I don't know about you but I'm excited about Christmas this year. Christmas is a time for giving and I would like to give you recipes for an appetiser, main meal and dessert this year. My last few days have been spent trying out new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients. I've really had a good think about my favourite festive foods. This journey to understanding the flavours of Christmas started with a list of all the ingredients I associated with this time of year. This is what I came up with:

Brussel Sprouts - many people don't like the slightly bitter taste of these nutritious little 'barbie cabbages' but when marinated and dehydrated, they're actually not bad.

Dried Cranberries - so tangy and great for adding to raw, vegan cheese. I also love making my own cranberry sauce!

Dried Cherries - absolutely delicious in raw oat squares or raw fudge (recipe coming very soon).

Cinnamon - warming and spicy - who doesn't love this delicious spice that is also healing for the body. I add it to all my raw cakes and squares. I love it in Mulled Apple Juice!

Pumpkin Seeds - they add texture and roughage and are a fabulous source of good fats and protein.

Rosemary - gorgeous over roasted butternut and other veggies. It has a distinct flavour that seems to bring more flavour out of the vegetables it is paired with. A must to add to your Christmas meal.

Nutmeg - yummy for grating over your eggnog (I have a great vegan recipe coming soon). This interesting seed also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Pumpkin seeds feature heavily in this delicious little beauty of a dish. Raw Mushrom Tart is an interesting mix of flavours and textures. It is rich, creamy and delicious, the perfect MS diet appetiser. The base comes first which simply involves wizzing three ingredients in a food processor. The nuts and seeds that make it up have been soaked which makes the mixture beautifully moist and easy to press into a pie dish. The filling is a little more complicated as it involves marinating the mushrooms and soaking the cashews overnight. Once you've got passed that though - it's plain sailing!

I'll admit that it's a little fiddly and is not just a dish you can whip together in minutes. This is one that'll take a little more planning. However, the end product will be worth the effort! And - it's Christmas. What better time to experiment with something new and impress your guests. We'll have people over on Christmas Eve and this one is definitely on the menu as a starter!

DSC_3735

Raw Mushroom & Pumpkin Seed Torte

 Serves 4-6

Ready in: 20 minutes (overnight if you count the soaking and marinating)

Base/Crust

1 cup almonds

1 cup pine Nuts

1/4 cup pumpkin Seeds

Cover pine nuts and almonds with water and set aside to soak for 2-3 hours. Drain, place in food processor. Process until fine.

Add pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper. Process to combine.

Place in tart pan and put in the freezer to harden a little.

Marinated Mushrooms

2 cups mushrooms (any), sliced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

1 Tbsp maple Syrup

Combine olive oil, tamari and maple syrup.

Pour over mushrooms.

Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Drain before using.

Filling

2 cups cashews, soaked overnight

1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp red onion diced

1 Tbsp mixed herbs

pinch of white pepper

pinch salt

2 cups Marinated Mushrooms

1 clove garlic

Place cashews, lemon juice, red onion, water, olive oil, garlic and pepper in food processor and process until smooth.

Stir in mushrooms and herbs

Spread into tart base/crust and refrigerate until set.

Serving suggestion: I like to warm this dish ever so slightly so that it's not freezing cold when it hits the palate. It's a fabulous meal with a side salad.