Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - DENNIS QUAID

Dennis Quaid was, is and probably will continue to be, a very good actor; but there is one role which, above all others, will define him and Zelda will celebrate that this evening when she entertains him to dinner, because The Big Easy blew us girls away when we saw it in 1986!

So, Remy McSwain will be a very welcome dinner guest.


175g quorn chicken-style pieces (defrosted if frozen)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
½tsp chopped garlic
1tsp smoked paprika
2tsp Cajun seasoning
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
100ml fat free natural yogurt
120g penne pasta
spray oil
coriander leaves to serve

Serves 2

Spray some oil in the pan and fry the onion and pepper until the onion is just browning. 
Add the quorn pieces and cook for a minute more.
Add the garlic and spices and stir well to coat. 
Then pour in the tomatoes, tomato puree and the yogurt. (Don’t worry if the yogurt looks split, it will sort itself out by the end of the cooking process.)
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain and add to the pan.
Stir to combine and simmer until quite a dry consistency.
Serve in individual bowls.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - JAMES TAYLOR

James Taylor is one of America's most prolific songwriters. 
He has written some beautiful songs, such as 'Fire and Rain' and 'You've Got a Friend'. 
Zelda's favourite is this western ballad, 'Sweet Baby James', so when he comes to dinner she will cook him some appropriately-named dishes.


4tbsp self-raising flour
1 egg
100ml milk
1 small tin sweetcorn, drained
Spray oil for frying

Makes 8

Mix the flour with the egg and milk, then add the sweetcorn.
Spray the oil in the bottom of a large pan and heat.
Place four large spoonfuls of the mixture in the pan.
Cook for a few minutes then turn and cook the other side.
Set aside.
Repeat with the remaining mixture.


500g sweet potatoes
2tsp mixed herbs
2tsp Cajun seasoning
1tbsp olive oil

Serves 2

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into thin slices.
Place in a bowl with the herbs and seasoning. Add the oil and stir to make sure all are well-coated.
Heat the air-fryer to high.
Place half in the air-fryer.
Cook in two batches, each taking about 15 minutes. Shake half-way through.
When ready to eat, replace all in the hot air fryer and cook for 5 minutes more.

Monday, 5 September 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - CHRIS BAVIN

We are all going to need the help of people like this. 
Chris Bavin (along with Gregg Wallace and Jordan Banjo) has done an excellent job of helping us to choose wisely in the supermarket.

So, Zelda would like to invite him along for the latest of her attempts to make tastier and cheaper versions of takeaway classics.

Chris Bavin began by selling fresh produce to markets and then set up his own high street shop in Surrey. He joined the popular TV programme Eat Well For Less in 2013, where he shows people how to save money and eat healthily.


First make the sauce:
                 SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

150ml pineapple juice (this is what you get when you 
drain a large can and reserve the pineapple rings)*
100g brown sugar
4tbsp tomato ketchup
3tbsp white wine vinegar
1tbsp light soy sauce
1tbsp cornflour
*NB Rings can be used in a main Sweet and Sour dish or for a dessert.

Serves 2

Put cornflour in a small bowl and mix with a little water until smooth.
Place pineapple juice, sugar, ketchup, white wine vinegar and soy sauce in a pan.
Heat, while whisking, until just boiling.
Add the cornflour and continue to whisk until it is smooth and of the required thickness.
Then, keeping the sauce warm, make the balls.

½ pack of tofu
1tbsp plain flour
4tbsp self-raising flour
½tsp turmeric
black pepper
sparkling water – about 100ml
sunflower oil for deep frying

(The aim here is to disguise the regular shape of the tofu pieces to make the balls look authentic.)

Drain and rinse the tofu then remove as much moisture as possible using kitchen roll.
Cut into 8 cubes. Place them in the plain flour and coat well.
Put the self-raising flour in a shallow bowl with the turmeric and season.
Stir in enough of the sparkling water to make a thick, creamy batter.
Shake any excess flour off the tofu pieces and place them in the batter.
Pour enough oil into a pan to reach about 2cm up the sides. Heat until a small drop of batter starts to fizz and cook.
Spoon in pieces of battered tofu and cook on one side until starting to crisp. 
Turn over and cook the other side.
Take half and place them on kitchen roll to drain.
Put them back in the remaining batter. 
Coat again and put them back in the oil. 
Repeat with the rest.
Cook both sides again.
(By this time the original cubic shape will have been concealed beneath the batter.)
Drain again. They will look just like any other batter-coated balls
Serve with the sauce

Thursday, 1 September 2022


One pan recipes are all the rage now, so here is one from Zelda.

3 vegetarian sausages
1 red onion, sliced thickly
1 red pepper, sliced thickly
1tbsp plain flour
200ml vegetable stock
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp mixed herbs
large grinding of black pepper
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1½tbsp balsamic vinegar
spray of olive oil

Serves 2

Spray the pan with oil and add the sausages. Fry gently until just starting to brown.
Remove from the pan and cut each one into four.
Place back in the pan with the onion and pepper and a bit more oil if needed. Fry until the onion has begun to soften.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir well to coat everything.
Then add the stock, tomatoes, sugar, herbs, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
Lovely served with rice and some extra herbs.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

A Meal For... Zelda Manners

 Yes, it's just for me. But why not?

I fell in love with this dish from the local takeaway. Each time I had it, I enjoyed every mouthful but then had a broken night's sleep as I was constantly waking with a raging thirst. I, therefore, decided to make a version without the additives and extra salt.


You can even pretend it's straight from the takeaway.

Satay Bean Curd

Egg Fried Brown Rice

Much cheaper, too!


This is a healthier version of the best accompaniment to any take away meal.

100g brown rice
1 egg
small amount of oil
black pepper

Cook the rice.
Drain but leave hot.
Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk.
Heat some oil in a large pan and place the rice on one side. 
Pour the egg on the other.
Using a wooden spoon, start to scramble the egg and then incorporate the rice.
Stir well to combine.
Season with black pepper and serve.
You can even pretend you ordered it in.
Perfect with Satay Bean Curd.