Merry Vegan Christmas
Merry Christmas everyone. It has been quite the year. After a little break between Thanksgiving and New Year I wanted to write my last blog of 2019. How do you round up such a crazy 12 months? I like to think of this Christmas as my first official Vegan Christmas as last year I was a baby vegan who was just finding my feet and this year I felt more like a pro!
I’d like to focus this blog on some of my Christmas antics, a review of my favourite vegan discoveries of 2019… from food to beauty and my top tips to living thoughtfully and mindfully. Eyes down and look in… 3 more days of 2019 so let’s close this year off with a bang and get ready for 2020!
Highlights: Christmas 2019
The Official Norwich Vegan’s 5th Christmas Market
As I have come to expect the Vegan Christmas market was brilliant, so many amazing vegan companies under one roof. We discovered a few new treats like, There’s No Catch, Vegan Vfish and chips (you can find them on Norwich Market) and our old favourites like The Norwegian Baker. The market is free to attend and always so well supported, the perfect place to go and discover some great vegan food before Christmas and dip your feet into the world of veganism if you are a newbie.
This year we celebrated with some friends at Pizza Express while listening to the Jonathan Wyatt Big Band’s show ‘Swing into Christmas’. The atmosphere was great (though the big band did make a rather BIG noise!) but we got a hefty dose of Christmas and enjoyed some fantastic food.
We started with a Pizza Express classic, vegan dough balls, served with pestorissa, a harissa spiced tomato dip. Followed by Veneziana classic pizza, topped with pine kernels, red onion, capers, black olives, sultanas, vegan mozzarella and tomato and a ‘make you own’ spicy vegan pizza, topped with mushrooms, red peppers, red onion, vegan mozzarella, tomato, jalapeno, Cajun spices and garlic oil.
Pizza Express is incapable of disappointing.
Vegan Party Food
The supermarkets surpassed all expectations this year with their vegan party food nibbles. Is there anything better than a Christmas Buffet? And this year vegans were not left out of the fun.
So, in no particular order, here are a few of the best nibbles I have tried this season, from each of the big supermarkets:
1. Aldi Specially Selected Vegetable Tempura Nests (£2.99)
8 Vegetable Tempura Nests made with a range of vegetables encased in batter, served with a sweet chilli dip.
2. Sainsbury’s Vegan Festive Trimmings Selection box (£5.50)
A selection of 10 vibrant and peppery vegan mushroom sausages wrapped in vegan bacon and 12 mushroom stuffing balls with sage, lightly seasoned with cracked black pepper.
3. Tesco Finest Thai Inspired Rolls (£4.00)
Butternut squash, coconut, lemongrass and lime leaf mix wrapped in pastry and sprinkled with desiccated coconut, paprika flakes and parsley flakes.
4. Marks & Spencer Oriental Vegetable Selection (£10.00)
8 x Crispy Vegetable Balls, 8 x Spicy Sweet and Sour Wontons and 8 x Wok Toasted Sweetcorn Cones.
5. Waitrose Vegan Beet Wellingtons (£7.00)
Puff pastry filled with rich beetroot, mushroom and topped with a beetroot breadcrumb.
6. ASDA 10 Vegan Bombay Potato Croquettes (£2.00)
A blend of soft potato and spiced vegetables, wrapped in panko breadcrumbs & black sesame seeds.
VEGAN RECIPE: Cheese Twists
Although we were spoilt for choice when it came to party food this season, sometimes you cannot beat a bit of home cooking so here is a new recipe I found, for easy to make, crowd pleasing vegan cheese straws.
1 sheet vegan puff pastry
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
50g parmesan alternative
100g cheddar alternative
- preheat the oven to 200 °C.
- Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a chopping board, brush with a little water to dampen slightly (my favourite is Jus Rol as its vegan-friendly and readily available from most supermarkets).
- In a bowl mix together the paprika, cayenne pepper, parmesan and cheddar (I used Violife cheddar and parmesan alternative).
- Sprinkle the cheese and spice mix over the damp puff pastry evenly and press slightly to ensure it sticks.
- Carefully fold the pastry in half, long edge to long edge, and using a rolling pin, roll the pastry firmly but gently to help create a crease along the folded part. Using a sharp knife cut the folded pastry into 1 inch thick strips.
- Place some baking paper onto a baking sheet and pick up the first slice of cheese filled pastry and twist 2 or 3 times and lay on to the tray, pressing the ends into the tray slightly.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before enjoying!
Top 3 Vegan Discoveries
It’s Absurd. Big Five £12.00
It is no secret how much I love this cheese! It really has been one of my favourite vegan discoveries this year- not only are their cheeses absolutely delicious but they are responsible for restoring my love of cheese, which I thought I’d left behind when I became vegan. You can buy each individual flavour or the amazing value Big Five Box- the cheese can easily be frozen too, so you won’t waste a bite!
Better yet, click and collect is launching on January 18th 2020, so you will be able to order Absurd Cheese online and collect at KindaKafe, Castle Meadow in Norwich… Absurd Nutrition will be hosting a pop up shop in KindaKafe on January 18th too, so pop down and meet the genius behind the cheese!
Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioner
Dry, cracked and chapped lips are intensely nourished with this incredibly restorative, deliciously minty balm. Bursting with 26 lip-loving plant extracts to smooth and moisturise, this rich, creamy balm provides a subtle lip colour and plump, super-soft lips in an instant.
A late discovery for me as it was gifted to me for Christmas, but I am obsessed already! Our lips suffer in winter with the changes in temperature and I was struggling and couldn’t find a product that just felt nourishing and powerful enough to restore the softness… Until this lip conditioner- from the very first application my lips felt better, it’s thick, luscious and non-greasy. Perfect.
I cannot get enough of Brewdog. I love the atmosphere, the friendly staff, the amount of vegan drinks on offer and their amazing vegan menu. From the irresistible Clucky This Time, to the always impressive Beyond Meat Burger to the spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings!
Best of all, every Monday is Vegan Mondays! 2-4-1 on all veggie and vegan mains.
12 Things to Always Remember
As we close out 2019, I just want to share with you a list to ‘always remember’ that I discovered when I read Vex King’s Good Vibes, Good Life.
- The past cannot be changed
- Opinions don’t define your reality
- Everyone’s journey is different
- Things always get better with time
- Judgments are a confession of character
- Overthinking will lead to sadness
- Happiness is found within
- Positive thoughts create positive things
- Smiles are contagious
- Kindness is free
- You only fail if you quit
- What goes around, comes around
However 2019 has treated you, I wish you a Happy End of Year and a very Happy New Year. 2020 here we come …