Christmas Dinner






Christmas dinner this year wasn’t much different to what I’ve made before. I wrote about the starter on my other blog here but for the main course as usual I made Seitan en Croute. I love using this a centrepiece, not least because I like using the leftovers with chips and coleslaw on Boxing Day. It’s not too difficult or time consuming, works perfectly every time and the flavours match the rest of the meal perfectly. I do keep intending to stuff the seitan before cooking it, but I haven’t yet tried it.

For the rest of the meal I stayed very traditional. Roast potatoes, of course. Yorkshire puddings, I’ve tried a number of versions but I think this one might just be the best yet (I used Pura white fat in the tray rather than margarine). Stuffing balls. This year I stuck with a fairly traditional sausage based recipe based on Nigel Slater’s (warning – the link goes to a goose recipe). I used Sainsbury’s meat free sausages and changed the mint for sage. Bread sauce. I use Delia’s recipe, just making the obvious vegan replacements. Broccoli, Creamed leeks with bacon (I just used Redwoods). Gravy. I used the recipe from American Vegan Kitchen. It’s a great basic gravy which is highly flavoured but doesn’t overpower the rest of the meal.

The picture below is the whole meal before it was doused with gravy. Christmas is the only time of the year when I ever cook a roast, but I love it just for that one day.

Ingredient 18 – Juniper Berries


I took a picture of the use by date but it came out too blurry. I can tell you though that it was a long long time ago – it’s another one where the label has changed since I bought it. (In fact, we’ve had 2 different Prime Ministers since then!).  Sometimes ingredients keep well as long as they haven’t been opened but this wasn’t really one of them. It hadn’t gone off or anything but juniper berries should smell like a strong gin and tonic and this smelt like the gin and tonic you make for yourself at the end of the bottle when you’re wringing it out to get the last drop.

Even searching through my countless cookbooks and the internet didn’t help me to find any enticing recipes for these, which I suppose is why they’ve been in the cupboard so long. In the end I decided to use them in some sauerkraut as I saw a lot of references to juniper infused cabbage/sauerkraut on the internet. I used the finished sauerkraut in one of my favourite sandwiches, the Knife and Fork Reuben from American Vegan Kitchen.

You can never go wrong with this sandwich but unsurprisingly the juniper didn’t really come through. It wasn’t unpleasant but the pot has gone in the bin and I doubt it will be replaced

Have I missed a trick with juniper berries? Do you love them?