Now that I am properly on holiday for Christmas I thought I’d indulge in making a couple of special festive recipes. These are both incredible – seriously I don’t often say that, but both of these are super easy to make, taste fantastic and take minutes to put together, plus they are very healthy – my kind of food! You could serve these dishes to friends and family and I’m sure they would think you’d been slaving away for hours!
Christmas Couscous (vegan, serves two, inspired by recipe from Nigella Christmas)
- 1/2 cup of green or brown lentils (or a tin)
- 1/2 cup of wholegrain couscous
- 1/2 cup of hot vegetable stock (I used hot water and vegan vegetable bouillon)
- 2 tbsp of dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp of shelled pistachio nuts
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- Juice from 1 satsuma, clemintine or half an orange
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
Spices, Use your kitchen intuition and own personal tastes here. I used about 1/4 tsp of each:
Begin by cooking the lentils if not using tinned in water until tender, drain and put to one side. In a bowl, mix together the dry couscous, cranberries and spices. Pour over the hot vegetable stock and cover the bowl with cling film or a lid. While the couscous is absorbing the stock, grate the carrot, juice the citrus fruit and chop the parsley. After 5 minutes all the stock should have been absorbed into the couscous. Fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in the carrot, parsley, juice and pistachios. Serve with a nice green salad:
I served mine with some raw cavolo nero kale massaged with lemon juice. You could really play about with this recipe adding whatever spices, dried fruit and nuts that take your fancy. If you had some pomegranate seeds they would be amazing too. If your wanting to be posh, spoon the couscous into a small bowl, press down and turn out onto the plate in a dome shape for prettier presentation :-)
Raw Salted Caramel Pecan Cake (serves at least 6, vegan, raw)
For the base:
- 1 cup of pitted dates – I use fresh Iranian dates from the green grocers, medjool dates would also be great
- 1/2 cup of pecan nuts
- 1/2 cup of almonds
For the caramel:
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 2 tbsp of raw cashew butter (or any nut butter would do, even roasted nut butters but then that wouldn’t be completely raw, but would still taste great so who cares?)
- 2 tbsp of lucuma powder – I think maca powder or mesquite powder would also work – Holland and Barrat stock maca powder now (if you have none of these powders and fancy a chocolate twist use cocoa powder instead, it will be amazing too!)
- 2 tbsp of agave syrup
- About 1/2 tsp of sea salt
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup of pecan nuts, chopped
- sprinkle of sea salt
To make the crust blitz the almonds and pecans in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the dates and process again until the mixture begins to form a sticky ball. Remove from the food processor and press the mixture down into a cake tin lined with cling film. Transfer to the freezer to chill and firm up.
To make the caramel melt the coconut oil gently over some warm water and combine with the nut butter, lumuca powder or other powder, agave and sea salt until smooth. Get the cake tin out of the freezer and spread the caramel on top in an even layer.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans and sea salt on top, pressing into the caramel layer. Transfer back into the freezer to chill and harden. Can be stored the the fridge for a week or kept in the freezer for a few months:
I got 6 generous slices out of this but its pretty rich and could probably serve 8 people easily if accompanied by some banana soft serve! This tastes sweet and unbelievably buttery, just heaven!
This may just be one of the best things I’ve ever made! Yes, this will probably be quite high in calories, but unlike a frozen cheesecake or tart in a box, for a similar amount of calories this cake is refined sugar free, made from whole raw ingredients, is full of healthy fats, enzymes and antioxidants and still tastes incredible! I’d much rather get more nutritional bang for my calorie buck!
I’ve sliced this up and wrapped each slice in foil to store in the freezer. If we have any unexpected guests over Christmas I can just whip these out, give them 5 minutes to soften and serve them up. You could make this cake weeks in advance of an event if you needed to, ultimate convenience food!
I’m going to be doing more cooking and baking tomorrow including a vegan main dish for Christmas lunch, Leek and Roasties Soup, cranberry sauce and an experimental vegan caramel and chocolate tart / pie type thing!
Have you made anything particularly festive yet? Are there any dishes you cook for Christmas every year?