Very vegan trifle (and other Christmas food)

Great success!

My vegan trifle was a pretty big hit, apparently.

Check it out.

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I don’t know if other countries do this, but , in Australia a Trifle is pretty much mandatory for Christmas. In fact, the only time I ever make one is for Christmas. I’m fairy confident they have their origins in England but we Aussies seem to go nuts for Christmas trifles. A few years ago I had three Christmas meals (lunch, dinner, then Boxing Day lunch) with three different parts of my family. Each meal had a trifle for dessert.

There’s might be a few different versions, but the ones we’ve always eaten have been layers of cake (with sherry or other fortified wine sprinkled over), jelly, fruit, custard and cream. Generally it’s topped with fruit and/or chocolate flakes.

Not too vegan friendly as it is.
Gary loves trifles and I was determined that being vegan would not mean he misses out.

So I did a little label reading, moved a little away from traditional and made the trifle as follows:

Cake layer: I just made a vanilla cake using egg replacer and soy milk (cheap cake mix had no animal ingredients)

Jelly layer: the local health food shop had gelatin free jelly. I added some tinned fruit to it while it was setting.

Custard: quite a few custard powder brands are vegan, it’s the dairy in made-up custard that isn’t vegan. So I made up some custard with coconut milk (the kind for drinking, not for curries). It was delicious.

Cream: I made whipped coconut cream! It was so good. The first lot I tried, which I tried the morning of Christmas Eve, didn’t work. The coconut cream had emulsifiers so I’m guessing that meant it didn’t separate enough. I went to the health food shop and got organic, emulsifier free coconut cream and it was amazing. Decadent, yet light enough that I didn’t die after a spoonful.

Whipped coconut cream is so easy. Just pop a can in the fridge overnight (you need full fat too, not light). When you open it, it will be solid on top. Scoop out the solid part, and beat till fluffy. I added a small amount of icing sugar just for a tiny bit of sweetness.

Then stack it all up! I also put some of our muscat on the cake. I grew up in Rutherglen, a fairly well know region amongst people who enjoy fortified wines, particularly port, muscat, and tokay* so I like to use a local muscat in these sorts of things rather than the traditional Sherry.

In celebration of all that coconut, we topped it with strawberries, banana and mango.

The resulting trifle was creamy, but not too heavy, well balanced, and a bit hit amongst the animal product consuming crowd.

For dinner we went home (with our leftover trifle) and my brother David came round.

We had a BBQ feast.

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the meat you see is the venison steak Dave brought from home. Mum gets meat that a friend up in the hills hunts – far more ethical than commercialised farming! I didn’t mind throwing it on the BBQ for him, but we did joke about having to throw out the BBQ after

I marinated some tofu and veggie chunks in a store brought marinade for a couple of hours before skewering them and throwing on the BBQ (basting with more marinade as I turned them) with some home grown zucchini and eggplant, and some sweet potato.

I also made this potato salad:

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I’m kind of shocked now I’ve been making this salad for a bit. Old school mayonnaise based potato salads are so much heavier! This is light, perfect for summer, and delicious.

For the dressing I combine whole grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sugar or a syrup and shake to mix, adding a little of whichever component I think it needs until it tastes good. I’ve found though that it’s good to make it with a little more mustard/vinegar bite than is preferred because it softens when you put it on the potatoes.

Toss through some fresh dill and spring onion and you’re done. Just because I could, I also added corn this time.

Christmas in Australia is actually pretty easy for vegans. It’s summer here so BBQ and salad is a common go-to. Very easy to make vegan options!

Bonus points: here’s a photo of our beautiful girl Zephyr getting all the attention she wants and loving it

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*fun fact: a few years ago I remember some legal issue meant that the Rutherglen region had to change the name of their wine varieties because they couldn’t use the same names as the other regions internationally used. So we now make wines like Rutherglen muscat and topaque

Strawberry cheesecake

Apparently yesterday (nov 1) was world vegan day. I didn’t know. So please consider today’s post as a nod to yesterday.

I had a very mini family gathering tonight. I invited my brother and his wife over for dinner and then my sister Kate asked to stay for the night too. Gary was heading off to a school reunion so his dinner is still sitting in the microwave waiting for him as I write this post.

I made my lentil walnut loaf with mash potato (mashed with tofutti sour cream and chives), chard/mushroom sauté and vegan gravy.

Unfortunately neither Lotta or I remembered to take a photo of the main dish. But we did get a photo of dessert!

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Strawberry cheesecake! I used this recipe, with the slight change of using limes instead of lemons as I had no lemons left. I doubled the recipe as I only had a large tin to make it in.

What did I learn? The cashews probably need to be soaked a bit longer than just half an hour. It was still pretty grainy. Also the base needs to be thinner than what is in my photo – straight out of the freezer it was hard to get through. But it was pretty delicious!

On another note, I saw an echidna today!

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He was heading across the road so I slowed to let him pass then pulled over. These guys can be pretty quick to hide when they want to so by the time I grabbed my phone and got out of the car he had climbed into the grass and squished himself down. One of their defenses is to basically burrow down into the ground so that all that shows is their spines.

This one was pretty big – the biggest one I’ve seen. Hope he had a nice rest of the day!

We’ve also been keeping an eye on our Silvanberries. They are starting to get some red in them. Apparently they will be ripe about December – not too far off though by the looks of these guys.

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We’ve also got apples on the way!

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So spending the day cooking with Kate, catching up with Scott and Lotta, having a lovely meal and watching some Community – it’s been a good day!