Monday 29 December 2008

Christmas, Leftovers and Vegan Mayonnaise

Christmas Day is over for another year. The weather was sunny enough to eat Christmas lunch outside and there was lots of good food to share. But it is some of the quirky moments and observations of the season that I thought I would share here:

- Let there be light: I have already shared the sad news that our Christmas tree lights died after one glorious burst of illumination but we did find some lovely hot spiced cider candles to burn in the dark corner where the tree resides.
- When in doubt turn to the blog: I found a casual mention on an old blog post which inspired a present for E. Another benefit of blogging!
- Christmas television: The year’s best Christmas television was an old British black and white 1952 movie called The Holly and the Ivy. Well spotted by E!
- Random acts of kindness: Who are the kind strangers who left us flowers and Christmas decorations?
- Blog stat spike: I was surprised at how much my blog statistics have risen over the lead-up to Christmas with nut roasts being much sought after. It gladdens me that many other want to make nut roast over the festive season.
- Reported outburst at Christmas mass by 4 year old niece: ‘who is god, I don’t even know what he looks like and where he lives!’
- Bah humbug to our internet provider: we were most displeased to have internet connection problems as we settled into some quiet time after Christmas when we finally had time to surf!
- Favourite new recipe to use up Christmas leftovers: Vegan mayonnaise

Since I have been vegetarian, I have always made a cheese and walnut nut roast for my Christmas dinner. When I was young, Christmas was always followed by days of eating leftover meat. These days I enjoy my leftover nut roast in the days following Christmas. This particular nut roast slices up quite thinly and I love it in a salad sandwich.

On Christmas Eve I bought bread and salad in preparation for leftovers and on a whim decided to make some mayonnaise. I have always thought if I made mayonnaise I would prefer it without egg. This experience has confirmed the hunch. My main challenge was to find a recipe but I just checked the cookbooks where I’d remembered seeing it. My main inspiration came from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

It was ridiculously easy. The one ingredient I found a little odd was the Chinese sesame oil. While I appreciate that it added flavour, I did wonder if 2 tsp was too much and might try only one tsp next time. My other disclaimer is that it wasn’t quite as smooth as the mayonnaise I have bought from the shops. However it tasted great and was much lighter so I felt able to eat more of it (NB I reduced the amount of oil and I think it could be reduced further).

I’d like to tell you how long this mayonnaise (or vegannaise) keeps but this batch only lasted 2-3 days. I served some with pumpkin, tofu and almond balls (inspired by this recipe) on Christmas Eve, and got quite a few salad sandwiches out of it. My favourite salad sandwich combination was lettuce, tomato, carrot, swiss cheese, nut roast and mayonnaise. In fact, I planned to cook dinner on Boxing Day but was so low in energy that we ended up having these sandwiches and finding them as good as anything I might have cooked. I also enjoyed just eating this mayonnaise on fresh bread with slices of tomato and a grinding of black pepper.

In the past I haven’t used mayonnaise much in salads etc because it always seems a little rich, and we don’t always have it in the house. Now I am curious to try this in a potato salad or a coleslaw. We have even had some warmer weather over the past few days which make me look forward to more salad sandwiches – with vegan mayo!

Vegan Mayonnaise
(adapted from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and The Vegetarian Lunchbox)

125g firm tofu
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1-2 tsp Chinese sesame oil
1 tsp tahini
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli paste (optional)
¼ cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients in food processor except oil. Drizzle oil into mixture while processor is on.

On the stereo:
Bande à part: Nouvelle Vague


  1. Im with your niece, where is he? haha bless her thats brilliant

  2. thanks Flower - wish I could get away with saying things that are sweet from the mouth of a 4 year old!

  3. here’s wishing you and your family a wonderful 2009, dear johanna.

  4. Greetings of the season to you and yours. Rather predictably I'm with your niece as well! Just think what atheistic fun you can share with her in coming years. She may be the perfect contender to discover the wonders of the solstices and other pagan celebrations :)

    Hope you get all you wish for in the new year.

  5. Well, I think you might just inspire me to like sandwiches! Your favorite combo sounds delectable. MMMM nutroast!! I've made my own vegan mayo before, but never with sesame oil--will have to give it a try. And those tofu almond balls look amazingly good!

    Glad you enjoyed Christmas (what generous, mysterious strangers!). Hope your new year's eve is a wonderful, happy celebration! :)

  6. thanks Bee - have a happy new year!

    Thanks AOF - hope you are enjoying the festive season - and yes I am sure it will be fun if my niece grows into the type who enjoys pagan celebrations - here's hoping!

    Thanks Ricki - was delighted to see you had a festive nut roast - hope you had some over for leftover sandwiches - they really are the best - E and I were saying maybe I need to make another nut roast just for leftovers

  7. Now that nut roast sounds mighty tasty, especially with the mayo in the sandwich. I'm tempted to make it and go direct to leftovers!

    I hope you had a lovely Christmas xx

  8. thanks Lysy - nutroast, salad and mayo is definitely worth the effort - who needs the roast dinner to have leftovers!


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