A vegetarian yule-tide menu…

Christmas is a-coming and first up, I have to apologise for the silence this last month or so. My day job and freelance work have been bonkers busy (it’s panto season after all!) and I’ve managed to sneak in a little trip to Morocco! I’ll blog about my Morocco adventure next week, but most importantly – there’s only two sleeps until Christmas! There are no excuses not to cook something ace for Christmas Dinner if you are vegetarian, or cooking for a vegetarian.

My Mum has always cooked me Glamorgan sausages for Christmas lunch, so it’s nostalgic for me and they are pretty easy to make. Leeks are seasonal too, so another big win. Even the meat-heads around your festive table can enjoy these beauties. These recipes serve 4, so you’ll need to adjust the recipes accordingly. My first Christmas blog will be based on speed and taste as I’ve been mega busy, I wanted to show folk how quickly you can rustle-up something home-made and vegetarian!

Here’s what I’ll be cooking on Christmas Day….

The Recipes

Glamorgan Sausages with maple roast parsnips and red onion gravy. (Serve with any seasonal veg)


Glam Sausages Ingredients – 25g butter 115g leeks, trimmed| finely sliced (prepared weight)|100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs|75g polenta grains|2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf and curly)|1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme|75g Caerphilly cheese,75g Welsh Cheddar, finely grated 2 free-range eggs, separated, 1 tsp Welsh mustard, 1/2 tsp paprika, ½ tsp sea salt 5 tbsp sunflower oil, freshly ground black pepper.

 Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the leek gently for 8-10minutes, or until very soft but not coloured. Put 75g of the breadcrumbs, the parsley, thyme and cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Beat the egg yolks with the mustard, salt and plenty of black pepper in a separate bowl.

Remove the frying pan from the heat and tip the leeks into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix together well with a large wooden spoon until combined. Divide the leek mixture into eight portions and roll into sausage shapes. Place the sausages onto a tray lined with clingfilm. Whisk the egg whites lightly in a bowl with a large metal whisk until just frothy. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and polenta grains over a large plate. Dip the sausages one at a time into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs and polenta until evenly coated, then place on the baking tray. Chill the sausages in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil into a large non-stick frying pan and fry the sausages over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, turning regularly until golden-brown and crisp. The leftover sausages are amazing served with red onion marmalade.

Red Onion Gravy

Ingredients:  4 red onions, very finely sliced| small knob of butter| Olive oil| 250ml red wine| 2 sprigs of sage leaves picked and finely sliced (or any wintery herbs)| 300ml vegetable stock| a spoonful of marmite.

Gently fry the onions in the butter and a splash of olive oil and cook very slowly for about 40 minutes, until they’re gooey. Add the wine and reduce by half, then add the sage and stock with the spoonful of marmite. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and serve. Use flour to thicken depending on how you like it!

Maple Roast Parsnips

Ingredients 1kg parsnips| 125ml vegetable oil| 80ml maple syrup| springs of lemon thyme.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6. Peel the parsnips and then halve them crosswise, then halve or quarter each piece lengthwise. Pop the parsnips into a roasting tin. Pour the oil over the parsnips and mix them well so that the oil covers all of the pieces. Pour the maple syrup over the parsnips, scatter with sprigs of lemon thyme and transfer the roasting tin to the oven. Roast the parsnips for 35 minutes, or until they are tender and golden-brown. You can do the same with sweet potatoes and squash and they are equally as delish (see pic).

Hot Chocolate Orange Pud

Yes I know; veggies can eat veggie Christmas puds, but I don’t like them, and this is better – Chocolate and orange is a festive flavour, so it’s chocolate all the way for me. You can make these in advance and pop them in the over. I’ve kept them in the fridge for days…you just need to keep them in the oven a little longer.

This is my mate Jojo’s Mum’s recipe, adapted by me and it’s super-quick.

Ingredients: 200g quality dark chocolate| 100g chocolate orange| Grated rind of one orange|75g Unsalted butter 50g soft light brown sugar| 4 table spoons of thick cut orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6. Butter 6 x 150ml capacity pudding tins or ramekins. Place the chocolate and orange rind in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and orange marmalade in a food processor and blend to make a smooth batter. Add the melted chocolate and whizz again until well-combined. Divide the mixture between the dishes. Place on a baking tray and cook for 9 minutes.

Serve with a little chunk of chocolate orange as decoration and a sprinkling of icing sugar, along with any festive trinkets you may have lying about.

That’s all for now. I think you’ll be suitably full and festive by this point. I hope you have a bloody marvellous Christmas and I’ll blog you next week! Please tell me about any festive vegetarian delights you’ve been cooking up too!


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