‘There’s too much black pepper in it.’ Honestly, one episode of Masterchef and The Meat Eater thinks he’s an expert. (I agreed with him, but – sshh – don’t tell him that.)
Too much black pepper aside, this was a lovely dish. The feta gave it a wonderful tang.
I’ve written out the recipe as it appears in The More Veg Cookbook but I didn’t put any wine in it because, as far as I’m concerned, wine should be in a glass, not in food so I added more stock instead. I also used 200g of feta, not 150g and, as you can see from the photo above, it still didn’t completely cover the dish. Then again, the recipe says to use a casserole or ovenproof pan and I used a wok (a Tefal one that I’ve used for about ten years as a frying pan/saucepan. It’s huge and brilliant and practically cleans itself) then transferred the mixture into an oven dish.
You’ll need about an hour to make this but that’s mostly cooking time, as the preparation is minimal.
Mushroom pot with feta and herb topping (serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp paprika grated zest of 1/2 a lemon salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 green peppers, halved, deseeded and sliced 200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered 200g button mushrooms 1 small glass dry white wine 450ml vegetable stock
For the topping 150g feta cheese, crumbled 2 eggs handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole or ovenproof pan, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. Stir in the garlic, oregano, paprika, lemon zest, and some salt and pepper and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add the green peppers and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Increase the heat, add the wine, and bubble for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Partially cover and cook on a low-medium heat for 20 minutes; it should begin to thicken slightly. If it is too thin, uncover, increase the heat a little, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. To make the topping, mix together the feta, eggs, half the parsley and a little salt and pepper. Pour this over the mushroom mixture and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the egg has set and the top is golden. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining parsley to serve.
My local farm shop’s great. I asked Andy, the owner, on Facebook if he had any portobello mushrooms in and he said no, but he’d get some for me in the morning. I said great, I’ll be in then.
So, I went down there the next day and he said he couldn’t get any, so I flounced off to Tesco.
Actually, I didn’t flounce off to Tesco; I buy all (well, most) of my veg from the farm shop and so I used some initiative, had a look round the shop, spotted the peppers and thought aha! I will stuff some peppers instead.
I stuffed them with Macsween’s vegetarian haggis and mushrooms and they were flipping delicious.
Macsween’s vegetarian haggis is vegan, so if you want to veganise this, just leave out the cheese.
Red peppers stuffed with vegetarian haggis and mushrooms (serves 2)
1 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 red peppers, deseeded 1 pack Macsween’s microwave vegetarian haggis, chopped (no need to heat first) 100g mushrooms, chopped 65g cheddar, grated
Cook the peppers in the oven at 190C for about 20 minutes
Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms and garlic until cooked
Add the vegetarian haggis and most of the cheese
Stuff the peppers with the haggis/mushroom/cheese mixture
Sprinkle on the remaining cheese
Return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling
There’s something not quite right about preparing dinner at 11am but there’s a reason slow cookers are called slow. This meant I was chopping onions and mushrooms in the morning before going to university, so dinner would be sort of ready when I got back. All I had to do was boil up some pasta and dinner was on the table.
I’m not sure if I’m trying to convince myself the flavours are more intense when food’s come out of a slow cooker because I’ve spent the money on it and I want it to be true, or if it really is the case. But both meals I’ve made in it so far have been gorgeous. The chilli and garlic came through perfectly in the spaghetti sauce from this recipe I adapted from the BBC Good Food website. Their recipe says it serves four, but I found it only served two (it could have served three, but I didn’t want to freeze only one portion).
Place all the ingredients except the parsley and pasta in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours. Just before you’re ready to eat, cook the spaghetti, drain, mix with the mushroom mix and scatter with parsley to serve.
Healthy meal no. 2 wasn’t so healthy as it contained Quorn, a packet stir-fry sauce and spring rolls. Still, it wasn’t chocolate, cheese, crisps or chips, so it was a lot more healthy than a lot of my meals recently.
My stir-fry was made with leeks and mushrooms from the farm shop, a yellow pepper that’d been sitting in the fridge for a while (not sure how it hadn’t gone off in all that time – this is why I buy my veg from the farm shop, I don’t like freaky vegetables that stay fresh for ever), Quorn Lamb Strips, a tin of beansprouts, egg noodles and served with mini spring rolls.
