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Christmas Pudding

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 158

This is a traditional vegetarian Christmas Pudding with lots of dried fruit, nuts and spices. As suggested in the book, I prepared our Pudding in autumn and let it mature until Christmas. Even though it takes very long (6 hours!) to steam, the result was definitely worth it. Sadly, not everybody in my family is fond of Christmas Pudding ‒ therefore I only made two small Puddings and gave one to a friend who loved the surprise just in time for Christmas.

Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding, Photo by Almut Spaeth

Gluten-Free: I substituted the flour and the breadcrumbs for gluten-free products, which worked well.

Alternatives: The brazil nuts I used seemed not to mature too well in the pudding, giving it a slighly unpleasant note. I think that they must either have been old when I used them (even though they were well before the “best before” date) or that there has been another problem. Next time I would try using more almonds instead of the brazil nuts to give a milder flavour.

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French Carrot Soup

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 55

A simple but elegant carrot soup that is lovely for a light lunch or as starter. Serve with Linda’s Corn Bread (p. 61) or with my vegan version.

Bowl with French Carrot Soup
French Carrot Soup. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

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Beetroot and Celery Salad

From: Linda McCartney´s Home Cooking, p. 70

A surprisingly balanced and moreish salad– especially for somebody like me who always thought that uncooked celery is inedible. I think that the combination of the strong flavours of the beetroot and celery and the milder flavour of the egg go very well together.

Bowl with beetroot and celery salad
Beetroot and celery salad. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

I have tried making this salad with lemon juice only, but find that the sharp acidity of the vinegar harmonizes better with the beetroot than the sour taste of the lemon juice. Therefore, I would prefer using either a combination of lemon juice and vinegar, or only vinegar.
Leaving the salad for at least an hour before serving helps the flavour develop. Add the sliced egg just before serving.

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Tofu Nuggets

My children enjoy these crispy nuggests (they call it tofu chicken), and they are a great snack with some home-made barbecue sauce or tomato ketchup.

Plate with Tofu nuggets
Tofu nuggets. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license


1 egg, 1tbsp. tamari or soy sauce, 1tsp. paprika powder, 60g cornflakes, 25g rice flour or any other flour, a 200g block of firm tofu.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Beat the egg with the tamari sauce and paprika powder and put it on a small plate. Measure out the flour on another plate. Crush the cornflakes (I use a pestle and mortar, but crushing them with your hands in a bowl will be just as good) and pour onto a third plate. Cut the tofu in 1cm thick slices.
Now dip the tofu slices first into the flour and turn until all sides are covered. Repeat the same with the egg mixture and finish with a coating of crushed cornflakes.
Bake for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 20 minutes cooking time.

Sometimes, I cut smaller pieces of tofu and put them on small wooden skewers. Makes a great party food and children enjoy eating them with their hands and dipping them into the tomato ketchup.

Gluten-free: Use gluten-free cornflakes and any gluten-free flour you like.
Vegan: Mix 30g of flour with the tamari sauce and paprika powder and add as much plant-based milk as necessary to form a creamy dough. Cover the tofu pieces in this dough, then turn in the crushed cornflakes and bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.

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Moroccan Carrot Salad

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 76

A very colourful winter salad that makes you happy as soon as you look at your plate. It is packed with flavour and vitamins and can make a meal in itself.
I would suggest serving it as a starter just on its own, or with some pita bread and hummus as lunch.
The recipe serves 4 as main course or 8 as a starter.

Plate with Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan Carrot Salad. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license


Leave out the onions and use 1tbs of honey (and optional 1 tsp of mustard) in the dressing.
Oranges can be substituted for chopped apples or pears, and currants for chopped dates or dried apricots.
For a milder flavour of the original recipe, try using a shallot instead of the onion.

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Carrot Cream Soup

From: Linda McCartney´s Home Cooking, p. 53

Even though this soup consists of only a few ingredients, it surprises with its balanced taste. Roasting the vegetables gives extra flavour and the rice is an interesting alternative to using potatoes.
It can be eaten hot or cold and is a great starter for a dinner party or family dinner.

Bowl with Carrot Cream Soup
Carrot Cream Soup. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

The recipe serves 4 as starter or two for lunch.

Vegan: Substitute the single cream with soy or oat cream.

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Beefless Stew

From: Linda McCartney´s Home Cooking, p. 86

Plate with Beefless Stew
Beefless Stew. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

This stew became an instant favourite of my daughter- she just did not stop eating…
It is a great recipe for preparing in advance and re-heating when needed.

I used soy steaks from vantastic foods. In Germany, smaller TVP chunks are also available from Alnatura.

Variations: To give this dish more flavour, try using vegetarian worcestershire sauce instead of soy sauce, and add 1/2 a chopped and deseeded chilli and 3 tablespoons tomato puree.

Gluten- free: If you want a gluten-free meal, check that the TVP chunks or burgers you are using are are gluten-free.

Vegan: The stew is vegan if you use margarine or vegetable oil instead of butter.

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Apple Sauce Cake

From: Linda McCartney´s Home Cooking, p. 152

The Apple Sauce Cake is very rich and has a lovely taste of spices. It is a perfect autumn or winter cake and makes a great desert when served warm with vanilla ice cream. Also good when served at room temperature with a cup of tea.

Plate with Apple Sauce Cake
Apple Sauce Cake. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

This cake freezes well. Defrost and warm in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Gluten-free: Use same amount of gluten-free flour mix (e.g. “Freee plain white flour” from Doves Farm) and add 2 teaspoons of potato fibre or 1 teaspoon of psyllium husks.

Vegan: Use margarine instead of butter and replace the egg with 1 tablespoon flaxmeal and 3 tablespoons water (to be mixed with the flour).

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Baked Custard

From: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 153

This baked custard makes a very special desert for a dinner party, especially when cooking and serving in small individual ovenproof dishes. It is very easy to make and requires no attention in the last 60 minutes ‒ perfect when entertaining guests.
I think it is best served warm, accompanied with some seasonal berries or fruit, but it is also nice when served chilled.

Bowl with Baked custard
Baked custard. Photo by Almut Späth CC AT-NC license

To add even more glamour to this easy-to-make dish, cover with brown sugar after removing from the oven, and put under the grill until the sugar has caramelized. An extremely quick version of cremé brulée ‒ and it is also much lower in calories than the original dish (which uses a lot of cream).

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Aubergine and Pasta

Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, p. 84

This oven-bake is a great meal for the whole family on cold autumn days. I recommend using 4 tbsp. tomato paste and 100ml of water in addition to the tinned tomatoes. This will give you more sauce and tomato flavour and the dish will be nice and moist.

Plate with Maccaroni and Aubergine dish
Aubergine and Pasta, Photo by Almut Spaeth

For a gluten-free option, chose gluten-free maccaroni. For a vegan version, try using vegan “cheese” slices instead of the mozzarella and sprinkle some home-made vegan “parmesan” on top. You can find a recipe for vegan “parmesan” here.