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

Saturday 22 April 2017

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guests – THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT

Edward Lear’s nonsense poem was first published in 1871. So many of the lines are just there in my head, waiting for me to recall them whenever I want.

My favourite of all (as a cat lover) are:
“O lovely pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

After their marriage they dine ‘on mince and slices of quince’. Lear does not stipulate exactly what type of mince they ate (mince just means finely diced food).
This recipe uses vegetarian mince and is extremely tasty. The addition of the gravy granules gives it a meaty taste, but look for the V on the tub. I usually serve it with small roast potatoes and some other vegetables, although once we had cauliflower cheese alongside which made it very filling indeed.

I keep this as an idea for when I need a main course in a hurry so I have used pre-made pastry. It is, of course, fine to make your own in advance.


Serves 2 – 3

1 sheet shortcrust pastry
1 small onion, chopped
50g sage and onion stuffing mix
300ml vegetable stock
200g vegetarian mince (frozen is fine)
2tbsp milk
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp vegetarian ‘meaty’ gravy granules (such as those in the red Bisto tub)

Heat oil in a pan and fry onion until just turning brown.
Add mince and pour stock over the top.
Add dry stuffing mix and gravy granules and stir well until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
Lay out pastry. Cut strips from the sides, retaining a basic rectangle shape. (If using pre-rolled puff pastry, keep it on the greaseproof paper it comes in, trimming the paper if necessary - it will make it easier to move, and stop it from sticking.)

Cut the corners off the rectangle and place the mixture down the middle.

Fold up the ends and sides.
Take a strip of pastry and attach it to one side at the corner. Then zig-zag it across and down, over the mince mixture. Repeat from the other side, crossing the first strip.
Continue all the way along, creating a plait effect.
Place on a baking tray.

When ready, glaze with milk and cook in oven at 180˚C/ Gas 6-7 for 25-30 minutes. 

NB Looking for pictures online, I found the lovely one of the Owl and the Pussycat by 'Jen Niles Art'. I have used it but if Jen Niles objects I will remove it.


  1. Hand me a runcible spoon...that looks tasty! Then we can all "dance by the light of the moon!"