Wednesday 21 December 2022

Advent 2022 - Fast Tracking #25

Today's Challenge: Fast from... all animal products.

This was meant to be effectively the last day of stringent abstinence in my 'Fast from... 'Advent challenges, although there are technically three more days of Advent to go. I had to do a bit of 'teeming and lading' with the final days of the challenge as with people coming to stay for Christmas and one or two other duties to perform there were some constraints on how much of a strait jacket I could impose on the commissariat. So, as I say, today was meant to mark the last day of real restraint, as such.

Having said that, like yesterday, I haven't managed to make the whole day compliant with its vegan constraint, I'm afraid. For a variety of reasons, today's plans went slightly off piste and with Christmas itself fast approaching I needed to use up various things to make urgently required space in the fridge and freezer. In addition, as it happened, lunch was completely missed on account of being out and about, with a happy stop for a (non-vegan) chai latte, so it's meant that only supper this evening was totally vegan. 

I had been scraping the barrel to come up with something vegan for supper that I either hadn't done already and /or that appealed. Turning to the pressure cooker book again for inspiration, I chose a spiced dish of black lentils and wild rice with greens. I searched high and low for black lentils in various supermarkets without success. In the end I had to order them from Amazon. If you have an Indian or Asian supermarket near you, you may be luckier as 'urad dal', as they are known, are a popular ingredient in Indian and Asian cooking. Urad dal may be white or black in colour. The white ones are simply hulled black ones. They are the main ingredient in poppadums, apparently.  Anyway, what I needed here was the black whole ones as they cook in the same time as wild rice, enabling the two to be cooked together at the same time to good effect. 

I used the recipe in the book more as an inspiration than precise guide. I added in an extra onion, some fresh chillies and more fresh ginger. As I've confessed before, I have a heavy hand with fresh ginger - difficult to have too much of the stuff, I think! And the tin of coconut cream was rather larger than the recipe specified but I used it all anyway - I don't want a third of a tin of coconut cream lurking at the back of the fridge over Christmas. You can use any greens to go with the lentils and wild rice dal. I just steamed some baby spinach to go on top. The result was very good, I have to say and went down a storm with the rest of the household who are normally a bit sniffy about vegan dishes. The recipe, as written, is not vegan  - it includes lamb - but I don't think omitting the meat remotely shortchanged the result and I shall definitely be making the vegan version again. It's nice to have added a new dish to my rather limited vegan repertoire. 

tea with unsweetened soya milk
bottled morello cherries
Greek-style yoghurt


black tea
St Lucy's bun from the freezer

spiced urad dal and wild rice with coconut cream, chillies and greens
baked apples with damson and hazelnut mincemeat 

The rest of my cooking today has not been remotely vegan - mince pies to feed a small army have been prepared and squirrelled away in the freezer, ready to be baked as and when required and pheasant and partridge pâté with cranberries and apricots, intended as part of my parents-in-law's Christmas present has been bubbling away in the oven in preserving jars. 

I feel I may now cooked be out for the day!

E x


  1. You made it to the end! Your vegan dish looks surprisingly tasty and the pate sounds (and looks in its uncooked state) delicious.

    Happy Christmas X

  2. Almost the end but not quite! The last few days should be a bit easier going though. Yes, the spiced black lentils and wild rice were unexpectedly good. Happy Christmas to you too! E x


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