Going Nuts for Christmas
On the 24th September, the social media world was rocked as the most-loved man on the planet, David Attenborough, joined Instagram. The account helped to promote David's (yes, we're on first-name terms because we love him), latest project with Netflix. A documentary titled, David Attenborough: Life on Our Planet, has left us heartbroken as the 94-year-old showed his grief as the natural world he spent a lifetime documenting is decaying under the effects of human provoked climate change.
But, what does this have to do with Christmas? Well, quite a lot actually.
Christmas can be an incredibly impactful on our planet with so much wrapping, and food goes to waste. Some of the largest commercial benefactors of the festive season are beginning to change their ways, with Waitrose and John Lewis and Morrison announcing that they are removing glitter from their own brand products.
But what can you do about it?
Food for Thought
In David's documentary, he mentions that a more plant-based diet will have a positive effect on the environment. We know that going from a Christmas feast of roast chicken, chipolatas, pigs in blankets and sausage rolls can feel like a giant leap. But why not try a simple swap and replace your main bird for a nut roast this year?
Just days before David's arrival on Instagram, the Independent released an article about the impacts of animal farming on the environment. 'Greenhouse gas emissions from animal farming in the EU account for 17% of the bloc's emissions, while cars and vans are responsible for 14.5%.'
Research from Greenpeace shows that if the EU made a 50% reduction in animal farming, the CO2 saving would be the same as the combined emissions of the Netherlands and Hungary in a year. If we reduced by 75%, it would be the equivalent to 13 EU countries.
We've pinched a nut roast recipe from the wonderful Hairy Bikers. A nut roast can be a bit dry, uninspiring and often conjures images of brick-worthy, inedible cardboard - this is simply not true! This recipe uses creamy cashew nuts, spinach and garlic to get the juiciest nut roast on our beautiful planet…
It also takes 10 minutes to prep, which let's face it, is quicker than preparing a chicken.
The Hairy Bikers' Nut and Spinach Roast with Wild Mushroom Gravy (serves 6)
What you'll need:
For the nut roast
200g fresh spinach (you can use frozen to cut down on waste)
250g unsalted mixed nuts
25g of unsalted cashew nuts
1/2 onion (you can pop the other half in your stuffing or use frozen onion!)
1 carrot, grated
200g tinned tomatoes, drained and chopped (Napolina do 200g tins, so you don't have waste)
50g sun-dried tomatoes
1 free-range egg, beaten
100g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped mint
1 1/2 tbsp of chopped curly parsley (if you're buying fresh herbs, try and get the potted versions so that you can keep them growing and have a permeant supply - you don't need a garden, supermarket potted herbs do well on windowsills)
1 garlic clove (we love the Lazy Garlic, we never waste a clove!)
1 tsp of concentrated vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Butter for greasing your loaf tin
For the Wild Mushroom Gravy
Knob of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 long shallot, diced
250g wild mushrooms
300ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Let's get cooking!
The Nut Roast
1. Preheat the oven to 1800C/gas mark 4. Blanche the spinach in boiling water, then drain and squeeze out all of the water (you can do this by wrapping the spinach in kitchen towel and squeezing but mind your hands with the hot water!) Chop the spinach finely and set aside.
2. Put the mixed nuts and cashews into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped - don't overdo it, you don't want nut powder!
3. Tip the nuts into a large mixing bowl and add the onion, carrot, tinned and sun-dried tomatoes, egg, cheese, sage, mint, parsley, spinach, garlic, stock and seasoning, and mix well.
4. Grease a loaf tin with butter and pour in the mixture. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the loaf tin, grease it and lay it over the top to stop it burning. Bake in the oven for 1 hour until the nut roast is cooked through.
5. Once cooked, turn it out onto a plate, slice and serve with…
Make the gravy while the nut roast is cooking.
6. Gently heat the oil and knob of butter in a medium pan, then add the diced shallot. Cook for 5 minutes until soft and then add the garlic and gently cook for 10 minutes.
7. Add the mushroom and cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
8. Add the stock and soy sauce, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Simmer with the lid on the pan for 10 minutes.
10. Mix a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of butter and stir gently into the gravy to thicken it.
11. Serve piping hot over your sliced nut roast and enjoy!
Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper
Curlicue's Founder, Hema Chauhan, had the idea to create an eco-friendly wrapping paper brand after scanning her front room at the end of Christmas Day in 2018. There were bin bags full of wrapping paper covered in non-biodegradable glitter and coated and filled with non-recyclable plastic. The idea to create a recyclable, vegan, UK made wrapping paper created entirely from recycled materials was born.
Two years later and we have an incredible range of Christmas themed wrapping paper prints for you to choose from. If you're feeling nutty, get your hands on our Nutcracker print which was our most popular print of 2019.
If you want to choose eco-friendly Christmas gifts this year, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter below for all out top picks.