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

Sunday, 31 March 2019


When your man comes home for lunch, in between digging over a vegetable patch and cutting a 12' high hedge, a small bowl of salad isn't going to do the job.

This is very much an 'ensemble piece' and a hearty variation on a Ploughman's.

Include cheese, bread, crisps and a variety of fruit and salad ingredients.

Thursday, 21 March 2019


It is a great moment when you can please a 5 year-old. 

Zelda's nephew, Edward, requested these after enjoying something similar at school. 


Makes about 12

½ sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
100g pasta sauce from a jar
100g cheese
1 egg yolk
1tbsp milk
1tsp dried mixed herbs

Spread out the pastry.
Cover with the pasta sauce, leaving a small border.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Starting from the short end, roll the pastry up as tight as you can. 
Then put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Remove from fridge. Slice into about 12 pieces.
Place each piece on a lined baking tray and press down slightly.
Mix the egg yolk and milk together and brush over each wheel. Then sprinkle the dried herbs over the top.
Cook at Gas 6/ 200°C/ 390°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - JACQUES BREL

Jacques Brel was born in Brussels in 1929. He moved to Paris in the 1960s in order to further his musical career. His genius and influence then extended throughout Europe and across the world. 
Coincidentally, many dishes which we now associate with French cooking actually originated in Belgium, even including 'French Fries', which became popular during World War One - the first time many people would have experienced Continental cuisine. 
Zelda would like to make Jacques a meal which includes a Belgian favourite which we (like his music) now take for granted.  

VOL-AU-VENTS (originally known as pasteitje in Belgium) served two ways

1 sheet of pastry would make 32 vol-au-vents. Easily multiplied or divided.
I used half a sheet and made 16 (8 of each). Ingredients for fillings are measured accordingly

For the pastry cases
Half a sheet of sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg yolk 
1tbsp milk

Line 2 trays with baking parchment.
Cut the pastry sheet in half (retain one half for later).
Cut the piece you are using in half again and keep going until you have 16 pieces. 
Score a smaller rectangle inside each - Do not cut right through.
Put them on the baking tray.
Mix the egg yolk with the milk and brush over the top of each.
Bake for about 15 minutes at Gas 6/ 200°C/ 390°F
until brown and golden (If not using a fan oven, swap shelves half way through).
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When cool, remove the central piece of pastry to leave the cases ready for filling. 
For the fillings
2 eggs 
2tbsp mayonnaise
1tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 veggie sausages, defrosted if frozen
2-3 tbsp sour cream
a couple of tbsp of chilli jam
1tbsp olive oil

For Egg Mayonnaise

Heat a large pan of water and, when boiling, add the eggs.

Bring back to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse under cold running water.
When the shells feel cold, peel each egg and place the centres in a bowl.

Use the side of a spoon to chop the eggs into small pieces.

Mix with the mayonnaise and chopped parsley, and season.

Place in the pastry cases when ready to serve.

For Cool and Spicy Sausage 

Heat oil and fry sausages until slightly brown.

Remove from heat, allow to cool and then slice.
Cut in half again to make smaller pieces to fit the cases.

Put sour cream in a bowl and add the sausage pieces. Mix well.

When ready to serve, put a spoonful of the sausage mixture into each vol-au-vent and top with the chilli jam.
Serve together on a large plate.
Additional thought: shouldn't the plural be vols-au-vent?

Monday, 18 March 2019


I wouldn't presume to label this further than 'curry' but it is extremely tasty and well worth a whirl. 

2tbsp oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsp chopped ginger
1tbsp tomato puree
3tsp curry powder
250ml passata
150ml single cream
1tbsp honey
200g paneer, cut into cubes

Heat the oil and fry the onion and pepper until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more, not allowing it to burn.
Add the ginger, tomato puree and curry powder. Mix well.
Stir in the passata, cream and honey.
Allow to bubble and thicken, then add the paneer.
Cook for a few more minutes.
Serve with Naan Breads.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - RONNIE DREW

When I first decided to cook this, I didn't have anyone other than Dave in mind to share it with. But, as I always like to cook along to music, the Guinness made me think of Ireland and The Dubliners, so the next natural step was to invite Ronnie Drew to share it, too.

Joseph Ronald Drew was born in 1934 and, giving his very heavy drinking, lived for a somewhat remarkable 73 years. When he died in 2008, Dave and I went out for a glass of Jameson's whiskey.

His rendition of Nora is a thing of beauty.


For the stew:
2tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium onions
3 medium carrots
2 large parsnips
2tbsp plain flour
500ml vegetable stock
440ml can Guinness (or other stout)

For the dumplings:
125g self raising flour
60g vegetable suet
1 egg yolk
2tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
sprinkle of salt and pepper

First make the stew:
Heat oven to Gas 3/ 160°C/ 320°F
Peel the onions and cut into sections.
Peel the veg and chop it all into similar-sized chunks.
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish with a lid on the hob.
Add the veg and cook for about 10 -15 minutes until it starts to brown and soften.
Pour in the stock and Guinness and bring to the boil.
Cover and place in the oven for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings:
Place dry ingredients in a bowl and place the egg yolk in a well in the middle.
Mix all together with cold water, adding it a spoonful at a time until you have a firm dough.
Pull/ cut off small pieces and roll into balls. You should be able to make about 12.

Place these on a plate and put in the fridge to chill until needed.

Take the stew out of the oven.
Arrange the dumplings on top.  
Put the lid back on and return it to the oven. Turn it up a notch and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Thursday, 7 March 2019


450g potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1tbsp cumin seeds
2tsp ground coriander
2tsp turmeric
2tsp chilli powder
4tbsp sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½tsp sugar
2 small green chillis, topped and tailed and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
handful of coriander leaves
salt and black pepper

Place the potatoes in a pan and add water to about 2cm above.
Bring to the boil, then add the cauliflower.
Bring back to the boil. Simmer for 6 minutes then drain.
Heat oven to Gas 4/ 180°C/ 350°F.
Pound all the spices together.
Put 2tbsp oil in a baking tray and add the spices.
Add the drained veg and stir to coat well.
Roast for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and cook the garlic and chillies for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes, lime juice and sugar. Season and bring to the boil.
When the veg is cooked, add it to the sauce and stir well. 
Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Sprinkle coriander leaves over the top.
Can be served with naan breads and yogurt.

Monday, 4 March 2019


200g self raising flour
125ml fizzy drink (lemonade, tonic water, etc.)
oil for frying

Mix flour and fizz to make a dough.
Divide into four and roll each one out thinly.
Heat a little oil in a pan and fry both sides for about a minute.
Serve with fresh yogurt and some coriander leaves. 

Good to accompany Aloo Gobi.