Recipe: Root Vegetable Pie

Root Vegetable Pie

Root Vegetable Pie

The perfect pie for winter – robust and warming seasonal veg, topped with a puff pastry lid. This recipe is loosely based on one in Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes but I didn’t have any celeriac or carrots (I think *someone* forgot to buy carrots, because I’m sure I put them on the shopping list), didn’t use any cider and Nicola Graimes probably didn’t find her plain flour had gone mouldy and had to use sauce flour instead. The original recipe also did something complicated with the pastry; the recipe below is my simplified version.

Root Vegetable Pie (serves 4)

2 turnips, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
10g butter
1 onion, chopped
150g mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 heaped tbsp chopped sage leaves
1 heaped tbsp plain flour or sauce flour
100ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
200g puff pastry
Milk to brush over pastry
salt and pepper

  1. Put the turnips and parsnip in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and stir in the bouillon powder. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Strain the vegetables, reserving the water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the onions for 8 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, garlic and herbs and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir continuously for another minute. Stir in the stock and cook for 2 minutes until thickened and reduced.
  3. Add the cooked root vegetables, 175ml of the reserved water and the mustard and stir until combined. Season the filling with salt and pepper. Transfer the root vegetable mixture to a pie dish, stir in the cheese and leave to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan/Gas 6. Roll out the pastry until large enough to cover the dish. Lay the pastry on top of the vegetable mixture and press down the edges. Prick the top of the pastry with a fork and brush the top with a little milk. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
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Brussels sprouts and goat’s cheese tart


Waitrose asked if I’d like to take part in their Waitrose Christmas Recipe Challenge which involved recreating a traditional vegetarian main dish especially for Christmas. The dish they wanted me to recreate was a vegetable tart.

Fine, I thought, that’s easy enough; get some puff pastry, bung some vegetables on it, cover it in cheese and put it in the oven. Sorted. Unfortunately, when I mentioned this to The Meat Eater he started getting adventurous and asked if it’d have cream and eggs in it. Before I realised he was just trying to scupper Vegan Monday, I’d already agreed, despite my reservations that adding cream and eggs to a tart probably makes it less of a tart and more of a quiche.

Still, it sounded like a plan, so the only thing left to think of was what vegetables would I use. I thought cranberry and brie sounded nice and Christmassy, The Meat Eater said ‘bleurgh’ (or something like that) and asked for Brussels sprouts. Seriously? Brussels sprout tart? I agreed it at least nodded towards Christmas so I eventually (after asking Facebook what it thought) decided upon Brussels sprouts, leek and goat’s cheese tart (even if it was going to be more of a quiche).

I know goat’s cheese is as ubiquitous on the veggie menu as risotto is at Christmas time, but you’ll have to forgive me for this.

Brussels sprouts and goat’s cheese tart (serves 4)

15 Brussels sprouts
1 leek, sliced
2 baby onions, sliced
125g goat’s cheese, sliced
100g Cheddar, grated
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
3 eggs
300ml double cream
25g butter

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts, along with any hard leaves and cook in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and leave to the side.
  3. Fry the baby onions and leeks in the butter for about 5 minutes, until soft and season with salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix in the cream and grated cheddar.
  5. Line an 8” round tin with the puff pastry.
  6. Add the leeks and onion mixture to the tin.
  7. Add the Brussels sprouts evenly on top.
  8. Pour over the egg, cream and Cheddar mixture.
  9. Place the sliced goat’s cheese on top.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown, then leave to cool for about 10 minutes to help it set.






Probably not the most Christmassy of dishes but, who cares – it was delicious.


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Aubergine and pasta bake

The Meat Eater looked at his plate and said ‘this looks suspiciously vegan’. Huh? It was covered with cheese and not the slightest bit vegan. The boy is paranoid.


It’s a recipe adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. The only bit I adapted was where she uses wholemeal auelli; I used non-wholemeal pasta (as I get moaned at if I use wholemeal despite the taste and texture being identical) and spirals, not auelli (as I haven’t a clue what auelli looks like and anyway, I had spirals in the cupboard).

Also, I didn’t fry the aubergine slices as that’s too fiddly and takes too long. Instead, I brushed some oil over them and roasted them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Oh, and I used a large can of tomatoes, not 225g.

I didn’t use an egg, either.

And I only used one onion, not two.

Okay, I adapted it quite a lot.


Pasta and aubergine bake (serves 4)
(Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian)

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
450g aubergine
75g pasta shapes
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp dried oregano
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Fry the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Slice the aubergine into thin rounds, brush with oil and bake in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain.
  4. Mix the pasta, tomatoes, ketchup and oregano with the onions and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the aubergine slices in the base of a greased shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon the pasta mixture on top, cover with the rest of the aubergine slices and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Smoky bean chimichangas (vegan)


The Meat Eater looked at his plate and said ‘what is it?’ ‘A chimichanga’, I said. He said that didn’t really tell him much so I explained it was a tortilla filled with kale and beans and peppers and he relaxed a little.

When I got to the ‘carefully fold up the sides of the tortillas to make parcels’ bit, I thought it was going to be a disaster (you should see me trying to wrap presents) but, yay, they came out perfectly.

I served them with plain rice and a tomato salsa.

