This homemade gravy powder is so handy to have on standby in your kitchen cupboard. It will bring bags of flavour to your festive feast and can also be used to thicken up and flavour stews and pies. To make this powder into gravy, we like to use a nutty browned butter and rich red wine base. Read on below to see how it comes together.
6 tbsp corn starch (or potato starch or tapioca)
3 tbsp crumbled dried mushrooms
6 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
1 tbsp garlic or onion powder/granules
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
Simply measure the ingredients into a strong blender and process until they come together into a fine powder. Then store in a clean, dry, labelled jar.
Ingredients to Make Gravy:
1 tbsp butter
100ml red wine (white wine works well too)
3 tbsp gravy powder (above)
salt to taste if needed
Add a tbsp of butter to a hot pan (we use Naturli vegan butter which browns beautifully) and cook for a couple of minutes on a high heat until it foams then starts to brown. (Browning the butter creates a complex, nutty flavour and the butter also gives the gravy a shiny and silky texture.)
Next add 100ml of red wine and boil for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol and reduce slightly.
Meanwhile whisk 3 tbsp of the gravy powder with 300ml of milk (we use delicious, creamy oat milk). When the red wine has reduced, add the milk mixture to the pot, then whisk and simmer until the gravy is thickened. If you’d like a looser gravy, add a splash more milk or water.
Taste and season if needed with a pinch of salt. Serve hot and enjoy!
Turn your oven to 200C. Find your biggest roasting dish and put it in the oven to heat up too.
Peel the potatoes and carrot, cut them into large chunks and just cover them with water in a big pot. Put the lid on the pot and get them on the stove to boil.
Meanwhile make the beetroot and butterbean loaf:
Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan and add them to a blender with the linseeds and oats. Pulse until coarsely combined, but still with some texture.
Grate the beetroots into a mixing bowl on the fine side of the grater. Add the drained tin of butterbeans to the bowl too.
Add the oat, sunflower seed and linseed mixture to the bowl, season well with salt and pepper (you could also add additional flavourings here like lemon zest, crushed garlic, herbs).
Using one hand, squish the mixture together into a stuffing-like mixture. You may need to add more oats as you go if your mixture is too wet. When you are at stuffing texture taste the mix for seasoning ad adjust as needed.
Then put the mixture into a baking dish or loaf tin lined with baking paper. Top with slices of mushroom a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then pop the dish in the oven to bake.
By now the potatoes and carrots will be par boiled so move them off the heat. Finely chop a generous couple of handfuls of herbs and put them into a bowl with the zest of a lemon, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper and enough sunflower oil to bring it into a loose sauce.
Remove the hot, large roasting dish from the oven and drizzle it with sunflower oil. Use a slotted spoon to move the potatoes and carrots onto the hot tray and keep all the water in the pot (you’ll need this to cook the cabbage and make gravy with later).
Add the garlic/lemon/herb oil to the roasting dish of potatoes and carrots and stir to coat the veg in the mixture. Cut the zested lemon in half and add it to the roasting tray. Return the dish to the oven and get on with the greens and gravy.
Add a stock cube to the water that the carrots and potatoes were cooked in. Then rinse and chop the cabbage and add it to the pot to poach in the stocky water. When it is still slightly undercooked, use the slotted spoon to pull out the cabbage and keep it in the pan you used earlier to toast the sunflower seeds (you’ll use this to re-heat and finish cooking the cabbage when the beetroot loaf and roast veg are nearly done).
Then make the gravy. Put a tsp of dried mushrooms into the stock and bring it to the boil. You can also dip the bowl that you mixed the lemon/garlic/herb oil for the roast veg in and get all those flavours added to the gravy.
Mix the cornflour with a little cold water into a smooth paste in a cup. Then add that to the stock and simmer and stir until it has thickened into a gravy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I like to add a couple of tbsp of soy sauce to add a punchy umami flavour. You may wish to add a splash of wine or a spoon of recurrent jelly to your gravy. When you are happy with the flavour and texture of your gravy you can pour it into a jug through a sieve and keep it warm.
