Christmas Party Food (ohlala!)

by - December 28, 2014

  The annual Gill Xmas party always has (a) an insane amount of food, (b) an impressive gingerbread house structure; and (c) a lot of violence when aforementioned gingerbread structure is demolished.
  The violence is mostly on Kyra's fault. I usually cling helplessly to whatever instrument we may be using to destroy said house, while Kyra flails it about with reckless abandon and screams (that girl is insane in the membrane).
  No, really.

  So here is a list of food that I made for the party along with any recipes/links to recipes. I know it's past christmas, but what better way to celebrate 2015 than with stuffing and mince pies?
  I can't think of a single one.
  Except maybe this time, plan your food prep time well ahead so you actually get down to making mulled wine. I am still bitter about that.

Candied Sweet Potatoes
4-5 large sweet potatoes, I like the orange variety
Olive/Coconut oil, optional
Pink himalayan salt, pepper
1/3-1/2 cup of maple syrup or honey

Wash and peel sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges. Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat a little oil on a pan, or you may use a non-stick pan with a bit of water, and brown the wedges a little, for about 5-8 minutes over a medium flame. Once this is done, transfer them to a large roasting or baking tray, and drizzle a little bit more oil if you want to. Spread them evenly out and pop it into the oven to 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, season them with salt and pepper and the syrup or honey, toss them well to coat, then pop them back into the oven for 4-5 minutes to glaze them.
Serve hot/warm!

Apple and Walnut Vegan Stuffing 
1 large loaf of your favourite bread, I used a nice crusty whole wheat french loaf, but GF also works!
1 cup of green lentils + 2 cups of veggie stock
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, stir and leave to gel up for 20 minutes)
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 large white onion, diced
3 small/2 medium apples, diced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary/1 tbsp dried
1 1/2 cups walnuts
3/4 cup raisins/sultanas (or a mix, shake it up.)
Salt and pepper
3 cups veggie stock, use mushroom stock for a more 'meaty' flavour.

Cube the bread the day before and leave it out in a pan to dry out, it should have the texture of day old bread. If you forget to do this (like I did) (ha, ha), preheat the oven to 100C, turn it off, wait 5 minutes and place the cubes on a tray in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 10 minutes.
Rinse the lentils and boil them in the 2 cups of veg stock, once it boils, bring it to a simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft.
Fry the onion, celery, apples and rosemary, until onions are translucent, rosemary is fragrant and apples are tender. At this point preheat your oven to 180C
Place the cubes of bread into a deep baking dish, then pour in the cooked lentils, the cooked veggies, the flax egg, the walnuts, raisins/sultanas, salt and pepper and veggie stock. Mix it up, don't be afraid to break up the bread. When it is nice and even, pat it down and cover it with either a lid or tin foil. Pop this into the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the lid, and bake a further 8-10 minutes uncovered, until the top has formed a slight golden crust.
Serve hot/warm!

 Sasha's Spicy Salsa: click here

Raw-tella Xmas Pudding Bliss Balls
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa, or carob)
8-9 medjool dates
Cacao/cocoa/carob powder 
Marzipan (homemade or store-bought. Xmas needs marzipan)
Goji berries
Green vegan sprinkles

In a food processor, blend up the hazeluts to form either a coarse ground texture or one that is more like a flour. The coarse kind will give you a bliss ball with more crunch, but I like mine nice and smooth, so I prefer grinding it to a flour. Be careful not to over-grind our you will just end up with hazelnut butter. Which will also work but will give you an oiler bliss ball which is messier to handle. 
Add the dated, depitted and cacao, and blend again until it is nice and even. Spoon the mixture into little balls and roll them on a plate with more cacao powder. Pinch off little bits of marzipan and shape them to look like little stars/paint splotches and flatten them out, place them on top of each bliss ball. Add two goji berries and a couple of green sprinkle à la a holly spring.

Zoodle Beet Blood-lognese: Recipe here!

I used this recipe, using a flax egg as an egg and coconut oil for the butter. Also, as a fab gingerbread glue, use this trick!
Oh, and for the royal icing:

Vegan Royal Icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
3 tsp almond milk
2 tsp rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Food colouring if you want to get fancy like that

Double/triple/quadruple as needed.

(I know I have not mentioned much about my gingerbread Noah's ark with Benedict Cumberbatch starring as Noah, but I thought you knew me well enough by now not to question it)
(yes, his robe IS bedazzled)
(no, I don't know where the second Zebra is)

Mince Pies
Makes: 15-18 mini pies

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup currants/dried cranberries
2 medium apples, diced finely
Juice of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 orange (zest it before you juice, MUCH easier, trust me. I learnt the hard way)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove powder
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 cup jumbo/rolled oats
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 cup applesauce
Pink of pink sea salt
2 medjool dates, pureed
2 tbsp rice syrup

Place all the filling ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat, and let it reduce down until apples are very tender, and the filling is fragrant and all the liquid has boiled down.

Grind the oats into a flour in a food processor, mix with the spelt, xantham and salt. Stir well. This distributes the xantham and prevents clumping (ick!). Add in the date puree (you can do this in the food processor as well), applesauce and syrup, and knead to form a dough, adding more spekt four if needed until it comes together in a nice ball and is not incredibly sticky. Wrap in cling film and place in the freezer for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C, roll out the dough really thin, something slightly less than 1/4 of an inch, cut out little circles with a nice pastry cutter or a small mug. Place these into either shallow mini pie-baking dishes or cupcake lines trimmed to half their original height. If you use the cupcake liners, be sure to place it in a cupcake tray so the pies keep their shape. Prick the base with a fork ever so slightly and bake these for 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Fill with a few tablespoons of filling then cut out a star from the remaining dough and place it on top, bake another 5-7 minutes, until nice and golden. Eat immediately (let it cool for a few minutes though!) or pastry will soften.

 Overall, I had a blast. I was in a food coma for the next 24 hours and I didn't get any sleep that night because of the sugar high, but.


Sasha out.
And if I don't see you by 2015, which is very likely given that I have piles and PILES of embryology to memorise, have a great new years' day. Make some realistic resolutions, and drink lots of bubbly. And mulled wine if you didn't get any at xmas. (hands up!)

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