Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas is my favourite time of the year, I love absolutely everything about it : fairylights in the shops and Christmas lights hanging all over town, Christmas music playing everywhere, roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate with whipped cream...I just had to write a Christmas Post!
We moved house a couple of months ago and now that we are settled we thought this would be the perfect time to do a small house-warming and celebrate Christmas with our closest friends before everybody left town to go see their families.
As I'm currently studying nutritional therapy I tried to cook lots of delicious food that was also filled with fabulous nutrients, most of my friends. On the menu my guests found:
-Carrot and coriander soup 
-Sweet potatoes with sweet paprika, cinnamon, mediterranean herbs and pink himalyan salt
-Quinoa with roasted brussel sprouts, portobello mushrooms and pomegranate
-Raw vegetables with hummous
-Homemade sausage rolls with fennel seeds, sesame seeds and parmesan (a treat for me a some of my omnivore friends)
 and our sweet treats were
-Coconut flour and raw cacao chocolate softies (gluten and dairy free)
-Oatmeal raisin walnut and dark chocolate cookies (as party favours)
-Nigella's chocolate mousse (naughty treat but oh so gooood)

On top of all this, my wonderful friends Paula and Sara brought a gigantic plate with many cheeses and crackers and decorated with beautiful and delicious red grapes.

To drink: My absolute favourite, a spiced apple juice from Chegworth Valley. I warm it up and it smells like Christmas in a mug! 

Lots of tea lights in the room, Christmas music playing, my lovely friends and boyfriend and delicious food. I was the happiest girl in the world.

Now, as I posted all the pictures on facebook and Instagram I got a few requests regarding a couple of recipes so here they are:

This quinoa salad has been adapted from the original recipe created by Deliciously Ella, I have mentioned her before on Foodolina as I am a massive fan, she has lots of mouthwatering vegan recipes that are also gluten and dairy free. I highly recommend checking her website out.
This salad was massive success with both my vegetarian and omnivore friends, I highly recommend it!


2 Cups of Quinoa (make sure you rinse it properly before hand)
500 gr of Brussel sprouts cut in half (washed and trimmed and outer leaves taken off)
3 sliced Portobello mushrooms (gills gently scooped out and top cleaned with a damp kitchen paper towel)
1 garlic clove
1 handful of chopped parsely
seeds of 1 Pomegranate
A little squeeze of lemon juice (optional for the quinoa)
Mediterranean dried herbs to season the sprouts (but you can use any herbs you might prefer)
Oil and lemon juice with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt) and pepper as a dressing

First put your brussel sprouts in a tray and add 1tbsp of extravirgin olive oil, the dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it up and pop it in the oven for 30 min at 200C/ 392 F/ gas mark 6. Just mix them up again after 15 min to make sure the roast evenly.

In the meantime put your quinoa in a pan with a little coarse salt and boiling water from a kettle and a sprinkle of lemon juice for taste (which you'll take down to a simmer) for 12 minutes. The original recipe calls for 30 minutes but I personally prefer my quinoa with a bit of consistency rather the totally soft.
Once cooked, just drain and leave to cool.

Grab a pan and add 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and 1 garlic clove chopped teeny tiny and leave it on a medium/low heat for about a minute, make sure you move the garlic around so it doesn't burn. Add your mushrooms and stir every now and then for about 5 minutes, after 4 minutes add your parsley and stir (the smell coming from the parsley will be just incredible). Ad a little salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat.

Grab your favourite bowl and add quinoa, mushrooms and sprouts. Take your pomegranate and cut in half then hold one half with the seeded side on the palm of your hand and "spank" the hard outside bit of the fruit with a wooden spoon (no jokes please..hihi). Your seeds will start falling on to the salad between you fingers, just spread them around and mix.

As a dressing i simply put 3 tbsp olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon in a little pot, added a pinch of salt and pepper and shook the whole thing then added it to the salad. Serve it up!

I quickly baked these cookies and packaged them as party favours for my guests to have a little something to take home (or enjoy ON the way home...). It always makes me feel so happy preparing little foodie presents for my friends!
This recipe was adapted The Martha Stewart. You know you can't go wrong with her recipes. In my case though i had to cater for a friend who's allergic to gluten AND dairy so I had to swap a couple of ingredients around.

Here's my dairy free version (and with a larger amount of cinnamon as I am totally addicted to it):

4 1/2 cups oats (divided, as you'll use them at different times). Use gluten free if needed.
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp cinnamon ( i told you i'd use a lot! But you can reduce the amount if you wish)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp hymalaian salt (or sea salt)
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
50gr 85%  chopped dark chocolate (or use chocolate chips)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven at 350F, 180 C or Gas Mark 4.
Put 1 1/2 cups oats in a food processor till you get a fine meal. Grab a bowl and and add your oat flour, corn flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Mix it up.
In another bowl whisk your eggs,sugar (I used an electric mixer) and coconut oil. Add vanilla and mix again.
Add the oat mixture you made in the previous bowl mixing slowly. Fold in the last cups of oats, walnuts, chocolate and raisins.

Line a baking tray with baking paper, grab a spoonful of mixture and roll into a little ball than squish a little before popping it onto the tray. Keep going till you finished your mixture. You might need two trays depending on how large they are.

Bake 15-18 minutes. Let cool and Merry Christmas!

I wish all of you a beautiful Christmas filled with delicious food, happiness and laughter and hope all your dreams may come true in the New Year...