How ready are you to wave this terrible year goodbye, guys? Really! I know it’s only symbolic as it’s not like Covid will pack up and leave but I think it’s psychologically important as it’s been crazy tough yet has made us hopefully better, wiser and more philosophical individuals.
If I am honest, I am not a fan of going out for New Year’s Eve. When I was in my twenties I could not imagine doing nothing for NYE as, like I’ve only just come to realise, I had an acute version of FOMO (there wasn’t even a word for it back then 😉 ) and it was pretty much always all hype and the evening was always disappointing. Talking to friends, I am not alone. It’s one if these things when you feel obligated to have soooo much fun and forcing fun never works, does it?
Last year, we decided to find a vantage point to watch the fireworks from, with a flask of warm cherry vodka to toast with. It wasn’t a success either, the hill we picked was quite seedy and there was no one about because as it turned out we went there an hour too early – we just came back from visiting my family in Poland and I forgot to adjust the time (something I will never be able to live down…) It was way too cold to wait an hour so we had our toast and headed back.
This year, we plan to spend the evening on the couch, watching stand-up specials, drinking mulled wine and snacking. If you are in the same frame of mind and are looking for some finger food, I have a perfect recipe for you. These mock-duck spring rolls are baked, rather than fried, which, as well as being a healthier option also requires much less standing over the stove and no oily mess to clean up afterwards. Triple win in my book! Still they are crispy, easy to make, meaty (without any meat of course!), fragrant with Chinese five spice and deliciously addictive thanks to rich hoisin sauce.
Even though the ones you see in my photos are wrapped in traditional wheat flour spring roll wrappers, you can totally make these gluten-free too if you wish! To do that use tamari rather than soy sauce, make sure your hoisin sauce is gluten-free and use rehydrated rice papers (round or square) in the place of spring roll wrappers.
I love the flavours of these, they remind me of many delicious dinners in London’s China Town. I have made a plant-based take on duck pancakes before using tinned jackfruit as a meat replacement so that’s another option if you wanted to make these but do not like mushrooms. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as we have and HAPPY (or at least happier) 2021!!
PS: If you make my baked vegan spring rolls, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @lazycatkitchen and use the #lazycatkitchen hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes!
**Spring roll wrappers are paper thin pastry squares made of wheat flour, I found mine in the freezer section of my local (large) supermarket. You could also use a double or triple layer of phyllo pastry, but the end result will be a bit different. Be sure to apply oil between phyllo layers and bake at lower temperature (180° C / 355° F).
For a gluten-free option, use rehydrated rice paper wrappers like these. Once filled, bake them at 220° C / 425° F for about 25 minutes. The instructions on rehydrating them can be found under this recipe.