Imagine being a 5 year old, looking out of your bedroom window to see a snow-filled horizon with snowflakes falling before you as you await Santa’s arrival. Imagine being so captivated by the magic that you actually believe you see Santa and his reindeers in the sky…Opening presents, indulging in warm, comforting traditional foods being surrounded by family…This was the reality of Christmas growing up in Scotland for Amanda Kubik, a long-time vegan for almost 20 years who now lives in Melbourne Australia.
Amanda has creatively and lovingly designed a way to keep Christmas magical by establishing her own Christmas rituals for her family, despite the lack of snow in December in Australia; “We each open up one present on Christmas Eve and everyone sitting at the Christmas lunch table gets a small gift to open too”. Amanda and her family decorate a Christmas tree together and heavily embellish the living areas of the house with Christmas ornaments and decorations. There is no building of snowmen in the backyard but nonetheless it is still a lot of fun!
Amanda initially boycotted Christmas lunch after turning vegan as the Christmas message of peace and goodwill seemed to be contradicted by the violence associated with the roast turkey and ham bone sitting on the table. But she later realised that she was missing out on the family time and thought it would be within the Christmas spirit to “lead by example” and create vegan traditions by providing vegan versions of the traditional foods to the lunch table.
Amanda has found ways to veganise the Christmas table by substituting prawn cocktail salad for avocado salad and roast turkey and ham for nut roast with roast vegies and gravy. Amanda also soaks her own fruit in Brandy for up to 3 months in order to make her own pudding and mince pies and withholds a secret recipe for the perfect vegan Christmas shortbread.
The enjoyment of Christmas needn’t be dictated to consumption of animal products – there are plenty of alternatives available in order to keep Christmas lunch traditional, tasty and comforting while being cruelty free. I am certain that Sascha and Elijah will grow up with childhood memories of the fruit soaking in brandy, the smell of the nut roast in the oven and the shortbread melting in their mouths as well as the excitement of opening presents and I am sure they will appreciate all the love that went into their cruelty free Christmas experience!
Please see below for Amanda’s amazing recipe for Christmas cake!
Christmas Fruit Cake
900gm – 1kg prepared dried fruits (add fruit like prunes for a darker cake)
1-2pkt glac’e cherries (depending on how many you like)
1/3 Cup (55g) pixed peel or freshly grated peels
2 Cups (270g) Flour
1/2 Cup (65g) SR Flour
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Cup (250g) butter substitute
1 Cup (150g) Brown Sugar (the darker the sugar type the darker the cake)
Egg replacer for 5 eggs
1/4 fruit juice or other liquid (if needed as may be enough soaked fruit)
Soak fruit in a bottle of brandy or orange juice several days or weeks before required.
22cm round or 20cm square pan, lined with 3 layers of brown paper
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hrs depending on oven
- In a bowl weigh 1kg of fruit and set aside. Fruit left over can be used for mince pies or Christmas pudding.
- Sift Flours and spices. Set Oven at 160deg
- Cream butter substitute and sugar and add egg replacer gradually. Mix Well. Add fruit , flours and liquid. Stir gently and thoroughly.
- Place in cake pan and hollow out centre to allow for rising.
- Bake at 16odeg for 1hr. Gradually reduce oven temperature to not less than 130deg for remainder of time.
- When baked, leave in pan for at least 30 minutes before turning onto cake cooler. Remove paper and decorate as required.
*** This recipe works well using Gluten Free Flours***
Cover image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.