🌷A spring roast, perfect for Easter Sunday. This moist chickpea loaf is inspired by an old budget family favourite, meatloaf. It is full of flavour and nutrients and is pretty simple to put together. A Sunday roast doesn’t need to be complicated.
🐰Just pop this loaf in the oven alongside a tray of carrots seasoned with thyme, a sprinkle of sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
🐰While that’s cooking, boil some potatoes and chop some fresh herbs like parsley and dill. When the potatoes are nearly done, chuck in something green like broccoli or spring cabbage.
🐰Drain the potatoes and greens and toss with plenty of butter, salt, pepper and the chopped fresh herbs.
🐰 Serve slices of the chickpea loaf with the sweet roasted carrots and the herby potatoes and greens. Drizzle with gravy and enjoy!
1 onion, diced
200g mushrooms, diced
1/4 celeriac, diced (or 3 sticks of celery)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt and pepper for sautéing
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp bouillon powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tbsp paprika
5 heaped tbsp chickpea flour
You can use any odds and ends of sauces you have in the house eg bbq, ketchup, chutney, jam, sriracha, mint sauce… just mix a sweet, tangy, salty, spicy or herby combo together that you like. This time I found:
1 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
a drizzle of maple syrup
a splash of soy sauce
Turn the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Sauté the veggies in a deep frying pan with the oil and a pinch of salt and pepper until softened.
Pulse the sautéed vegetables in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Don’t blend too smooth, a little texture is best.
Stir in the chickpea flour. If you think the mix seems a little wet, add a bit more flour.
Press the mixture into a lined loaf tin, top with a glaze and bake at 180C for 40-50 minutes.
To me, the perfect potatoes for a roast dinner, especially for a Christmas roast, are soft and fluffy inside with a gorgeous crunchy, golden exterior. Do you agree? They must be perfectly seasoned (this mainly happens when you par boil in salty water) and finished with a delicious garlic and herb sprinkle which ignites all the senses. For Christmas potatoes, I add the zest of an orange too! I wish you could smell these potatoes through the screen, they are so incredible. I can never make enough of them, they are always the first thing to go. Here’s how.
Peel and cut your potatoes into even sized pieces. Place them in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Once the outsides are tender but the insides still under-cooked, drain them through a large colander. Now shake the colander, carefully tossing the potatoes to rough up the outsides and make them look fluffy like the next image.
2. Get a large oven tray that will comfortably fit all the potatoes and fill the bottom of it with a couple of millimeters of neutral vegetable oil. Place this tray of oil into a hot oven set to 200C. Once it has heated up, carefully place the potatoes into the hot oil and use tongs to turn them all over so that they are completely coated with the hot oil. Now get them in back into the oven for an hour. Every twenty minutes, take them out and turn them over so that they can get golden brown and crispy all over.
3. While they are cooking, finely chop a few sprigs of rosemary, zest an organic orange (you don’t want the zest of a sprayed and waxed orange, make sure it is one of our organic ones) and finely grate or crush a clove of garlic. Then, when the potatoes are done to your liking, sprinkle over this fragrant mixture, the kitchen will suddenly smell even more amazing, add some flakey sea salt and enjoy!
This nutritious, protein-rich, falafel-like mixture is so handy for making things like burgers and meatballs and of course it makes delicious fillings for wraps. You can flavour it with whatever herbs or spices take your fancy and colour it (and add sneaky veg) with any vegetables you like too. I felt like making some multicoloured balls as Easter ’eggs’ to have for a pastel coloured Easter lunch this week. Nestled in a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and drizzled with a spring pea salsa. You could serve it with roast potatoes, gravy and trimmings for a Sunday roast too.
3 tins of chickpeas
6 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
12 tbsp porridge oats
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsp ground coriander (or any spice you prefer)
2 cooked beetroots
3 cooked carrots
6 large kale leaves, chopped, cooked and squeezed to remove water
a couple of handfuls of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
extra olive oil for brushing and baking
Drain the chickpeas and tumble into 3 bowls. Add 4 tbsp of porridge oats to each bowl.
Finely dice the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and golden with the olive oil. Divide amongst the three bowls.
