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

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - LAURIE LEE

Laurie Lee, the well-loved author and poet, is best remembered for his autobiographical work Cider With Rosie.

Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples, and Rosie's burning cheeks. Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted again...

Here, then is a vegetable pie which incorporates those flavours.

It serves 2 - 4, depending upon the size of portion.


175ml/6floz stock
280ml/½pint sweet cider
1tsp brown sugar
2 carrots, chopped
2 large parsnips, chopped
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
¼cauliflower, cut into florets
1tbsp wholewheat flour
2tbsp chopped parsley
1 medium onion
salt and pepper
250g/9oz puff pastry

Heat oven to 200˚C/400˚F Gas Mark 6
Slice the onions and fry until golden.
Mix the stock with the cider and sugar and put into a large pan with the carrots and parsnips.
Cook until just tender, remove the vegetables and put to one side.
Add the broccoli and cauliflower. Cook until tender. Remove and reserve with the other vegetables.
Mix the flour with a little water, add to the cider and cook until thickened, stirring all the time.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat and add the parsley.
Place vegetables in a greased dish and season well.
Put the pastry on top of the dish and slash with a sharp knife.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - ATTICUS FINCH

Social commentary can be a tricky business. But if you can filter your views through the eyes of a child, you can create a way of witnessing, assimilating and portraying the most horrific of events and create a literary classic at the same time.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch reveals the trial and conviction of Tom Robinson almost as an afterthought, a way to show the brilliance of her father. Her energies are firmly focused on the Radley House and whether Boo is friend or foe.

I often find it difficult to like the film if I have loved the book, but Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch pushes all such prejudices aside.
I could have decided on all sorts of meals here, cooked by Calpurnia, drenched in maple syrup, but instead, here is a good old corn recipe…


Makes 6 large wedges

200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp salt
1tsp black pepper
2 free range eggs
280ml milk
200g cooked sweetcorn
oil for frying

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs with the milk and stir this into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter.
Add the sweetcorn and mix everything together well.
Heat a little oil in a pan and pour in mixture. Keep the heat low as you need to cook it through without burning.
You should begin to see small air bubbles come to the surface.
The next step is to turn the mixture over in order to be able to cook both sides. This is the hardest part as you need to time it just right. The trick is to wait for the point where it begins to shrink away from the sides of the pan.
When both sides are golden, tip onto board and cut into wedges.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - WINSTON SMITH

Winston Smith can hardly be thought of as a hero but in 1984 he struggles to find and retain his originality in a world of bureaucracy.
Chocolate is rationed and the amount allocated keeps diminishing, despite the Party’s reassurance.
I think he would love to indulge in these.

Makes about 12

50g butter
50g granulated sugar
40g light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 free range egg
125g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
200g plain chocolate drops
100g white chocolate

NB Don't worry about the ratio of chocolate to biscuit mix - it is correct! 

Heat oven to 180C/ Gas4.
Cream the butter with the sugars and the vanilla extract.
Add the egg, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix well.
Break the white chocolate into chunks and add to the mixture with the chocolate drops.
Make sure everything is well-mixed.
Put spoonfuls of the mixture, spaced well apart on greased baking trays.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown and still soft in the centre.
Leave to cool slightly for a couple of minutes. Then, place on wire rack to cool fully.
Also see what Zelda would cook for George Orwell.


Serves 4

450g/ 1lb gooseberries.
75g/ 3oz caster sugar
500g/ 1lb 2oz freshly made custard
150ml/ 5floz/ ¼ pint double cream

Top and tail the gooseberries. Then heat gently in a saucepan with the sugar. When they are soft, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Put the gooseberries in a blender and whizz until you get a lovely mush. Push through a sieve to remove the pips.
Add the custard and stir well.
Whip the cream and then combine with the gooseberry mixture to make a marbled effect.

Pour into dishes and chill.