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What's Cooking? | Alternative Christmas dinner

WHAT’S COOKING?
Alternative Christmas dinner

When it comes to Christmas dinner, we all have a go-to dish and a specific trick to get our roasties just right (ours is goose fat and a little flour, if you’re asking). But even the most accomplished cook can be left scratching their head when faced with a vegetarian or vegan menu. These mouth-watering recipes from beloved vegan restaurant Mildred’s are real crowd pleasers for a vegan Christmas dinner.

 

Vegan Main

 

Vegan Main Dish:
BUTTERNUT SQUASH & TOFU TERRINE
WITH REDCURRANT STUFFING & ORANGE GLAZE

Although a little labour intensive, several stages of this recipe – the glaze, tofu and stuffing – can be prepared in advance. Anyway, the festive season is all about that little bit of extra effort. The first stage is to hang two blocks of tofu for a minimum of 12 hours, so bear that in mind. Also note that the only tofu that will work for this recipe is Chinese-style fresh tofu.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS:

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FOR THE BUTTERNUT TOFU

2 × 325g (11½oz) packs
Chinese-style fresh firm tofu
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling
2 French onion stock cubes, crumbled, or good-quality vegan stock powder
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of ground white pepper & salt

FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE

250ml (9fl oz) orange juice
75ml (5 tablespoons) maple syrup
¼ tsp achiote paste (available online, optional)
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper

FOR THE REDCURRANT STUFFING

200g (7oz) caramelized onions
250g (9oz) cooked and peeled chestnuts
1 punnet redcurrants, picked (about 40 redcurrants), but
1 stem reserved for garnish
6 sage leaves, plus extra to garnish
pinch of grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chopped
flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp maple syrup
100g (3½oz) fresh white
breadcrumbs

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METHOD

1. Start by draining the tofu for the butternut tofu. To do this, first crush the blocks of tofu with your hands, then line a large sieve with a piece of muslin and set it over a bowl. Scoop all the tofu into the centre of the muslin. Gather up the edges around the mixture to form a pouch and tie together with kitchen string. Tie the loose ends of the muslin around the handle of a wooden spoon. Suspend the spoon over a container deep enough to allow at least 10cm (4 inches) between the bottom of the pouch and the base of the container so that the muslin will remain clear of the liquid released. Transfer to the refrigerator and leave to drain for 12 hours or overnight.

2. Meanwhile, roast the butternut squash, used in the stuffing and for the tofu. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Toss the squash with the oil in a large bowl. Spread out on a baking tray and roast for 10–15 minutes until the squash is fully cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

3. Blend all the ingredients for the orange glaze in a blender or in a measuring jug with a stick blender. If you don’t have either, chop the garlic and herbs very finely by hand and then mix with the other ingredients.

4. Next prepare the redcurrant stuffing mixture. Reserving 200g (7oz) of the roasted butternut squash for the tofu, add the rest to a large bowl with all the stuffing ingredients and mix together, crushing the mixture a little with your hands.

5. For the butternut tofu, blend the reserved roasted squash with 150ml (5fl oz) of the orange glaze, the stock powder and sage in a blender or in a measuring jug with a stick blender. Then mix with the tofu, crushed garlic, garlic powder, white pepper and salt to taste in a large bowl.

6. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5. Brush a 1-litre (1¾-pint) loaf tin (about 10 × 25cm/4 × 10 inches) with olive oil.

7. Press two-thirds of the butternut tofu mixture into the oiled tin and up the sides to a depth of 1.5cm (5/8 inch), leaving a large hollow in the middle. Place the stuffing in the hollow and top with the remaining tofu mixture to seal it in. Bake for 40–45 minutes.

8. Remove the terrine from the oven, turn out of the tin into a shallow baking dish and baste with the some of the remaining orange glaze, then return to the oven. Cook for a further 20 minutes, basting with the rest of the glaze every 5 minutes.

9. Garnish the terrine with the reserved stem of redcurrants and sage leaves before serving with the roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and gravy.

 

GLUTEN-FREE WHITE WINE GRAVY

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS:

75cl bottle dry white wine
1L(1¾ pints) light vegetable stock
2 tbsp tamari
1 t tbsp demerara sugar
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1½ tbsp cornflour

METHOD

1. Pour the white wine into a saucepan and boil until reduced to just a couple of tablespoons.

2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cornflour, and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

3. Mix the cornflour with enough cold water to make a smooth paste, then stir into the pan and simmer for 2–3 minutes, stirring, until thickened. If any lumps have formed, strain the gravy through a sieve to remove before serving.

