This year was the first time in three years I had a chance to celebrate winter solstice. In 2011 and 2013 I was in the US, so I got to have an extra summer solstice, and in 2012 I was studying for some major exams, so I wasn't paying attention to anything else. Food is central to every celebration for me, so I marked the night by cooking a big dinner for my family and a friend. I chose the 'Christmas' menu from Party Vegan.
Mixed Greens with Caramelized Walnuts and Balsamic-Pear Vinaigrette is an fresh start to the meal. I used a 150g salad bag of mixed greens, which used half of the dressing. The dressing in question is a blended pear and vinegar concoction - very nice! Caramelized walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes are nice add-ins. I used some rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes instead of oil-packed.
Porcini-Stuffed Seitan is the impressive centerpiece of this menu. It is amazing!! The stuffing made a bit more than I could fit into the seitan, but not by much and leftover stuffing is always great. I used cremini rather than white mushrooms in the stuffy, because that is what I had. The seitan roll was quite flat, but that didn't affect the taste. I took the suggestion to make the roll in advance so I could cook it, then slice it (it slices better cold than hot), then I wrapped it all up in alfoil and reheated at 180dC for one hour to reheat. It is served with a delicious brown mushroom sauce, which is amazing poured all over the sides as well.
Herb-Mashed Potato fulfills the potato requirement for all holiday dinners. This creamy mash is studded with fresh chives, parsley and tarragon. I left the skins on the potatoes because I am lazy and I don't mind some texture in my mash.
Wilted Baby Spinach with Dried Cranberries comes together very quickly. I only made a half batch, which made a small amount so definitely make the full recipe.
Let's have a look at it all together!
Spiced Two-Apple Tart with Cider Creme brings it home in spectacular style. I was quite taken with how pretty this tart looked, especially as I am trying to get better at pastry. I didn't need to use all the water in the pastry to get a good dough. I used a total of 5 apples rather than 6 to cover the tart, and I brushed the finished tart with apricot jam as apple jelly could not be found anywhere. I used juice rather than cider for the creme (as the only apple cider available here is bubbly and alcoholic), which had a lovely taste. I had to chill the creme in the fridge for a while to thicken it up enough, though you can see it was still quite runny. I used a 9-inch fluted tart pan.
This menu is a bit involved, but there is lots that can be made ahead. Here is how I did it:
- Wednesday: Make sauce (it can be kept in the fridge for up to three days)
- Thursday: Had to be at work all day, so no cooking
- Friday: Make the roast and make the pastry
- Saturday morning: Make the tart, make the dressing for the salad
- Saturday lunch: Make creme, chop everything
- Saturday evening: Finish everything and eat!
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
As I mentioned, Petunia has a home now. I miss her, but I am so glad she now has a place and a family to call her own. Petunia is the master of pretty poses, but she can also do an impressive funny pose.