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

Friday 30 October 2020

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - BELA LUGOSI

This meal is inspired by two events.

The first, of course, is 31st October, Halloween. 

The second is the publication of a wonderful new book, written by Zelda's very talented brother.

To celebrate both, Zelda's latest dinner invitation will be going to Bela Lugosi, born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Hungary, a versatile and talented actor who is best known for his portrayal of the title character in the 1931 film adaptation of Dracula.
Tonight, Zelda will be serving a vegetarian adaptation of a very Hungarian meal, with a bit of Halloween fun thrown in. 

Pepper Potatoes
Cheesy Bats

GOULASH  (2 ways)

2tbsp olive oil
300g quorn chicken-style pieces, defrosted if frozen
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2tbsp Hungarian paprika*
1tsp cumin seeds
2tsp carraway seeds
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
½tsp caster sugar
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1tbsp red wine vinegar
300ml vegetable stock
sour cream 

*Do use Hungarian paprika if you can. It is worth the effort of sourcing some.

Grind the carraway seeds and cumin seeds together using a pestle and mortar. 
Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and fry the quorn pieces until slightly brown. Remove the quorn.
Add a bit more oil if needed and fry the onions and peppers.
When almost soft, crush the garlic (splendid gadget optional). 
Add it to the pan and cook for a minute more.
Return the quorn to the pan.
Add the mixed seeds and paprika, Stir so that everything is coated. 
Pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine vinegar and stock. 
Season and bring to the boil.
Then put the lid on and simmer for 1 about half an hour.

This will give you the traditional 'soup' version.
Serve with some crusty bread and pretend you are in a wayside inn where the locals are suspicious of you and the landlord's wife tries to give you a crucifix before you continue on your journey.
To make the second 'casserole/ stew' version, take the lid off and allow to cook down for a further 30 minutes or so until fairly thick, adding a bit more tomato puree if needed.
(See end of post for serving suggestion.)

750g potatoes, peeled and cut into two-bite size pieces
2tbsp olive oil 
1tbsp flour
2tsp thyme leaves
1tsp cumin seeds
½tsp ground ginger
1tsp black peppercorns

Heat oven to 200˚C/ Gas 6
Put potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. 
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the thyme leaves, cumin seeds ground ginger and black peppercorns in a pestle. Grind all together until it resembles the floor of a Transylvanian wood. 
Put the oil in a large tray and place in the oven about 5 minutes before the potatoes are ready.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and shake well to ‘chuff up’. 
Return to the pan and add the herb/ spice mix. Stir until well-coated. 
Add to the hot oil.
Roast for about an hour, turning every 20 minutes. 
Take out of the oil with a slotted spoon and dry on kitchen paper, sprinkling with salt. 
Transfer to a serving dish.


puff pastry sheet
100g grated cheddar
milk for glazing
poppy seeds to dust

You will also need a shaped cutter or be good at doing it freehand.

Unroll pastry sheet.
Sprinkle most of the cheese over the top.
Make into a ball and cut into four (to make it easier to roll out).
Place each piece back inside the brown paper, sprinkling with a little flour if needed and roll out.
Cut out shapes, retaining left-over pieces to combine and re-roll. 
Place them on a sheet of baking paper on a tray.
Brush with milk and top with the rest of the cheese. Then, sprinkle poppy seeds over the top.
Cook at Gas 6/ 200C for 12 -15 minutes.
Can be served as a sharing starter...
...or in individual servings.
Can also be an accompaniment to the main meal. 
Or as it might have looked in 1931:

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