Next week it's Christmas! Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!
To help inspire you, I've gathered together my favourite Christmas recipes. Each of these recipes I consider to be a must have for Christmas festivities.
Let's start with my all-time favourite, Christmas Pudding.
Can I just say, I love Christmas Pudding. When I decided to go vegan 11 years ago, Mum took on the fun task of recipe conversion so that I could enjoy my favourite Christmas treats. Mum's Christmas Pudding is the Christmas Pudding to rival all other Christmas Puddings. The original recipe contains butter, eggs and milk. In my opinion, my mum's recipe is 1000 times better because no animals were harmed in the making of it :)
If you're avoiding refined sugars, you could easily substitute the brown sugar for coconut sugar. And if you'd like a less processed egg alternative, try chia or flax eggs.
Any vegetarian or vegan will surely know about the infamous nut roast. It's what you eat instead of turkey, pork or ham. A super nutritious combo of lentils and nuts accompanied with a mushroom or balsamic glaze which is delicious!
Back in the day, I used to be a rum drinker. I know - eek! Whilst my taste for rum and cokes has long passed, I still love a good rum ball. Do yourself a favour this Christmas and make some of these - just sub the rum flavouring for real rum.
My mum makes really great mince pies, and she always make me a vegan batch (thanks Mum).
Christmas 2013, I made Teresa Cutter's Fruit Mince Pies. The fruit mince is divine but I wasn't bowled over by the pastry. If I'm craving extra mince pies (after eating my mum's), I'm going to experiment with this pastry recipe from one of my favourite recipe bloggers, the Minimalist Baker.
There's nothing I love more at Christmas (hmmm probably equal footing with Christmas pudding) is a warm mince pie with brandy butter.
The basic recipe for brandy butter is butter, icing sugar and brandy.
I'm yet to perfect a vegan version of brandy butter. I've tried it with coconut oil but in the Queensland heat, it melts too quickly (unless you're blessed with an air conditioned home). This year I think I'm going to give it a shot using homemade vegan butter. There are some coconut based butters on the market which can be used if you can't be bothered making your own butter - I like Coco Land Vegan Coconut Spread, which simply consists of coconut oil, water, natural emulsifier (E471) and natural flavour. It's not exactly "healthy", but it's the healthiest vegan butter currently on the market. [Update - Since I published this post in 2016, there are some great new healthy vegan butters on the market including those by The Vegan Dairy and Botanical Cuisine. Look for these and other alternatives at your local organic store.]
Aside from butter, there's one thing about brandy butter that I don't like - icing sugar. I've made a healthy version of icing sugar with powdered coconut sugar but unfortunately the brandy butter turns out brown instead of white. If you're super health-conscious, the aesthetic of the brown powdered sugar might not faze you.
For those who would prefer to have a traditional creamy white brandy butter, instead of a brown brandy butter, I suggest using a stevia blend, a stevia icing mix or xylitol. There's some debate about whether xylitol is healthy (cf this article with this article) but I'll leave it up to you as to whether you think you would prefer a stevia, xylitol or cane sugar based icing sugar.
As for me, I'm going to make brandy butter with homemade vegan butter, stevia icing mix and brandy!
Maple Glazed Carrots
Christmas dinner would not be complete without some vegetables. Roast vegetables are a must - think potatoes, parsnips and pumpkin. Roast them in coconut oil with some pink salt and fresh rosemary - delightful. For something a little bit special, I like to make maple glazed carrots. I particularly like this recipe because of the thyme and cardamom.
So there you have it - my 6 favourite Christmas recipes.
In the spirit of giving, share some of your favourite Christmas recipes below, and if you make any of my favourites, let me know xx