I love cooking for Christmas. It has always been one of my favourite times of the year for food inspiration and allows so many opportunities to share delicious vegan versions of Christmas classics with colleagues, friends and family and show how easy it is to be compassionate at Christmas.
Making my own mincemeat for mince pies is one of my absolute favourite festive things to do and because the mince keeps so well you can really make it whenever you have the time and inclination in the lead up to Christmas.
Another great way to get ahead of the Christmas curve is to make your desserts ahead of time. Trifle is often better the day after it has been made and a vegan cheesecake will keep for up to a week in the fridge. We also love to have brownies as part of our dessert trio which can be made weeks in advance and then frozen.
My flatmate and I follow the German tradition of decorating our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve which we do while drinking mulled wine and listening to Ella Fitzgerald. Once the tree is decorated I'll knock up a big pot of stew (Chickpea and dumpling stew from Thug Kitchen is one of my favourites) and put some mince pies in the oven which we'll eat with Mule Royal cocktails (my own creation) throughout the evening. Making your own mince pies is the perfect way to really bring the festive feelings, it's easy and quick (even quicker if you buy in your pastry) and is a lovely thing to do with kiddy helpers if you have them.
I have an admission to make, I never have Christmas dinner on Christmas day. There is just too much to get through what with all the prosecco for breakfast, cheese boards, gift giving and terrible telly to watch. We find it more fun to save our big meal for Boxing Day when all the pressure is off and we can really enjoy making and eating everything.
Homemade crumpets with vegan butter and marmalade accompanied by endless pots of coffee and copious amounts of Mimosas.
We graze throughout the day and go from our amazing vegan cheeseboard with fancy crackers to leftover stew to mince pies and various helpings of our different desserts as well as lots of snacks and nibbles like vegan cheese straws (recipe to follow) and crisps.
We keep breakfast very light on Boxing Day as our main objective for the day is to have an epic vegan feast for lunch.
The main event:
Anyone who has ever spoken to me, ever, will know that I absolutely love faux meats. I have worshipped at the altar of seitan with some commitment for some time and use Christmas as an excuse to pile as much of it on my plate in as many different flavours as possible. My bestie and I lovingly call the VBites range of faux meat roasts To-furkey, To-beefy & To-gammony and we have all three every christmas and eat them with total glee. My Mum, however, doesn't love them so will often make an alternative although we like to steer clear of the ubiquitous nut roast. A roasted butternut squash stuffed with porcini mushrooms always goes down well or if we are feeling more ambitious (and have the time) a mushroom wellington. We have this with all the trimmings, roast potatoes (roasted with garlic, rosemary and red chilis), roasted broccoli (instead of sprouts) as well as carrots and parsnips with thyme. Robin, my bestie, invariably insists on making sage and onion stuffing which I never think I am that fussed about but am delighted to put in my mouth once we sit down to eat. I love to make my own cranberry sauce with lots of fresh orange zest; it takes no time and is satisfying and delicious and lasts for a week in the fridge, perfect for those to-beefy sandwiches that we all end up picking at for days after.
We like to push the boat out on the dessert front and Robin will make a cheesecake with raspberry coulis as well as chocolate, bourbon & pecan brownies in the lead up to Christmas. We then dip into both these desserts throughout the Christmas period. I also like to make a vegan clementine and ginger trifle which we save for Boxing Day and will often have for breakfast on 27th because it's Christmas and why not?!