I’ve got to admit, I had a bit of a pang when I took both mine and The Meat Eater’s tarts out of the oven, and The Meat Eater’s was covered in bubbling, oozing Cheddar but the pang faded as soon as I started eating.
This vegan tart is a great way to use up any vegetables you have in the fridge – you can substitute the leeks, mushrooms and spinach for whatever you have to hand.
Two-thirds of a 375g pack of vegan ready-rolled puff pastry
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 leeks, sliced
125g mushrooms, sliced
2 large handfuls of spinach
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the leeks for about 3 minutes
Add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary and fry for another 3 minutes
Add the spinach and stir until wilted
Season with salt and pepper
Cut the pastry in half so you have two rectangles
Score a 1cm border round each rectangle of pastry and top with the leek mixture, keeping within the border
Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes
Veganuary Day 12 – Lunch
Yesterday’s lunch was a Warburton’s Thin with spinach, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, hummus and vegan mayo. Do you like my new plate? I got it in Tesco for £3. It’s almost as nice as the penguin slippers I also bought (£6).
It occurred to me recently that I’ve been making a lot of one-pot meals, for example curries and pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I love curries and pasta but a) they don’t photograph well (at least not when I take a photo of them, anyway) so I end up not putting them on the blog and; b) sometimes I just want something a bit more traditional. And what could be more traditional than a pie?
I haven’t been completely honest here because, although it’s true I fancied something that wasn’t curry or pasta, my main motivation for making something different to curry or pasta was wanting to use up the tin of butter beans I’d found in the cupboard.
Rose Elliot has written a whole cookery book based on beans – The Bean Book – so I had a look in there and saw her bean and leek pie. Knowing The Meat Eater likes a) butter beans and; b) leeks, I knew he’d give it the thumbs up (or at the very least, an appreciative grunt).
I used Flora in this pie but it could be easily veganised by using a dairy-free spread such as Pure or Vitalite.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This recipe is another taken from the Jus Rol 30 Best Loved Recipes book. As a lazy cook, this was too time-consuming for me. If you’re also a lazy cook, you’d be better off getting your maid/cook/housekeeper (we all have those, right?) to peel and slice the apples.
I had no idea what dessert apples were and none of the apples in Sainsbury’s were labelled ‘dessert’, so I bought Granny Smiths.
You can tell I don’t eat many apple pies, as it reminded me of McDonald’s apple pies and I haven’t had one of those for at least twenty years.
The original recipe made one big parcel, but I divided the pastry into four to make four smaller ones.
Apple and Chocolate Parcels (makes 4)
5 dessert apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 lemon, juice only
140g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate chips
1 x 320g Jus Rol All Butter Puff Pastry Sheet, cut into 4 pieces
3 tbsp milk
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Put the apple slices in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add this mixture to the apples and sprinkle on the vanilla extract. Mix well, then add the chocolate chips.
Place some filling in the middle of each piece of pastry.
Mix the egg and milk to make an egg wash. Fold one side of the pastry over the filling, then fold over the other side. Press the ends down and wash with egg wash.
Turn the parcels over and lay seam-side down on a baking sheet. Wash with egg wash.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Lower the heat to 190C/gas mark 5 and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
When I bought the Jus-Rol Puff Pastry last weekend, I also picked up a pack of Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat. I hadn’t made them until now as, for some reason, I didn’t know you had to assemble them yourself. I have no idea how I thought Jus-Rol fitted 6 pastries into a little cardboard box, but there you go.
Anyway, assembling them was as easy as could be. The box contains chilled uncooked dough in a little tin, and a pack of chocolate sticks.
You simply tear the paper covering away from the tin and the tin unravels – no need to use a tin opener. To make it super-simple to use, the dough has been perforated so you just pull the sections away from each other without needing a knife.
You place a stick of chocolate at each end of a piece of dough.
Then fold over each end so they meet in the middle, then place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.
