All I want for Christmas: Tips for a Vegetarian Feast.
We all want our Christmas Day meal to be a special and memorable event. It is a chance to sit down with family and friends, share good food and reflect on the events of the year and times past. If you are having family members or guests this year who are vegetarian, this can bring an extra special dimension to the occasion. These recipes are all about celebrating seasonal ingredients, cooked in a way that brings out the very best flavours and I promise you they will delight and satisfy everyone at the table.
Just like traditional turkey, ham or goose, when cooking for vegetarian guests, planning ahead is important. All these ingredients are available in store and online at Ardkeen Quality Food Store and can be bought well in advance. Much of the preparation can be done in the days beforehand, leaving you free to enjoy your guests on the day.
For starter we have Fennel and Orange Salad. A beautifully light, fragrant dish with creamy Irish goat’s cheese dressed in a rice wine vinaigrette. This will please all your guests, vegetarian or not.
Packed full of seasonal texture and flavour the Roast veg, Chestnut, Pesto and Goats Cheese Wellington main course is a celebration of all things plant based. It can be made a day or two in advance and either cooked or reheated on the day and will add the vegetarian ‘wow’ factor to your Christmas table. It pairs beautifully with red cabbage and roast potatoes and it also makes a divine leftover lunch for St. Stephen’s Day as the flavours intensify. That is if there are any leftovers!
Poached Pears in wine and cardamom. What can I say? One of the most ancient fruits meets some of the most ancient and aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron. Cloaked in a syrup which will remain in your food memory for years to come. My only hint here is that you quietly save some of said syrup to pour on your porridge on the lovely lazy mornings that will follow the big day. That is a taste sensation and one you deserve.
Your guests will feel the love even more with a wine pairing from our extensive range of organic wines. Any or all of these wines would sit beautifully with these three dishes.
My Recommended Wine Pairings
M.Chapoutier La Ciboise Luberon
‘Anyone who creates wines must be generous and festive’ Michel Chapoutier. Respecting a combination of soil, climate and human talent, M Chapoutier’s wines are all about Terroir. This wine is well-balanced on the palate with black fruit aromas (blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant).
Petalos Organic Bierzo 2013
Benefiting from the cool climate in the region of Bierzo, in northwest corner of Spain, Pétalos del Bierzo expressive black cherry, currant, liquorice, mineral and smoke flavours mingle in this focused red. The texture is gentle but firm, with well-integrated tannins and racy acidity providing structure.
Remondo La Vendimia Organic Rioja 2014 750ml
Lively and lucid, this wine has supple aromas of fresh orchard fruit, wild berries and ripe blood oranges. Fruit-forward and round on the palate, the aromas found on the nose are mimicked in the mouth and include additional notes of sweet spice and raspberry jam. This wine can be served slightly chilled and is the perfect accompaniment to any dish.
Mureda Sauvignon Blanc
Golden colour with greenish hues. Pleasant fruity aromas (mainly pineapple and peach) and fresh flower notes. A rounded and fruity aftertaste.
A golden pale colour. Fresh, rounded and fruity aftertaste. Fresh, persistent, unctuous and very fruity. Pleasant tropical fruit aromas with mineral notes. Chill to 8ºC - 10ºC
Huia Sauvignon Blanc
Passionate about crafting Marlborough’s finest wines, Huia reflects the remarkable fruit characters the region is renowned for Huias Sauvignon Blanc is intense and fruity with zesty, lip-tingling gooseberry and lime notes underlined with just a hint of tropical passion fruit. Bright and fresh - but rounded too.
Remondo La Vendimia Organic Rioja 2014 750ml
Lively and lucid, this wine has supple aromas of fresh orchard fruit, wild berries and ripe blood oranges. Fruit-forward and round on the palate, the aromas found on the nose are mimicked in the mouth and include additional notes of sweet spice and raspberry jam. This ORGANIC wine can be served slightly chilled and is the perfect accompaniment to any dish. 14% vol. Product of Spain
Petalos Organic Bierzo 2013 75cl
The region of Bierzo, in the northwest corner of Spain, is getting noticed more and more these days. The predominant grape grown in Bierzo is Mencia. The Mencia grape benefits from a cool climate, hillside vineyards, mineral-laden soil, and low-yielding old vines. All of these conditions help to make wines with great concentration, complexity, and amazing purity.
