Christmas

Christmas Nibble Board

Christmas nibbles…ah!…so many happy memories of our family nibble platters at Christmas time!

I’ve seen many a delicious plate of nibbles in my day, from the excitement of my Mum and Dad bringing out our faves at Christmas to visiting Grandma and Grandad at Hogmany and feasting on scrummy hot nibbles all night when we were wee and then to us as parents ourselves bringing out warm plates of nibbles to our own excited kids!

There’s been many a happy memory around food in our household at Christmas young and old.

I made this somewhat healthier version of a nibble platter to feed the kids the day we collected the Christmas tree, because who has time to prepare huge meals when your all singing Christmas songs and decorating the tree with twinkling lights.

I used fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade crumbly feta almond cheese, sticky mango and sweet chilli sausage bowls and mushroom based sausage rolls. Yummy!

It’s super easy to prepare and assemble and you can of course vary the ingredients loads.

Ingredients

Sliced fruit and vegetables of choice

Vegetarian/vegan sausages

Vegetarian/vegan sausage rolls

Crispbreads for spreading

Crisps

Mango chutney

Sesame seeds

Sweet Chilli sauce

Chopped Spring onions

Cranberry sauce

Black olives

Sun dried tomatoes

Almond Feta Ingredients

2 cups of whole almonds

1 shallot or half a red onion chopped

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 lemon

1-2tbsp of plain yogurt (I used coconut) (optional)

Salt & pepper

Almond Feta Recipe

Soak the almonds in boiling hot water in a bowl for a couple of hours and peel off the skins. Pop the peeled almonds into the blender. Add the chopped onion or shallot, garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, yogurt if using, salt and pepper.

Blend in a high powered blender until completely smooth and taste, adjusting the seasonings as necessary. Add a little water if necessary too. You should have a really thick ‘stick to the spoon’ paste texture.

Lay out a muslin flat on the counter and spoon out the almond mixture onto the muslin. Wrap up into a tight ball and squeeze out the excess liquid over the sink. Tie a knot and hang into a jug, place in the fridge over night. If you don’t have time just squeeze out as much liquid as possible and then shape into a ball. Place in a glass dish and bake at 160 for 30mins or until golden and crispy on the outside.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped herbs, sun dried tomatoes or olives etc. Serve with thin crispbreads or oatcakes.

Sticky Sausages Recipe

Cook the vegetarian sausages on a medium heat in the oven. Split into two bowls, coat one batch in mango chutney and the other in sweet chilli sauce. Serve in two small bowls, sprinkle sesame seeds over the mango sausages and spring onions over the sweet chilli ones.

Lay the cheese and sausages out on a chopping board and display the sliced vegetables all around the bowls to make it all look pretty and edible.

Enjoy!

Christmas Tree Wholemeal Spelt Rolls

These fluffy rolls are perfect served alongside the ‘Creamy mushroom & chestnut pate’. Serve them freshly baked, warm out of the oven and pour the drizzle over just as your about to eat them. Delicious!

Recipe – Creamy Mushroom & Chestnut Pate

Ingredients

2tbsp of dried yeast

750ml warm almond milk

50g of coconut oil

950g of wholemeal spelt flour

2tsp of salt

1/2 finely chopped red onion

2 finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup of olive oil

Finely chopped rosemary (or other chopped herbs)

Mix the yeast, warm almond milk and coconut oil together in a large bowl and leave for 15mins. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Stir together until a dough forms, adding a little extra flour or milk to create a non sticky dough. I love to use the dough hook on my kitchen aid to form the dough and for the kneading but hands work just as well.

Remove and knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for one hour in a warm place.

Tip the dough back out onto the floured work surface and knead it again. Split the dough in half and keep splitting until you have around 26 small pieces.

Place some of them out onto a greased baking tray in the shape of your choice. I decided on a Christmas tree shape. Leave to rise again for 20minutes.

Bake at 200oc for 20-25mins. Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil on a gentle heat until soft. Set aside for drizzling.

Remove rolls and add the drizzle to serve. Best enjoyed immediately. Enjoy!