Bake them in the oven for about 12 minutes and they come out beautifully golden.
Considering there’s no butter in them (all Jus-Rol products are vegan, except their All Butter and Sweet Shortcrust products), they’re wonderfully buttery, along with being fresh and flaky and chocolatey. For purely research reasons, of course, I also tried one cold and can confirm they’re just delicious as they are when they’re warm.
Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat can be found in the chiller cabinet in supermarkets, next to other pastry products.
Jus-Rol sent me a recipe book last week. On flicking through it, a few recipes looked inviting (they’re all accompanied by colour photos) and this recipe for Cheesy Pea Faces looked especially fun (it’s actually called Kids’ Cheesy Pea Faces but – at 44 – I can’t really call myself a kid these days).
I carefully arranged the peas to make the little faces, giving them different expressions and eyebrows and took a photo before they went into the oven.
It’s just as well I took a ‘before’ photo because, well, I’ll let you see for yourselves.
Yep, they came out looking more like ‘cheesy-pea-punched-in-the-faces’. I can only think it was the mega-strong fan in the oven or I didn’t pinch the edges hard enough to make a big enough brim to keep the cheese mixture in or maybe I should have pressed the peas further down.
Still, they tasted nice, honest.
Cheesy Pea Faces (serves 2)
1 x 320g pack Jus-Rol Puff Pastry Sheet
4 tbsp crème fraiche
50g cheddar cheese, grated
30g vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, grated (Tesco Everyday Hard Cheese is vegetarian)
salt and pepper
100g frozen petit pois, cooked and drained
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7 and grease a baking sheet.
Lay the pastry out on a work surface. Cut out circles using a mug or cookie cutter (I used a large cookie cutter and made four circles).
In a bowl, mix the crème fraiche and the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.
Place equal amounts of the cheese mixture on the pastry circles.
Make faces on the cheese topping with the cooked petit pois.
There are a few vegetarian recipes on the website, but I love puff pastry, so I decided to vegetarianise their Chicken and Leek Patchwork Pie by replacing the chicken with Quorn Chicken-Style Pieces and using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Puff pastry isn’t usually associated with healthy living, but because you’re only using a quarter of a packet, you’re not going to overdose on fat.
I was so pleased with how it turned out, it was absolutely delicious and something I’ll definitely make again.
Quorn chicken and leek patchwork pie (serves 4)
(adapted from the Waitrose website)
1 tbsp olive oil
250g leeks, sliced
200g Quorn chicken-style pieces
125ml vegetable stock
125ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1 tbsp sauce flour
150g frozen peas
150g frozen broccoli, defrosted slightly and cut into smaller pieces
30g soft cheese with garlic and herbs
1/4 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the leeks and Quorn chicken-style pieces for 5 minutes until the leeks are softened.
Add the stock and milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sauce flour to the pan, bring to the boil and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until smooth and thickened.
Stir in the peas, broccoli and soft cheese, then tip into an ovenproof dish.
Cut the pastry into 12 squares and arrange on top of the filling – the pastry should overlap a little in places but not cover the filling completely.
Brush the pastry squares with milk and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is piping hot.
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.
1 tbsp oil 450g onions, sliced 1 packet of puff pastry 225g grated cheese Salt 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.
Hey look, I made something else that’s reminiscent of a pizza. I had a packet of puff pastry to use up (actually, it was two days out of date but I appear to still be alive), so I made a quick trip to the farm shop for a leek and a courgette and made this quick, easy vegetable slice for dinner.
Roasted vegetable slice with mozzarella (serves 4)
1 pack ready made puff pastry 1 courgette, sliced 1 leek, sliced 3 tomatoes, sliced 1 block of mozzarella, sliced Olive oil Balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper
Place the courgette and leek in a roasting tin, drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and bake in an oven at 200C for about 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Alternate slices of courgette and tomato onto the pastry, then cover with the leeks and top with the mozzarella slices.
Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.