Last year I wrote my first Christmas guide for the blog: Gift Ideas for the Home Cook, Foodie & Meat-Head. And while it didn’t get very many page likes, it was one of my most viewed posts. So this year I decided to write another guide; only this time for vegans: Gift Ideas for the Pedantic Vegan & Everyone In Between. Now, I don’t mean to insult anyone by the title, but I do feel that it is apt for the way some vegans live their lives – I am by no means judging – which can be intimidating for the average person who isn’t fully up-to-date with veganism and the lifestyle. And I know this to be true, as a few months ago I had my sister ring me in distress as she was stumped, as to what to buy a vegan: it was all last minute. I gave my sister many ideas, but in the end she settled on an orchid, from fear of having the gift not being fully appreciated.
So with this gift guide I aim to help you mere mortals – who may fear us vegans – with suitable gift ideas that are both thoughtful and easy to find, and will be greatly appreciated by any vegan – pedantic or anything in between. Continue reading “Gift Ideas for the Pedantic Vegan, Just Vegan & Everyone In Between.”
Did you know that a Christmas tree was traditionally decorated with fruits, nuts, and other edibles? I quite like that idea. I especially love the look and thought of having orange slices hanging from the Christmas tree: either spiked with Cloves or twined with cinnamon sticks. I just love the thought of having something natural to look at on my Christmas tree that looks pretty and smells divine. Continue reading “Spiced Orange Slice Decorations”
I created quite a few recipes for Christmas last year and I enjoyed every minute of it. When I first started my Instagram page and blog two years ago, I never went out of my way to create recipes to share. I made them because I was either craving the food at the time or wanting to try something different to mix up my diet and if it was good, then I’d post the recipe here. I had a lot of fun last year and I couldn’t wait to get started on writing more recipes this year. Continue reading “Bacon Wrapped Roast with Sage & Apple Stuffing”
We all know Santa loves a mince pie or two, but we also know that sometimes mince pies contain alcohol and drinking and driving is strictly prohibited – even for the elves – which is why these mince pies are alcohol free. I haven’t had a mince pie all year, so I was anxiously anticipating for the day to arrive when I could make my own and that day just so happened to be Friday – a week away from Christmas day – and they were worth the wait. I used the marmalade which I had left over from my St Clemente tartlets in my own variation of mince meat and I was impressed; I also added some Irish cream flavouring from the Skinny Syrups range too.
For the pie cases I used the same recipe that I made for the St Clemente tartlets, but doubled it so I would have enough pastry for the lids too. I would recommend making the mince meat a few days to a week prior to when you plan to make these mince pies as the longer it has to soak the better the end result, especially if you decide to use alcohol. I made my mince meat two weeks ahead and the flavour was delicious.
I also have a more up to date mince pie recipe here.
Ingredients: Mince Meat
- 100g Dried Figs
- 100g Soft Dates
- 100g Sultanas
- 50g Walnuts
- 60g Chunky Apple Puree
- 60g St Clemente Marmalade
- 45ml Orange Juice
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice/Pumpkin Spice
- 45ml Irish Cream Flavouring or Irish Whiskey
- 1/3 cup Sweetener
- 100g Rolled Oats
- 50g Sukrin Coconut Flour
- 60g Grass-Fed Butter or Coconut Oil
- 1 Free Range Eggs
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/5 Cup Sweetener
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Ice-Cold Water
- Pre-heat an oven to 170c
- Add the rolled oats to a food processor and blend into a flour, before adding the eggs, baking powder, sweetener and coconut flour and proceed to blend the ingredients together.
- Cube the butter and add it to the mixture and pulse the food processor so that the butter isn’t blended up completely, but chunked through the flour. Continue to add the ice cold water to bring the ingredients into a ball of dough. Cover and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Sterilise a countertop and dust with some flour, before rolling the pastry flat and cutting 8 round shapes from it. Press the pastry into a greased muffin tin and fill with the mince meat. Follow the same process to make the lids, place over the top of the cases, press gently around the sides and pop into the oven for 20 minutes.
NB: You should have about half the mince meat left after you have made these mince pies, you can double the pastry recipe and make more mince pies, or save it and make the mini Christmas cakes I have coming up over the next week.
For more recipes and ideas follow me on Instagram – @TheHungryWelshGirl and tag me in any of the recipes -I would love to see what you create and hear what you all think.
© The Hungry Welsh Girl 2016
All photos, recipes and texts are copyrighted unless otherwise stated.
All Rights Reserved.
