It’s been a while, but I thought I’d write about some of the preparations for Christmas that I have been making.
First and most important, I made the cake about six weeks ago form a recipe that I found on the internet but have never found since. I have adapted it slightly with the fruit content. One of the things I substituted was the glacé cherries. I’m always wary about these because many of them are coloured with cochineal (dried crushed beetles in case you didn’t know)
I haven’t posted the recipe because obviously I haven’t tried it yet and I have to say that it looked a bit dry when it came out of the oven. However, since I made it in plenty of time, it has had a lovely good feed. My Christmas cake traditionally comes with a drink drive warning! The cake needs marzipaning (this weekend I think) and then traditionally the children are let lose with the icing to make their most bizarre creation yet. I’m told it’s to be clangers this year….
Obviously wines and spirits can be a vegan nightmare because the the use of finings (again in case you didn’t know these are made of fish swim bladders and are used to clarify the alcohol) but you may find this site handy to help find vegan wine etc especially things like brandy for your hungry Christmas cake! http://www.veggiewines.co.uk/popularspirits.htm#brandy
Now a vegan Christmas pudding doesn’t need ageing unlike it’s non-vegan cousin, so I’m planning to make mine this weekend and then freeze it. I have been making my own suet free Christmas pudding for almost 20 years, but this will be the first time I make it without eggs. I first made my own one when I was following the Rosemary Conley diet and we found that without the suet it was slightly lighter and we preferred it.
This is the basic recipe
I will substitute my favourite plant based milk (for us it is Koko) and for the eggs I’ll mix up 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds and six tablespoons of water.
I have also traditionally made my own suet free mincemeat. Again I started doing this to cut down on the fat consumption but we found we preferred it.
It’s another Rosemary Conley recipe that I have adapted over many years. I can’t find it online, so here goes:
500g cooking apples
900g mixed fruit
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons of allspice
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon mace
a good amount of freshly grated nutmeg
600ml sweet cider
2 tablespoons of brandy, whisky or rum (I use brandy)
1 orange juice and zest
1 lemon juice and zest
Please note we like our mincemeat lovely and spicy, the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of mixed spice.
Peel, core and grate the apples and put into a saucepan with the mixed fruit, spices and cider. Simmer very gently for 20 minutes until it is pulpy and unctious. Turn off the heat and stir in the spirit.
This can then be put into sterilised jars. It needs to be stored the fridge and will keep for about three months. The original recipe says that once you open a jar you should use it within a week.
Because it isn’t greasy this can be eaten without any further cooking and was the base for our Christmas flavour that we made last year, so stir some into some coconilla for an extra Christmas treat.
Then what to have with the mince pies? For us it’s brandy butter. For the butter we substitute vitalite or pure. It never quite sets (is that all the brandy?) but is lovely. The best way to eat mince pies is to take the lid off warm ones and put some brandy butter in then replace the lid. A bit messy but delish.
So now you know a bit more about the way we eat at Christmas in the Bower household.
I’ll let you know how it all goes, but for now have a merry Yule and Christmas!