Preparing For A Vegan Christmas

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Well, having been brought up in a family of meat and fish eaters, and loving those things myself, I never thought that I would be preparing for a vegan Christmas!

The thoughts of such a thing a few years ago would have seemed absurd; Christmas dinner means Turkey, ham, pigs in blankets, and roast potatoes cooked in goose fat; not to mention the prawn cocktail, pate and toast, or melon and parma ham for starters! Then there was the pork pie, quiche, sausage rolls, and all manner of other foods which make their way to the buffet table at Christmas.

I realise that many of you are probably salivating right now after reading that, I would have been too at one point. Not now, however! After deciding to follow a plant based vegan diet around a month ago, for both personal health and the health of the planet (don’t worry, I’m not going to start preaching), I thought that I would really struggle coming up to Christmas. After all, I haven’t given up animal products because I don’t like the taste of them.

However, I am actually really looking forward to it. When I look at animal products these days I look at them with a different set of values and that puts me off being tempted to eat anyway. I think the most difficult things for me to avoid over the festive period will be cheese and Baileys Irish Cream. I am currently sourcing alternatives to these things.

I had my first real test eating this way when we went on holiday to Lanzarote recently. Eating in is fine but when it comes to eating out it can be a whole different story, especially in a place where even being vegetarian can cause people to think that you have lost your mind! Nevertheless, I actually had some great food whilst I was out there, and didn’t feel at all deprived. This spurred me on and made me realise even more that Christmas probably wouldn’t be that difficult.

I have deliberated over what to have for Christmas lunch; I considered the ever faithful nut roast but then decided I fancied something a little different; I finally settled on a mushroom and chestnut wellington. I haven’t finalised the recipe yet but I will share it with you when I have and when I tasted the results on Christmas Day. This will be served with a homemade vegan gravy, loads of veggies and I am considering roasting some dates in the oven to have instead of the chipolata sausages.

There will be a vegan Christmas cake, mince pies, and all manner of homemade tasty treats to see me through the festive period. I really can’t wait!

I don’t want to try to turn anyone vegan but would love the opportunity to encourage a few of you to try a few more vegan meals. So, with that in mind, I will share recipes and experiences with you as I go along.

Whatever you’re eating and whatever you’re doing this Christmas, I wish you the very best of health and happiness!

Stay nourished

Carol x

Orange Cordial Recipe

This orange cordial recipe is simple to make and free from chemicals, additives, and preservatives. Perfect for a treat for all the family.

It’s no secret that I’m no lover of sugar, but what I detest even more is the addition of sweeteners, colours, additives, and preservatives. With the recent moves to reduce the sugar content of soft drinks,  standard soft drinks now contain sweeteners as well as sugar; a recipe for a chemical sh1t storm in your body! 

Water has always been my main source of hydration but I must admit to being partial to a nice refreshing glass of cordial now and again, especially with an evening meal. The kids love it too and I would rather they had something as natural as possible , even if it does contain the dreaded white stuff.

If you’re concerned about increasing your sugar levels (which we all should be to be fair), having your cordial with your main meal will help to stop that sudden rise, as the absorption is slowed down by your meal; as long as it’s not a doughnut you’re scoffing lol!

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get busy in the kitchen. The result was delicious. The taste of homemade cordial is far removed from that of the mass produced versions available ; it actually tastes of real oranges! 

For approximately 2 litres of cordial you will need:

 The skin and juice of 6 oranges

1kg sugar

30g citric acid

1200ml water

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar  (to wash the oranges)

Method

Place the oranges in a bowl of boiling water with the vinegar, this will soak off nasties like pesticides and wax

Peel the oranges, being careful to leave behind the white pith and place in a large pan with the water and sugar

Juice the oranges, I used an electric juicer and saved the pulp to make oat cookies (recipe to follow later).

Add the juice to the pan

Place on a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar

Once sugar has dissolved bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes until the mixture has reduced slightly


Remove from the heat, add the citric acid and allow to cool for at least a couple of hours

Strain and decant into sterilised bottles

Dilute with water as you would any cordial and for a fizzy treat simply add sparkling water.

This does need to be refrigerated due to the lack of preservatives.

Let me know if you try it.

Stay nourished . Carol x