Recipe: Fakemas and lentil & caramelised red onion Wellington

fakemas - vegan recipes for an alternative christmasIt’s starting to look a lot like Christmas! The silly Christmas jumpers are out in force. There’s lots of hungover people on the trains and the trees are bowing under the weight of baubles.

For me, as an unreligious, spiritual person, Christmas seems to be more of a commercial holiday. People are happy to give gifts to each other, eat, drink and be merry, but without focusing on why the 25th, why gifts, why in general.

I do feel it’s a lovely time to spend with people you love, but I don’t feel that should be on any prescribed day. I would rather give gifts to people I love at times when it’s seems natural, rather than forced, spend quality time appreciating the others company, throughout the year, for no reason, just because you love each other.

I have a habit of running overseas for Xmas, where I relish in doing something alternative, like surfing on Xmas day, eating curry etc. That said, I do have loved ones who are more festively minded than me and I give in to Fakemas. Which I prefer. Spending nice times with my family on a random day is totally what it’s all about to me.

My first vegetarian Christmas I had no idea what to have as an alternative to meat. My friend Jo, found a recipe online for lentil & caramelised red onion Wellington and it has become my go to roast dinner special since then. The Rosemary and pepper fools meat eaters with the flavours normally associated with meats and they generally don’t notice the meal is lacking meat. I keep trying other things, but this is so delicious, it’s impossible to beat. Two years ago I was at home for actual Christmas and my Aunty and cousins came round on Christmas Day to have Christmas with us. I loved that my Aunty and cousin Louie had seconds of the Wellington and left their meat. One small victory. Maybe next time they’ll choose Wellington and no meat!

Who wouldn't want to eat this for Fakemas lunch?! Lentil & Caramelised Red Onion Wellington

Who wouldn’t want to eat this for Fakemas lunch?! Lentil & Caramelised Red Onion Wellington

Linda McCartney vegan friendly sausages are my quick roast dinner accompaniment backup.

Nut roast is a great option. Believe me, sounds cliched but we love it! My Aunty Chris made a really delicious one with lemon thyme and lemon balm but I don’t have the recipe to hand so I’ll have to do a follow up piece when back from travels and reunited with my recipe book!

Jamie Oliver posted a full vegan meal on his website, i’m definitely going to try the Mushroom parcelswhole roasted cauliflower & nut roast with a twist.  There’s very pleasingly a whole rabbit warren of vegan recipes to fall into!

I can’t add much to the big man’s version of Christmas, but give the Lentil and Onion Wellington a go:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of red lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 red onions sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp rosemary (ideally fresh, if not more of the dried), chopped
  • 375 g pre-rolled, ready-made puff pastry – jus rol in the UK is vegan

Instructions:
– bring the red lentils to the boil with the water and simmer until cooked through. You can add more water if you need it but you don’t want to drain the lentils, rather cook out the water so the lentils aren’t too wet.
– fry your red onion slices in a little oil until well cooked, adding the tablespoon of sugar and continuing to cook until caramelised
– add the lentils to the onions with the Rosemary and lemon and combine, trying to get all the flavour from the onion pan into the lentils
– allow to cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 mins. This will help the lentil mass be more manageable with the puff pastry. It can also be prepared well in advance of popping the Wellington in the oven, which makes this very easy to schedule in.
– if you’re using puff pastry, make sure it’s defrosted/thawing as you preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
– when the lentil mix is nicely chilled, remove from the fridge and lay out down the middle of your puff pastry. I normally trine corners off to help it close without too much excess pastry and use this to cut out little designs to decorate the Wellington. Use water to help the edges stick, decorate, pierce a few holes for the hot air to escape through when cooking and pop in the oven. It should take about 20-25 minutes depending upon your oven. You may need to turn midway, keep an eye on it.
– serve with roast potatoes, loads of veggies and gravy.
– as they say in brazil, delicioso!

All that’s missing is mum’s apple an blackberry pie and vegan friendly custard from alpro.

 

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