Many years ago, in the early days of Vanilla Black, we stumbled into an unexpected brick wall…….vegetarian Christmas. We were getting requests for Christmas bookings and this prompted us to put a menu together, which initially seemed easy.

To be honest vegetarian and Christmas were never compatible, turkey/goose/leg of pork……

When you look at other traditional Christmas foodstuffs, chestnuts, brazil nuts etc, you end up with something which invariably becomes a vegetarian stereotype. And then were left with Brussel Sprouts! We actually tried a Brussel Sprout soufflé, it was very strange. I wouldn’t advise it.

In the end we gave up. Following the traditional route simply wasn’t going to work.

Since then Vanilla Black has never had a Christmas menu, it just doesn’t suit.

However, I am aware that there are always requests for new dish ideas to serve around Christmas time. So here goes!

Ideas for a Vegetarian Christmas

A favourite with family over the years has been a particular potato dish. We take potatoes, slice very thinly on the mandolin then layer in a loaf tin, interleaved with some mushrooms of your choice, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little truffle oil. If you really must, you can add a hand full of chestnuts. Cover the tin in foil and bake for around one and a half hours or until very soft. Allow to cool a little, then turn out and slice. Serve with a red wine sauce and your choice of vegetables.

If you want something with a bit of cheese try a dish from our book which is a Blue Stilton pudding. This is basically a blend of milk, cream, eggs, breadcrumbs and a good Blue Stilton. This is best made the day before and sliced and reheated the next day. Which is rather convenient.

For a little twist on a Brandy sauce try toasting some marzipan in a dry saucepan, when it is golden brown carefully add your milk then continue for a white sauce, whisking in the cornflour etc. Give it a good whisk to distribute the marzipan. You will end up with a white sauce which has a toasty marzipan flavour. Then you can drink the Brandy.

 And of course you can use these ideas all year, not just for Christmas