natural fruit based sweetener and also 3 whole cocoa beans.

You start by melting the cocoa butter over a bain marie so it can heat through gently. When fully melted remove the bowl from the heat and gently mix with cocoa powder and sweetener.

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Melting cocoa butter

The great thing about making your own chocolate like this is you can add your own flavouring and paying homage to festive flavour I have added dried cranberry and poured the chocolate into small paper cases with cranberry at the bottom and topped with a single cranberry.

Leave to set in the freezer and all sorted. A fantastic, fun to make chocolate gift which is much, much tastier than most vegan chocolate.