To each bowl, add a tsp of salt and grind black pepper to taste. Add a tsp of ground coriander to each bowl too if you like, or another spice or herb of your choice.
Put the cooked carrot in one bowl (along with a tsp of ground turmeric for bright yellow colour), the cooked beetroot in one bowl and the kale and parsley in the last bowl. Now you are ready to blend the mixtures.
In a food processor, first blend the yellow carrot mixture. Tip in the contents of the bowl with the carrots and pulse the mixture together until you reach a rough, sticky mixture. Scrape it out, back into the bowl, then repeat with the green kale mixture then the pink beetroot mixture. If any of the mixes seems a little wet, add an extra tbsp or so of oats and blend again. If it is too dry, add some olive oil or lemon juice to the mix or some extra vegetables.
Pre-heat your oven to 200C and line a large baking try with baking parchment. Then squish and roll the mixture into small, colourful balls – or make layered balls like I did with the yellow mix in the middle, then carefully wrap a layer of pink beetroot mix and finish off with the green outer layer. TOP TIP: use wet hands to avoid frustrating stickiness. just keep a bowl of warm water on the work bench and wet your hands when they start to get a bit sticky.
Brush the balls with olive oil and put them in the oven to bake until hot through and golden and crispy on the outside. Timings will depend on the size of your balls so just keep an eye on them.
Serve however you like but they definitely need a sauce or gravy. This time I served them with creamy mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and a pea salsa (I just blended a mug of peas with about 4 tbsp of capers and a splosh of the caper vinegar, a handful of chopped dill and a generous drizzle of olive oil).
Having a good béchamel sauce in your repertoire is so useful. I bring this sauce out really regularly for weekday dinners like macaroni cheese, for cauliflower or broccoli cheese for a Sunday roast (or a combination cauliflower/broccoli/macaroni cheese is SO good). I use it for the cheesy, creamy layer in lasagnes and moussakas and I use it for creamy mushroom, leek and white bean pies topped with pastry or mash. This vegan version (made with nutritional yeast instead of cheese, creamy oat milk instead of cow milk and some delicious olive oil instead of butter) is so delicious, nutritious and really quick and easy to put together. Simply whisk the ingredients together cold. Then put the pot over a medium heat and whisk and cook it into a thick sauce! How do you use béchamel sauce?
150g plain flour (wheat, spelt or even a gluten free plain-flour blend all work)
20g nutritional yeast (or more to taste)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 litre oat milk (or any unsweetened plant milk you like)
Measure all the ingredients into a cold pan and whisk them together.
Put the pan onto a medium heat and cook and whisk slowly until it thickens into a creamy sauce.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper or more nutritional yeast if you want a cheesier flavour.
It’s that simple! Now stir through cooked pasta or cauliflower or broccoli and bake until bubbling and golden on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more nutritional yeast for a golden crunchy topping? Or spoon between layers of lasagne sheets and ragu for a gorgeous lasagne. Fold through sautéed mushrooms and leeks, stir in a drained tin of white beans and top with pastry or mash for a cosy, creamy pie…
Celebrate spring with some bright fresh flavours, have an Easter feast and bake some treats with the kids. There are loads of ideas up on the blog now. Let me point you in the direction of some delicious dishes which will work perfectly this Easter. Liz x
My courgette risotto is a celebration of this delicate green vegetable – there are silky soft, slowly simmered pieces and fresh raw ribbons to tantalise your tastebuds. Swirl through some of my low waste salad bag pesto and scatter over some crunchy toasted hazelnuts…heaven!
Make an egg shaped batch of my easy as 1,2,3 shortbread and have fun decorating. I added the zest of a lemon to the dough and used the juice for icing. Just stir in enough icing sugar to make a thick paste, then split the icing into two bowls and add turmeric to one for a natural food colouring – make chicks, eggs, daffodils, daisies… Allow the icing to harden and set before storing in a biscuit tin.
Forgo the sacrificial lamb and make this hearty lentil pie instead? It’s packed full of flavour and veggies and is a satisfying family friendly meal. Serve with seasonal greens. I always make a big batch and pop one in the freezer for a rainy day.
