Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Wrapping

I'll pause my Tasmania recaps, because hey, it's Christmas. It sort of snuck up on us this year. Without going into too much detail, I had a rather busy year this year. It was full of workworkwork, to which I said yes too often and found myself often overwhelmed. And it was a bargaining year - so the union activities added to my things to do, but the whole process also made me feel a bit less generous towards my employer. When you see how little regard management holds staff in, it makes it hard to love what you do, ya know? So I got to the end of November utterly exhausted, and though I've been on holidays since then, I still feel like I'm in recovery mode.

Long story short, the weekend before Christmas I realised I had no plans for a meal or anything. Our Asian grocery store has stopped getting in gluten flour, because their supplier has stopped supplying. So our tradition of a seitan log was out of the question.

Eventually I got it together, though Andy said he would have been happy with just a regular dinner, and our Christmas involved an appropriately festive series of meals, a few little gifts, and some lazy chores (okay, that last part isn't that festive but it's how we roll).

Andy has spent most of the week turning rubbish timber from our neighbour's renovations into a BBQ table. 
We ended up having the Festive Chickpea Tart from Let them eat Vegan!, which we both really liked. It wasn't as firm as Dreena's picture, which probably means I need to process the filling a bit more, but I was nervous about overdoing it.

Along with the tart, we had rosemary, okra and mushroom stuffing (I tried to bake them as stuffing balls but they sort of fell apart), and a simple salad.

With rosemary dressing - 2 Tbsp of fresh rosemary, 1 tsp of dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp of dark tahini, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp of pomegranate molasses, and about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Also salt and pepper. Shake it all up in a jar, and then pour it onto salad, stuffing, and chickpea tart. Yum.

On Sunday, Kari posted a raw vegan mango cheesecake recipe to her blog, and my dessert indecision was over. This became our holiday dessert:

Served with extra fresh mango, and at another time with a fruit salad of pineapple, starfruit, kiwifruit and mango, it is pretty much as perfect as you can get for a tropical christmas.

We had our main Christmas meal on Christmas eve, as we always do. When I woke up on actual Christmas, I took Tika for a 7km run (the longest I've ever run in one go, and also enough to bring my annual total from 496 to 503, thus making it to my 2013 running goal). When we got home, Andy was just starting to make breakfast, and it was raining a little bit.

Baked Latkes, from Betty Goes Vegan, became BBQ Latkes. We've been looking for a good hashbrown/latke recipe for many years, but they never seem to work for us. This time, though, we found a winner. Andy sprinkled bacon bits on top at the end of cooking. They were crunchy outside, soft inside, and very delicious.

And with them we had herby mushrooms in a Vegg gravy.
Mushrooms with thyme, parsley and garlic chives.

I spent the morning drinking iced christmassy tea - rosella, cranberry and vanilla, refreshing and a little bit festive. Andy played with the compost while I did laundry.
I got this fancy iced-tea maker when a friend moved overseas, but I cannot for the life of me pour a glass of tea without dribbling heaps. 

And then moved on to this vegan coconut nog (with a splash or five of rum). And salt and vinegar chips for lunch, because tradition.
Some gifties - tea (and a teapot, not in the photo) from Andy's parents, some dried edible seaweed from Andy's co-worker, a seaweed book from Andy's boss, and a tropical gardening book from me. Also coconut nog. 

For dinner, we had more chickpea tart, which Andy reckons is the best savoury tart I've ever made. And grilled pineapple, and garlic bread (and more cheesecake).

And now it's Boxing Day, and we will eat the last of our cheesecake and watch Doctor Who. I hope you've all had as enjoyable a few days as we have!
Andy refused to put on a shirt, Tika refused to sit or stand up, and Nacho refused to come near us.


Anonymous said...

heh your food just kept getting better and better as I was reading! The festive chickpea tart has been on my to-make list for ages but I always say no because the family won't eat it. But I think I'll do it anyway. The latkes and cheesecake look awesome!

Kate said...

All looks lovely- esp the chickpea tart and cheesecake! And love the family pic and tika's pose :) merry Xmas x

Susan said...

Looks like a beautiful spread, I am yet to make that chickpea tart.
Christmas really did kind of seem to just pounce this year!
Let me know if you want me to send you up some gluten flour. :)

Hannah said...

Merry Christmas! And you managed to make one of the most beautiful raw cheesecakes I've ever seen. Kapow!

Kari said...

I'm still so glad you enjoyed the cheesecake - and as Hannah said, you made it beautifully pretty! Happy Christmas and I love your Christmas picture, Andy without a shirt and all ;) Mr B has started doing without a shirt when at home and I keep teasing him that he's turning into a Queenslander!

I also hope you can return to work very relaxed and for a less hectic/draining 2014. said...

It looks like you had a super fun christmas! I'm not a huge cheesecake fan but yours looks so tropical and fresh and delicious. I really want a latke now too!