Smoky bean chimichangas (serves 4)
(Taken from
Vegan – 100 Every Day Recipes)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
400g canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
150g kale, shredded
Juice of 1 orange
4 large soft tortillas
salt and pepper

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Fry the onions and peppers for 10-12 minutes, or until the onions are translucent but the peppers are still quite firm. Stir in the drained beans and chilli powder, cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small wok over a high heat. Stir-fry the shredded kale with the orange juice for 4 minutes, or until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the cooked kale between the tortillas, making a neat pile in the middle of each flatbread. Top the greens with a layer of the bean mixture. Then carefully fold up the sides of the tortillas to make parcels.
  4. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the chimichanga parcels briefly on both sides (starting with the side where the folds are visible) until crisp and golden.

Tomato salsa
(Taken from
BBC Good Food website)

4-6 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 medium red onion, very finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Small splash of white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and leave in the fridge until it’s served.

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Butter bean bake


Usually when The Meat Eater’s out, I phone Papa John’s and order a pizza (hot pepper passion, swapping the green peppers for mushrooms, to be specific) but, tonight, I needed an excuse to stop editing an article I was working on and decided to cook myself something.

This recipe was taken from The Vegetarian Society’s magazine, ‘The Vegetarian’ and was sent in by Gail Crawford from Taunton.

Don’t be put off by the cottage cheese, it gave it a beautiful tanginess. When The Meat Eater came in, the first thing he said was ‘what have you been cooking? Smells nice!’ and helped himself to some instead of going out to the chippy. High praise indeed.

Butter bean bake (serves 4)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 large can butter beans
110g cheddar cheese
300g cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree and simmer over a medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the butter beans and add to the tomato mix. Season to taste.
  5. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish.
  6. To prepare the topping, grate the cheddar cheese, place in a mixing bowl, add the cottage cheese and mix in the beaten egg.
  7. Spread the topping over the beans and bake for about 30 minutes, until the topping is set and golden brown.
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Black-eyed pea bake


I had a few dilemmas with this. Were black-eyed beans the same as black-eyed peas, as that’s all I could find in the supermarket? After a bit of a Google, I decided they were.

Then, the recipe called for 350g of dried peas/beans. Fine, I weighed out 350g of beans and left them to soak overnight. Oh, that’s a LOT of beans. Do I really need all of them? I didn’t think so and weighed out 350g of the soaked beans, freezing the rest.

While reading the method, it said to fry the onions and garlic and add the beans then cover with water and boil, then whizz up in a food processor. Won’t there be a load of water? Do I drain it first or what? Still, I didn’t need to worry about that, as the water got absorbed or evaporated or something, so all was fine there.

Rose Elliot, in her book New Complete Vegetarian, says this bake goes well with a spicy tomato sauce or a vegetarian gravy and, if you’re like me and not a make-your-own-gravy kind of girl, I can confirm that Bisto complements it beautifully.

I was mega-made-up with this dish. How nice can some puréed beans with breadcrumbs on top be, I thought? Flipping gorgeous!


Black-eyed pea bake (serves 4)
Taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

350g dried black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
2 large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g grated cheese

  1. Drain and rinse the peas.
  2. Fry the onions and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender but not browned, then add the peas, herbs and water to cover.
  3. Simmer gently, until the peas are tender (about 25-40 minutes).
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  5. Purée the pea mixture in a food processor or with an electric hand blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a greased, shallow ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.
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Spinach and lentil soup

Operation Stop Being A Fat Lazy Cow began yesterday and although I had a slice of cheese and onion pie for dinner, it was home made and therefore sort of healthy. Healthier than frozen pie and chips, anyway.

Today, I made spinach and lentil soup which is one of those soups that makes you feel healthier just by looking at it.


Spinach and lentil soup (serves 4)
Taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
125g green lentils
225g spinach leaves
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tsp lemon juice

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, with a lid on the pan, until the onion is almost tender and flecked with brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic, lentils and spinach, then pour in the stock or water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently, with a lid on the pan, for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
  3. Blend the soup, then season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice.
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Rose Elliot’s cheese and onion pie

This was more of an onion and cheese pie, than cheese and onion, as although there was a ton of cheese in it, it must have dissolved, as it didn’t come out very cheesy. Still, it tasted good, and it was quick, cheap and easy to make.


Cheese and onion pie (serves 6)
Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

1 tbsp oil
450g onions, sliced
1 packet of puff pastry
225g grated cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Beaten egg or milk, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 7.
Fry the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes.
Divide the pastry in half.
Mix the onions with the cheese and seasoning, then spoon on top of the pastry. Moisten the edges of the pastry with cold water.
Use the rest of the pastry to cover the pie, pressing the edges together.
Brush with the beaten egg or milk if you want a shiny finish, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

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Slow cooked spicy spaghetti with garlic mushrooms

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).


Spicy spaghetti with garlic mushrooms (serves 2)

2 tbsp olive oil
250g pack chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed small bunch parsley leaves, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp chilli flakes
150g spaghetti

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.

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Autumnal squash, butterbean and mushroom cobbler

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
150g spinach
3 tbsp double cream
25ml milk
1 sheet ready-made puff pastry

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lay the puff pastry over the filling and trim the edges.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.

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