I always think stuffing vegetables sounds like it’s going to be fiddly and time-consuming. It’s not though, at least not the way I do it which mostly involves bunging the stuffing on top of whatever it is I’m stuffing. Like this aubergine stuffed with mushrooms, for example. Dead easy.
Mushroom stuffed aubergine (serves 2)
1 aubergine 1 onion, chopped 125g mushrooms, chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 50g breadcrumbs 50g cheese, grated 2 tbsp olive oil salt and black pepper
Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and score with a knife. Brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven at 200C for about 30 minutes. Scoop out the aubergine flesh and chop.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, aubergine flesh and garlic to the onion and fry for another 5 minutes then season with salt and pepper.
Pile the mushroom, aubergine and onion mixture on top of the aubergine skins and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and grated cheese on top.
Return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
The Meat Eater saw the amount of washing up and asked what was for dinner. I said it’s like a shepherd’s pie, but with beans. He asked if I’d made it before and I said no. He looked scared. I didn’t know why he looked scared as most things I make, I haven’t made before and anyway he likes beans and he likes potatoes so I told him he’d like this.
And he did. As did I. I especially liked the cheesy topping.
Despite the recipe (which is taken from Rose Eliot’s New Complete Vegetarian) using quite a few pans, it’s quick and easy to make. I used dried parsley instead of fresh and mixed herbs instead of herbes de Provence.
Shepherd’s Beany Pie (serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 50g mushrooms, chopped 2 x 400g cans black-eyed peas 400g canned chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tsp herbes de Provence salt and freshly ground black pepper 700g mashed potatoes 50g grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and go on cooking for another 4-5 minutes.
Drain the peas and mash or blend them, depending on the texture you want.
Add the peas to the pan, along with the tomatoes, tomato purée, parsley and herbes de Provence and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish, spread the mashed potato evenly over the top, rough up the surface with a fork and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Anjum Anand has a new cookbook out – Vegetarian Indian Feast. I’d been looking forward to trying out some recipes from this book and what better week to try one out than National Curry Week?
Anjum’s autumnal squash, butterbean and mushroom cobbler probably isn’t what you’d first think of when you think of curry, but it’s an Indian dish and it’s a pie and who can resist a pie?
It’s called a cobbler because in the book it has the ingredients and method for a cobbler topping, but Anjum says in the blurb above the recipe that the pie can be covered in puff pastry instead, so to save my hands getting dirty, that’s what I did. If you want the cobbler recipe, you’ll have to buy the book (you should buy it anyway, it’s fab).
(The recipe below is my deviation from the original)
Autumnal squash, butterbean and mushroom cobbler (serves 2-3)
200g butternut squash
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
10g ginger (I used that stuff you get in a tube)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
good pinch of freshly ground black pepper
5 large chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
200g can butterbeans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp double cream
1 sheet ready-made puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Halve the squash, remove any fibres and seeds, but leave the skin on. Place it in a roasting tin and cook until soft, around 30 minutes. Cut into 2.5cm squares.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add the onion and cook until soft and colouring at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until the garlic just starts to colour. Add the tomatoes, spices and seasoning and cook down until the sauce has thickened and has released oil back into the pan.
Add the mushrooms, cover and cook for another two to three minutes. Pour in 100ml water and add the beans, squash and spinach and return to the boil. Cook for two to three minutes. Add the cream and milk and adjust the seasoning. Spoon into a large pie dish.
Lay the puff pastry over the filling and trim the edges.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.
I’ve been eating a lot of food out of packets recently, so tonight I decided to have something healthy. There’s a farm shop local to me that sells seasonal vegetables, so I scooted down there to see what they had and made a super-healthy dish that probably contained at least 8 of my 5-a-day.
Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce (serves 6)
1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 1 leek, sliced 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks 1 aubergine, chopped into chunks 1 courgette, thickly sliced 200g mushrooms, sliced 100g spinach 2 cans chopped tomatoes 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 tsp mixed herbs salt and ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the red pepper, aubergine and courgette into a roasting tray and drizzle with some oil. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Fry the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and leeks to the onion and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper, aubergine and courgette to the onion, mushrooms and leeks. Add the tinned tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the mixed herbs and season to taste. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with pasta of your choice.