What I Did – How I Celebrated The New Year

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a good evening seeing out the old year and welcoming the new one in.  And I hope you all had a lovely first day of the year too!

I celebrated the arrival of the New Year with my neighbour drinking prosecco and cassis then singing Auld Lang Syne at the top of our voices in her front room before we came back to mine and sat talking and drinking far too much Eggnog!

When I woke on New Years Day I got up and started to prepare veg for lunch as I’d invited my Mum, Dad and brother (Richard) up for food.  I cooked mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, broccoli, maple roast parsnips, peas, carrots, stuffing, yorkshire puddings and a quorn roast.  Richard is allergic to mycoprotein so I cooked him a sweet potato and spinach nut roast.

I had already set the table the day before and added a scented candle to each place setting that I had made (Mum’s was Baby Powder fragranced, Dad had a Sticky Toffee Pudding one while Richard and I had a Fresh Linen scented one).  I used fairy lights to dress the table and a candle stick that I had bought from Ikea.

For starters I served beetroot and spinach burgers, which had a vegan cheese middle, on a bed of salad with a vinaigrette dressing.  For dessert I served a vegan chocolate Torte with soya squirty cream.  Mum bought up a bottle of wine which we shared and we also had Belvior Raspberry Presse.

Once we had eaten we all sat and chatted, Dad and I had coffee that I made in my french press (Hot Lava Java coffee – yum!)

Once everyone had gone, Roxy and I had a little snooze then I got up and started working on some artwork for the 64 Million Artists January Challenge that I had signed up to after Christmas!  The challenge is to create a piece of artwork based on prompts that are emailed to you daily for the whole of January which you can then upload to social media using the #TheJanuaryChallenge.  If you are interested in signing up then click here.

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Recipe of the Month – January

In my opinion there is nothing better, at this time of the year, than settling down with some toast and a lovely, hot bowl of soup while your favorite programme plays on the tv.  Today I am sharing my favorite Vegan Tomato and Bean Soup recipe that is easy to make, nutritious and filling.  The recipe was found on http://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk and they have some really wonderful recipes on there to cover almost every type of meal imaginable!  It’s such a fab resource of recipes and would be super helpful to any of you attempting Veganuary this year!

Heres the recipe…

 

  • 900g/2lb plum tomatoes (Or you can cheat and use two tins of chopped! If so, start at no. 4) *
  • 30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 275g/10oz onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900ml/1½ pts/3¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 30ml/2 tbsp sun dried tomato paste (or just blitz about 3-4 whole SDT with water)
  • 10ml/2 tsp paprika
  • 15ml/1 tbsp cornflour or ½ tbsp arrowroot (arrowroot is GF) – mix to a paste with a little cold water
  • 425g/15oz tin cannellini or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh basil**
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

* I always use tinned tomatoes just because fresh tomatoes seem to get eaten as soon as they are purchased…

** I don’t always have fresh basil to hand and have used dried basil in its place, but please check the date when you opened the dried herbs as they can lose their potency once opened.

Additional things I sometimes add are oregano, thyme or vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Method…

  1. If using fresh tomatoes you will want to prepare them first.  To prepare them we need to peel them and then chop them.  To peel them it is easiest to place them in a bowl of hot (just boiled) water, then plunge them into cold water after around 10-20 seconds, then peel with a sharp knife.  Then cut into quarters.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, I use the pan that I am going to make the soup in because I hate washing up!
  3. Add the onions and garlic and lightly fry before adding the tomatoes and the tomato paste into the mix.  I usually add the tomatoes once the onions have softened and become transparent.
  4. Add stock and season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. Bring the mix to the boil then leave to simmer for 10mins
  6. Add the cornflour (this will thicken the soup slightly)
  7. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the mix, stir through
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, add basil then serve!

This recipe will serve 2 people easily!

 

Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas

blur bokeh candle christmas decoration
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

 

Christmas dinner is usually one of the highlights of the day, family and friends gathered around the table and enjoying a lovingly cooked meal together.  This year I’m spending Christmas with my family at my parents house so I won’t need to plan a menu so, as it is something I really like doing (especially the starter and dessert) I’m going to share some suggestions with you!

Starters

Starters should be light and small and not take too long to consume.  They, for me should not be overly complicated or take to long to prepare and, fo me, not cause too much mess and clean up time!  Here are a few suggestions…

Prawn Cocktail – You can make the Marie-Rose sauce in advance and stir in the prawns and assemble the cocktail just before serving.

Wild Mushroom Tartlet – I have tried this recipe here in the past, its pretty quick and easy to prepare and cook!

Smoked Salmon Terrines – These can be made in advance (maybe the day before) and store them in the fridge until its time to plate up.

Vegan Quiches – another thing you can make in advance and just serve on the day.

Main Course

The main course is usually a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings – think roast root veg and potatoes, peas, carrots, mashed potato, meat of some description (usually turkey), I always make a cauliflower cheese and yorkshire puds as well as lashings of gravy.  I don’t eat meat so have used a veggie option instead (like a Quorn roast), but if you fancy something a bit different to the traditional Christmas Dinner how about serving the following…

Spiced Roast Side of Salmon you could serve it with spiced roast potatoes and green veg

Spiced Nut Roast

Vegan Wellington

Vegetarian Nutty Pithivier

The last 3 suggestions can be served with the traditional veg that you would cook normally for your Christmas main.

Dessert

After eating so much food I always like to finish with a dessert that isn’t too heavy on the stomach…heres a few ideas for you to try…

Lemon Mousse – this is really fluffy and light and the citrus zing really wakes the taste buds.

Vegan Chilli Chocolate Raspberry Cups

Toffee Pecan Roulade

Winter Fruit Salad

What is on your Christmas Menu this year?