Here’s a round up of some really special recipes we think would be perfect to serve this Mother’s Day. Treat the mother figure in your life to a tasty day with some fresh, organic, home cooked food. We also sell these lovely hampers if you fancy getting a special gift sent. We deliver to every address in Ireland.
Happy Mother’s Day! Liz x
*Click on the titles to be taken straight to the blog post you’re after.
Breakfast in Bed Ideas
Treat your mum to breakfast in bed. Why not add a bottle of Prosecco and some blood oranges to your order and make some simple but sophisticated blood orange mimosas? Chill both overnight then juice the oranges freshly in the morning and serve half a glass of Prosecco topped up with blood orange juice in champagne flutes with breakfast.
Vegan brie, blue or goats cheeses by our supplier Jay and Joy are absolutely incredible! They have to be tried to be believed. Have a look at my serving suggestions which are perfect for a light Mother’s Day lunch.
Blood Orange, Black Olive, Red Onion, Goats Cheese
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!
A cabbage can be a tricky beast to use up and we get asked for cabbage recipes all the time over on our community facebook group. If you are stuck on what to do with the cabbage in your box this week, then this is the video for you. Although I used a beautiful January King from my weekly subscription box, of course the recipes can also be applied to a savoy cabbage.
These are just four of the many ways that I use up a cabbage regularly. Please share your favourite cabbage recipes with us and other readers in the comments. There can never be too many cabbage recipe ideas…especially at this time of year! Liz x
Cabbage Rolls (serves 4)
8-10 outer leaves of the cabbage
1 mug or so of leftover cooked short grain brown rice (or cook fresh. Simply measure 1/2 a mug of rice into a pot, add 1 mug of water and bring to the boil with the lid on, then turn down and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the liquid)
10 minced mushrooms sautéed with garlic, salt and pepper
Rinse your cabbage well and remove as many outer leaves as you can. I try to get 8-10 to feed the four of us.
Use a rolling pin to roll out and flatten the chunky stem that runs up the middle of each leaf.
Mix together the mushrooms, rice and kidney beans. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Then neatly roll up a couple of tbsp of the filling into each each cabbage leaf and tuck them snuggly into the sauce. They should be sealed side down so that they don’t unravel in the sauce. See video above for how to do that.
Put the lid on the dish and roast it in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cabbage leaves are soft and the sauce is bubbling.
Serve with tangy natural yoghurt, pepper, more dill and a slice of sourdough bread.
Heat up the sliced apple with the butter/oil while you shred the cabbage.
Add the shredded cabbage and season it with salt and pepper. Let it cook down for a little while.
Once it starts to sizzle, add your liquid (cider/wine/apple juice/vinegar-water) and give it a good stir.
Pop the lid on the pot and let the cabbage and apple gently braise and soften for 10 minutes or so. This is a perfect side to a Sunday roast or with mashed potato, veggie sausages and wholegrain mustard!
Cabbage ‘Slaw (serves 4)
ribboned carrot (use a peeler to stripe thin ribbons off 1 large carrot)
Whole Roast Veg, Nutty Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Maple & Mustard Roots, Brussels with Citrus, Rosemary & Garlic, Nutmeg Cheese Sauce and Gravy.
As many of us are putting plants front and centre on our dinner tables, I thought I would show you what my plans are for our plant based Christmas dinner this year. Settle in, this is going to be a long blog. But don’t be discouraged, everything here is super-simple to make and, if you make the stuffing ahead of time, you could get Christmas dinner done in under two hours. I’ve put a handy ‘order of things’ bit at the end for you if you want to make Christmas dinner my way.
Christmas dinner in our house is just a slightly fancier, Christmassy version of our weekly Sunday Roast. Do you have a weekly ritual around food? Pizza night on Fridays or taco Tuesdays? Do you alway have pasta on a Wednesday or a Saturday curry night? To me, a roast dinner is the definition of a special family feast. We try and do one every Sunday, not just because it’s the traditional ‘Sunday Roast’ day, it also happens to be the only day off we all have together. So we go for a long walk mid morning after a lazy start, then come home and take our time making a big feast.