The beetroot and butterbean loaf and roast veg should be ready after about 40-60 minutes in the oven. Just keep an eye on them. Then re-heat the cabbage and gravy and serve!
Food waste is a huge environmental problem all year round, but over Christmas, it seems we throw out about 30% more than usual. According to Stop Food Waste, here in Ireland we generate at least 1.27 million tonnes of food waste each year! Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Growing, processing and transporting food uses significant resources. And so if food is wasted, then of course these resources are wasted too.
Globally, around 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to grow food which is then wasted. That’s a lot of land that could be returned to the wild. While some food waste is anaerobically digested to make biogas, composted, or rendered for animal food, a lot of the food waste produced is still going to landfill where it doesn’t just harmlessly break down, but it emits methane, a gas 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. According to Project Drawdown, an international group of experts, reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective action we can take to reverse climate change.
Home composting is a great solution if you have the space, but you should only compost uncooked vegetables (known as green matter) along with brown matter like tea leaves, coffee grounds, shredded card/paper, tree leaves etc – successful compost has a balance of brown and green matter and is incredibly beneficial to your soil health. Cooked food waste should not go into your home compost as typical home composters don’t get hot enough to safely break down the food and it also attracts rodents. Put your cooked food waste in a council provided food waste bin where it will be taken to a commercial compost site to be anaerobically digested. Or better yet, don’t waste the food at all! Try to use up your cooked food waste in inventive dishes and show your leftovers some love!
Here are a couple of recipes to get you started. Please ask questions and share your favourite Christmas leftover meal ideas in the comments too and have a waste-free feast! Let me know if you made these leftover-loving meals and tag us on Instagram or share your meal on our Facebook page. We love to see what you are cooking! Liz x
A farinata is a bit like a frittata but made with chickpea flour batter instead of eggs. Simply whisk together one part chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) with one part warm water (I like to thin it out with an extra splash of water too), season the batter really well with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Then let it rest while you pre-heat the oven and prepare a roasting dish with your leftover Christmas vegetables.
Put a little olive oil into the base of the dish, then chop up whatever leftover veg you have from your roast. Potatoes, parsnips, beetroot, red cabbage, squash, sprouts… pop them into the roasting dish then pour over the chickpea flour batter.
Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the farinata and crack over some black pepper. You could also add some crumbled tofeta (I used the leftover bit from making my cranberry and tofeta cigars) or other odds and ends of Christmas cheeses. Then put the dish into a hot oven (200C) and bake it until the batter is set. The time depends on how big or deep your dish is, just keep an eye on it. It’s done when it’s golden brown on top and with minimal wobble.
Allow it to settle for a few minutes out of the oven and then ease it away from the sides of the dish with a palette knife or spatula. Slice it into portions and eat it hot or cold with salads, ferments, dips and chutneys or sauces to your liking. Enjoy!
Swedish-style Stuffing Balls
Leftover stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce? Make my Swedish style meatballs dish, it’s delicious. Swedish meatballs are typically served with boiled or mashed potatoes, a rich, creamy gravy, lingonberry jam (cranberry sauce is a brilliant substitute) and steamed greens. It’s a hearty and satisfying winter dish so I tend to make this rather than Italian style meatballs with leftover stuffing from our Sunday Roasts, or in this case Christmas Dinner, in winter.
Get some potatoes on to boil for mash and some greens ready for steaming or wilting.
Then simply squish your stuffing together into little balls (if it’s gone dry add a splash of stock, if it’s too wet add some oats or breadcrumbs) and fry them in a large pan with some melted butter and olive oil. Turn them regularly with tongs to get them browning on all sides.
Keep the stuffing balls warm in a dish in the oven while you finish making the mashed potatoes, steam some greens and heat up and enrich your leftover gravy.
Heat up your leftover gravy with a splash of water, then when it’s nice and hot enrich it with a generous splash of oat/soy cream. Gently bring it back up to heat, but don’t let it boil. Then taste it for seasoning and adjust it if needed with more salt/pepper.
Serve the stuffing balls with mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, steamed greens and a big dollop of cranberry sauce on the side.