Here’s something quick and easy! Exactly what I’m looking for at this busy time of year. Light, delicious and nourishing.
You’re probably getting ready for Christmas and maybe planning your Xmas menu, but I think we still need to eat well throughout wintertime. Home cooked happiness!
Christmas is a great opportunity to cook something amazing, to challenge ourselves, try something new, but we also need some simple recipes. Quick and nourishing. Let’s eat well all the time!! Healthy home-cooked food is achievable, throughout the year.
This dish uses the delicious spaghetti squash, hazelnuts and cavolo nero (black kale). These are some of my favourite wintertime ingredients. I wanted something warming and filling, full of delicious flavours, but not too rich. We need a little break from all the mince pies and puds!
Is a large, thick skinned squash. They can be challenging to find in supermarkets, but I regularly see them in farm shops. The squash can simply be chopped in half length ways, seeds scooped out, and then roasted until soft. Then scrape out the flesh with a fork and you’ll see what the ‘spaghetti’ is all about. It looks like spaghetti/ noodles and has a lovely light flavour and texture. You can use your favourite pasta/ noodles with this pesto, but I’d urge you to seek out a spaghetti squash, they’re just loads of fun!
The festive season can be a full-on time, so eating healthy is important, in-between all the other indulgences! I will be posting more festive vegan recipes very soon, we all need a show stopping Xmas dish, I’ve got a Mushroom Wellington on the way and a decadent dessert.
This dish would be lovely served with a few slices of our Moxarella – Vegan Mozzarella, recipe here. Also some pan fried greens would be nice, or steamed broccoli.
Winter in the BHK
Winter hasn’t really taken hold yet in the Beach House Kitchen, we haven’t been back that long from Spain! But it’s really mild and pleasant up in Snowdonia and we’ve been getting plenty of stunning sunsets. I’ve decided to embrace winter this year, I’m normally a creature of the sun, but I seeing all the good in drizzle and mist and chilly morning and a dusting of frost and snow on the hills.
Winter is generally a dramatic time, fierce storms and giant waves, and at the minute, the stream in our back garden is almost bursting, but it’s cool. I’m going to take the time to sit by the fire, do lots of reading and playing guitar, and take some refreshing/ semi-frozen walks in the hills. Plus, I get to play around in the kitchen more, less distractions in the winter I find. Things naturally slow down. I love winter warmers like stews, soups and curries, lots of freshly baked things and soulful dishes. I’d mull anything!
It’s a great time of year to be a cook and to create feasts for friends and loved ones.
Xmas Songs and Shirts
I’m not sure what it is, but I’m starting to like Xmas more and more as I get older. I’m even attracted to buying a festive shirt? This is a strange feeling that I can’t explain.
I’m also enjoying Christmas songs more than ever. They were playing the other day in the kitchen at work and I was singing along, loving every minute of Slade, Band Aid, Nat, John Lennon, that one by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. I forget they exist until this time of year. Here’s my top, alternative, 17 (you know all the rest;) PS – It started off as Top 5 but I got really into it!:
- River – Joni Mitchell
- Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
- Santa Claus – The Sonics
- Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC
- O Come O Come Emmanuel – Sufjan Stevens
- Santa’s Got a Bag of Soul – The Souls Saints Orchestra
- Midnight Sleighride — Sauter – Finegan Orchestra
- Low – Just like Christmas
- Zat you Santa Claus – Louis Armstrong
- I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablanca
- Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
- Christmas was better in the 80’s – The Futureheads
- Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto – James Brown
- Kindle A Flame in Her Heart – Los Campesinos
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing – The Fall
- Everything is One Big Christmas Tree – The Magnetic Fields
- Baby It’s Cold Outside – Sharon Van Etten and Rufus Wainwright
I just want to say that Cliff Richard is a step too far for me. Sorry to Dad and other Cliff fans, but I just can’t get down with ‘Mistletoe and Wine’, but I do like that Chris de Burgh one.
What do you plan on cooking this Festive Season? What are your favourite dishes/ songs? Have you got any new recipes you’d like to try? Are you trying out a Vegan Christmas for the first time? Let us know below in the comments and we’d be happy to answer any of you vegan Xmas questions.
Toasting nuts is always best done slowly, on a low heat, in an oven. Check them every 5 minutes or so, turning them and noticing how their colour darkens. Taste a couple to see how they’re doing (they will be hot!)
Nooch (aka Nutritional Yeast Flakes) can be found in most health food shops. They bring the vegan cheesiness to the party.
Spaghetti Squash with Hazelnut and Cavolo Nero Pesto – Vegan and Gluten-free
The Bits – For 2 as a main course
75 g toasted hazelnut
12g or 3 handfuls fresh basil
20g or 1 handful cavolo nero or other kale
2 medium garlic cloves (chopped)
4 tbs cold pressed rapeseed/ olive oil
4 tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)
2/3 teas salt
1 medium-sized lemon (juice)
500g or 1/2 large spaghetti squash
Preheat a fan oven to 190oC.
Pull the root off your spaghetti squash and cut in half length ways. Scoop out the seeds. Rub with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and cook for 35-45 minutes, until soft. Set aside to cool a little.
While that’s going on, place all the pesto ingredients into a blender and blitz until a chunky pesto forms. We don’t necessarily want a smooth paste here.
Scrape out the flesh of the squash, using a fork, and mix with the pesto until well combined.
Serve straight away, some vegan parmesan would be nice.
Nooch (aka Nutritional Yeast Flakes) are not only a way of adding a cheesy flavour to vegan dishes, they’re also packed with nutrients. Loaded with B12, essential for vegans and everyone actually, high in other vitamin B’s, zinc. They are well worth stocking and can be sprinkled on dishes, mixed into stews and soups for added savoury flavour.
I know that vegan cheese have become more accessible and better quality, which is great news, but I will always use Nooch in dishes. Try frying or toasting it, it really intensifies the flavour., I now a guy in a Michelin star restaurant who uses it as a secret ingredient!!
I’ll be adding clips of my TV appearances, videos of me cooking at the Beach House Kitchen, food festival demonstrations, clips of me scooting about the Snowdonia mountains and loads more…