Catering, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegetarian

Comforting Vegetarian Cuisine

As I may have mentioned not only do I collect cookbooks I also collect recipes…. Also did I mention that I was a vegetarian for about 14 years?

I was talking to the guys in my local vegetable shop, The Farmer’s Gate, about recipes we could give their customers that use  produce from the shop.  So I went back through my recipe notebook for inspiration and came across this one for Savoury Vegetable Crumble. I think the original came from a  vegetarian magazine way back when I was dedicated to the cause. It’s been adapted a bit over the years and here’s the latest version.

You can use any mix of vegetables for this dish but winter root vegetables work really well. Tonight I used leeks, celery and carrot as they were in my vegetable rack. I also added a red pepper for colour.

What you need:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Mix of vegetables  – such as 2-3 carrots, few sticks celery, 2 parsnips…..
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 400g tin cannelloni beans
  • 75g/3 oz spelt flour
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 75g/3oz Kilbeggan Porridge Oats

What you do:

  • Sauté the onions and the chilli until soft but not coloured.
  • Dry fry the cumin and coriander seeds for a minute then grind in pestle and mortar with the other spices. Then add to the onions and chilli and cook for a few mins.
  • Add in the purée, cook for another minute, add vegetables and toss to coat in the spice mix.
  • Finally add in the stock and the beans. Bring mix to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for 15-20 mins.

  • Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour and then add in the oats.

  • Transfer the vegetable mix to a casserole dish and scatter the crumble over the top.

  • Bake the dish at 190 C/Gas 5 for 25 mins until crumble is cooked

I served the dish with some minted yoghurt – a perfect warming dish  for a dark winter’s evening!

Happy Cooking !

And yes, before you ask – it was the rasher sandwich that ‘brought me back’!

Catering, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Getting ready for Christmas!

Christmas came early to Hey Pesto! this year – with my first ever full day ‘lifestyle’ course on ‘Getting Ready for Christmas’

There was great fun organising everything – turning my living room into a ‘pop-up’ dining room and my garden into a temporary flower shop!

The ‘students’ arrived at 10.30 for coffee, scones and mince pies before we started on the cookery element of the day!
In hindsight I was a little ambitious with all I hoped to cover in the morning but we did manage to get through a lot! Thankfully I had made the ice cream in advance!
The menu for the day was:
  • Canapés – Crab & avocado tartlets, sticky cocktail sausages, brie & red onion marmalade tartlets and coronation turkey vol-au-vents
  • Starter – Chestnut soup with crispy bacon
  • Main – Risotto stuffed quail, celeriac & potato gratin, jazzed-up parsnip mash, caramelised potatoes & chestnuts, apricot & hazelnut stuffing balls
  • Dessert – Christmas pudding ice cream
By 1.30 everyone was tucking into canapés and prosecco  (well except for the staff obviously!)
Crab & Avocado Tartlets
Cooleeney Brie and Red Onion Marmalade Tartlets
Coronation Turkey Vol-au-vents
Cocktail Sausages alla Nigella!

After a few last minute vegetable cooking, the guests (yes they were upgraded for lunch!)adjourned  to my ‘new’ dining room where lunch was served to them.

Chestnut soup with crispy bacon topping
Main Course – Sauce to be added!
Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

I have to apologise for the lack of colour on the main course plate – I concentrated more on different ways of cooking the vegetables rather than working on the colour! In ‘real life’ I would probably serve something like red cabbage with the quail to add colour! There was a debate over gravy – it’s not a tradition in our house so I never think of including it!

Thanks to Kate for taking the photos at lunch – we were busy turning the kitchen into a flower arranging room!

Once the guests were fed and ‘watered’ they reverted to students and Joanie from Flower Rangers took over – introducing us to the art of flower arranging and seasonal centrepieces.

Joanie shows us how it’s done!
Christmas Wreath
Centrepiece with Asparagus & Strawberries

We rounded off the afternoon with more tea with vanilla shortbread, gingerbread cookies and more mince pies.

Vanilla Shortbread
Gingerbread Cookies

After much hilarity everyone left happy with their goody bags and recipe booklets.

And once the tidying up was done Joanie and I celebrated a job well done

Cheers!

A big special thanks to my sous – chef James who played a blinder – I hope he remembers me when he’s famous!

Now the question is – do we do it all again?!