It’s the middle of January and you’re probably all feeling a little blue, so I thought it may be a good time to reminisce on the wonderful Christmas I had – mainly all the glorious food I enjoyed!
Before I went home for Christmas, I went to a few parties/dinners, my favourite of which was hosted by my good friend Erica. She’s a veggie so understood about different diets and made me my own ‘gary board’ with Sainsburys’ vegan cheeses and a brie which she’d bought from an actual restaurant! My other friend Lucy also made vegan mince pies which tasted amazing – I actually stole the recipe from her (just replace the butter with a vegan variety). It was very kind of them both, and I also made some vegan treats to take along including brownies, peppermint fudge and my favourite: gingerbread tiffin!
Unfortunately the gingerbread men you can see top right were a bitter disappointment. They were from Deliciously Ella’s book and although I absolutely adore every single savoury recipe I’ve tried, I have thus far had little success with her baking recipes!
I went to Lucy’s the day we finished work and we had a wonderful Christmassy day. We made those mince pies (and vegan Baileys) so I could take them home with me, watched Christmas films and went singing carols in the park by candlelight in the evening. It really got me in the festive mood! On my way home the next day I went via my Nan’s to help her make mince pies and Christmas cakes for the rest of the family, then went to my Grandad’s house to have some quality time with my Dad’s side of the family who I don’t see very often. Here I dished out the Baileys and enjoyed being in the company of family.
Christmas Eve was spent walking the dogs and then partaking in our annual tradition of going to our family friends’ house to watch a movie and get an Indian takeaway! It’s funny how things have changed: before I thought about my health at all I would get a chicken korma with pilau rice and a naan, then once I was more health conscious moved on to chicken shashlik (grilled chicken and veg) with boiled rice and now I go for vegetable dhansak (made with lentils and a sweet/spicy sauce), chana (chickpeas) as a side and boiled rice and chapati! Sometimes I save half for the next day but often I manage to gobble most of it in one go! I love going to Karen’s house on Christmas Eve as it’s always immaculately decorated and looks wonderful; she could probably pay people to view it!
Finally it was Christmas Day! Yipee! Since I started running I’ve gone for a little festive jog on Christmas morning, as I love to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ to everyone I see – there are normally a lot of dog walkers out! This time I went to the Christmas Day parkrun and met up with my friends Jo and Anna. I’ve known Jo for years since being in college and music ensembles together, and now we’ve been reunited by our shared love of running (which is amazing since when we were at college together we were united by our shared hatred of missing the bus and having to walk from college into town)! I ‘virtually’ met Anna when I was reading her blog and realised I recognised the places she was talking about, turns out we were both from Southampton! We emailed a lot, then eventually met up at a few parkruns and it’s been lovely getting to know her in person, so this festive parkrun was a wonderful way to start Christmas!
Jo is a whippet so she sailed ahead but Anna and I were both a bit cautious coming back from injuries so we ran together and chatted which was lovely.
Then it was time to return home and get ready for the main event: lunch! We went out to a restaurant this year, which we’ve only ever done once before. My Sister had a baby last in 2015 so that year we discovered cooking Christmas dinner and looking after a little one was a bit too much! We had a great meal, the food was delicious, but it’s still not the same as being in your own home. Nice not to have any washing up to do though! I’d spoken to the chef already and we’d agreed I’d have soup for starter, nut roast for main and he’d surprise me with dessert. I was excited as I’d mentioned I’d love chocolate, however I ended up with…sorbet. Rather disappointing but better than a fruit salad none the less, and at least he made it look pretty!
There was a slight vegetable panic as they only brought out brussels spouts cauliflower cheese and creamy mashed potatoes and swede to start with, then when I asked if there were any more I was simply told ‘no’. My sister desperately tried to salvage me some uncontaminated spouts from the middle of their veg boat but then a waiter appeared with my own bowl of steamed veg! Hurrah! So crisis averted (veggies are my favourite part!), and those roasties were deeeeelicious. Probably the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten in my life.
For my first experience of a vegan Christmas dinner I must say I was pretty impressed – though next year I’ll request a better dessert if we eat out again! I was also surprised at how comfortably full I felt after the meal, whilst the rest of my family were totally stuffed. When we thought about it, it was obviously because they’d all feasted on rich meat followed by cream and christmas pudding whilst my meal had certainly been the lighter option, thus leaving me room for those mince pies when I got home!
Stay tuned for the post Christmas indulgences coming up in part 2!