Pétalos del Bierzo is assembled from old hillside and hilltop vines from across Bierzo’s western edge. The wine is vinified for immediate appeal, but it retains the estate’s signature finesse and restraint.
Expressive black cherry, currant, liquorice, mineral and smoke flavours mingle in this focused red. The texture is gentle but firm, with well-integrated tannins and racy acidity providing structure. A compact wine that shows good intensity.
M.Chapoutier La Ciboise Luberon 2014 75cl
A permanent objective to work on differences in tastes, to bring out the specific tastes provided by each local terroir and wine. This is how we could sum up the Chapoutier Estate quest, which has been present in the Rhone Valley since 1808.
Second Nature Oils Organic Rapeseed Oil 500ml
Second Nature’s 'Bee friendly' rapeseed oil is grown, cold pressed & bottled without the use of industrial solvents, heat treatments, activated carbon & of course, no additives or preservatives are added. Her organic licence means that their oil is grown without the use of any nasty chemical fungicides, insecticides, herbicides & synthetic fertilisers. This helps to sustain some of the happiest, healthiest honey bees in Ireland!
Rapeseed oil is known to the health conscious & many dietitians recognise its nutritional benefits, not to mention the fact that chefs love it. Delicious in dressings, marinades, dipping, drizzling, slow roasting & baking. This mild tasting oil adds an amazing flavour wherever you might want to replace butter & where the taste of olive oil would be too intrusive. We are delighted to have found a local producer of rapeseed oil and even more so that it is a winner of so many prestigious awards!
Epicure Organic Bijoux Verts Lentils 400g
Epicure's Organic Bijoux Lentils have a distinct nutty flavour and hold their texture when cooked. They can be used as the basis for any lentil recipe and are particularly recommended for casseroles, soups, and as an accompaniment for fish and chicken dishes. These Lentils have been pre-cooked; simply drain and rinse well prior to use
Cueillette Descours Organic Cooked Chestnuts 200g
Organic Cooked Chestnuts. With no added water or salt. No preservatives. A natural dish for all seasons. Use as an accompaniment to meat, poultry, game, fish and salad etc. Can be used for soups, stuffing and desserts.
O’Neill’s Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Flakes Handcrafted Pure and Natural 110g
Irish Atlantic seasalt flakes are hand crafted by the O'Neill family on the Beara peninsula in West Cork, Ireland. The O'Neills skilfully harvest the salt flakes from the pristine waters surrounding the rugged peninsula which stretches out to the Wild Atlantic. These pures seasalt flakes are 100% natural and contain valuable trace elements such as potassium, magnesium and calcium - essential for your well-being. Use these gourmet salt flakes in your cooking and at your table.
Pure Food Company Rocket & Garlic Pesto 180g
A pure, vibrant pesto made with fresh rocket and flavoursome garlic.
Cecilia Beretta Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2015 75cl
A pleasant, balanced, harmonious and fruity wine of good structure with floral notes and hints of pear and apricot.
Food Recommendation: To be served cool, with starters, delicate first course dishes, fish, white meat and soufflés.
Highbank Orchards Organic Irish Orchard Liqueur Brandey 50cl
This is a great Highbank creation. unique to Ireland this drink is 100% organic apples with all of the ageing tannins coming from the apple. It is a rich, smooth liqueur very much at home with all of the after dinner drinks and specialist cocktails, especially with ginger and cinnamon. Again, another great postprandial drink on the rocks.
Highbank Orchards Organic Irish Orchard Spirit Liqueur 20cl
Highbank orchard liqueur is lovingly distilled, using only Highbank Organic Apples, in our small, contemporary, copper pot still with rectification column, capturing the unique taste of the apples to give a delicious orchard liqueur for the connoisseur.