It was a wonderful gathering and an opportunity for self-care, to reflect and connect within during the Christmas rush. I have been feeling very reflective lately as the end of the year hurtles closer... looking back and looking forward at the same time can feel overwhelming!
I was planning lots of recipes in the lead up to the event, looking for ideas that could easily cater for larger numbers, that would be simple to prepare (the kitchen facilities at the venue are basic) and that would taste festive and sumptuous (haven't used that word in a while!)
I settled for a roasted parsnip soup (I will post that recipe another time), a roasted brussel sprout, quinoa, cranberry and almond salad (I used this recipe as a guide) AND a mushroom bourguignon... oh it was good, a rich, smooth and silky 'gravy' just like the photos imply! It all went down a treat and got rave reviews with lots of requests for the recipe!
The recipes I found were all based on using red wine but I was keen to avoid this in a communal wellbeing setting and so instead of the bottle of red wine I replaced this with a carton of red grape juice and a 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (yes that does contain a little alcohol but much less overall). It worked a treat!
I used chestnut mushrooms for the slightly nuttier flavour, I also recommend using baby chantenay carrots- the bonus is these don't need peeling either, just a good scrub! Any other veg is up to you. I added green beans, but red peppers or peas would be great too. This recipe from The Veg Space was my original inspiration but there are lots of similar variations.
This would may a wonderful dish as part of your festive dining experience, or served as a meal on its own with a pile of creamy mashed potato (or mashed root veg combo!) would also be amazing.
I'd love to hear what dishes will be adorning your Christmas table?
if you haven't yet tried it... I highly recommend my mini Christmas pudding porridge. It's a winner- promise! :-)
Recipe: Mushroom Bourgingnon
Serves approx 6-8 (half the recipe I orginally made- feel free to halve again)
5 shallots - coarsley chopped
a bag of baby carrots- approx 10-12 - sliced
a pack of green beans- approx 2 handfuls
3 garlic cloves - crushed
400g chestnut mushrooms
400ml red grape juice
approx 2 tbs red wine vinegar
250ml veg stock
3 tbs tomato puree
1 heaped tbs vegan gravy powder (or cornflower, as the Bisto powder I used was mainly cornflower)
a handful of fresh herbs- I used rosemary, sage and thyme.
And the garlic, carrots and shallots to a large pan with 2 teaspoons of oil of choice and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Cut the mushrooms into quarters, add to the pan along with the green ebans (and any other veg) and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the gravy powder/cornflower in a small bowl with a little of the grape juice to form a thick smooth paste. Add this to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and then cook until it looks thickened and 'glossy'- approx 10 minutes. Add some finely chopped fresh herbs in the final five minutes of cook time- reserve some to sprinkle to serve if desired.
Serve immediately with mashed potato or alongside other dishes. A wedge of crusty bread would be great too!
Note: I ate leftovers the next day and it tasted amazing, the flavours seemed even richer. Therefore, I think this would also be a great prep-the-day-before dish!
These were the other savoury delights from the event... I also created a new flavour of 'bliss ball' for the after sound bath treat along with some warmed spiced apple juice.
These were ginger, orange, goji and turmeric bliss balls. Deliciously festive! I will get this on the blog soon... but if you want to give them a go, use any basic bliss ball recipe (dates and ground nuts) and add a few goji berries, ground ginger ground turmeric and orange zest to taste.