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

Sunday 27 December 2020


4 crumpets (I used tree-shaped ones for Christmas)
2 eggs
splash of milk
½ onion, chopped finely
½ red pepper, chopped finely
½tsp ground cumin
½tsp chilli powder
½tsp turmeric
handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
25g butter
1tbsp olive oil
50g cheese, grated

Beat the eggs in a large, flat bowl and add the milk, onion, pepper, spices and half the coriander leaves. 
Toast the crumpets on both sides (in a toaster is fine). 
Place the crumpets, face down in the egg mixture. Squash down to allow them to soak up as much as possible. 
Heat the oil and butter together. 
When it bubbles, cook the coated side of the crumpets. 
Carefully, using tongs or a slice, place them back in the egg mixture to coat the other side.
Return to the pan and top with any remaining mixture.
When bottom is cooked, turn again to allow all the topping to cook.
Place the right way up on a baking tray.
Cover with the cheese and grill until the cheese is bubbly. 
Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and serve with a dollop of ketchup.

Thursday 17 December 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - CHARLES ANTHONY BRUNO

Patricia Highsmith knew how to create a psychopathic playboy, These days, her Mr Ripley is probably the best known, but in 1951 Alfred Hitchcock made Strangers on a Train into the ultimate film thriller. 

The premise is so simple: two people share a few hours of a train journey together. They both have a personal dilemma and they joke about how they could solve each other's problem (criss-cross). 

But then it becomes much more sinister. Charles Anthony Bruno takes it upon himself to deliver his half of the hypothetical deal and then demands an awful lot in return of the reluctant Guy Haines.

So, how great would it be to have Charles to dinner?


Serves 2 – 3

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small onion. chopped
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg
2tbsp sour cream
handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)
2tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper

Toss the sweet potato in most of the olive oil.
Roast in a baking tray at 200˚C/ Gas 6 for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from the oven and, if soft, allow to cool.
Heat the rest of the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion. 
Put in a food processor with the onion and sour cream.
Blitz to make a thick paste, then add the coriander.
Blitz again.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Beat the egg with a little water to make a wash. 
Unroll the pastry sheet and cut into two.
Cut a 1cm border from one half (like a picture frame) and place it on top of the other, sticking them together with some of the beaten egg. Prick the base with a fork.
Cook in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Then, spread the sweet potato mixture over the base, leaving the border clear.
Use the remaining pastry to make a lattice over the top.
Brush with the remaining egg wash.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Wednesday 16 December 2020


2 large leeks
160ml vegetable stock
3tbsp double cream
50g breadcrumbs
30g cheddar cheese, grated

Wash and slice the leeks.
Place the slices in an ovenproof dish. 
Pour in the stock and top with the cream. 
Cover with the breadcrumbs.
Cover with foil and bake at 220˚C/ 425˚F/ Gas 7 for about 25 minutes, then remove the foil. 
Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Return to the oven for about 5 minutes more until the cheese has bubbled.
Makes a lovely side dish.

Friday 4 December 2020


Serves 6

1kg frozen forest berries
300ml fresh custard
300ml Greek-style yogurt
2tsp sugar 

Reserve about 3 pieces of fruit per person.
Place the rest in a pan with the sugar.
Warm over a low heat until soft and slightly slushy. 
Then allow to cool.
Place in a blender and whizz until as smooth as possible. 
Pass through a sieve into a large bowl to remove any seeds or pips. 
Add the custard.
Mix well. 
Swirl through the yogurt. 
Chill well.
Share between the glasses. 
Top with the fruit.

Saturday 7 November 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - RUPERT BROOKE

In honour of Remembrance Day, Rupert Brooke receives the latest invitation to eat at Zelda's table. 
It is more of an afternoon tea than a dinner, in keeping with the idea of Brooke sitting in his pyjamas in the fields around Grantchester.
Many lost their lives in the terrible conflict which tore Europe apart between 1914 and 1918. Many brilliant people wrote about it, fought in it and died in it, but popular culture continually nominates two poets as the ultimate symbols of that poignant loss of youth (and life). Wilfred Owen is considered the realist, the one who experienced guns, mud and shellshock. Rupert Brooke is the idealist, the one who died before he knew the horror of war.
Described in contemporary accounts as an 'Adonis', he was intellectually gifted, but in the years leading up to World War I, his biggest concerns seemed to be love-related.
Brooke was not unique for willingly giving up the life of a relaxed intellectual (because so may did) but, his early death from sepsis on the way to Gallipoli - though spared the battle - made him an almost mythical figure.
One patriotic sonnet is most associated with his thoughts on going to war before the horrors of war were fully recognised: 
Yet, let's invite him to enjoy something which references one of his best-loved poems, The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, written before anyone knew of what was to come, in 1912. 
And is there honey still for tea? 
Yes, there is...
Zelda has chosen two tea-time treats: Honey Flapjacks and Poppy Seed Rolls.
The first uses this much-loved ingredient:


225g butter, cut into chunks
75gcaster sugar
4tbsp honey
350g porridge oats

Place the oats in a large bowl. 
Grease and line the tin. 
Place the butter, sugar and honey in a pan.
Melt all together over a low heat, stirring gently until you have a smooth mixture. 
Add the butter mixture to the oats and stir to combine. 
Pour into the tin and use a palette knife or spatula to make it level. 
Cook at 180˚C/ Gas 6 for about 20 minutes until lightly golden. 
Allow to cool in the tin for a while, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut into 12 pieces.

Will keep for about three days in a sealed container.

The second can be spread with honey but is also topped with poppy seeds, a poignant symbol of which Brooke would have been blessedly unaware:

300g strong white flour
1tsp salt
1tsp dried yeast
15g butter, cut into small chunks
40ml milk
160ml lukewarm water

1tbsp milk
1tsp sugar
2tbsp black poppy seeds

Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the butter and rub it in with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Warm the milk.
Add to the water.
Pour into the bowl and mix all together well to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth. 
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave for about an hour until it doubles in size. 
Knockback, knead again and divide in four.
Place each piece on an oiled baking tray and leave for another hour until doubled in size again. 
Bake at 220˚C/ Gas 7 for 10-15 minutes until golden. 
Mix the extra milk with the sugar. 
Take rolls from the oven. Brush with the glaze and sprinkle the poppy seeds over the top. 
Replace in oven for an extra 5 minutes, the place on rack to cool.
Serve with butter and, of course, honey.