It feels important to have that ritual, that tradition of gathering around the kitchen table and decompressing. After a hectic week of work and school, enjoying a weekly feast of good food and good company and really taking the time to chat and make sure all is well in our little bubble is like a breath of fresh air. We all have our favourite part of a roast (is anyones favourite bit not roast potatoes?!?) but I think what really ‘makes’ the meal is to have something spectacular to carve in the centre of the table. The traditional focus of course has always been meat, but these days, beautiful, vibrant vegetables take centre stage. Again this year, we are letting the goose go and instead roasting a range of whole vegetables to carve.
Whole roast vegetables are a revelation. The crisp, caramelised edges and juicy, sweet centres are as delicious as they are beautiful. As much as I love a nut loaf or a flakey pastry beetroot Wellington, the spectacle of a whole roast Romanesco cauliflower has won my favour this year for Christmas. I mean, it looks an awful lot like a Christmas tree, it’s in season in December, so how could I not? I also love whole roast squashes and red cabbage, but they take longer to cook through than the Romanesco, so I’ve chopped them in half to roast them in time together in one beautiful pot. If you can’t find a romanesco you can replace it with a regular cauliflower. But the cauliflower has a tighter structure and takes longer to roast, so don’t halve the other vegetables, they will cook in around the same time as each other – just increase the total cooking time and adjust when you put the trimmings in the oven. Romanescos have a more open structure, a bit like a broccoli, so cook much quicker than their tight-as-a-snowball, pale cousins.
I like to first steam the whole vegetables, lid on, in the oven, on a bed of stock, wine, onions, garlic and herbs (and I’m adding apples and cranberries too for extra festive flavours). Then take the lid off and let them crisp up for the last half of the cooking time. And at the end, all those lovely juices in the bottom of the pot will be turned into a rich gravy.
While that’s all going on I make a nutty, lentil and oat based stuffing (for those worried about protein, you’ll find ample here – it’s basically a nut roast), a big tray of roast veg – the sweet roots roasted with a maple and mustard dressing, a nutmeg spiked cheese sauce to spoon over the roast Romanesco, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without Brussels sprouts. So here we go! Here’s my step by step, easy but oh so delicious, Christmas dinner plan for 2020. (More photos and a video coming soon so come back and check this space).
Start with The Stuffing
You can prepare this ahead of time, make it the day before if you like. It is actually the longest process of the whole meal.
Boil a small mug of green lentils in stock until they are cooked through. Lentils need about triple their volume of liquid to cook through so keep an eye on them as the cook to make sure they don’t absorb all the liquid and burn on the bottom. I simply measure out a small mug of lentils into a pot, then add a stock cube and 3 mugs of water. Then bring it to the boil, turn down the heat to simmer with the lid on and just peek in every now and then to see if I need to add any more liquid. Once they are done ( test this by eating a lentil), you can tip them into a large mixing bowl. You could make this step much quicker by just using a tin or two of ready cooked lentils.
Again, use my ever-flexible mug measurements… about a mug of chopped nuts – or more! This recipe, like most of mine, is very forgiving and doesn’t need exact measurements.
My favourite nuts to use this time of year are of course chestnuts. We sell them whole and raw so you’ll need to pierce them with a small sharp knife and boil or roast them until they are cooked. Then peel off their tough skins, chop them up and add them to the mixing bowl with the cooked lentils. If you want to buy ready cooked and peeled ones then that would make this step quicker. Otherwise you can use any nuts you like.
Toasted hazelnuts are so special and have the best flavour in this kind of dish so they are my first choice for replacing the chestnuts. Hazelnuts are easy to toast and peel, simply roast them in a hot oven for a few minutes until they are nice and toasted all the way through – keep an eye on them, they can catch very quickly – then tip them onto a clean tea towel, place another tea towel on top and rub them. The skins will just flake off. Then pick them out and carefully chop them up and add them to the mixing bowl.
SUGAR & SPICE
Then add some flavours to your nutty stuffing mix. By ‘sugar’ I mean a handful of chopped dried fruit. Dried cranberries are the best at Christmas time of course, but you could add a handful of chopped apricots or dates instead if you like? Add some orange or lemon zest for fragrance and flavour.
