An Alternative Christmas Meal?
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Every year I am asked:
" what do you eat for Christmas ? "
I look forward to the Christmas meal, like everyone else. We have great tasting food, warm, saucy and lots of it. And I eat too much, like everyone else.
But I eat only plant food.
... why not try plant-based this year?
You might call it an 'Alternative Christmas' meal. Basically a Christmas meal without the traditional meat dishes.
What do we really need for a great Christmas meal?
You want the table well set. A beautiful tablecloth, decorations and candles - plenty of colour and light.
You want as many people as can have around the table. It should be very noisy and busy until the final fork has made it to the dishwasher.
And you want it very tasty and filling so that at the end of the meal your stomach aches because you have eaten too much – now that is a Christmas meal!
I look forward to the entire day; morning, afternoon … evening.
Even the days leading up to the dinner, preparing, shopping, planning. To some it may seem like work, but for me it is all pleasure and if it all works out and people are pleased with their meal, it is the best Christmas present I could give …myself!
Very tasty and filling
Here is what I consider an easy very tasty dinner menu that all will like - a proper starter, not too big so people are not full from the start, but just enough to make them want more. The main plate needs roast potatoes of course, some kind of cooked greens like Bruxelles sprouts, spinach or kale, and of course the 'pièce de résistance' – something steaming hot from the oven with plenty of sauce or gravy.
The menu this year;
Vol-au-Vent - filled with a tofu, mushroom & spinach cream sauce.
Everyone likes vol-au-vent, that flacky puff pastry. Not all will like mushrooms, so I will leave them out for a few, and for children... just cream sauce and the tofu. Everyone deserved something they like.
At times I might make soup. A tradition in our French family to start the meal with soup. If people arrive early and are hungry, soup is the best thing for them, warm and welcoming.
We always have a big salad and this can actually be a course all on its own. Salad is very important in our household. It is light and better before the heavier main course. You can serve it on the side of the main or on its own. I prefer on its own, so I make it its own plate.
You can serve any type of salad. I like to make a bed using a few green leaves a layer of carrot salad and on top of that avocado and tomato salad. Great colours and a wonderful variety of tastes.
Veggie roasts come in all kinds of shapes and blends. I particularly like nut roast. Maybe because of the seasonal ingredients, not sure but with plenty of softened leeks, red pepper, a hint of chilli, it just taste so good.
We need sauce. A roast need sauce and onion gravy is the perfect thing and so easy to make. This you can make it on the day.
This tradition is hard to do without. That crispy outer layer and the soft hot inside is so comforting, with plenty of sea salt.
That salsa you see on the potatoes is a relish / vinaigrette I first tasted in Cap Verde. I had it on chips / French fried potatoes. It gave it something special. So I made it for these roast potatoes, a little more sauce is always good. Kind of Christmas colours don't you think?
Brussels sprouts & chestnut - I make it different every year. I simply love chestnuts, so they will be there.
I know it sounds like a lot, and it is ... but this is Christmas!
Lemon drizzle cake - This is moist and the lovely lemony flavour is perfect after a big hearty meal, just eat a small slice. The nice thing is that is my daughter, Anne-Marie's specialty so she will be making it. Best done the day before I find this cake always better the next day.
and a coulis of stewed berries to drizzle on the cake to give it contrast in taste and colour.
Of course there will be vegan ice cream which is so good today and maybe other delightful things, like chocolates ... but later, after all, this is Christmas!
MENU DU JOUR
Serve alone on a small or medium plate.
Once eaten allow time as you change the plates and prepare for the main course, let it settle, the diners will be looking forward to more food.
Make it another plate, why not, it is Christmas.
Have one person as your helper who will remove and serve the plates, makes your job much easier.
Nut roast, Roast potatoes & Gravy
Brussels sprouts and chestnut ragout
In the photo above I have made small individual roasts, because I like it that way.
You get crispier outer shell.
When full and happy, everyone get up and move around.
Stretch, some may take some air.
Wash all the dishes, you do not want to be left with a mountain to clean up.
After dessert all must rest.
Reset the table for dessert
Lemon Drizzle Cake
A coulis of stewed berries and why not a little ice cream
The stewed berries should be a little tart to contrast the cake and warm. The ice cream is something cold, different and children really like ice cream!
Wonderful vegan ice cream now available in most shops.
Joyeux Noel - Feliz Navidad - Happy Christmas - Buon Natale
Have a great holiday ... see you all in the new year!