I've been away from home for a long time. That means many missed holidays, many missed family gatherings. My friends naturally become my family, and I feel blessed for that. Christmas has always been an excuse for me to host a big meal and give out presents to the people I love, the people who make every new and strange place feels like home.

BUT cooking a Christmas meal is stressful, especially when you are cooking a vegan one! We have two fool-proof make-ahead recipes - Yorkshire pudding and red wine gravy - that will make your life a little bit easier this weekend.

Vegan Yorkshire Pudding

When I was at boarding school, Sundays were the days I looked forward to the most. If we got to the dinning hall early, we could stack our plates with Yorkshire puddings - light and airy pastries with a hollow middle to hold gravy, served with roast beef and roast veggies.

Since I left boarding school, and started cooking for myself, Yorkshire pudding was one of the first recipe I wanted to master. Now the vegan version I am about to show you will produce smaller puddings with less of a dip but I actually think they look and taste better!

The Ingredients

225g plain flour

1 tsp salt

300ml plant milk

Vegan egg substitute (equivalent of 4 eggs) - we use Orgran egg replacer

Vegtable oil

The Recipes

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, plant milk and egg substitute until the batter is smooth and coat the back of a spoon - the same texture of a pancake batter. Add more plant milk if needed.

2. In a muffin tray, put 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil in each hole then place the tray in the oven at 270C for around 7-8 mins.

3. Remove the tray from the oven and quickly pour in 1/2 cup of batter straight into the hot oil in each muffin hole. You should hear the sides sizzle, if not the oil is not yet enough. It is important for the oil to be hot to create dimples in our puddings.

4. Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes. Every oven is different, so watch your puddings and bake only until they are golden brown.

5. Put them on a plate lined with kitchen towel to soak up the oil. Leave them in a dry place and when you want to serve them up the next day, just bake them for 3-5 minutes at 180C!

Vegan Red Wine Gravy

We've been having EVERYTHING with gravy for the past week as I was determined to perfect our gravy recipe, and perfection we have!

The Recipe

1. Wash and roughly chops all the vegetables, no need to peel.

2. Mince garlic and roughly chop onions.

3. In a casserole or a large pot, heat up 2-3 tbsp of olive oil then add onions and garlic and fry until fragrant.

4. Add the vegetables and the wine and bring to boil for 2-3 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate.

5. Add the soy sauce, miso paste, along with 2-3 cups of water, enough to just cover the vegetables then bring to boil.

5. Close lid, simmer on lowest heat for at least 30 minutes.

6. Strain the liquid into a smaller pot. This liquid is going to become our gravy!

7. Taste and season if needed, then bring to boil for a minute. At this stage, you can let the liquid cool down and store in the fridge.

The Ingredients

1 leek 

1 apple

3 parsnips

3 carrots

3 cloves of garlic

2 onions

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp miso paste

1.5 cup red wine

2-3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp corn flour

room temperature water

8. When ready to serve, bring the gravy liquid to a boil. Mix 2 tbsp of corn flour with a a bit of room temperature water, then pour this mixture into the boiling gravy liquid. Stir until the sauce thickens. If needed, make more corn flour mixture and add into the pot until the desired thickness is achieved.

There you have it! Our quick and easy make-ahead vegan recipes for Christmas for you to impress vegans and non-vegans alike.

Merry Christmas everybody!

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