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

Friday 10 May 2019

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - MR KNIGHTLEY

Hot on the heels of Mr Rochester, we have Mr Knightley, another somewhat unlikely hero; this time the creation of Jane Austen.
It is Mr Knightley who loves the eponymous Emma enough to reprimand her for her thoughtlessness. It is at on a picnic that Emma is particularly unpleasant to impoverished spinster Miss Bates and Knightley puts her right. 

It makes sense, therefore, that Zelda should cook him a lovely picnic snack. 


For the pastry
200g/8oz plain flour + extra for rolling
100g/4oz chilled butter, cubed
30ml/2tbsp cold water

For the filling
2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated to make 130g
65g grated cheese
1 egg, whisked
100g cooked rice
1 small onion, chopped very finely
salt and black pepper
1tbsp Marmite mixed with a splash of warm water

+ an additional egg for glazing

First make the pastry
Place flour and butter in a blender and whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water a bit at a time and mix again until it all comes together. Make into a ball and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Then make the filling
Mix the cheese with the potato, onion, egg and rice. Season well.

When the pastry has chilled
Roll out the pastry and use a desert bowl to cut a circle. Do this several times, rolling up the scraps, until you have four circles.
Coat each circle with Marmite, leaving a border around the edge.
Place a spoonful of the mixture in the centre of each.
Pull the sides together, pinching at the top to form a crimp.
Place on a lined baking tray. Whisk the remaining egg and brush over the top.
Cook for 10 minutes at Gas 8/ 230°C/ 450°F for 10 minutes.
Then turn the oven down to Gas 4/ 180°C/ 350°F for another 35-40 minutes.

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - KEVIN BACON

Kevin Bacon is a famously versatile actor. 
He has appeared in some of Zelda's favourite films. 

So why serve him a popcorn dish? 
Well, when I used to be taken to the cinema by my parents, we would always have snacks, but snacks brought from home. What came from the huge popcorn machine in the foyer was deemed a bit extravagant, and was made even more desirable by the adverts always shown between films. 
But when, as a teenager, I started going to the cinema with friends, the first time I can remember 'chipping in' to share one of these huge boxes of delights, was when we went to see Kevin Bacon overturn a small town's dancing ban in Footloose. Oh, heady days when we could dance away our frustrations to the sound of a cassette tape played on a car stereo.

So, for Kevin, here is:


30g salted popcorn
100g breadcrumbs
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
100g plain flour
2 large eggs
2 vegetarian chicken-style steaks*, defrosted if frozen
sunflower oil
salt and black pepper

*I used Quorn crispy fillets. They already have a very thin layer of batter on them. 

Blend the popcorn with the breadcrumbs and spices, then tip them into a bowl.
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
Place flour in a shallow bowl and season well.
Slice the chicken-style steaks. 
Dip each slice in the egg, then coat with the flour. Dip in egg again and then roll in the popcorn mixture.
Place all on a plate and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
When ready to eat, heat enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan.
Cook in batches for 2-3 minutes each side.

Excellent served with some Sour Cream and Chive Dip and Chilli Cucumber Crescents.

Thursday 9 May 2019


1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1tbsp tomato puree
2tsp chilli powder
1tsp cumin
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1 large tin mixed beans, drained
1 large tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tin baked beans
1 large red pepper, cut into chunks
500ml vegetable stock

Heat oil. Fry onion over a gentle heat until soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute more.
Add tomato puree and cook through, stirring.
Then sprinkle in the spices.
Tip in chopped tomatoes and stock.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
Allow to cool and blend until smooth.
Return to the pan and add all the other ingredients.
Cook for another 15 minutes.
Can be frozen and reheated later.
Serve with some tortilla chips.

Sunday 5 May 2019

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - MR ROCHESTER

Zelda has just re-watched a television dramatisation of Jane Eyre. In Mr Rochester, Charlotte Brontë created a very flawed hero you can’t help but desire.
His home, Thornfield Hall, is set firmly in Yorkshire (as is the parsonage at Haworth where the novel was written). It seemed only suitable, therefore, for Zelda to cook something recognisable to that county.
Yorkshire Pudding is very versatile and does not just have to be served with a roast. It makes an excellent base for a dish. 
Also, Henderson’s Relish, although from Sheffield which is a little further south than Haworth, gives a wonderful depth of flavour. 

Serves 2

100g vegetarian mince
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2tbsp Henderson’s Relish
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ jar (150ml) pasta sauce (or make your own)
2 eggs
100g plain flour
280ml milk
2tbsp oil

First make the topping
Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a pan and fry the onion for a minute or so.
Add the grated carrot and cook for a further minute before adding the garlic.
When all has cooked, pour in the pasta sauce.
Add the mince and the Henderson’s Relish and half the thyme.
Stir well and keep warm.
Now, make the Yorkshire Pudding
Sieve the flour into a bowl and gradually whisk in the eggs and milk.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a small deep tray. Then pour in the batter mixture.
Cook at 200°C/Gas 6/ 400°F for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Cut in half, place each on a plate and top with the mince and the remaining thyme. Pour some gravy round if desired. 

Saturday 4 May 2019


A perfect packed lunch.
Make it up according to your own taste and whatever you have in the fridge. 
This is what I used...
100g tricolour fusilli
½ small red pepper, cut into chunks
½ small yellow pepper, cut into chunks
100g piece of cucumber, cut into chunks
handful green lettuce leaves
100g cheese of choice, in small cubes
3tbsp pasta sauce
4 or 5 basil leaves

Cook the pasta until soft. 
Then drain, rinse and cool. Stir in the pasta sauce.
Place in the bottom of the jar.
Layer the rest of the salad
Then put on the lid.