Well, the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun. I am soaking up every single minute of it; and literally counting the hours until I am reunited with my wonderful family in Australia. I was approached by Super Living Magazine (who feature my recipes every week) to create a "Gluten Free Christmas Menu" modifying traditional Aussie Christmas favorites. I, of course, decided to take the challenge one-step further, making the Christmas menu completely allergy free: gluten free, dairy free, egg free and nut free; so that my gorgeous little niece, Alexandra (who suffers from food allergies to "the big four") could happily indulge. All of the Christmas recipes are soy free, except for the shortbreads, which use vegan butter sticks. However, if you are not allergic to dairy, you could always use conventional butter in order to make these soy free.
The family favorites I have enjoyed year-after-year served as the inspiration for my allergy free recipes for Christmas this year. My mum’s side of the family get together every second year for a "Fisher Family Christmas Extravaganza" that begins with tears, hugs, and guffaws, as we are all reunited on the first day - catching up and swapping our stories with gusto. Most of the four-day event takes place in the kitchen, (of course!) with "treats and vino in hand."
My mum and aunties cook for months leading up to the event. They all bring their signature "yummies"; and a different family hosts the event in their home state each year. My mum makes her apricot rolls, brandy sauce, and summer berries; my Auntie Colleen makes her cornflake cookies and mini pudding chocolates; my sister Kara, and her husband Leigh make their famous Christmas pudding; my cousin Kimmy makes her incredible rum-balls; and my Auntie Lynne always makes her famous "super-moist" fruit cake, which I still maintain, is the most incredible fruit cake I have ever tasted in my life. I would have shared it with you this year, but sadly, the fruit needs to marinate for a month, and I wasn't organized enough to post the recipe a month ago!
So, over the next two weeks I will be posting "The Fisher Family Christmas Favorites": brandy cream, cranberry sauce, lemon shortbreads, and mince pies. Then, in early 2011, we will all detox with some green smoothies and salads! LOL! In case you are wondering what I contribute to the Christmas dinner? The salads for Christmas eve dinner! Ha!
This year, however, I will be sharing my allergy free recipes and vegan fare for the main event. We begin with my homemade cranberry sauce, which can be made in minutes; is ridiculously easy; and absolutely scrumptious. This is one of those quick easy hand blender recipes that is a winner! Once you make this cranberry sauce you will never be caught dead buying a jar of pre-made cranberry sauce again. I have always loved homemade cranberry sauce, and this blend is a winner.
I have deliberately kept it very basic. I just love the simplicity of the flavors -- the hint of spice that is lifted with the zest of the oranges. But once again, feel free to jazz this up; blend and taste; and add in the quantities of cinnamon, ginger and sweetener that work for you. This was my perfect blend, but you might want more spice. I liked just a hint, in order to let the cranberries have their moment. Just remember that the flavors will infuse in the fridge. Like a good sangria -- this actually tastes better with time. If you can wait that long! Make a double or triple batch and take as glorious homemade gifts for those Christmas parties this year.
This cranberry dish is fantastic for the Christmas table. But being a vegetarian and a food combiner, I don't slather it on a fat piece of turkey or ham. I will leave that to the rest of my family this year! Those of you fellow vegetarians -- this sauce is rich and thick, and makes a decadent fruit compote that can be enjoyed all-year-round. Mika and I have been eating it as a topping with our vegan ice cream! I was even sprung having a midnight snack the other night spooning it directly out of the jar! My little homage to Nigella! LOL!
Either way - this vegan cranberry sauce is yummy! Enjoy all of those Christmas parties! I am off to one now……with a jar of cranberry sauce in hand!