Food - Kitchen Gossip

Nutritional advice, cooking and baking tips and general food industry gossip for all aspiring and professional foodies

A Special Veggie Feast

Below is our tasty ideas for a vegetarian menu and of course, the recipes for the dishes that goes with it. Have yourself a delish special veggie feast...

Starter

Mushroom purses
Tasty wild mushrooms encased in filo pastry make a stunning vegetarian centerpiece.

Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the pastry
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.2kg/2lb 7oz wild mushrooms, larger mushrooms chopped
3 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
1 small chilli, finely chopped (optional)
8 rectangles ready-made filo pastry, about 20x20cm/8x8in
small bunch fresh chives

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/Gas 8.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle over the parsley. Set aside to cool.

Brush one side of each sheet of filo pastry all over with a little olive oil.

Place one sheet of filo pastry on top of another to create two layers of pastry, then spoon a quarter of the mushroom mixture into the centre of the pastry.

Gather up the corners of the pastry to create a parcel and secure with a couple of chives. Brush all over with olive oil and place onto a baking tray.

Repeat the process with the remaining filo pastry and mushroom mixture.

Bake the parcels for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through and golden-brown.

Less than 30 mins preparation time
10 to 30 mins cooking time
Serves 4


Main Courses

Veggie Wellington
This veggie Wellie roll will have everyone asking for another slice.

Ingredients
For the filling
60g/2oz basmati rice, cooked according to the packet instructions
pinch turmeric
1 lemon, zest only
1 onion, finely chopped
600g/1lb 5oz brown cap mushrooms, sliced
50g/2oz butter, melted
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp dried cranberries
2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry
250g/9oz ready-rolled puff pastry
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp sesame seeds
vegetarian gravy, to serve

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Combine the cooked rice, turmeric and lemon zest and set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.

Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and mushroom and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Set aside to cool.

Stir in the cooked rice, herbs, cranberries and hard-boiled eggs until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the pastry, cut a 40cm x 20cm/15in x 8in rectangle from the puff pastry.

Spoon the rice mixture down the centre of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry together and seal. Brush all over with beaten egg and chill for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the pastry parcel with sesame seeds and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown.

To serve, place one slice of the Wellington onto each of six serving plates. Pour over vegetarian gravy.

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time
30 mins to 1 hour cooking time
Serves 6

Filo strudel with port wine sauce
Ingredients
Olive oil, for frying
Knob of butter
150g/5¼oz chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g/5¼oz leeks, trimmed, well washed, drained and roughly chopped
250g/9oz ricotta cheese
250g/9oz full-fat cream cheese
5 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
18 pieces filo pastry (23cm x 15cm/ 9in x 6in)

For the sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
75g/3oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml/3½fl oz vegetable stock
200ml/7¼fl oz red wine
Good glug of port
25g/1oz cold butter, cubed

Preparation method
Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the butter, and when it's melted and foaming, fry the mushrooms with the garlic and seasoning for a couple of minutes. Drain well in a large colander.

Repeat the first step with the leeks, once you have trimmed and washed them. Drain them for as long as you can - this makes the filling good and solid.

Mix the cheeses together in a large bowl with a good amount of seasoning until smooth (it helps to warm cheese in a microwave to soften it).

Fold in the mushrooms, leeks and tomatoes, then chill for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Lay out six pieces of pastry on a lightly floured surface, and brush with lots of melted butter, then cover with another layer and brush again. Add a final layer, but this time only brush the edges of the pastry.

Divide the chilled filling among the six rectangles and place it in a sausage shape towards the bottom edge of the pastry.

Fold the bottom edge over the filling, tuck in the sides then roll up into a tight parcel and brush with butter.

Put the strudels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion, mushrooms and garlic with seasoning until soft.

Add the stock and reduce down to nearly nothing.

Add the wine and port and reduce by at least half.

Just before serving, whisk in the butter to give it a really great shine.

To serve, pour a little sauce on each plate and sit a strudel on top.

Over 2 hours preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour cooking time Serves 6


Side Dish

Macadamia salad
Ingredients
2 red onions, halved, cut into wedges
2 red peppers, seeded, cut into chunks
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
120g/4½oz macadamia nuts
½ cucumber, peeled
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 chicory heads, hearts removed, coarsely chopped
½ fennel bulb, chopped
1 tart green apple (such as Granny Smith) peeled, chopped
3 Baby Gem lettuces, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the French dressing
3 shallots, very finely sliced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
large pinch Maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
75ml/3fl oz extra virgin olive oil

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Toss the onion and red pepper in the olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Toast the macadamia nuts in a small roasting tin for 5-7 minutes in the same oven, until they are a lovely caramel colour. Remove the macadamias from the oven and chop coarsely, then set aside to cool while the onion and pepper finish cooking.

Slice the cucumber into quarters lengthways. Now slice down each length, cutting out the seeds (which are watery and would make your salad wishy-washy). Chop the remaining flesh.

For the French dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a glass jar with a screw-top lid. Shake well to dissolve the sugar and leave to stand for ten minutes (this takes the onion punch out of the shallot and softens its flavour). Add the oil and shake again.

To serve, mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss in the French dressing.

Less than 30 mins preparation time
10 to 30 mins cooking time
Serves 6


Dessert

Sherry Trifle
This traditional trifle recipe couldn't be easier, use a good quality ready-made custard and sponge like those from Woolworths to save time.

Ingredients
1 packet trifle sponges, broken into 5cm/2in pieces
½ packet of amaretti biscuits
150ml/5fl oz sweet sherry
1 tbsp cognac
4 tbsp blackberry or raspberry jam
450g/1 lb fresh blackberries
450g/1 lb fresh raspberries
85g/3oz toasted flaked almonds
600ml/1 pint ready-made custard

For the topping
125ml/4fl oz sherry
2 tbsp brandy
1 lemon, juice only
55g/2oz caster sugar
425ml/15fl oz fresh cream
freshly grated nutmeg

To garnish
2 oranges, grated zest only
85g/3oz flaked almonds

Preparation method
Lay the sponge pieces and biscuits in the base of a deep glass dish. Spoon over the sherry and cognac and leave to soak in for a few minutes.

Warm the jam until it is runny then pour over the soaked sponge and biscuits. Sprinkle the fruit and flaked almonds on top then pour over the custard.

To make the syllabub topping, place the sherry, brandy and lemon juice into a bowl and stir in the sugar until it dissolves.

Pour in the cream with a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk together using a wire balloon whisk until it holds its shape. Don't over-whisk, or whisk too vigorously, as the cream may split.

Spoon the syllabub over the trifle and chill, preferably overnight.

Just before serving, scatter with the grated orange rind and/or flaked toasted almonds.

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time
No cooking required
Serves 6-8

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr