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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Vegan, Gluten Free Christmas!

Okay so in the true spirit of this blog me and Jess have got together and made an epic christmas dinner that's suitable for just about anyone! And not too unhealthy either!

We're going to be making a cashew and parsnip nut roast, roast potatoes (what christmas dinner would be complete without), roasted carrots, onions and more parsnips, an adapted recipe for roasted butternut squash, steamed vegetables, grilled courgettes and a red wine and basil sauce. We will explain the cooking all together as we did it, so the timings should be roughly right.

For the Cashew and Parsnip Nut Roast:

150g Cashews
3 large Parsnips
1 medium Onion
3 cloves Garlic
1 gluten-free ciabatta roll/bread roll/2 slices gf bread (/normal bread if you're not gf)
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
150 ml Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp Thyme
1 tbsp Seaweed Flakes
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Mixed Herbs
1 tbsp Cornflour
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 medium Chestnut Mushrooms
Handful of french Basil Leaves

For the Butternut Squashed (yes this is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe, but we like terrible puns so the name is sticking):

1/2 Butternut Squash
2 large cloves Garlic
1 medium Green Chili
Handful (50g?) of Peanuts (or cashews or walnuts or pine nuts or anything really)
1 tsp Sake
1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Olive Oil

For the Roasted Potatoes:

400g Potatoes
1 tbsp Olive Oil

For the Roasted Vegetables:

1/2 an Onion
3 Carrots
2 Parsnips
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Sprinkling of Brown Sugar (optional)

For the Steamed Vegetables:

1/2 pack (200g?) Dwarf Beans
1 pack Asparagus (this was on special offer in Sainsbury's, but anything you like steamed such as broccoli or cauliflower will do)

For the Grilled Courgettes:

1 large Courgette
1 large clove Garlic

For the Red Wine and Basil Sauce:

1/2 Red Onion
1 tsp Olive Oil (really don't go over on this, you need a tiny amount to soften the onion and any more will just sit on the top of the sauce and look scummy)
1/4 cup Red Wine
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (optional, I think it helps to bring the flavours of the meal together)
1 large handful Basil Leaves
200 ml Stock
1 tbsp Cornflour
Salt and Pepper to taste

There's quite a lot going on with this roast (as usual for roasts) so allow plenty of time! It took us just over an hour and a half and we've made it a couple of times. However if you're short on time I'll list the cooking times for everything below and you can cut things out as you like to reduce the time.

Nut Roast - Prep: 30 mins; Cook: 45 mins
Butternut Squashed - Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 30 mins
Roasted Potatoes - Prep: 15 mins; Cook: 30 mins - 1 hour
Roasted Vegetables - Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 30 mins
Steamed Vegetables - Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 10 mins
Grilled Courgettes- Prep: 10 mins; Cook: 5 mins
Red Wine and Basil Sauce: Prep: 10 mins; Cook: 10-20 mins

As you can see there's a pretty logical order to go by as things take shorter amounts of time to cook. We will list recipes separately for ease of reading, but point out parts in the recipes where you will want to start other parts of the roast dinner.


For the Nut Roast -

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius
Start off by chopping the parsnips up nice and small (so they cook quick) and then boilin them in salted water until soft
Drain, but reserve the water to use for the stock (it just adds a nice extra level of flavour)
Mash the parsnips (add a little bit of water back if you need too) until smooth-ish
Either grind the nuts in a nut grinder if you are lucky enough to own one, or cover them with a teatowel and whack/roll with a rolling pin until as broken up as you can be bothered to do (you can't really go too far) and add to the parsnips
Make the bread roll into breadcrumbs and add into the pan
Add the stock to the pan and leave to absorb for 10-15 minutes
At this point start on the roast potatoes
When the potatoes are boiling, chop up the onion finely and fry in half the oil until brown around the edges and soft, add to the pan (I would usually add all the oil and just fry the mushrooms in the same pan without adding any more)
Add the spices, cornflour, soy sauce, garlic and salt and pepper to the pan
Mix the pan thoroughly
Chop up the mushrooms roughly and fry in the rest of the oil
Layer half the nut roast in a baking dish, top with the mushrooms and the basil leaves
Add the rest of the nut roast and press down lightly so the top is a smooth layer
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden on top, and until there is no more liquid bubbling around the edges

For the Roast Potatoes -

Peel the potatoes
Boil in salted water for 15 minutes
Toss in the oil and place in a pan and put in the oven to roast

For the Roast Vegetables -

Peel and top and tail the carrots and parsnips
Cut lengthways and then into sticks
Chop the onion into large chunks
Toss in the oil, sprinkle sugar on top and place in the oven to roast as well

For the Butternut Squashed -

Peel and chop the butternut squash
Place in a small ovenproof dish
Finely chop the garlic and chili
Add the nuts you are using
Add in the sake, soy sauce and oil and toss everything to mix and coat
Place in the oven to roast

For the Sauce -

Chop the onion lengthways and then fry in the oil until soft
Add the red wine and boil briefly over a high heat
Add the basil and soy sauce and stir
Stir in the stock and bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer
Mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of water and then stir in quickly to the sauce
Stir CONSTANTLY until the sauce thickens (really really do watch this the entire time, cornflour thickens so quickly that it you leave it it will cook and burn at the bottom and not at the top and be lumpy and generally gross)
Reduce further if you prefer a thicker sauce or leave as it is
Season and leave until you are ready to serve

For the Grilled Courgettes -

Preheat a George Foreman or other panini maker/grill, or your oven grill or griddle pan if you're using
Slice the courgette longways
Cut the garlic in half longways and then rub over the courgette on both sides
Grill until browned on both sides, flipping half way through if necessary

We added the garlic to the grill for an extra flavour boost

For the Steamed Vegetables -

This will probably be the last thing you do as they don't take long
Top and tail the dwarf beans, place in a steaming pan or tray if you own one, or if you're a poor student like us then a colander above a pan of boiling water (protip!)
Cut off the bottom inch of the asparagus and add to the steamer

When everything is fully cooked/roasted, plate up, add the sauce and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as us. Nutritional Information to follow. We also made a batch of Black Bean Brownies for afters which go extremely well!

And a happy christmas from a very full Jess and Tom x

Try not to do a Tom and throw the sauce everywhere, it helps to have it on the plate.

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