Vegan puff pastry rolls plus a citrusy tiramisu rendition, a mini menu that’s fancy and no-frills, leaving you so much fun time with gifts and chats! PLUS: fave gluten-free packaged sweets.
The French call it “la cuisine du placard” – cupboard cuisine. Basically it’s about quick, often totally impressive recipes made with maybe half the effort at the most.
This often includes clever pre-made ingredients, and if you’re anything like me, I mean, if you enjoy a delicious meal but don’t want to cook it forever, you’re likely to enjoy my festive mini menu.
This mini menu of just two courses is ideal for a romantic couple (as in: cuddled up in front of their PS4s because Skyrim is finally there or because there are Destiny races to be won…), for entertaining friends who don’t care for a formal or traditional festive menu because they’d rather wander around the place, chat, giggle and enjoy themselves.
Recipe: Puff Pastry Rolls
With Spicy Vegan Sausages and Creamy, Smoky Spinach
Pigs in blankets? Whaaaat?… I was actually inspired by Filet Wellington. The spicy sausages are foolproof, and here’s the method:
1. Defrost pre-made puff pastry as per the instructions, figure out how much you need depending on the size of the pastry and the size of the sausages you choose – I use Schär’s gluten-free puff pastry and one is perfect for four vegan sausages. Preheat oven as per the instructions – with Schär, it’s 210°C.
2. Roast the spicy vegan sausages in an iron pan, drain of excess fat.
3. Meanwhile, wok-fry finely chopped pink onions and fresh or frozen spinach (so it yields about 3 tablespoons per sausage), when ready, season heavily, and I mean, heavily with smoked salt and white pepper.
4. By now, the oven should be ready and waiting. Unroll the puff pastry and cut in squares, fill each with 3 tablespoons spinach, one sausage, then roll.
5. TIP! A perfect alternative to an egg (yolk) to brush your puff pastry with is pure unsweetened apple sauce. And this is basically the last step: place the rolls with the seam on the bottom onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake – yup, as per your puff pastry instructions. I usually let the “haute dogs” sit in the oven for 10 minutes, and then watch with Argus-eyed so they don’t turn black.
6. Serve with a spicy, fruity dip, something like a berry mustard or a plum chutney. I have just discovered the Von Blythen plum and jasmine chutney during Heldenmarkt in November and am blown away. It’s thaaaaat gooooood!..
Recipe: Gluten-Free Lebkuchen Tiramisu
Vegan or Vegetarian, With Mandarins
Tiramisu is an all-time favourite, so I sometimes do miss it in my gluten-free life.
The tiramisu is easy to make but needs time, preferably overnight, to really develop the aromas. You can assemble this tiramisu in individual bowls or in one large bowl. Yields 6, generously:
1. Drain 2 jars of canned (of course, glass gars are the best option) and peeled mandarins very thoroughly.
2. Prep the “mascarpone”. Here you have two options.
The vegetarian option includes 750 grams of vegan cream cheese and vegan thickened cream (50/50), I have Soyananda and I gotta say I love it for the rich and fresh taste, for the lovely texture (not runny!) and the extra Omega 3 fix. Incorporate the grated peel of two small or one large organic oranges, 6 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 8 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar and blend until the texture is homogenous and firmly creamy.
The vegan alternative would be skipping the egg yolks and adding 2 teaspoons vegan margarine instead – good quality, and best without any prominent olive oil or walnut taste.
3. Crumble 400 g of soft gingerbreads! Best use non-glazed or sugar-glazed, but we went for chocolate-glazed, and it made for a very rich taste.
4. Time to assemble! I’m writing down instructions for one large bowl, but I think the idea is pretty clear for individual bowls as well. Let’s roll, I mean, let’s layer:
a. Put half of the destroyed gingerbreads into the bowl;
b. Mix 6 tablespoons of almond liqueur with 100 ml cooled espresso and drizzle the gingerbreads with half of this mix;
c. Spread half of the “mascarpone” blend on top;
d. Cover with the left gingerbread crumbles that you drizzle with the rest of the espresso-liqueur mix;
e. Cover with mandarin segments and layer the rest of the “mascarpone” blend.
f. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.
5. Get out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving and sprinkle with pure, unsweetened cacao powder 5 minutes prior to serving. If the cacao gets too moist, sprinkle again just before serving. In my case, one layer was perfect and didn’t get runny; I added a confectioner’s sugar dusting (a snowflake cut-out to the rescue) on top of that cacao goodness.
This mini menu works as well on Christmas Day 1, Day 2 or as a quick festive but no-fuzz dinner in-between. New Year’s Eve?
My Favourite Gluten-Free Ready-Made Sweets
Because baking isn’t everybody’s forte!
I wanted to highlight this for my friends and readers in Germany, because this is what I found (and liked!) from Berlin’s green supermarkets and green delis:LEFT TO RIGHT:
Super crispy and cinnamon-heavy speculoos (Schär), ideal base for a Christmas-flavoured cheesecake;
vegan-friendly Dominosteine (Hammermühle) – these are a German specialty, small, chocolate-covered gingerbread squares layered with marzipan and apricot jelly and I’ve cut one in half so you can have a closer look – and Hammermühle made them oooooh so heavenly juicy (!), which is outstanding, in particular for a gluten-free snack;
butter cookies (Hammermühle), because I won’t be baking, and these are ideal for an afternoon coffee;
in the organic specialty store located in the Alexa mall, they were selling several Elisen-gingerbread varieties – these two brands, Männl and Christof Frank, ended up being my favourites for the particularly soft texture, and those from Christof Frank were even vegan.