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

Sunday 30 December 2018

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - DEAN MARTIN (Happy New Year again)

Dean Martin was never, contrary to popular belief, an alcoholic. In fact, he drank far less than his contemporaries, believing that it would interfere too much with his golf. On stage, whatever he led an audience to believe, his glass was more likely to be filled with apple juice than whisky.

He makes a perfect New Year’s guest, though, as he will always be remembered for his entertainingly ‘drunken’ performances, on stage with The Rat Pack, where he delivered lines such as:

You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on
I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day

He also sings one of Zelda's favourite songs:

In the 1959 film Rio Bravo he pays Deputy Sheriff ‘Dude’, who is unable to keep order in a Texas town, until John T Chance (John Wayne) arrives to sort matters.

Every drunk needs a hangover cure and a traditional breakfast is tried and tested. For Mr Martin, Zelda has devised a breakfast which can be eaten in the morning, or later as a snack. Guaranteed to make you feel better.

Here is the recipe, step by step, for those who may not be 'firing on all cylinders':

2 vegetarian sausages, defrosted if frozen 
4 rashers vegetarian bacon, defrosted if frozen
2 tomatoes
3 mushrooms, sliced
Oil of choice (I used olive oil)
4 free range eggs
1 slice bread
300ml single cream
50g cheese, grated (optional)
ground black pepper
1 sheet ready-rolled shortcrust pastry

I used pre-made pastry as no-one with a hangover wants to make their own pastry.
Although there are many lovely veggie sausages out there, choose some (such as 'Quorn' which resemble their meaty counterparts.
Cheese is optional. 

Place pastry inside a 20cm/ 8inch flan dish. Use a rolling pin to roll over the top and remove any excess pastry.
Prick the base.
Cut a disk of baking paper to fit the base of the dish and place inside. Fill with baking beans.
Cook at Gas 6/ 200°C/ 400°F for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and paper and cook for 5 minutes more.
Take two pans and place a glug of oil in each.
Cook the ‘bacon’ in one and the ‘sausages’ in another. 
Drain on absorbent paper.
Chop the bacon into small pieces. Slice the sausages thinly.
Add a bit more oil to the pans.
Place the mushrooms in one and the bread in the other.
Cook mushrooms until soft and just golden, then place on a sheet of absorbent paper.
Cover with another to remove the moisture.
Cook bread on both sides until crispy. Then remove crusts and chop into croutons.
Cut six slices from the tomatoes. 
Remove all pips and then finely chop the rest. Store on absorbent paper to remove excess moisture.
Beat the eggs and season with black pepper.
Add the cream, whisking as you go.
You should now have all you need. The quiche can be prepared in advance to this stage.
When ready to cook, heat oven to Gas 7/ 220°C/ 425°F
Place mushrooms, bacon, sausage, tomato chunks
and cheese (if using) in the pastry base.
Pour over the cream mixture.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and place tomato slices on the top.
Place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
When cooked, sprinkle the fried bread croutons over the top.
Serve with baked beans.

Thursday 20 December 2018


Serves 2

4 medium parsnips
40g parmesan-style cheese (veggie version)
40g plain flour
1tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp ground garlic
salt and black pepper
2tbsp olive oil

Peel the parsnips, cut them in half lengthways and remove any tough bits.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the parsnips and return to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grate the cheese and mix it in a bag with the flour, cayenne pepper and seasoning.
Drain the parsnips.
Place them in the bag of flour. Shake it well to ensure that the parsnips are covered. (can be made in advance to this stage.)
Place oil in a tray and heat in oven at Gas 5/ 190°C/ 375°F. Then add the parsnips.
Roast for 15 minutes. Turn parsnips, then cook for about 15 minutes more, until golden and crispy.
Served here with: Veggie Mince Plait, Dear Little Potato Roasties and Red Cabbage with Apple.


250g red cabbage, shredded finely
1 apple, cored and chopped into small pieces
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1tbsp olive oil
150ml balsamic vinegar

2tbsp red wine vinegar mixed with 100ml
hot water
salt and black pepper
2tbsp soft brown sugar

Heat the oil in an old pan and fry the onion until soft.
Add the red cabbage and apple and stir all together.
Pour in the liquids and bring to the boil.
Add the parsley and season.
Stir all well together.
Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 1 hour.
Turn off the heat, remove the lid and allow to gently absorb the rest of the liquid.

Friday 14 December 2018

TEMPTING TAPAS - A Meal for a Friend

Eating out is great. But last time, Zelda and Stuie went out for tapas, they were offered a bottle of wine for £24 which they knew was available for £5 in the local supermarket - rather a large mark-up! So, this time, they are eating in (with wine, of course!)

Garlic Mushrooms
Patatas Bravas
Roast Chickpeas
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Pesto and Mozzarella Tarts

GARLIC MUSHROOMS (adapted from Posh Mushrooms on Toast)

150g mushrooms, sliced
25g butter
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
75ml double cream
3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Melt the butter in a pan. When it foams, add the mushrooms. Toss to make sure they are all coated and then allow to cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Then pour over the cream and sprinkle in leaves from two of the sprigs of thyme.
Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then until it thickens. Season to taste.
Serve in a bowl.


3tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato ketchup
2tbsp paprika
1tsp chilli powder
500g potatoes, peeled

Heat 1tbsp of the oil and cook the onion until slightly brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
Pour in the tomatoes and add the ketchup and the spices.
Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into cubes. Coat with the remaining oil and spread over the base of a baking tray.
Roast at 200°C/ Gas 6 for about 40 minutes, stirring half-way.
When golden, tip into the sauce (reheat it if necessary). Stir to coat.


400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and allowed to dry
1tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1tsp chilli flakes

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Place them on a baking tray and cook at 200°C/ Gas 6 for about 25 minutes.
Serve when firm until golden.

1 red onion, peeled and chopped finely
12 small, sweet tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 slices of thick crust bread
small bunch of thyme leaves

Mix the onion, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and thyme together in a bowl. Season and set aside for up to an hour to allow the flavours to develop.
When ready to serve, toast the bread on both sides and cut each slice in half.
Spread the tomato mixture over each piece.


500g strong white flour + extra for shaping
7g sachet fast-action yeast
1tsp salt
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp honey
30g butter
2 garlic cloves
75g cheddar cheese, finely grated
2tsp fresh thyme leaves

Place the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl.
Mix the oil and honey with 300ml warm water.
Pour this into the flour, stirring well throughout until you have a soft, sticky dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, knead until the dough feels silky and stops sticking. Add more flour as needed.
Place back in the bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock back and knead again. Then stretch out in a tray.
Soften the butter. Crush the garlic and mix both together.
Spread this over the top of the dough.
Sprinkle over the cheese and thyme leaves.
Cover again and leave to rise again.
Cook at 200°C/ Gas 6/ 390°F for about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and then cut into slices or chunks.


½ small jar pesto
1 sheet ready-made puff pastry
1 ball mozzarella

Cut pastry into six. Place on baking tray and cut a groove about 1cm from the edge to form a border. Prick the pastry inside the border several times with a fork.
Place in oven at about 200°C/ 390°F/ Gas 6  for 10 mins.
Spread the pesto over the centre of each tart.
Rip the mozzarella into small pieces and place it on top of the pesto.
Place back in oven for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.

Other ideas:
Houmous with breadsticks
Fried Halloumi
Stuffed Red Pepper
Sal Mineo's Pizza Snacks