Many of our FoodCycle projects will be serving up tasty and nutritious three-course meals across the festive period, ensuring that communities across the UK have access to free hot food this December.
To spread a little joy and culinary inspiration, we asked FoodCycle volunteers to share their favourite festive recipes.
(Homegrown) Jerusalem Artichoke Soup from FoodCycle Islington’s Peter Bradley
Every year at FoodCycle Finsbury Park I bring in Jerusalem artichokes which I harvest from my back garden which we turn into a luxurious soup (vegan and non-vegan versions!). Both have an extravagant drizzle of truffle oil, toasted almond flakes, and crispy sage croutons which proves very popular with our guests. The hard bit is preparing the artichokes they’re are a bit fiddly to peel, you also need to stop them oxidising by keeping them in cold water before you are ready to cook.
Jerusalem artichokes peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion finely sliced
2 leeks finely sliced
1/2 cup traditional yeast
100ml double cream or vegan yogurt
600ml vegetable stock
Leftover stale bread cut into chunks
Toasted flaked almonds and truffle oil to finish (optional)
- Saute onion and leeks in rapeseed or vegetable oil until soft
- Add artichokes and stock, bring to the boil then cover and simmer until the artichokes are tender
- Meanwhile, toss the leftover bread chunks and torn sage leaves with some oil and salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven for around 5 minutes until golden
- Add the nutritional yeast and blitz in a blender (you might want to go the extra mile put through a sieve for an extra smooth soup)
- Serve with a dollop of double cream or vegan yogurt and top with the croutons
- For an extra luxurious soup at Christmas, top with toasted flaked almonds and a drizzle of truffle oil
Mincemeat Cake Recipe from FoodCycle Bath’s David Rose
170g butter or equivalent
60g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
1 jar of mincemeat
- Preheat oven to 170C
- Line an 8″ (deep) or 9″ (shallow) cake tin with greaseproof paper
- In a big bowl, blend the butter and sugar together with a fork
- Beat the eggs and mix them in
- Add the flour & stir (it will get very stiff, like biscuit dough
- Tip in the mincemeat in and stir everything together
- Bake for 1 hour at 170 then reduce the temperature to 150 and cover with a circle of paper or foil and bake for another 45 minutes
- Leave to cool in the tin
- Use a skewer to check that it’s cooked
- Leave to cool in the tin
- Make a gluten-free version by substituting gluten-free self-raising flour, a teaspoon of Xanthan gum and half a teaspoon of baking powder
Spiced Chickpeas with Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion Cous Cous & Sultanas from the FoodCycle Liverpool team
400g tinned chickpeas
200g tinned sweetcorn
200g tinned pineapple cut into small chunks
2 large sweet potatoes
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
600g red onions
100g cous cous
4 bulbs garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 190C
- Wash and peel half the red onions and place on a baking tray
- Wash and chop sweet potato into wedges and add to the same tray (leave the skins on for more flavour and nutrients!)
- Add seasoning and cooking oil to both and roast for 30 minutes (or until soft in the middle and crisp on the outside)
- Wash, peel and finely shop half the red onions and garlic.
- Add to a pan with cooking oil on a medium heat until they are soft and starting to lightly brown
- Turn the heat to medium, and add pineapple, sweetcorn and chickpeas. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper and stir
- Once all combined and softening, add chopped tomatoes, leave to simmer on a low heat
- In a mixing bowl, add the couscous and sultanas and cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed (TIP – give the couscous a stir with a fork so it becomes nice and fluffy
- When everything is cooked, plate up and enjoy!
Mince Pies from FoodCycle Hackney Team
1.5k flora or similar vegetable oil-based spread
3.5 cups plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour in each batch
1 x large jar mincemeat
- For the pastry combine fat and flour and rub together until it resembles course breadcrumbs
- Add water and knead to form a dough
- Cover dough in cling film and leave in fridge for 10-15 minutes
- Roll out dough to 3mm thickness on a floured surface
- Cut tops and bottoms for cases using a glass
- Fill with a generous spoonful of mincemeat, seal the top with water around the edges and crimp with a fork
- Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes
Pea and Garlic Soup from the FoodCycle Liverpool team
1 garlic bulb
60ml vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
500g frozen peas
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
- Roast the garlic in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or until soft.
- In a pan add onion and oil and fry until golden brown.
- Add the peas and stir until combined and defrosted.
- Start adding the stock slowly and continued to stir, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Take off the heat, add the roasted garlic, and blend with a hand blender.
- Add salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
Alex at FoodCycle Bristol suggests doing what they did at a recent Cook & Collect project from donated food. Transforming ready-made rolled shortcrust pastry and a jar of ready-made mincemeat into tasty mince pies!
Elena Kassis from FoodCycle Walker shared some snaps of their Christmas biscuits fresh from the oven at Monkchester Community Centre – ready to delight the FoodCycle guests in Newcastle upon Tyne. The team followed this recipe but opted to serve without icing and swapped out the mixed spice for vanilla extract.
Wishing you all a food-filled Christmas from FoodCycle!