Only one more week until Christmas! I don’t have a Christmas tree, I don’t have Christmas decorations, but I keep thinking about the Christmas menu. After all Christmas is a celebration of being and dining together with everyone you love. That’s why Christmas at our house is just a little bit about the festive decoration and it’s a lot about the eatable stuff. Like homemade Christmas cookies and gingerbread, mulled wine – and of course my Christmas menu. Since I took over the organization of Christmas Eve a few years ago, Christmas dinner is not overly traditional. In my opinion, oriental flavors go well with Christmas. And I like to put different dishes in big bowls on the table that everyone can serve themselves from. Last year we sat at a very large table here in Mallorca. It was not only December 24th, but also Thomas 50th birthday and our families were visiting. We ate many small, vegetarian, oriental dishes with pomegranate seeds, roasted eggplant and sesame sauce. It was a wonderful evening and everyone thought they had never eaten so well at Christmas. There was a little bit of complaint about the missing Christmas tree, but not about the missing goose or Christmas roast.
This year we’re celebrating with our good friend Ling, who is also one of the best cooks I know. Ling is a vegetarian, Thomas really likes to eat meat or fish, and I eat a bit of everything. That’s why I follow my principle from last year and cook a small menu with oriental soup and a subsequent main course, which consists of a winter salad. Maybe I’ll also fry a piece of wild salmon or a piece of organic chicken, then there is something for everyone. My principle is that the vegetables are always the main thing on the plate. Everything else is a side dish. I think this will make everyone happy. And even if there is a little bit of disharmony left, peace will be restored after dessert, because I haven’t met a person yet who could resist a lukewarm chocolate cake with a liquid core.
And now have fun with my Christmas menu with recipes from my books “Wellcuisine” and “Suess&Gesund”:
Lemon and Lentil Soup
FOR CHRISTMAS PLANNING: This soup can be prepared well in the morning so that you can warm it up in the evening in a relaxed manner.
LEMON AND LENTIL SOUP
For the soup:
- Put the lentils in a sieve and wash thoroughly.
- Heat coconut oil in a saucepan and sweat the chopped onion in it. Deglaze with the vegetable stock and add all the other ingredients in the soup - including the lemon quarter as a whole. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.
- Puree the whole thing in a blender until creamy. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Pour the soup into bowls and serve garnished with spring onions, coriander and roasted sesame seeds.
Moroccan Quinoa Salad
FOR CHRISTMAS PLANNING: You can prepare the individual components of the salad in the morning and put them together in the evening. The salad is particularly tasty when the quinoa is lukewarm (not boiling hot). Thus, as a tip: prepare everything except for the quinoa. Let these cool for about 20 minutes, mix everything together and serve lukewarm.
MOROCCAN QUINOA SALAD
For the salad:
- Put the quinoa in a saucepan with the water and salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the whole thing simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid closed, until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is firm to the bite. Put in a salad bowl and let cool.
- In the meantime, peel the cucumber and cut into small cubes. Dice the dried apricots.
- Cut the pomegranate in half. Hold the halves one after the other with the cut side down over a large bowl and beat out the seeds with a wooden spoon.
- Roast the pine nuts in a pan and set aside.
- Mix the ingredients for the dressing until smooth.
- Add all ingredients except the pine nuts to the quinoa in the salad bowl and mix well. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.
Chocolate Lava Cake
FOR CHRISTMAS PLANNING: You can prepare the cake dough and put it in a cool place. In this case, you only stir in the hot espresso when you want to continue processing and baking the dough (because the baking powder reacts with the heat and should then no longer stand still for long). Then the chocolate core from the freezer is added and you bake the cakes shortly before you are going to eat them (the cakes must be served warm so that the liquid chocolate core is actually still liquid).
CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE
For the liquid chocolate core:
For the dough:
- 120 g spelt flour type 1050 alternative: my gluten-free flour mixture
- 30 g raw cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1.5 tsp tartar baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 80 g coconut oil melted (plus a little more for the molds)
- 90 ml maple syrup grade A
- 4 tbsp applesauce unsweetened
- 70 ml hot espresso approx. 1 full espresso cup
- 1 ice cube tray
- 4 small oven molds
- For the liquid chocolate core, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and mix with cocoa powder, maple syrup and salt. Fill 4 hollows of the ice cube tray with it and place in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate has set.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Grease 4 small oven molds with coconut oil. Cut four strips of baking paper approx. 4 cm wide and 20 cm long and place them in the center of each shape so that the ends protrude over the edge. This will help you remove the cakes from the mold later.
- For the dough, mix the flour, cocoa powder, tartar baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Mix the melted coconut oil with the maple syrup and applesauce in another bowl. Stir into the flour mixture. Finally, briefly mix in the hot espresso and immediately pour the dough into the oven molds.
- Fill each mold 3/4 full with dough. Put a piece of chocolate from the ice cube mold in the middle and gently press down until it is completely covered with dough.
- Bake the cakes for 15–18 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the dough on the outer edge of the cake (where the liquid chocolate core is NOT). When it comes out clean, the cakes are done.
- Take the molds out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes (this is very important as the cakes will fall apart if you remove them from the mold too early). Separate the cake from the edge of the mold with a sharp knife, turn it out onto a cake plate and remove it from the mold with the help of the baking paper. Serve immediately (otherwise the liquid core will solidify again). Vanilla ice cream goes well with it.
Lead photo: fotolia