With a light soup starter, spicy Christmas curry as the main delight and fruity trifle for dessert, we’ve got the perfect festive feast all wrapped up!
Caramelised Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Pear and Brioche Toast
Serves: 4 Prep Time: 40 mins plus proofing time for brioche Cook Time: 45 mins
For the brioche:
350g plain flour
15g fresh yeast, or 5g dried active yeast
15g caster sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
80g aquafaba (the canned chickpea liquid you usually pour down the drain)
100g coconut milk
50g non-dairy milk
100g non-dairy butter
1 teaspoon olive oil, for greasing
For the soup:
1kg Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed clean
25ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
¼ bunch thyme
500ml vegetable stock
250ml non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the brioche, place the flour into a stand mixer bowl, or a large mixing bowl. In separate places on the flour, add the yeast, sugar and salt. Add the aquafaba and milks in the centre of the flour and mix together, using a dough hook on your stand mixer on a low speed, or a firm wooden spoon, to form a smooth dough. When the dough is incorporated increase the mixer speed until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. If doing by hand, knead on your bench until dough loses all its stickiness.
Add the butter and work in until completely mixed into the dough. Work until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl again. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave somewhere warm to double in size.
Gently tip onto a lightly floured bench and shape into a loaf shape. Place into a greased 18 x 9cm loaf tin and cover with cling film. Leave somewhere warm to prove again, until double in size. Preheat oven to 175℃ whilst the dough is on its second prove.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Tip out of the loaf tin and leave to cool on a rack.
For the soup, place the artichokes in a roasting tray with the olive oil, thyme and seasoning. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a deep golden colour. Remove from the oven and add the stock and milk to the roasting tray. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the thyme then blend everything together, adding a little more stock if too thick. Season as necessary.
For the pears, roughly chop them, removing the core, and coat in the olive oil. Place on a roasting dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until a deep golden colour. Blend together, adding a little water if necessary, to form a smooth purée.
Serve the soup with a dollop of the pear purée and toasted brioche.
Crimbo Limbo Curry with Stuffing Kofta
Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 1hr 40 mins
Grace Regan, founder of SpiceBox, an award-winning Vegan, plant-powered, Indian street food in London, says this is the modern alternative to a traditional festive feast – the vegan Christmas dinner. ‘The tomato sauce base of this delicious curry is spiced with classic Christmas flavours and the stuffing kofta balls and brussels sprouts provide body and texture. You may think it’s weird to put stuffing in a curry but these balls aren’t a far cry from traditional Indian kofta – small spiced potato patties used in many vegetarian dishes. The veg listed here are just a suggestion, you can use any you wish, and this is a great dish for using up leftovers.’
For the curry sauce
2 large cinnamon sticks
2 large onions, finely diced
5 whole cloves
4 cardamon pods (seeds only)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds (ground)
1 tsp black peppercorns (ground)
1 star anise
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red chilli (or 1 tsp hot red chilli powder), finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ tbsp brown sugar
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 tbsp garam masala
Salt (to taste)
‘If your vegetables are already cooked simply give them a blast in the hot oven before adding them to the curry sauce,’ says Grace. ‘It’s good to try to crisp up the veg a bit as it adds a good texture.’
1 pack of vegetarian stuffing mix
Large pinch of fennel seeds
Pinch dried chilli flakes
250g butternut squash, peeled and roughly diced
300g brussels sprouts (with outer leaves taken off)
250g parsnips. Peeled and cut into batons
Large pinch cumin seeds
Pre-heat you over to 180 degrees (fan). Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large heavy-based frying pan or shallow casserole dish.
Add the cinnamon sticks. Add the onions and fry until soft and golden brown.
While the onions are cooking, heat a small frying pan and add the remaining whole spices. Toast until golden and fragrant. Place in a spice grinder/small blender or pestle and mortar and grind to a rough powder. Put aside.
Peel and chop/crush the garlic and ginger. Place in a blender/spice grinder/pestle and mortar with a generous splash of water and blend until a thick paste is formed.
