I’ve never fasted before for Christmas, but sometimes it just feels right, you know? When I say fast, I’m following the Greek Orthodox nativity fast, which basically consists of me following a vegan diet until Christmas, with fish allowed on certain days, but no meat or dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, butter etc)
Now, I’ve made this savoury olive cake many times before, it’s one of my absolute favourites! But never a vegan version!
I used a powdered egg replacer instead of the four eggs and a tin of evaporated coconut milk (I didn’t even know this was a thing, so was thrilled when I found it while doing my online Ocado shop!) in place of the tin of evaporated ‘normal’ milk
It worked perfectly! And will make a welcome snack at any time of the day
Do let me know if you try either the original version or the vegan version Cypriot olive cake
I love stuffed vine leaves, it’s one of the family meals I remeber as I was growing up my Mum making regularly, especially when we had visitors. The best stuffed vine leaves are made with leaves fresh off the vine, but failing that, the vine leaves preserved in brine make a good substitute.
I begin by boiling the vine leaves in water for about 10 minutes, this makes them more maleable, and also takes some of the briny taste away. I usually just put them for about 10 minutes in the microwave on full power, works just as well.
I add a chopped onion which has been fried until golden and then simmered for about 10 minutes in a tin of chopped tomatoes, to the minced pork, long grain rice, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves and dried mint, also the juice of a lemon.
Here I’m ready for the assembly job:
Each vine leaf is filled with about a tablespoon of the filling and then wrapped carefully, just tight enough to keep the vine leaves tight, but not tight enough that the cooking rice causes the leaves to split.
The vine leaves are placed in a hob proof casserole, in layers.
I use an upturned plate and a large pebble I bought from Cyprus especially for this job!
Of course it was washed and boiled before being used….
The vine leaves are simmered for 45 minutes until the rice and meat are cooked through and the vine leaves have absorbed all the water.
Here’s the finished stuffed vine leaf: