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

Friday, 14 June 2019

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born in London to an Italian émigré. He began to paint as a young man, influenced by medieval Italian art and soon developed a passionate commitment to the reform British art by rejecting the formal artistic techniques of the time, taught at The Royal Academy. In 1848 he was a founder member of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 
When his wife, Lizzie Siddal, died of an overdose he painted one of the greatest portraits Zelda has ever seen.

I think that this would be perfect if he came to dinner. It is a mixture of the English and the Italian; it is high in taste but 'down to earth'. 


200g conchiglie (or similar pasta)
40g butter
40g plain flour
500ml milk
180g cheddar cheese, grated
1 small can sweetcorn, drained
1 x 20g pack Quorn ‘ham’ slices
1tbsp chives, snipped into small pieces
1tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Then drain, return to the pan and set aside.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for a few minutes.
Then, add the milk. Keep stirring, over a low heat, until it thickens. Mix in half of the cheese.
Add this to the pan of drained pasta. Combine with the ‘ham’ and sweetcorn.
Pour into a dish.
Cover with the rest of the cheese.
Cook at 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas 6 for 20-25 minutes.

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - TRACEY EMIN

The art world lives, moves forward and thrives because of the work and reputation of the maverick artist as much as the 'tried and trusted' traditionalist. Zelda loves the rebels (when they have proved themselves worth the effort) and, like Dante Gabriel Rossetti over a century before, Tracey Emin pushed back the boundaries with what seemed at the time like a gimmick, but turned out to be not just a gimmick.
In a 2010 interview, she said, "If anyone really wants to seduce me, a picnic is the way to go."
Let's be clear, Zelda is not wanting to 'seduce' her, but if she likes a picnic, this would be perfect, while we discuss her art and life…


450g white self-raising flour (+ extra for dusting)
160g wholemeal self-raising flour
100g chilled butter, cubed
120g mature cheddar cheese, grated
10g chives, sniped into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
300ml buttermilk
2tbsp milk
8tbsp caramelised onion chutney (about half a jar)

Line oven tray with baking paper.
Sift flours into a large bowl and add the husks back in.
Rub in the butter, then stir in half the cheese and half the chives.
Add the egg, the buttermilk and almost all the milk.
Use your hands to draw everything together until you have a sticky dough.
Divide in two. Knead a half at a time.
Roll one half out into a rectangle, trimming any odd bits off if necessary.
Spread with half the chutney and sprinkle over half of the remaining cheese and chives.
Starting with the short side, roll up tightly.
Trim the ends and place on the baking paper, with the join on the bottom.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Cut each into four, but not all the way through.
Brush with the remaining milk.

Cook at 200°C/Gas 6/ 400°F for about 40 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave for about 20 minutes more.

Slice and serve.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - SAMMY DAVIS JNR

How do you describe Sammy Davis, Jnr?

Singer, dancer, actor, impressionist, activist, comedian, the list goes on...

He was an important member of  what we know as The Rat Pack, appearing with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage in Las Vegas and in films such as Ocean's 11. 

His version of Mr Bojangles brings a lump to the throat.
He had to fight all the way for acceptance in the entertainment world, but eventually became known as 'The World's Greatest Entertainer' and now has a road in Las Vegas named after him (intersecting with those for Frank and Dean).
Apparently, you can get a great taco there. 
So, here's a recipe for one that Sammy might enjoy if he came to dinner with Zelda.


First, you need some chilli. The best one Zelda has found was created by another showbiz legend: Johnny Cash

Then assemble the following:
taco shells
iceberg lettuce, chopped
sour cream
hard cheese, grated
salsa dip

Warm the taco shells.
Place chilli inside.
Top with lettuce, sour cream, salsa and grated cheese.

Thursday, 6 June 2019


This is my favourite pizza recipe, perfected over the past few months since I first had my pizza stone.

300g strong white flour (+ extra for rolling)
7g instant yeast
1tbsp olive oil
200ml warm water
150g pasta sauce from a jar (or make your own)
1tbsp tomato puree
1tsp mixed herbs
salt and black pepper
1 ball mozzarella, cut into small pieces
50g cheddar, grated
handful of basil leaves

Make the dough
Put flour in a bowl and stir in the yeast.
Add olive oil to the warm water.
Make a well in the flour and pour in the water mixture.
Stir to make a moist fairly sticky dough.
Place on a floured surface and knead until silky.
Put back in the bowl, cover and place in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 220°C/ Gas 8
Heat the pizza stone for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile make the sauce
Place the pasta sauce in a bowl.
Stir in the tomato puree and mixed herbs. Season well.
Then, knock back and knead again.
Divide in two.
Roll each half out on a floured surface until very thin.
Cover with the sauce.
Sprinkle over the cheddar and dot the mozzarella around.

Place pizza in the centre of the hot stone.
Cook in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes until the cheese bubbles.  

Serve with the basil leaves on top.


This is the most delicious vegetarian meal I have had for a while. I've seen it mentioned in reviews and it took me a while to find a recipe I could adapt to the ingredients available in my friendly local supermarket. Then, looking for miso paste, I found katsu paste, making it even easier. It's not the quickest meal to prepare, but is worth the effort. 

For the tofu:
1 block firm tofu
2tbsp soy sauce
50g panko breadcrumbs
2tbsp cornflour
sunflower oil for frying

For the sauce:
drizzle of sunflower oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ carrot, peeled and grated
½ sharp apple, peeled and grated
1½ tsp medium curry powder
2tsp soy sauce
1tbsp katsu paste

+ rice to serve 

To prepare the tofu:
Stand the tofu on its side and cut in half. Cut each half into 3 slices and cut those in half, so you have 12 pieces.
Place between pieces of kitchen roll, with a plate on top and load this with tins to remove the moisture from the tofu.
Then, put the pieces in a bowl, drizzle with soy sauce and stir to coat. 
Set aside while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Then add the carrot, apple and curry powder. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Mix the soy sauce, katsu paste and 100ml hot water. 
Pour this in and cook for a couple of minutes.
Place in a blender and whizz but leave with some texture.
Return to the pan and keep warm.

To finish the tofu:
Put the breadcrumbs on a plate. Mix the cornflour with a little water in a shallow bowl.
Take each slice of tofu, dip in the cornflour mixture and then coat in the breadcrumbs.
Heat 1cm of oil in a pan and add the tofu slices in batches.
Cook for 3-4 minutes each side. 
Drain on kitchen paper.

To serve:
Serve with rice and the sauce in a bowl on the side.
Then pour the sauce over the top.