 

Roast Pumpkin

 

Delicious Vegan Side Dishes:
Roast Pumpkin with Savoury Sage &
Pumpkin Seed Granola

You’ll enjoy the combination of sweet and savoury in this winter side dish, perfect for serving with a vegan roast or for a holiday meal. Alternatively, this could easily be bumped up to a salad dish in its own right by adding some peppery leaves. Use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free option.

SERVES 6-8, Depending on size of Pumpkin/Squash

INGREDIENTS:

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FOR THE GRANOLA
50g (1¾oz) jumbo oats
25g (1oz) pumpkin seeds
½ tbsp sea salt flakes
4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp roughly chopped
thyme leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Smoked Chilli Jam (can sub for redcurrant jelly with a large pinch of smoked paprika and chilli flakes)

FOR THE PUMPKIN
I small pumpkin or butternut
squash, deseeded and
cut into wedges 2cm
(¾ inch) wide
50ml (2fl oz) light olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
6 sage leaves

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METHOD

1. To make the granola, preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F), Gas Mark 3½. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. Mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, sea salt and herbs together in a bowl. Measure out the oil, maple syrup and chilli jam into a jug and whisk with a fork to combine. Add to the oat mixture and mix together well.

3. Turn the granola mixture out on to the lined baking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

4. To roast the pumpkin, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Line a roasting tray with baking parchment.

5. Toss the pumpkin or squash wedges with the oil, sea salt and sage in a bowl. Turn out on to the lined roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes–1 hour until cooked through but still holding their shape.

6. Crumble the granola over the warm pumpkin or squash and serve.

 

Roast Brussels Sprouts with Maple

 

ROAST BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH MAPLE CHESTNUTS

We love a good Brussels sprout, especially a roast one, as the roasting process maximises its inherent sweetness and the maple chestnuts give this side dish a cosy, wintery feel. Serve with the Butternut Squash and Tofu Terrine for a special festive meal.

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

1kg (2lb 4oz) Brussels sprouts
50ml (2fl oz) olive oil mixed with 2 garlic cloves, grated, and 1/3 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
large pinch of sea salt flakes
5 sage leaves, cut into strips
200g (7oz) Maple Chestnuts (see recipe below)
5 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5.

2. Wash and drain the sprouts, then trim the bases and remove any thick or damaged outer leaves.

3. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts in the herb oil, sea salt and sage, then spread out in a small roasting tray.

4. Roast for about 20 minutes until the sprouts begin to brown on the outside a little. Add the chestnuts and roast for a further 5 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, toss with the chopped parsley and serve.

 

MAPLE CHESTNUTS (GF)

SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp olive oil, for oiling
1 tbsp tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
250g (9oz) cooked peeled chestnuts
1 tsp gluten-free plain flour/rice flour/cornflour
pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F), Gas Mark 3½. Brush a baking tray with the olive oil.

2. Using a small balloon whisk, whisk the tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup and paprika together in a small bowl, making sure you disperse any clumps of paprika.

3. Put the chestnuts in a large bowl with the flour and salt and toss together. Add the tamari/soy mixture and toss again until each chestnut is well coated.

4. Spread out in a thin layer on the baking tray so that the chestnuts roast evenly. Roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They will keep well for weeks.

 

Truffled Roast Potatoes

 

Truffled Roast Potatoes (GF)

The truffle oil in this recipe brings a dash of luxury to the simple roast spuds, making them perfect for celebratory meals. Also, the flat leaf parsley really freshens up the flavours. Truffle oils vary hugely in strength, so proceed with caution, adding more or less according to taste.

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

700g (1lb 9oz) peeled roasting potatoes (such as Rooster, Desiree or Maris Piper), cut into quarters or large chunks
½ tsp salt
50ml (2fl oz) light olive oil
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked
1 whole garlic bulb with skin on, cut in half horizontally
TO FINISH
20g (¾oz) flat leaf parsley, chopped
3–4 tsp truffle oil
sea salt flakes

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6 and put an oven tray in to heat up.

2. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover and the salt, bring to the boil and parboil for 7–8 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to air-dry. Toss the potatoes about in the colander to rough them up slightly so that they absorb some of the oil while roasting.

3. Put the potatoes in a bowl with the oil, rosemary and garlic and toss to combine, making sure they are coated evenly in the oil and herbs.

4. Remove the hot baking tray from oven and spread the potatoes out evenly on the tray. Roast for 25–30 minutes until golden, crispy and fully cooked.

5. Remove from the oven and return the potatoes to the bowl. Add the chopped parsley, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and drizzle with the truffle oil. Toss until well combined and serve.

 

Recipes courtesy of Mildreds Vegan Cookbook by Dan Acevedo & Sarah Wasserman. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £25. Photography by Matt Russell

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