‘Tis the Season for Turkey, but Spare a Moment for the Humble Vegetable
Whether you’re a committed carnivore or a staunch fruitarian, there’s no denying the colossal environmental impact of our meat consumption – vegetarianism and veganism has been something of a hot topic of late, in fact, research shows that one in ten of us now eat a completely plant based diet. A staggering twenty five percent of American millennials are now vegetarian and at the start of 2019, The Economist published an article declaring 2019 “The Year of The Vegan”. It’s all very well subsisting on smoked tofu, chargrilled broccoli and hemp milk in the safety of your own home, but Christmas party platters can be a real minefield for those looking to swerve animal products throughout the festive season. So we got in touch with some of First Option’s favourite chefs to give us some top tips and recipes to get you or your veggie family and friends through Christmas.
Our first recipe comes from our pals at Fat Macy’s. We were first introduced to them earlier this year when they catered a Thanksgiving event at the studio and we instantly fell in love. Fat Macy’s is part social enterprise part catering company. They train up aspiring chefs in their kitchen as a way of helping them transition from hostel to permanent home – an ethos as delicious as their homemade focaccia! Natalie kindly sent us this delicious warming wintery dish that is perfect as a side or festive starter.
FAT MACY’S ‘ROASTED SQUASH, BURNT CHILIS, GREMOLATA, SHAVED BRUSSEL SPROUTS.’
Ingredients (serves 4):
4 medium red chilis 25g parsley
1 whole lemon squeezed for juice and zest 10ml sherry vinegar
1 butternut squash
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 clove of garlic
250g brussel sprouts
- Put the oven on to grill at 160 degrees.
- De- seed and slice chilli’s lengthways
- Place on a baking tray, with a drizzle of oil, and grill for 8 minutes.
- Blitz with vinegar, salt, cumin and smoked paprika.
- Turn the oven to 180 degrees.
- Prep the squash, by slicing lengthways, de-seeding leaving skin on.
- Place squash on a baking tray and coat with cumin, lemon juice, salt,pepper and olive oil. Bake 20 mins.
- Finely chop parsley, mint, coriander, garlic.
- Thinly slice brussel sprouts.
- Mix herbs and brussel sprouts with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
- Place baked squash on plates and dot the gremolata over.
- Drizzle chilis over top and serve!
To learn more about Fat Macy’s or to book them for an event, pop up or dining experience… visit fatmacys.org
Our next contribution comes from the man behind vegan catering service Bad Boy Vegan Kitchen, Louis Ashok. Louis sent us this recipe for vegan creme caramels that we absolutely can’t wait to try… because lets face it, Christmas Pudding is overated anyway.
BAD BOY VEGAN’S ‘CHRISTMAS CARAMELS’.
- 1. In a heavy bottom sauce pot place the 150g of sugar and 60g of water
- Place over high heat, using a candy thermometer bring the sugar to 325FOnce the sugar reaches the correct temperature pour equal portions into the 4 mason jars or ramekins. Allow the caramel to cool completely in the bottom of the containers.
- Dry mix together the Sugar, soy milk powder, salt, and vegan gelatin.
- In the second heavy bottom pot mix together the water, vanilla extract, and the sugar mixture that contains the soy milk powder, salt, and vegan gelatin.Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and remove from the heat. Divide the custard equally into the 4 mason jars or ramekins.
- Seal the mason jars or ramekins and refrigerate for 23 hours.
- Remove cover from the container and use a butter knife to gently free the flan from the mason jar.
- Invert a plate on the top of the container. Holding both the plate and the container flip them over so that the mason jar or ramekin is inverted on top of the plate. Lift the mason jar or ramekin and the flan should free itself from the sides. Enjoy!
Next up is an indulgent sounding, Christmas Tree Biscuit recipe from food stylist extraordinaire Eliza Baird. Eliza specialises in film and photography food shoots for editorial, advertising and tv. You can see her beautiful work on her = website www.elizabaird.com – but trigger warning… it’s goanna make you hungry, so maybe go and grab a snack before you do.
ELIZA’S CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS TREES
Ingredients (Makes 12 )
For the biscuit dough
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
200g self raising flour, sifted plus extra for dusting
25g cocoa powder, sifted
100g golden caster sugar
1 medium free range egg, lightly beaten
For the icing
75g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp cold water
Decorate with Christmas icing decorations: sugar stars, Christmas sparkling snow or micro marshmallows
For the handles, orange matchs
ticks or cinnamon sticks and edible glue
Preparation and decorating time 30 minutes plus cooling, resting and drying time Cooking time 12-15 minutes
- Rub the butter into the flour and cocoa. Mix in the sugar. Add the egg and mix to form a stiff dough. Lightly knead until smooth on a floured work surface. Divide the doughs into 2 rounds. Cover and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Place the oven rack on the middle shelf. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan160C/Gas Mark 4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
- Remove from the fridge. Roll out the first dough on a floured surface until approx. 5mm thick. Use a 14.5cm Christmas tree biscuit cutter to cut out the Christmas trees. Use a floured palette knife to lift the trees onto the baking trays. Re roll the dough to make more trees. Repeat with the second dough. Bake in batches for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool then transfer to a cooling rack.
- For the icing, mix the icing sugar with the water. Fill a piping bag with the icing snip the end off and use to decorate the trees. Decorate with Christmas icing decorations. Leave to dry.
- For the handles, if using matchsticks, allow 2 matchsticks per biscuit. Brush 2/3 of each matchstick or cinnamon stick with the edible glue** and place on the back of each biscuit. Allow to dry. Eat and enjoy. Merry Christmas!
**Edible glue is available on Amazon and at some cookery shops.
If you’d like to get in touch with Eliza, you can check out on instagram @eliza_baird_food_stylist .
We’d like to say a big thank you to our contributors and to all of the wonderful foodies who we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year at First Option Studio. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – From the First Option Team.