Today it's all about transforming vision into political action, but if you just want the recipe for my delicious vegan chestnut Christmas cookies dipped in pomegranate glaze, make your way to the end of this blog post where you'll find it.
As I woke the morning of Tuesday, November 8th, I was feeling pretty antsy, unsettled. And as the day progressed my unease grew into unmeasureable stress; my tummy felt like it was tied in a knot and by the end of the day I felt physically sick. Why? Cuz I knew there was a real chance that Trump could win. I dare not have said it out loud that faithful day, but I was well aware that it wasn't unimaginable. Till now I'm not sure how the man and the boy in my life managed to put up with me on the 8th or the days that followed for that matter as I was not myself, stressed beyond belief. But, in fairness I had good right to be, cuz when I woke in the odd hours of the morning Wednesday, November 9th (UK time), my worst fears were turning into reality - Trump was leading, taking all the key state along with him.
I won't bore you with the details of the election - you know the outcome - what I can say is that I spent most of Wednesday in floods of tears and Thursday wasn't much better. The only thing I remember vividly in the blur that surrounded the U.S. Presidential election results is that I woke in the middle of the night on Thursday hoping it had all just been a terrible mistake, a horrible nighmare. But sadly, it wasn't; it was all too real.
By Friday I realised that I could:
a) continue to hibernate and live the life of a zombie with badly combed hair, smudged make-up, wallowing in self pity for the next, say, 4 years
b) do something, ANYTHING to make things a tiny bit better.
As luck would have it, on Friday night I stumbled on this article, about a women's march planned in Washington D. C. on January 21st, the day after Trump's inauguration. Initially I though: OMG I can totally go to this, buy my plane ticket, stay with old college friends in Virginia and peacefully fight for women's rights, immigrants' rights, disabled people's rights, LGBT rights etc. Then, after my first good night's rest, I woke on Saturday feeling cocky and confident filled with renewed hope and even bigger dreams: Why not stage a women's march right here in London! GENIUS (if I may say so myself)!!! Who cared that I'd never organised a march in my life before. Who cared that I didn't know how on earth to get the ball rolling. Who cared that I didn't have any sense of how to shape this march into something concrete. Point was I felt alive again and was convinced that this was no time for self doubt, but instead a time for action!
I spent Saturday in a frenzy of excitement and uncoordinated activity - I set up a facebook page, I contacted EVERY women's rights organisation in London that I could find via google, I put out a cry to friends and neighbour, I did WHATEVER I could! The result: by Saturday night, the internet had somehow linked me with 8 other badass women - all complete strangers to each other - with whom I am now organising The Women's March on London on January 21st, 2017 from 12noon - 3.30pm! On that day we - with as many of you as possible - aim to stand together for the protection of women's rights, human rights, immigrants' rights, disabled people's rights and LGBT people's rights. In fact ANY group or cause Trump attacked know that we're marching in solidarity with and for you!
So, please, please, please help us make the day AMAZEBALLS! How? Well, you could...
1. Come and join us! You can walk with us in London or across the world! There are countless sister marches happening in the USA, as well as in Europe and Australia.
2. Spread the word! You can do so by sharing our facebook page, sharing our instagram page, retweeting our tweets. ANY help is appreciated. In fact we cannot do this without YOU!
3. Volunteer! We need first-aiders, fundraisers, march stewards, leafleters, musicians etc.
4. Donate! We are not making a profit and are all working on the march for free so that ever single penny that's donated goes directly towards making this march freakin' amazing!
In total we need £20,000 to pay for a stage, an audio system, public liability insurance etc. You can donate via our gofundmepage OR by purchasing our march t-shirts.
Thank you all soooooo much for reading through this super long blog post and for supporting this blog thoughout 2016! I look forward to marching with you in 2017 AND to continuing to serve you with vegan food inspiration in 2017.
P.S. Recipe below :)
VEGAN CHESTNUT CHRISTMAS COOKIES DIPPED IN POMEGRANATE GLAZE WITH TWIGG STUDIOS (ChF, V+)
I made these cookies with Aimee from Twigg Studios of course. She's a total baking genius and it was a joy - as always - to have her in my kitchen. You can see her take on the day here. (Please do have a look. Her pictures are stunning and TOTALLY different to mine). We tried to give the recipe a really festive twist and soooo hope you like it.
Please check the tips at the end of the recipe too ;).
Preparation Time: 20 min
Roasting Time: 25-30min
Cooling Time: 10 minutes + 10 minutes
Baking Time: about 10-15 minutes
Makes: 32 cookies
Ingredients for the cookies:
a good handful of chestnuts (8-10)
200g/ 3/4+2tbs vegan butter (we used this one)
100g/ 1/2cup light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla power
300g/ 2.5cups spelt flour + extra for dusting the work surface
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp all spice
Ingredients for the glaze and toppings (optional):
a good handful of pomegranate seeds
about 3/4 cup of icing sugar
freeze dried raspberries and/or edible flowers to decorate (optional)
Pre-heat the oven 200C/425F. Take the chestnuts and with a sharp knife cut a + shape into them. Then place the chestnuts on a baking tray and roast for 25-30minutes. Be careful not to burn them. You know that they are ready when they start folding open where you made the + incision (see picture above). Take them out of the oven, bring the oven down to 180C/350F and let the chestnuts cool for about 10 minutes. When they have cooled, peel about 8 of the chestnuts and crumble the content into small bits. Chop up with a knife into smaller chunks if you prefer.
With a hand-held, or preferably an electric (hand-held) mixer, combine and cream the vegan butter, sugar and vanilla for about 5 minutes. Then add the spelt flour, broken up chestnut pieces as well as the spices and mix gently until just combined.
Prepare your kitchen surface with a dusting of flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Get your cookie cutter and cut the dough ( as shown), line 2 baking trays with grease proof baking paper and place the cookies onto the trays. Bake the cookies for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
Whilst the cookies are baking prepare your pomegranate glaze by taking the pomegranate seeds and squeezing out the juice with a muslin cloth (as shown). Combine the collected juice with icing sugar. Please note that the measurements above for the glaze are VERY approximate. It depends on how many pomegranate seeds you use. Just remember the glaze needs to be runny enough to spread but firm enough to be able to set.
Once the cookies are baked, let them cook for about 10 minutes and then dip one side into the glaze, place on a drying rack and decorate as desired.
Tip 1: Can you use a different type of fat? You could use coconut oil I guess and let it melt slightly (say about half of it) to be able to cream it properly. We thought long and hard about using vegan butter as it's certainly NOT the healthiest. But we were keen to keep the taste un-coconutty and make it really authentic. So for Christmas, as a one off, we felt it was ok.
Tip 2: You can also use a light caster sugar.
Tiip 3: I LOVE spelt flour, but this recipe would also work with plain flour or a combo of plain and spelt flour.
Tip 4: The quantity depends on the cookie cutter you use of course. Also on how thick/thin you roll the dough. I'd advise not to make it too thin as they are more likely to break during the baking process.
Did you enjoy this post? Then why not check out my past collaborations with Aimee from Twigg Studios. We made this tres leches cake and these cinnamon buns together too.
Thank you all soooo much for all your support over 2016. I can't wait to bring you more vegan goodness in 2017.