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Christmas countdown - brussels sprouts in a sandwich seems like a good idea

How's your Christmas going? As you can tell from a distinct lack of posting recently, I haven't even had a chance to think about the festive seasons - it's all been exams, assignments, and panic, rather than chilling with some seasonal movies and mulled wine.

This is the first day of my two weeks holiday from university, and I'm meant to be using it to catch up on revision and all the work I should have done weeks before now. Instead of trying to get ahead on studying, I've given myself over to trying to catch up on Christmas.

I'm hosting both my parents one day, and Mr Flicking the Vs the next. If I've learned anything from watching Come Dine with Me - and I watch a LOT of Come Dine with Me - is that the most heinous crimes you can commit when having people over for tea is that you can't leave people waiting for their food, and you can't spend all your time in the kitchen. So, with that in mind, I've been trying to make as much as I could lots of things ahead of time.

The first thing I thought I could make and then freeze was a big ginger cake. I don't know if anyone coming around likes ginger cake, so I might end up having to eat a slice every day from now until Easter, so keep your fingers crossed.

I thought I'd just make things I've made before - to prevent Christmas culinary disasters - so I used this ginger cake recipe from the BBC, which I've made previously to good effect (veganised by subbing the egg for flax goop, obvs). Only this time, I thought I'd be smart - I thought I'd drop in some vinegar to react with the bicarb and make the cake lovely and light.

Only what happened is that I must have been super heavy handed with either the vinegar and bicarb because I didn't get a fluffy cake batter, I got a roiling witches cauldron crossed with a chemistry experiment - it was bubbling like lava. I shoved it into the cake pan and hoped for the best, wiping up the batter that was both spilling over the top and dripping out of the bottom at the same time.

Due to all that haste, I guess I didn't mix the batter up properly and now there's all these white blobs of uncombined flour - it looks like the cake's got the pox or something. I'm hoping I can cover it all up with some custard and enough icing sugar to recreate a snow drift, and noone will be any the wiser. What do you reckon my chances are?

Actually, it looks a lot worse in that photo then it does in my memory. Hopefully the relatives will be able to stifle their gag reflex when I serve it up to them. I don't think the appearance was helped by the storm that was going on outside as I was cooking and taking photos - a cake pathetic fallacy if ever there was one!

In what might be further evidence of my inability to approach Christmas food with a straight head on, I've been trying to put brussels sprouts in everything. I love brussels. Whatever the haters say, they're a fine veggie and shouldn't be restricted to being only wheeled out at Christmas.

What if, I thought, sprouts got more of a run out? Maybe they could be in curries, in salads, and even in sandwiches? What if the Christmas dinner itself could be put into a sandwich?

Of course it can. That's the beauty of sandwiches - you can put anything in between two slices of bread and it pretty much works. Brussel sprouts are the perfect example of that - they have a crunch and slight sweetness that lends itself rather nicely to the tang of chutney and the smoke of Tofurkey.

Christmas dinner in a sarnie

Two slices of bread
Three slices of Tofurkey
Small handful of grated carrot
Two slices of batavia lettuce
Cranberry sauce or chutney (go with mayo if you'd prefer, though it's a bit odd)
Four large sprouts, cut into six wedges and shallow fried until tender

How you do it
Spread the mayo or cranberry sauce onto the bread, then pile on the rest of the fillings with abandon.
Eat before anyone can see what madness you've descended into.

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  1. I like the fact that you're applying lessons from Come Dine With Me to your turn as hostess. Hopefully that means you've also got a hot tub/magician/musical interlude planned.

    I've had a ginger cake turn out like that too - I was embarrasssed by the floury bits, but it still tasted just as good. Fingers crossed you can hide the flaws suitably and nobody is any the wiser!

  2. I got invited to appear on Come Dine with me when it first started. I never took up the opportunity. I don't like what it has become not not about the food, but the homes and some unsavoury characters. I hope your Ginger cake is well received. I still don't like sprouts, I do try and eat them though - and yes, do make a curry with them. In the past I have made a vegan Christmas burger - yes, it had sprouts in them. Hope you have a good Christmas, wishing you the best for 2016.

  3. I confess to laughing at the ginger cake challenges, although that probably isn't very sympathetic. With custard and icing sugar I reckon you'll be fine :-) Good luck with the hosting and I hope you get a bit of a break around the Christmas preparations and the study requirements.

  4. I would love this sandwich though I would forgo the salad veg in it as I am a purist when it comes to a christmas dinner sandwich - instead I would have roast potato and roast pumpkin! Oh yum! Then I would have a large slice of ginger cake for afters! A delicious Christmas dinner, thank you - even with what were known in my childhood as "flour bombs" (little pouches of flour that exploded in your mouth). Seriously, good luck with your Christmas dinners - sounds busy but in a good way I hope

  5. I hope the cake tasted wonderful! Sometimes they still turn out, despite appearances. Ha ha! I can see how sprouts wouldn't work in a sandwich, but the idea is great!

  6. Sprouts on a sandwich sounds like a fine idea. We put them in noodley soups quite often and sliced up in stir fries. Have you ever tried the V Bites Christmas dinner pasty? Don't know if they've released it in the Christmas range this year but if you spot it, it's pretty good.

  7. Not sure if I ever even tried ginger cake, I'm sure your family will appreciate all the effort you put into it. :-) I'm finding I like brussels sprouts more but only when properly cooked. Christmas dinner in a sandwich sounds and looks delicious!


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