by Celia Fenn

Welcome to my Christmas Festive Table!

I have always enjoyed the warmth and joy of Christmas, and I enjoy it even more when I know that the good food that I am sharing with friends is coming from a compassionate kitchen. So this year I joined together with some friends to celebrate with a plant based festive table.

I will share with you the recipes that we used to create a fairly "traditional" Christmas meal but with all ingredients being plant based.

We began our meal with a starter, Grilled Polenta Slices with Mixed Mushrooms, this was followed by a main course of Roast Lentil Loaf with Onion and Red Wine Gravy with Roast Potatoes and Glazed Carrots and a Side Salad of MIxed Green Leaves. Dessert was Melon Stars with Lemon and Berry Sorbet. So...here are the recipes. Have fun!

Starter : Grilled Polenta Slices with Mixed Mushrooms


1 cup organic Polenta
500 ml vegetable stock
salt and ground black pepper
ground nutmeg

1 onion diced
1 clove garlic diced
400g mixed mushrooms as available
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and ground black pepper to season
Wild Rocket for garnishing
oil to fry mushrooms

Cook Polenta according to instructions, or bring vegetable stock to the boil. Gradually stir in the polenta, bring to the boil stirring constantly and cook over low heat. Allow the polenta to absorb all the water. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spead the polenta into a greased pie dish or baking tin so that it forms a "cake" that can be sliced. Leave to cool and firm for at least 30 minutes. This stage can also be done the night before if you want to save time.

For the Mushrooms, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until softened but not brown. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, stirring, until they are soft but not dry. Turn off the heat. Add the chopped herbs and season with the salt and pepper.

Turn the polenta out of the dish or tin and cut into slices or squares. Heat a small amount of oil in a ridged grilling pan and fry the polenta pieces on both sides until browned.

For the plating, place some of the muchroom mix on the polenta slices and garnish with the rocket.

Main Course : Lentil Loaf with Onion and Red Wine Gravy



2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup shredded potato
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 onion diced
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup parsley chopped
1 cup tomato passata
1 egg replacement (1 tbsp flaxssed flour and 2 tbsp water ore any egg replacer)
1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180

Mix flax seed flour in warm water and leave to stand, or mix up egg replacer.

Heat Olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and fry onion and mushroom mixture until soft. Add minced garlic and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl together with the egg replacement. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Turn into a lightly oiled Loaf Tin and place in oven to cook for about 50 minutes.

The outside of the Loaf should be brown and crispy, and the inside still soft. I use the knife test as in baking, if the knife comes out clean then it is done.

Leave the Loaf to stand and cool for about 10 minutes then turn it out onto a serving platter and cut slices for plating. Serve with Onion and Red Wine Gravy.



1 small onion diced

olive oil to fry
1 tbsp Flour
1 tbsp vegtable stock powder
Red Wine for cooking
salt and pepper to season

Fry diced onions on olive oil until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour and stock powder on low heat and fry briefly stirring so as not to create lumps, Add water and red wine to taste and stir on low heat until gravy reaches desired consistency and flavor. You will need to add more water or wine depending on how thick or thin you like your gravy, and be careful not to get lumps. I like mine fairly thick and juicy but just runny enough to pour over the lentil loaf.

As you can see from the picture, I like to serve my gravy in a bowl with a special gravy ladle. It's all part of the fun of good eating!

SIDE COURSES : Roast Potatoes, Glazed Carrots and Green Leaf Salad

Roast Potatoes


2 potatoes per person Red Skinned potatoes
salt and pepper to season
Olive oil for roasting
Red skinned potatoes make the best roasters, they are soft and full of flavor. You can use other kinds if you can't find these.

Peel potatoes and cut into small portions/cubes. Cook in boiling water until just tender. Pour off water and place potatoes in a roasting pan. cover with a little olive oil.

Roast at 180 for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes start to be crispy and brown on the outside. Transfer to a serving dish.

Glazed Carrots with Thyme


1 bag baby carrots well scrubbed
olive oil for frying
organic Maple syrup
1tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves separated from stalks
salt and ground black pepper

Cook the baby carrots in a saucepan of boiling water until they are just tender. Drain.

Heat the olive oil and fry the carrots over medium heat. Add Maple syrup to taste. I like the carrots to be well glazed and to have a little "syrup" at the bottom of the pan. Scatter over the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until soft and well glazed then transfer to serving dish.

Green Leaf Salad


Mixed Green Salad Leaves....lettuce, rocket, watercress etc
1 small mediteranean cucumber sliced
5 or 6 salad onions/scallions sliced lengthwise


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic minced
2 tbspn white wine vinegar

Mix salad leaves in a bowl together with sliced cucumber and salad onions. Combine dressing ingredients and stir well.

Pour dressing over salad and toss just before serving.

DESSERT : Melon Christmas Stars with Sorbet


Fresh Melon as available. I used watermelon in season. If you can't get melon you can used apples, but you will need to cook the stars in boiling water until just soft.
Sorbet as available. I used Lemon and Mixed Berry.
Gin or Vodka. I prefer Gin.

Cut the melon into slices and then cut out star shapes using a star cookie cutter. Place one star in each desssert plate. Pour over a good splash of gin so that it flavors the melon and there is a little alcohol in the bottom of the plate so that the sorbet can melt into it.

Dish up a good scoop of each flavor of sorbet next to the star and serve immediately!