Indy Power: Have a healthy christmas with all the trimmings
From mince pies to Christmas puddings - and all the trimmings in between - you can still treat your taste buds while having guilt-free festive fare.
MINCE PIES WITH CINNAMON CREAM
These are absolutely delicious and taste just like their not-so-healthy counterparts. With a dollop of cinnamon cream on top, they're festive perfection.
Makes 10-12. Gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly
For the crust:
340g ground almonds
2 tbsp honey/maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of coarse salt
For the mince meat:
1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
75g dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the cinnamon cream: 2 cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
Start with your crust. Add all of the crust ingredients to your food processor and blitz until everything is mixed in evenly and you have a crumbly dough mixture.
Use your hands to squish the dough into two balls and wrap them each in clingfilm. Pop them in the fridge for about half an hour.
While they're chilling, make your mince meat. Start by zesting and juicing the oranges, then add both to a pot on medium heat with the honey.
Peel your apple and slice it into thin strips, then add it to the pot.
Add in the vanilla essence, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and stir it around. Then add the cranberries, sultanas, raisins and water and mix it all around. Turn the heat down to low and leave it to simmer, with the lid on, for about 30-40 minutes, stirring regularly.
Grease your cupcake tin with coconut oil. When the dough is done chilling, take your dough balls out one at a time and roll it out until it's about 1 centimetre thick (it doesn't matter if the edges crack or crumble, just press and roll it more as you go!). Use a pastry cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out circles and then press them gently into your tin.
Fill each one with about a tablespoon of mince meat. Then use the remaining dough to make your lids. You can use whatever shape you like.
Bake at 180˚C for about 12 minutes.
To make the cream, scoop the coconut cream from the top of the cans of coconut milk. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon and use an electric mixer to whisk until smooth. Serve the mince pies hot from the oven with a dollop of the cream.
Best served warm. If they've cooled completely, pop them back in the oven to warm.
This is a delicious twist on the classic. I've kept it vegan so it's baked on its own but you can, of course, use it to stuff your turkey too. The fresh herbs, apple, pecans and cranberries give this such beautiful winter flavour and loads of texture. It's a pleasure to make as your kitchen fills with those beloved Christmas scents. You can make the whole mixture 1-2 days in advance and then just top with the stock and bake on the day.
Serves 12. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 stalks celery
1 white onion
2 apples, peeled
2 cloves garlic
Large handful of fresh thyme
Large handful of fresh sage
75g pine nuts
Coarse salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Add the quinoa and 1L of stock to a saucepan on medium heat. Pop the lid on and let it simmer for about 22 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Then take it off the heat and leave it to steam with the lid on while you make the rest.
Dice the onion and celery and chop the apple into cubes. Add the olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add in the onion, celery and apple and cook for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Mince the garlic and chop the kale. Pick the thyme leaves from their stalks and finely chop the sage. Add the herbs to the pan with the garlic and kale and toss well. Cook for another minute or two, tossing regularly.
Add the cooked quinoa and celery mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the pine nuts, cranberries and pecans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture out into a casserole dish.
Pour 500ml of stock evenly over the top. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the tinfoil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until starting to crisp. You can add more stock towards the end, depending on how you like it.
LEMON & THYME ROAST VEGETABLES
My mum used to make the best 'lemony roast potatoes' ever when I was little. They were my favourite part of our Sunday roast and they'd be the most delicious addition to your Christmas feast. I've added in more kinds of veg (the parsnips are amazing!) and lots of thyme for even more flavour. I can't wait to fill my plate with these on Christmas Day!
Serves 6. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly
1.5kg root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1½ lemons
3 cloves garlic
Handful fresh thyme
Coarse salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Wash and peel your vegetables and chop them depending on their size. Add them all to a large roasting tray.
Drizzle on the olive oil and lemon juice and toss well. Pinch the thyme leaves from their stalks and sprinkle them on with a good pinch of coarse salt and pepper. Add the garlic cloves to the tray, skin on.
Toss everything well and roast at 200˚C for 45-55 minutes, tossing once in the middle.
BALSAMIC & MAPLE ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
I genuinely love Brussels sprouts, especially these ones, but even if you aren't usually a fan, do yourself a favour and try a bite of these. They're tender on the inside and beautifully crisp on the outside while the pine nuts add a little crunch and taste amazing with the sticky balsamic glaze.
They're also fantastic for you - they're full of fibre and great for detoxing and regulating inflammation due to their high glucosinolate content. They're really easy to prep so you can tick them off the list in a matter of minutes and get back to enjoying the festivities.
Serves 6. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan- and paleo-friendly
1kg Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
Coarse salt & pepper
35g pine nuts
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Chop the ends off the Brussels sprouts and peel off any dirty outer leaves. I like to cut the bigger sprouts in half and leave the little ones whole. Add them all to a roasting tray.
In a small bowl combine the balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup. Mince the garlic and mix it in.
Pour it over the Brussels sprouts and toss well. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and pop in the oven. Roast for about 35 minutes.
Take them out and sprinkle over the pine nuts. Pop them back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes until the sprouts are crisp and the pine nuts are golden.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH VANILLA CUSTARD
Another twist on a classic, this pudding is much more simple to make than most. It's full of all the usual suspects with a few nutritious tweaks. The vanilla custard makes it, it doesn't taste coconutty at all and the vanilla powder is a must - you'll be licking the plate!
Serves 8. Gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly
For the pudding:
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
300g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cherries, cranberries etc)
50g flaked almonds
75g cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
60g buckwheat flour
150g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten together
For the vanilla custard: 2 cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
Grate the apple and add it to a large bowl with the lemon zest, orange zest and juice and dried fruit. Roughly chop the nuts and add them to a large bowl with the coconut sugar, spices, ground almonds and buckwheat flour. Mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the fruit mixture and mix.
Lightly beat the eggs and then add them to the mixture and combine thoroughly.
Grease or line a 1L pudding bowl. Scrape the mixture into it and then cover with parchment paper and tie a string around the top to seal it. Cover with a layer of tinfoil, pressed tightly around the edges.
Place the pudding bowl into a large pot and pour boiling water in around it until it's half way up the pudding bowl. Pop a lid on and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Prick a thin cake tester through the top of the tinfoil to test if it's ready.
When the pudding is ready, set it aside to cool for a few minutes before opening it. While it's cooling, scoop the coconut cream from the top of the cans of coconut milk (keep the water for something else).
Add it to a small saucepan on medium heat and add in the maple syrup and vanilla powder. Whisk well until smooth. When the custard is hot, serve the warm pudding with a generous pouring.