I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas, and to those of you who don’t celebrate I hope you had a lovely week. We’ve been enjoying spending time here in London with Rob’s family. And then we got ill. Which was less fun but now we’re on the mend. Either way I wanted to share a couple of recipes and ideas with you today perfect for a New Year’s celebration. It’s been inspired by the countless beautiful platters I’ve seen on blogs and instagram all year. I thought it was time I make my own and I made a baked almond cheese and a pumpkin bean dip to go on it as the two main pieces on the board.
You could go for any dips, spreads and vegan cheeses you’d like though. These dips/spreads you can find right here on this blog: beets and beans, tomato and sunflower, white bean houmous, roasted pepper and cannelini, smokey butter bean as well as this creamy cheese like macadamia and rosemary spread. In terms of cheeses there are lots of them in the supermarket and health food shops these days though and even though they’re not my personal favourite I hear good things. My favourite vegan store bought cheese, as far as I’ve tasted them which to those of you living in the UK or US probably is limited, is Follow Your Heart’s smoked gouda style slices.
Below you’ll find the recipes for the almond cheese as well as the pumpkin dip but I wanted to share with you what else I like to include on my platter. First of all I like to add items that are good for scooping and dipping, being vessels for whatever dip and cheese you choose for your board. I included some store bought thin crackers with herb as well as some toasted sourdough bread cut into smaller pieces. I also added some carrot and celery sticks as well as halved radishes, it’s always nice to have fresh elements on there and a great option for people with gluten or other bread related sensitivities. The radishes also look very festive if you find some with the greens still on them and vegetables in general add a pop of colour to your board. On top of this I added some of this spiced nut mix that’s super easy to make and always appreciated.
Other than that I like to add some antipasti items like marinated artichokes, garlic cloves, sun dried tomatoes and olives. For me olives are a must and if you’ve never tried marinated garlic cloves and you like garlic – you’re in for a treat. I find all of these items in my supermarket already made which makes life much simpler on the day. This time of year calls for simple solutions and I’m a big supporter of making life easier when you feel that’s what you need.
To complete the circle I love to add some fruits. For this boars I went with some red grapes which I think are a very pretty option as well as wedged kiwi fruit. Again I think kiwi fruit is a very good looking, and tasty, option. Otherwise you can go with whatever fruit you like really. A classic cheese board option, other than grapes, is pear. The one thing I like to keep in mind though is that some fruit, like apple, goes brown when cut and sitting out in the air. Either you could stay clear of these fruits or you could put some lemon juice on each slice which prevents the browning from happening. For me personally that’s a little too much work. The choice is yours my friends. Also, if you wanted to add more sweet elements to your platter you could include some nice chunks of chocolate or dried fruit.
Finally before I leave you to get on with your Friday I wanted to share some inspiring platters by online friends that will hopefully give you more ideas for what you’d like to make. One of my favourite plant based food bloggers made this beautiful platter over on her blog The First Mess. Another platter I like the look is this one by Stephanie of The Healthy Hour. On instagram you can find lots of inspiring platter post and here are some of my faves by; Elsas Wholesome Life, Naturalmente Buono, The Barefoot Housewife and Eat This.
Now I wish you a beautiful weekend followed by a breezy, light, bright entering into the new year. Happy New Year friends! x
BAKED ALMOND CHEESE
YIELDS: 1 10cm in diameter cheese round / TIME: 60 min
1 cup raw almonds, soaked in hot water for 2 hours
1 garlic clove, roughly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plant yogurt
1 tbsp light miso paste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Line a small (roughly 10 cm in diameter) glass form or other suitable vessel. A small spring form pan will work very well as well.
Drain and rinse your almonds and then start removing the skins. They should be loosened from the hot water and you should easily be able to ‘pop’ them out of their skins.
Place your now blanched almonds in a high speed blender or a small jug of a powerful food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Blend the mixture for several minutes until it is mainly a smooth quite thick paste. It doesn’t have to be absolutely smooth but should’t have visible pieces of almond.
Place your paste in the lined form and smooth it out. If you suspect any air pockets carefully tap your vessel in the counter a couple of times.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, it should be slightly golden on top. Let cool for roughly 30 minutes before turning out of the form and serving.
GOLDEN PUMPKIN BEAN DIP
YIELDS: roughly 1 1/2 cup / TIME: 10 min
1 can white beans such as cannellini or butter beans
1/3 cup pumpkin puré or equal amounts from fresh roasted pumpkin
1/2 lemon, juice as well as some rind if you wish
1 tsp light miso paste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, depending on your taste preference
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tsp olive oil
Fresh herbs, I used parsley
Combine all your ingredients in a food processor, starting with 1/4 tsp turmeric.
Process until a smooth paste is formed. If this isn’t happening after a couple of minutes you might want to add a splash of water and process again.
Taste and see if you’d like to add a little more turmeric, if so add it and then process until well incorporated.
Serve in a bowl and make a nice swirl in it if you wish using the back of a spoon.
Decorate with sesame seeds and chopped fresh herbs of your choice.