All Christmassed out

Melbourne really turned it on for Christmas this year. After a miserable week, we finally got some amazing weather.

Now Christmas is over, and I’m chillin’ on the verandah with a soda water. The dog is roaming around the sunny garden, and I thought this would be a good time to catch up on a bit of blogging. Christmas didn’t turn out exactly as I’d planned, but it was very relaxing, a lot of fun, and way too much great food was devoured by all.

Soggy bean loaf and grainy cashew cream

After the success of my food at B’s family Christmas, I was feeling confident about my contribution to my family’s Christmas dinner, last weekend. We all gathered at the home of my nephew and his partner. Lots of family members couldn’t make it, but that’s usual – there are so many of us that, if we ever made it to the same event, there probably wouldn’t be room for all of us anyway!

The weather was great for sitting outside, and the little kids got to run around in the leafy garden.

I had made the same fudge babies, cashew cream and stuffed bean loaf that I made for B’s family get-together. Unfortunately, this time things didn’t quite go to plan, and my contributions were not so delicious – dammit!

  • The greengrocer didn’t have any large beetroots, so I bought a bunch of tiny ones, but then wasn’t sure how many tiny ones would be equivalent to one large one…it seems that I over-estimated, which made the loaf too wet.
  • The stuffing was wet too (perhaps because of the wet bean and beetroot loaf).
  • The cashew cream was too grainy…because I’ve just realised that I’ve been making it in the food processor, instead of the blender! I can’t remember when I started doing that (probably when I bought the super new food processor), but it doesn’t work. Duh!

At least the fudge babies were a success.

Dipping sauces to die for

Luckily, my sister didn’t let the vegan team down. She brought a huge plate of fruit with the MOST DELICIOUS dipping sauces: chocolate and date, and vanilla/cashew (at least I think that’s what they were…if you read this and I’m wrong, Helen, please correct me…and post the link to your recipes!)

There were also lots of salads and bread to fill us up, so we were more than full by the end of the day.

A messy Christmas day

When it came to Christmas day, we were ready for a relaxing time, and really tired of putting together plates to share. It was just our little family at home for lunch, and it was another beautiful day.

We had thought we might wander down to the newly opened Loving Hut in Northcote.

menu from the newly-opened Northcote Loving Hut

Here’s the menu from the new Loving Hut in Northcote

Unfortunately, they weren’t sure if they’d be open on Christmas Day, so we decided to cook up a delicious meal together.

Team work

We settled on Nacho Night from Isa does it, and I divvied up the cooking jobs between the family members.

  • I (that’s me, my name doesn’t start with I) made the queso blanco.
  • P made the spice mix and lentil meat.
  • H made the Pico de gallo and the guacamole.
  • B was supposed to help, but at the crucial moment was halfway through installing a shelf in the lounge room, so we left him to it.

It was all ready in a little over half an hour (not counting cashew soaking time) and we took it out to the back verandah to eat, along with some ice cold drinks.

Xmas2013_dinner2_web

As you can see, it looked like a total mess! I’d spilt a glass of wine on the Christmas tablecloth (narrowly missing the Trivial Pursuit board), and had covered half of the table with a really old, faded tablecloth. Then we decided that we’d just put the cooking pans on the table and let everyone serve themselves. It was chaotic, but was fun and relaxing and just what we needed after all the Christmas dinners and shopping of the last few weeks.

Chocolate, of course!

For dessert, H had made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from her new cookbook Vegan chocolate by Fran Costigan.

Vegan chocolate by Fran Costigan

Oh. My. Goodness. They were delicious! But very, very rich. So much so, that I couldn’t even finish mine on Christmas day (and anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a very high chocolate-tolerance level!).

Chocolate peanut butter cup

This cookbook is going to be trouble!

Needless to say, I took my traditional post-Christmas-dinner position on the couch, for our annual viewing of Love Actually (and a bit of a nap).

Recovery Day

This morning, after polishing off my bag of Koko Black dark chocolate roasted almonds (I didn’t want the dog to get it), I decided that that was the end of rich food for me.

