All I Want for Christmas eat and be merry

It’s the time for parties and merry-making, but with parties there usually comes food, and heavy party food at that. Thank Santa we have Senior Instructor and Chef Sandra Lim to the rescue! With 3 healthy and vegan options for starter, main course or dessert, we can have our cake and eat it too!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Serves 4
Frozen bananas and creamy avocados lend this incredible dessert it’s silky smooth texture. Perfect for vegans and anyone looking for an alternative to dairy-rich desserts. Make sure the avocado and banana are fully ripe for maximum flavour and You can top this mousse with cacao nibs or powder, or if you fancy going the extra mile, spoon a dollop of coconut yoghurt on top and finish off with 2 pitted juicy cherries.

1 ripe banana, peeled
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 chilled avocado
2tbsp raw honey (use maple syrup for vegan option)
1tsp lemon juice
1tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp chilled water
A tiny pinch of sea salt
A sprinkle of cacao powder, cacao nibs or 2tbsp coconut yoghurt and 8
cherries, to decorate

1. Blend all the mousse ingredients together in your food processor until smooth. Add the cacao powder first and, as you blend, have all the ingredients to hand in order to adjust the ratios slightly as the size of avocados and bananas varies so much. The perfect ratio in order to avoid the dish tasting too much of either is to use equal amounts of both.
2. Taste and add a few drops of stevia or amaretto if you feel you need more
3. Fill little cups or shot glasses with the mousse and add toppings of your
choice to serve.

Mushroom Quinoa Nut Roast With A Chestnut Apricot Topping
Serves 10-12

Nuts are highly nutritious, but too many can be heavy on the tummy and hard
to digest, so add protein-rich quinoa (black quinoa is nice for presentation, but
any colour will do) and delicious mushrooms to the mix as well as a subtly
sweet apricot and chestnut topping. When entertaining, make up the nut roast
and any stuffing balls in advance so that they’re ready to pop in the oven,
helping to minimize your time in the kitchen. If you’re vegan or dairy free, just
swap the butter in this recipe for coconut oil.

50g butter or coconut oil
2 medium onions, chopped
125g organic unsulphured dried apricots, roughly chopped into 1cm pieces
200g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped into 1cm pieces
8 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
100g ground almonds
sea salt and black pepper

3tbsp chia seeds
6tbsp lemon juice
1tsp butter or coconut oil
4 medium onions, finely chopped
4tsp fresh thyme leaves or 2tsp dried thyme
750g mushrooms, sliced thinly
185g quinoa (soaked overnight)
50ml Madeira or white wine
100g pine nuts
100g pistachios
125g ground almonds
a small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
tamari or sea salt, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to fan 170°C. Grease a 36.5 x 14 x 10 cm (1.8 kg) loaf tin with some softened butter or coconut oil and line with baking parchment
2. To make the topping, heat the butter or coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion lightly for a few minutes so that it still has bite. Add the apricots, chestnuts and sage and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Remove from the heat and fold in the ground almonds. If making these into stuffing balls, roll into 5 cm balls and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Otherwise, follow the instructions below to use it in the nut roast.
4. Press the stuffing mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared loaf tin and set to one side.
5. To make the nut roast, make a chia gel by mixing the chia seeds with the lemon juice in a bowl and leave to one side.
6. Heat the butter or coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the onion with a pinch of salt for about 8 minutes until soft and translucent.
7. Add the thyme and grated mushrooms, drained quinoa and Madeira and stir to mix everything together. Cover with a lid and cook for 25 minutes, stirring regularly.
8. Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes, continuing to stir regularly. (You want the excess liquid to evaporate and for the mixture to become sticky.)
9. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts and pistachios on a baking tray in the preheated
oven for about 2–3 minutes until lightly browned.
10. Add the toasted pine nuts and the pistachios to the nut roast mixture. Stir in the ground almonds, chopped parsley and chia lemon gel. Add some tamari or sea salt to taste.
11. Pour the nut roast mix into the loaf tin covering the topping and press down firmly. Bake in the preheated oven, on the middle shelf, for 1½ hours or until firm to touch.

Vegan Eggnog
Serves 8
25g pitted dates
25g cashew nuts
25g dried apricots, unsulphured
¼ tsp mixed spice
100ml brandy
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
1L almond milk
ice and nutmeg to serve

1. Soak dates, cashews, apricots and mixed spice in the brandy overnight.
2. Tip the mixture into a blender and add the seeds from the vanilla pods and the almond milk. Blitz until smooth and pour into tall glasses with ice and dust on some nutmeg on top.

There we have it! Enjoy, and don’t forget to tag us in any of recipes that you try! Happy Holidays everyone.

*pictures used here do not belong to Breathe Pilates or Sandra Lim. Eggnog: / Quiche: / Mousse:

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