Then add some sweet christmassy spices. A pinch of ground cloves, a little touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger…that sort of thing, or for ease, a tsp of mixed spice. Go easy though, these spices have powerful flavours and you don’t want to overpower the dish.
SAGE & ONION
Sage and onion are classic stuffing flavours and so I generally add a finely diced red onion or two and a couple of tbsp of fresh or dried sage leaves to the mix too.
OATS OR BREADCRUMBS
If you have a stale half loaf of bread going, then chop it up and whizz it into crumbs in the food processor, otherwise do what I do as a cheat and just chuck a mug of porridge oats into the mixing bowl instead. (We also sell gluten free oats so this recipe is easily made suitable for the coeliacs in your life). Then give everything a good mix and taste it for seasoning. You may wish to add more salt or herbs and spices.
I also add a couple of tbsp of milled linseeds mixed with a little water to the mix to help it bind together. Ground linseeds are a fantastic egg replacement as work really well in this kind of scenario. I buy the whole ones from our shop and grind them up in a little blender so they are ready to use whenever I need them.
SQUISH & BAKE
Then really get in there with your hands or a potato masher and give everything a good firm squish together. You are aiming for a mixture that can form into a ball. If it’s too dry, add a little stock or water (or even the juice of that orange or lemon you zested earlier), if it’s too wet add some more oats or bread crumbs. Then press the mixture into a lightly oiled small baking dish or loaf tin. Rough up the top with a fork and bake in the oven with the roast for the last 30-40 minutes. The nutty stuffing will cook quicker if it’s in a wider, shallower tray than in a deeper loaf tin so do keep an eye on it.
The Pot Roast
You will need a large, oven-safe pot with lid. Or you can use a deep baking tray and some tin foil.
Start with the base. This is going to be the gravy in the end, but first it will do it’s job of steaming the whole vegetables, keeping them from drying out or getting burnt on the outside before they cook through, and infusing them with flavour.
I like to roughly slice in a couple of onions, halve a whole bulb of garlic, and then you can add some other stocky vegetables if you like, like sticks of celery and chunks of carrot, then a sliced apple or two and a handful of fresh cranberries. You could also use pears or plums.
Drizzle the base vegetables with a little good olive oil, season them really well with plenty of salt and pepper, then cover them with a glass or two or white wine and a little water. You could also use stock and a couple of tbsp of cider vinegar or a bottle of cider instead of the wine.
Then add some wintery herbs. A bouquet garni is perfect here, or just chuck in some fresh thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sage leaves. All of the above or just pick one or two in a combination of your choosing.
THE MAIN EVENT
Then the main event. Trim the base off a romanesco cauliflower. Give it a rinse, gently score the base of the stalk and pop it into the pot or deep roasting dish. Then add a halved red cabbage, and a halved and deseeded squash. Drizzle the veg with some olive oil, season it with salt and pepper (I also love adding a few caraway seeds to the cabbage) pop the lid on the pot (or cover the dish with foil) and put it in the oven at 200C to steam-roast for 30-40 minutes.
Now is the time to get your tray of potatoes and maple & mustard roast roots ready for the oven! They need to go in in around 20 minutes from when then you put the whole roast veg in.
Your nutty stuffing needs to go in the oven around then too!
After the whole roast veg are mostly cooked through (test this by inserting a knife), remove the lid and roast for a final 20-30 minutes to crisp up and caramelise the edges.
How do you like your roast potatoes? Most often I just chop scrubbed, but not peeled, potatoes into large chunks, season them in their roasting dish with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in the oven to roast for around 40 minutes. But at Christmas I like to take the effort to peel and par-boil them first. Then tip them carefully into a pre-heated roasting tray with hot vegetable oil, and roast them for around half an hour. This way you get really beautiful, golden, fluffy-in-the-middle, crispy-on-the-outside roasties.
MUSTARD & MAPLE ROOTS
A mix of roasted carrots, parsnips and beetroots make a beautiful, autumn-coloured side dish. I scrub them, but don’t peel, then trim and quarter them lengthways and pop them in a roasting dish. Then in a small jug, mix a couple of tbsp of wholegrain mustard with a generous drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup and a good pinch of sea salt. Pour this mixture all over the vegetables then mix them well so that each is covered with the dressing. Roast them in the oven for around half an hour or until they are cooked through. They should be sweet and sticky, but also sharp and savoury. Delicious!