Creamy Mushroom & Chestnut Pate

Creamy homemade pate and biscuits during the festive season is an absolute must in our family home. I’ve been craving a meaty alternative for a few years now and decided this year to create this recipe for a creamy meat free pate that we could enjoy as an alternative to our traditional choices.

I spread it thickly on my wholemeal spelt Christmas tree rolls and topped it off with some finely chopped apples, beetroots and red onion as a sweet garnish. It’s so simple but absolutely delicious and is enough to impress any pate loving guests this festive season.

The recipe for the wholemeal spelt rolls is linked below. The rolls are topped with a finely chopped red onion and garlic olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of fresh herbs to finish. They are extra scrummy fresh out of the oven!

Recipe Link – Wholemeal Spelt Rolls

This pate hits the spot with all its earthy goodness and works really well with the sweetness of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. It can be eaten on its own with bread but I would recommend the topping as it is so delicious and pretty in colour too!

The pate is topped and sealed with melted coconut oil, coloured with a pinch of tumeric for that authentic pate look. It’s the perfect addition to any Christmas spread.

Ingredients

Pate

2 tbsp of coconut oil

1 tbsp of olive oil

300g of sliced chestnut mushrooms

3 chopped cloves of garlic

1/2 sliced red onion

100g of cooked chestnuts

Soy or oat cream (to thin to desired consistency)

Salt and pepper

Topping

1 finely chopped apple

2 cooked beetroots finely chopped

1 red onion finely chopped

Coconut Oil Seal

2-4tbsp of coconut oil

Tumeric

Melt the coconut oil and add the olive oil in a frying pan. I love using my large rustic cast iron frying pan for this. Add in the mushrooms, garlic, red onion and cook through for a few minutes until cooked and soft. Add the cooked chestnuts and warm through.

Add all of the cooked ingredients into a blender. Add a tbsp of soy or oat cream and blend. Add in more cream to blend to your desired consistency. I like a smooth pate but it can be eaten coarse also. Fill your pate dish with the smooth pate.

Melt an additional 2-4tbsp of coconut oil in a small pan (the quantity depends on the surface size of your dish). Add a pinch or two of tumeric powder to the melted oil and mix through. Pour over the pate in the dish to create a seal and refrigerate until it is solid on the top. I popped my dish in the freezer to speed up the process.

Serve chilled with a bowl of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion on the side. Spread your rolls or other bread with the pate and top with the chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes

I made these delicious chocolate pancakes with the delicious Pacari (details below) hot chocolate and cinnamon blend which was kindly gifted to me earlier this year by them to experiment with in recipes. Its delicious and in my opinion is a very good quality cacao for baking and hot chocolate.

I topped off these pancakes with chopped pears, seeds and nuts but you could use a variety of toppings of your choice.

They are dairy and egg free and yet still delicious! I love making a batter or cake type recipe without eggs as it means I can lick all the spoons and thats the best bit. Right? Yum yum!

The recipe is super easy and great for a lazy Sunday brunch or breakfast with the kids! They loved it of course and enjoyed it with a drizzle of date syrup. It would also make a delicious Christmas breakfast!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of spelt flour

3tbsp of cacao powder (I used Pacari’s Cinnamon blend)

2tsp of baking powder

1/2tsp of salt

1 cup of almond milk

1tbsp of melted coconut oil

3 tbsp of agave or maple syrup

1tsp of vanilla

A small handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Fruit, nuts and seeds for the topping

Drizzle – agave, maple syrup etc.

Whisk all the ingredients together adding in more flour or milk to create a thick batter. Melt a tiny amount of coconut oil on a pancake pan and spoon on a tbsp or two to make the desired size of pancake. Sprinkle on a few chocolate chips if using.

Flip once tiny bubbles appear and cook for another minute or so on the other side. Drizzle with maple syrup or date syrup and top with chopped fruit, nuts and seeds of choice. Enjoy!

Check out Pacari’s top quality chocolate products at the link below. They are also fairly traded which is important to me. πŸ™‚

Pacari website – https://home.pacarichocolates.uk/

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