Do you have a vegetarian or vegan visiting you over the Christmas period? Are you are at a loss as to what to serve them? I know it can be stressful to cook at Christmas time – there’s just so much to get done – then throw a vegetarian or vegan into the mix and you have yourself a very stressful little Christmas; as you not only have to be extra vigilant with the ingredients, but you also have to be aware of cross contamination too. Continue reading “Vegetarian Herb Pate”
This recipe was the first recipe I wrote back in October, just in time for Christmas and the one which I have been looking forward to making ever since. I even bought some cute holly and berries from Amazon, to top them with and I was pleased with myself because I had never seen this kind of take on a Christmas pudding before; that is until this week when one of the girls from Instagram (Sarah) stole the idea right out of my head – don’t you just hate it when that happens? 😉 You can view Sarah’s take on the mini Christmas pudding here and they do sound delicious.
My mini figgy puddings are more of a traditional Christmas pudding though, sadly without the alcohol, but you can use brandy or Cointreau in yours if you prefer. All you will have to do is soak the fruit in the alcohol and leave it for a few days to a week if you want a more potent pudding.
I was very pleased with how these mini figgy puddings turned out, they were full of flavour from the fruit and spices and it all paired perfectly with the white chocolate topping. The best thing about these mini figgy puddings is that you don’t have to steam them or bake them for hours on end which means you can eat them as soon as you make them – winning! As this recipe is versatile, you could even fill ramekins and make proper mini figgy puddings, topped with brandy sauce too.
If you are wondering where you can buy your dried fruit and nuts without spending a fortune, I get all mine from Lidl; they sell 250g bag of dry fruit for just 99p and 500g bags of nuts for just over £1.
- 100g Dried Figs
- 100g Dates
- 100g Sultanas
- 50g St Clemente Marmalade
- 50gWhite Chocolate
- 50g Walnuts
- 20g Chia Seeds
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice/Pumpkin Spice
- 1 tbsp Lemon Zest
- 1 Tbsp Cornflour
- 45ml Brandy
- 1/3 Cup HoneY
- Holly & Berry Toppings (optional)
- Mini Cases
Place all the dried fruit into a jar or container, add the chia seeds into a separate jar or container and pour in the water or brandy, then cover and place the jar in the fridge overnight. If you are using the alcohol, you would benefit more if you leave the fruit soak for a day or two.
When you are ready to make your mini Christmas puddings, drain the fruit into a bowl and save 2 tablespoons of the brandy before adding it to a food processor along with the dried fruit and chia seeds; making sure you blend the fruit until they are a thick, sticky puree. Now add in the honey, lemon zest, cinnamon and cornflour. You can fold in some halved sultanas, if you want them to have a more traditional look, if not then just leave them out.
Now for the fun part or not so fun part if you don’t like getting your hands dirty. Take 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll into a ball, then place the ball on to some greaseproof paper and continue this method until all the mixture has been used and you have 18 mini figgy puddings. Pop the mini puddings into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, this is optional but it will help the puddings set quicker and also the chocolate when you add it.
Next, take the white chocolate and cut it into smaller chunks, place half of the chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and pop it into the microwave on high for 30 seconds. When finished, stir the chocolate and continue to cook for another 30 seconds before adding the second half of the chunked up chocolate – this time there is no need to heat the chocolate, just stir until the cold chocolate has melted into the hot white chocolate. This method is called tempering and it just saves the chocolate from blooming and turning a not so appetising dull colour the next day.
All that’s left now is to add the white chocolate icing, lastly, top with your holly and berry, take a pretty picture and tag me on Instagram: @TheHungryWelshGirl. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family did.
I’m not one to steal ideas usually, I take pride in coming up with my own recipes and ideas, but when I saw cooking with a wallflowers post, I just had to steal it and write my own version. I’ve seen loads of baking accessories and ideas over the internet that I would love and I think they would make incredible gifts, but being a home cook and foodie myself, I guess that’s obvious. Even so, it never crossed my mind to share these gift ideas with, well all of you. So thank you Cooking with a Wallflower for the idea. You can check her Christmas gift guide out here.
I don’t often struggle to buy gifts for people, I’m actually a very good gift giver in my humble opinion and I enjoy it, but I know for most people ideas don’t come as naturally and I frequently see people stressing over what to buy. I think over the years gift giving has become more of a competition and the tradition has become lost among the masses; I feel if you aren’t given diamonds, cars or other expensive gifts on a special occasion, then it’s simply not good enough. So I can see and understand why it can be stressful. For me, I like a gift to be thoughtful and something that I or the person I’m giving the gift to, will appreciate or use for years to come. I think it says a lot about a person when they put thought into a gift rather than just splurge on material things that the other person probably wont appreciate as much. With that in mind I have compiled a top 5 gift idea list for the home baker, foodie and meat-head.