Brussels sprouts are absolutely fantastic with citrus, herbs and garlic. You can do this dish in the oven if you have room, my oven is tiny so I just do it in a large frying pan or wok on the hob. Simply trim and halve your brussels sprouts and put them straight in your pan. Then drizzle them with oil and add lots of sliced garlic. Season them with salt, pepper and rosemary and turn the heat on. Get them sautéing in the pan about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve. Add the zest of a lemon, cut the lemon in half and add it, cut side down, to the pan. Let the cut side of the lemon almost burn and caramelise in the bottom of the pan. Then, using tongs, pick up the lemon halves and squeeze them over the sautéing sprouts just before they are ready to come out onto the table.
Cheese Sauce & Gravy
PLANT BASED BÉCHAMEL
I usually make this sauce for a baked cauliflower cheese on a Sunday, but as I’m making a whole roast romanesco cauliflower I am making the sauce on the side this year (my children would never forgive me if I didn’t include it in some form in every roast dinner we have). A béchamel is very very easy to make. Simply melt a fat of your choice (I like to do a mix of butter and olive oil), add some flour, salt, pepper, mustard, nutritional yeast and ground nutmeg and whisk it together, then slowly cook out the flour with little splashes of milk, whisking as you go. When the flour is cooked out and you have a beautiful silky sauce, taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need more salt or some extra nutritional yeast to make it a little cheesier. Here’s the illustrated recipe from my book to help you:
Of course you could just use a vegetable gravy powder. But I like to make use of those wonderful, flavourful juices in the bottom of the roasting dish. Once your roasted vegetables are done. Pull them out on to a platter and keep them warm. Then put the pot on the hob (if you are using a roasting dish then scrape the juices and all the vegetables into a small pan on the hob. Squeeze the garlic out of it’s skin and remove the skin and any woody bits of herbs left in the tray.
Add extra vegetable stock if there is not much left of the juices in the bottom the pot of roasting dish, then blend the contents with a stick blender until smooth. Add a splash of red wine or port, allow it to simmer for a while then taste for seasoning to see what it needs to become a dark, rich gravy. You may wish to add some more salt or pepper, I tend to add a splash of soy sauce or a spoon of marmite or miso. Then thicken the gravy with cornflour. Put a heaped tbsp of cornflour into a cup with a little splash of cold water and mix into a smooth paste. Then whisk the paste through the simmering gravy until it thickens to your liking. Serve in a warm jug on the table.
Serve the whole roast vegetables on a large platter surrounded by all the roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips and beetroots and sautéed sprouts. Have warm jugs of gravy and béchamel on the table and the dish of nutty stuffing. Carve big slices of the vegetables and serve with scoops of nutty stuffing, roasted veg and sprouts drenched in gravy and drizzled with cheesy sauce. And don’t forget the cranberry sauce on the side!
Here’s a video of me making the full Christmas roast from scratch. I hope you find it helpful! Merry Christmas!
Cooking Things in the Right Order
make the nutty stuffing & get it into a covered dish ready to bake
peel your potatoes & get them in a pot of water ready to par boil
scrub your carrots, parsnips and beetroots
about 2.5 hours before you want to eat, pre-heat the oven to 200C
get the potatoes on to par-boil
assemble the pot roast and get it in the, now hot, oven
drain the par-boiled potatoes and get a tray of vegetable oil into the oven to pre-heat
prepare the mustard & maple roast carrots, parsnips & beetroots
20-30 minutes after the pot roast has gone in get all the roast vegetables (potatoes and maple/mustard roots) & stuffing into the oven
10 minutes later remove the pot roast lid
then you have about half an hour to easily make the béchamel and sprouts
remove the whole roast veg and other roasted veg and stuffing from the oven when it’s done and arrange it on a platter, cover it and keep it warm in a low oven while you make the gravy
heat up the gravy, sprouts and béchamel, take the platter of roast veg and stuffing out of the oven and serve!