For late lunch/dinner I put together a Christmas Antidote – an earthy brown rice dish, with salad and the Tahini Dressing from Isa does it  (I know there’s more than one – this one is the one on page 249). It really hit the spot after a day of heavy overindulgence.

The antidote meal

Just the thing to settle a delicate stomach.

In fact, it made me feel SO good that I managed to finish off my Christmas day, left-over Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and Boxing Day (or whatever else you might be celebrating), wherever you were, and whoever you were with, and that you’ve recovered from overindulgence and chocolate comas.

I can’t wait to read about all the Christmas dinners so I can bookmark the successful dishes for next year’s festival of indulgence.

A new (to me) Christmas movie

Last night I came across a Christmas movie that I haven’t seen before. I can’t figure out why – I love Christmas movies, and I love Martin Freeman, but for some reason I’d never even heard of this one. It was surprisingly good, and I’ll definitely keep it on the list for next year…and apparently there’s even a sequel with David Tennant! (Have I been living under a rock??)

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15 thoughts on “All Christmassed out

  1. I love the look of the nachos with the pans on the table 🙂 I think that makes a meal more enjoyable. And I’m with you, last night I decided that’s it for me and rich food/sugary dessert things so breakfast was a green juice. I couldn’t face the leftover sweets so they’ve been donated. After weeks of baking and eating so much, I feel so over it all! That’s too bad about the soggy loaf, it always sucks when you make something so well then it doesn’t turn out right when you have to serve it to others!

  2. Hi Linda your lunch looks scrumptious.

    As for the sauces we had with the fruit platter, one was Healthy 3-ingredient Chocolate Fudge Sauce from http://www.topwithcinnamon.com/2013/05/healthy-3-ingredient-chocolate-fudge-sauce-no-added-sugar-grain-free-vegan-gluten-free.html Oh dear it doesn’t look like that became a link. I hope you can fix it Lin.

    The second sauce was just a basic cashew cream with vanilla extract and maple syrup added to it. I don’t know the amounts because I just kept adding until it tasted good. One thing I did that is different to most cashew cream recipes which may have been the reason this recipe was so smooth was to soak the cashews for a couple of hours and then simmer them in fresh water for about 10 minutes. With a member of the family who is immunosuppressed I don’t like to take chances with things like oil + water emulsions.

    By the way your loaf tasted good even though it was more moist than you would have liked.

    • The link worked in the end! Sometimes they don’t show up when you first type them in. I’m going to have to go and try that out, because it really was yummy – well, both of them were.

      My Christmas cashew cream sauce for the nachos worked out lovely and smooth, because I remembered to make it in the blender!

  3. Your christmas sounds great – love the loaf idea and the nachos

    I love that you watch Love Actually every year – it is such a great movie – I saw it on telly a week or so ago and E asked why I was watching it with commercials when I have it on dvd. I saw Nativity last year and it wasn’t brilliant and had heard from a friend that the second is even worse. But at least it is a cosy Christmas movie if you don’t expect too much.

    Have you seen The Christmas Bunny – it is such a great movie but quite sad – we saw it last year and loved it.

    • Goodness knows where I got the stuffed loaf idea – I must have just imagined it was you…anyway, you’ve inspired me to make more loaves. I made a couple of yours when I was still eating eggs and dairy, but I haven’t tried any of your vegan-friendly loaves since then. Something for 2014.

      I quite liked Nativity…but as you say, my expectations were very low, and I was half asleep. As long as it didn’t star Tim Allen or Will Ferrell, I probably would have been happy with anything! 🙂

  4. Love all the food in this post. Sorry that the bean loaf went wrong, I hate it when I’m looking for specific ingredients and can’t find them! That chocolate dessert… oh my golly gosh. It looks INCREDIBLE! Glad that there was lots of deliciousness to redeem your disappointment! x

  5. Amazing weather + Relaxing Christmas + Great Food = sounds like a brilliant holidays! I want to try the fudge babies and glad you guys decided to cook up a delicious meal instead of eating out! Wishing you a fab 2014!

  6. Pingback: Isa’s done it again! | The Lentil Institution

  7. Pingback: Pictures of half-eaten meals | The Lentil Institution

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