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

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - RICHARD BECKINSALE

Today's meal is for Richard Beckinsale, best known for being in two of the most iconic of British TV sitcoms back in the 1970s. 

He played the amiable, out of place Lennie Godber in Porridge and naive medical student Alan Moore in Rising Damp. He died suddenly at only 31 in 1979. 

Beckinsale was born in 1947 in Nottinghamshire. It seems right, therefore, for Zelda to make him something using Stilton cheese which can only made in this county (and - yes, OK - Leicestershire and Derbyshire, too). 


Serves 3

1 sheet ready made puff pastry
1 leek, washed and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks
25g butter
1 egg, beaten
50g stilton
salt and black pepper

Place potato in a small pan of boiling water and cook until almost soft.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a separate pan and fry the leeks until translucent.
Place both in a bowl. Crumble in most of the cheese. Mix and season well.
Cut pastry into thirds lengthways. Mark the half-way point of each piece.
Place the leek mixture on one half, leaving a border all around. Top with the extra cheese.
Brush border with some of the egg.
Fold the other half over the top and crimp the edges to seal. 
Place on a baking tray. Gently slash the top.
Brush all over with the rest of the egg.
Cook at Gas 7/ 220˚C 425˚F for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, 4 February 2021


A great way to use up leftover veg – mix and match as required

Serves 2

3 vegetarian sausages, defrosted if frozen and sliced on the diagonal
2 leeks, washed and chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks (or leftover roast potatoes)
5-6 broccoli florets
25g butter
1tbsp olive oil
2 free range eggs
1tsp chilli flakes
1tbsp mango chutney (I use this in preference to horseradish sauce)

If not using leftover roast potatoes, put potato chunks in a pan of hot water, bring to the boil and simmer.
After about 5 minutes, add the broccoli.
Cook for a further 5 minutes until both are almost soft. Then drain.
Heat butter and oil in a large pan.
Add leeks, sausages, potatoes and broccoli.
Keep stirring so that the leeks soften and the other items become slightly crisp and brown.
Make two holes and crack an egg into each one.
Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the top.
Cook until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still fairly soft.
Serve with a blob of ketchup.

Sunday, 27 December 2020


4 crumpets (I used tree-shaped ones for Christmas)
2 eggs
splash of milk
½ onion, chopped finely
½ red pepper, chopped finely
½tsp ground cumin
½tsp chilli powder
½tsp turmeric
handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
25g butter
1tbsp olive oil
50g cheese, grated

Beat the eggs in a large, flat bowl and add the milk, onion, pepper, spices and half the coriander leaves. 
Toast the crumpets on both sides (in a toaster is fine). 
Place the crumpets, face down in the egg mixture. Squash down to allow them to soak up as much as possible. 
Heat the oil and butter together. 
When it bubbles, cook the coated side of the crumpets. 
Carefully, using tongs or a slice, place them back in the egg mixture to coat the other side.
Return to the pan and top with any remaining mixture.
When bottom is cooked, turn again to allow all the topping to cook.
Place the right way up on a baking tray.
Cover with the cheese and grill until the cheese is bubbly. 
Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and serve with a dollop of ketchup.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - CHARLES ANTHONY BRUNO

Patricia Highsmith knew how to create a psychopathic playboy, These days, her Mr Ripley is probably the best known, but in 1951 Alfred Hitchcock made Strangers on a Train into the ultimate film thriller. 

The premise is so simple: two people share a few hours of a train journey together. They both have a personal dilemma and they joke about how they could solve each other's problem (criss-cross). 

But then it becomes much more sinister. Charles Anthony Bruno takes it upon himself to deliver his half of the hypothetical deal and then demands an awful lot in return of the reluctant Guy Haines.

So, how great would it be to have Charles to dinner?


Serves 2 – 3

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small onion. chopped
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg
2tbsp sour cream
handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)
2tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper

Toss the sweet potato in most of the olive oil.
Roast in a baking tray at 200˚C/ Gas 6 for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from the oven and, if soft, allow to cool.
Heat the rest of the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion. 
Put in a food processor with the onion and sour cream.
Blitz to make a thick paste, then add the coriander.
Blitz again.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Beat the egg with a little water to make a wash. 
Unroll the pastry sheet and cut into two.
Cut a 1cm border from one half (like a picture frame) and place it on top of the other, sticking them together with some of the beaten egg. Prick the base with a fork.
Cook in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Then, spread the sweet potato mixture over the base, leaving the border clear.
Use the remaining pastry to make a lattice over the top.
Brush with the remaining egg wash.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020


2 large leeks
160ml vegetable stock
3tbsp double cream
50g breadcrumbs
30g cheddar cheese, grated

Wash and slice the leeks.
Place the slices in an ovenproof dish. 
Pour in the stock and top with the cream. 
Cover with the breadcrumbs.
Cover with foil and bake at 220˚C/ 425˚F/ Gas 7 for about 25 minutes, then remove the foil. 
Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Return to the oven for about 5 minutes more until the cheese has bubbled.
Makes a lovely side dish.

Friday, 4 December 2020


Serves 6

1kg frozen forest berries
300ml fresh custard
300ml Greek-style yogurt
2tsp sugar 

Reserve about 3 pieces of fruit per person.
Place the rest in a pan with the sugar.
Warm over a low heat until soft and slightly slushy. 
Then allow to cool.
Place in a blender and whizz until as smooth as possible. 
Pass through a sieve into a large bowl to remove any seeds or pips. 
Add the custard.
Mix well. 
Swirl through the yogurt. 
Chill well.
Share between the glasses. 
Top with the fruit.