Once the onions are cooked, stir in the spice mix followed by the ginger/garlic mix and chilli. The added water should keep the spices from burning but if they begin to catch, add another splash of water.
Stir well until everything is cooked through, then add the tomato paste and brown sugar.
Leave everything to cook for at least 15 minutes. The tomato paste needs to cook through and absorb the flavours of the spice mix. Keep checking the pan, adding water if necessary.
During this time you can start to prep the stuffing balls. Follow the packet instructions, which usually involves adding boiling water to the dry mix and leaving it to stand for a while. While the stuffing is standing toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan until golden. Add them to the stuffing with the chilli flakes.
The curry base will now be ready for the chopped tomatoes – pour them into the pan then fill up the empty tin with water and add to the tomatoes. You can do this twice, perhaps more depending on how thick a sauce you want (for a thick sauce use 1.5 tins of water).
Add the soy sauce and leave the sauce to gentle simmer away for at least 20 minites (ideally longer – the longer you leave it, the better the flavour).
While the sauce is bubbling away, you can get your stuffing and veg cooked. Create the stuffing balls by scooping up a small amount of the mix with your fingers and rolling between your palms until a ball is formed. The samller the balls the crisper they will be. It’s good to have a crispy outside and soft middle so don’t make them too small.
Lay the balls out on a greased baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they are a deep golden brown.
Put your butternut squash cubes on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, a generous pinch of salt and the cumin seeds. Make sure the squash is well coated then roast for 30 minutes until soft and a bit dark around the edges.
It’s a similar process for the sprouts – drizzle them with a bit of oil followed by a pinch of salt and the chilli flakes. Roast for 15 minutes (if you’re cooking them from raw). You want them to still be slightly crunchy on the inside. No one like a soggy sprout!
When all the veg is cooked add to the curry sauce with the garam masala. Stir well.
Taste the curry, adding more salt/sugar if necessary. Serve with rice and cranberry chutney.
Serves: 10-15 Prep time: 45minutes
For the Vegan Sponge Cake:
400g plain flour
400g (7 oz) caster sugar
2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Handful of fresh cherries (stalks on)
100g raw/vegan chocolate, chopped
Edible gold dust (optional) / desiccated coconut / hundreds and thousands
Pink food colouring or 2tsp crushed, freeze dried raspberries (optional)
400g Soya Custard (shop bought)
For vegan buttercream:
50g Vegan butter
150g icing sugar, sifted
1 x 415g can fruit cocktail in juice, drained (we love Del Monte)
1 x 415g can Peach Slices in Juice, drained (say yes to Del Monte!)
Berries & edible flowers for decoration
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly grease a 2 x 20cm round cake tin. Sieve together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
Pour some of the mixture into prepared tin and bake at 180 C for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Use the remaining cake mix and repeat this process for more cake layers. (Usually makes 4 or 5 cake layers)
Soak the sponge cake by pricking the surface with a fork and gently drizzling with elderflower cordial.
Prepare cherries for decoration by melting and coating in raw chocolate. Once set, brush with gold dust (optional)
Add colouring or freeze dried raspberries to shop bought soya custard.
Make your vegan buttercream by adding your icing sugar and vegan butter to a mixing bowl and beat using your electric mixer, start at low speed, gradually increasing speed until perfectly smooth.
Now it’s time to assemble your trifle! Gently place the first layer of soaked sponge cake into the base of your trifle bowl.
Top the cake with a layer of peach slices. Then add a layer of pink soya custard and another layer of cake. Top this with a layer of fruit cocktail.
Then add a layer of pink soya custard and another layer of cake.
Repeat this pattern as many times as your bowl allows, ensuring you finish with a final layer of sponge cake.
Using a piping bag, pipe the top layer with the vegan buttercream with extra dabs piped in a circle around the edge of the trifle.
Place your decorated cherries where you have piped your dabs and decorate with fresh berries and edible flowers.
This recipe has been created by London bakery owner, Lily Vanilli, to celebrate Del Monte’s 125th anniversary. For more recipe inspiration visit delmonte.com