It’s that time of year again! After last year’s Christmas post, I couldn’t let the occasion go by without another round-up of our Very Vegetarian Christmas. We always eat such amazing food at this time of year – I’m in awe of my Mum’s menus – and this year was no exception. This time around I even helped out to make Christmas lunch, which means I can proudly say I helped make and then plated up the starter below…
This is not just a mushroom pie. This is a mushroom pie from the Mildred‘s cookbook.
We tweaked a few details here and there, but this is more or less the recipe that you will find in the book – served with a pastry lid rather than as a whole pastry pie. I pitched in to help my Mum with Christmas lunch this year and this is what she wanted to serve on the day – from the brand new Mildred’s book I’d bought her! As luck would have it she was planning a mushroom pie anyway, and this one happened to be similar enough that she had the right ingredients already.
As part of our recent trip to France – which you are all no doubt getting sick of hearing about! – one of the last places we visited was Planet Hollywood, over at Downtown Disney. We had spent the day shopping at a nearby outlet centre and popped down to Disney for the end of the day, a bit of souvenir shopping, and a quick meal. It was my birthday, so I spent the day doing things I love – shopping for expensive clothes and eating veggie burgers!
This week we’ve finished off Alternative Pizza Month over on Vine, with a quinoa pizza base. I first came across this idea in Deliciously Ella’s book, and although I’ve never been a fan of quinoa, I’ve slowly started coming around. We decided to give it a try and see how it would turn out.
For the second of our alternative pizza month Vines, we made a base out of cauliflower. I’m sure you’ve seen this idea elsewhere – it’s been quite widely used as an alternative way to create a pizza base, making it gluten free. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, so I had been approaching this one with a little trepidation – was it going to taste like an actual cauliflower, or would there be subtler tastes at work?
This month we’re kicking off our first monthly Vine theme, with alternative pizzas. Tortillas were our first choice of base: they are healthier and easier to eat than normal pizza dough bases, and also take less time to cook. That makes them a win-win for any work night dinner for us!
Recently we headed to a branch of Byrons in the Strand area of London. They have two options for veggie burgers on the menu, so I opted for the “Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Goat’s Cheese Burger” served with “roasted red pepper, baby spinach, tomato, red onion and aioli” (taken from the menu). It’s a little disappointing that they don’t have a speciality veggie burger, or at least a few options. If they market themselves as a burger place, you might expect that they would provide alternatives. This is certainly the case in other burger joints that I’ve been to.
This was something really exciting for me, because I’ve never been to a full vegetarian restaurant before. Mildred‘s serves vegetarian and vegan choices, and is quite busy normally as you can’t book a table in advance. It’s a little cramped inside, but we managed to get a table to ourselves, and the food was absolutely worth it. We were told to try turning up a little later as that would reduce the wait, and we did not queue for long. Looking at the menu was ridiculous. This is the first time I’ve been able to choose anything I want from a whole menu! I could barely decide. But, since I knew it would be something I could talk about here, I eventually went for the burger of the day. As it was a special occasion, I also started out with tortelloni as an appetiser.
It is perhaps debatable whether or not a bake qualifies as a burger, but based on the shape and the consistency, on this occasion I’m counting it. Particularly when it comes to being a vegetarian option, I think this one just fits the bill. The mushroom and spinach bake is available from Sainsbury’s, where you can buy a pack of four at once. They cook in the oven – I could say that they would probably do fine if microwaved, but I have never tried it, and I’m sure the breadcrumbs would suffer for it. They are quite “tall” compared to the average burger, and have a tendency to get a bit droopy in the middle once cooked – beware of them accidentally spilling out their insides before you even get them on the plate.
Every year, people ask me what it is like to have a vegetarian Christmas. What is it like? What do we eat? Do we have a traditional Christmas dinner or something more unusual? The purpose of this post is to illustrate what a typical meal might be for us at Christmas time, although we always eat something different year on year. My Mum always cooks for us, using a combination of recipes she finds leading up to the date and her own inspiration, as well as a few classics which come back time and time again.