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

Sunday 9 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - ADRIAN MOLE

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend was published in 1982 and recounts the events of a hapless teenage boy in 1981-2. My friends and I were of a similar age and we loved reading it and quoting parts of it. I put it aside as I grew up myself but then, about ten years ago, I re-read it, along with the rest of the books in the series which  had been published since. I thought it would be a bit of nostalgia but I realised just how much I had missed first time round, particularly the literary references and highly intelligent in-jokes.

This is an entry from March:
Cleaned toilet, washed basin and bath before doing my paper round. Came home, made breakfast, put washing in machine, went to school. Gave Barry Kent his menaces money, went to Bert Baxter’s, waited for social worker who didn’t come, had school dinner. Had Domestic Science – made apple crumble. Came home. Vacuumed hall, lounge, and breakfast room. Peeled potatoes, chopped up cabbage, cut finger, rinsed blood off cabbage. Put chops under grill, looked in cookery book for a recipe for gravy. Made gravy. Strained lumps out with a colander. Set table, served dinner, washed up. Put burnt saucepans in to soak. Got washing out of machine; everything blue, including white underwear and handkerchiefs. Hung washing on clothes-horse. Fed dog. Ironed PE kit, cleaned shoes. Did homework. Took dog for a walk, had bath. Cleaned bath. Made three cups of tea. Washed cups up. Went to bed. Just my luck to have an assertive mother!

Let's have Adrian round to dinner then, and make the crumble for him. 

Apple Crumble

400g cooking applesjuice of half an orange
50g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
75g butter, cut into chunks
75g brown sugar

Peel and slice the apples.
Place in a dish.
Sprinkle over the caster sugar and spritz with the orange.
Mix the flour with the baking powder.
Rub the butter into the flour.
Stir in the sugar.
Place the topping over the top of the fruit.
Cook at Gas 6/ 200˚C for about half an hour.

Lovely with a bit of custard.

Friday 7 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - NICK RHODES

Zelda has already cooked a meal for Simon Le Bon... it is time to entertain his bandmate and Duran Duran founder member; the the arty keyboard player and songwriter Nick Rhodes.
Many a poster like this, graced Zelda's wall in the 1980s. 
Apparently, he particularly likes Italian, Indian and Lebanese vegetarian food, so this should suit him nicely.


Spice Mix made of:2tsp garam masala
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground turmeric
1tsp chilli powder

350g quorn mince (frozen is fine)
1 large white onion, chopped finely
1tbsp Marmite
2tbsp Bisto granules
2tbsp plain flour
sunflower oil spray
300ml hot water
1 red onion, chopped finely
1tsp crushed garlic
1 green chill, seeds removed and finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
200ml vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk

Serves 3-4

Spray a large pan with oil and add the onion.
Cook gently until soft and just changing colour.
Add the garlic, mince and water. 
Stir in the Marmite, Bisto and half of the Spice Mix. Bring to the boil.
Simmer until the water has evaporated.
Allow to cool, then place in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl.
Use the flour to coat your hands and form the mixture into balls. (It should make 12 large ones).
Place them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Spray them with a bit more of the oil and cook in the oven at Gas 6/ 200˚C for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
Start the sauce by spraying another pan with the oil and frying the onion. 
Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a minute or two more. Coat all in the spice mix.
Add the ginger, the stalks of the coriander and pour in the tin of tomatoes.
Stir in the tomato puree, the vegetable stock and the coconut milk.
Bring to a simmer and allow to keep cooking until reduced to the required thickness.
When ready to serve, place the koftas back into the sauce and heat fully.
Serve in bowls with some rice and the coriander leaves.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - DENNIS QUAID

Dennis Quaid was, is and probably will continue to be, a very good actor; but there is one role which, above all others, will define him and Zelda will celebrate that this evening when she entertains him to dinner, because The Big Easy blew us girls away when we saw it in 1986!

So, Remy McSwain will be a very welcome dinner guest.


175g quorn chicken-style pieces (defrosted if frozen)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
½tsp chopped garlic
1tsp smoked paprika
2tsp Cajun seasoning
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
100ml fat free natural yogurt
120g penne pasta
spray oil
coriander leaves to serve

Serves 2

Spray some oil in the pan and fry the onion and pepper until the onion is just browning. 
Add the quorn pieces and cook for a minute more.
Add the garlic and spices and stir well to coat. 
Then pour in the tomatoes, tomato puree and the yogurt. (Don’t worry if the yogurt looks split, it will sort itself out by the end of the cooking process.)
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain and add to the pan.
Stir to combine and simmer until quite a dry consistency.
Serve in individual bowls.

Sunday 2 October 2022

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest - JAMES TAYLOR

James Taylor is one of America's most prolific songwriters. 
He has written some beautiful songs, such as 'Fire and Rain' and 'You've Got a Friend'. 
Zelda's favourite is this western ballad, 'Sweet Baby James', so when he comes to dinner she will cook him some appropriately-named dishes.


4tbsp self-raising flour
1 egg
100ml milk
1 small tin sweetcorn, drained
Spray oil for frying

Makes 8

Mix the flour with the egg and milk, then add the sweetcorn.
Spray the oil in the bottom of a large pan and heat.
Place four large spoonfuls of the mixture in the pan.
Cook for a few minutes then turn and cook the other side.
Set aside.
Repeat with the remaining mixture.


500g sweet potatoes
2tsp mixed herbs
2tsp Cajun seasoning
1tbsp olive oil

Serves 2

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into thin slices.
Place in a bowl with the herbs and seasoning. Add the oil and stir to make sure all are well-coated.
Heat the air-fryer to high.
Place half in the air-fryer.
Cook in two batches, each taking about 15 minutes. Shake half-way through.
When ready to eat, replace all in the hot air fryer and cook for 5 minutes more.