Posted 12th Dec 2015
Don't miss out on a luxury Christmas dinner, whip up a vegetarian feast with our delicious festive menu
Crunchy-crumbed Mushrooms with Garlic Mayo Dip
100g Greek-style natural yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
40g plain flour
400g medium-sized chestnut mushrooms
2 eggs, beaten
100g natural dried breadcrumbs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
1. First make the dip by mixing together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, crushed garlic and parsley. Season with a little black pepper, then set aside.
2. Put the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms briefly with water, then toss them in the flour (the water helps the flour to stick to them).
3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl with 4 tablespoons of cold water. Put the breadcrumbs onto a large plate, mixing in the lemon zest. Dip the mushrooms in the beaten egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok to a depth of approximately 4cm. When hot, add a few mushrooms and fry until golden brown – about 2-3 minutes – turning occasionally. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Fry the remaining mushrooms in batches until all of them are cooked.
5. Serve hot, with the garlic mayo on the side.
Tip: If you’re making these for a party, prepare the mayo and mushrooms ahead of time. Place the mushrooms on baking sheets and re-heat them for 5-8 minutes at 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4 before serving.
Scrumptious Nut Roast
1 butternut squash
250g cooked black beans
3 free-range eggs
75g dried cranberries
50g chopped hazelnuts
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of one lemon
1. Place 2cm peeled butternut squash cubes in a roasting tray and dress with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast the squash in the oven at 200°C for 35-40 minutes, until soft all the way through.
2. In a blender, blitz the black beans to a paste. In a separate bowl mix in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cranberries, hazelnuts, parsley, cinnamon and lemon into the black bean purée.
3. Finally crumble the feta into the black bean mixture and add in the roasted butternut squash. Mix these through by hand without breaking up the squash. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Roll a quarter of the mixture using greaseproof paper to form a sausage shape about 5cm thick. Wrap this paper tube within a layer of tin foil to keep the shape. Repeat this process for the rest of the mixture.
5. Prick the cylinders with a cocktail stick to allow steam to escape while cooking. Bake the finished cylinders in the oven pre-heated to 180°C for 1 hour, then allow to cool. Carefully remove the foil and paper and slice the nut roast into portions.
6. To serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and warm the portions of the nut roast in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes, or until hot.
Festive Cheddar, Vegetable and Chestnut Plait
For the pastry:
400g plain flour
Pinch of salt
200g chilled butter
100g Pilgrims Choice extra mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
For the filling:
350g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
300g roasted red peppers (from a jar)
100g pre-packed chestnuts
75g Pilgrims Choice extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Stir in the grated cheese, then add 7-8 tablespoons of chilled water and stir the mixture with a round-bladed knife so that it comes together to form a soft (but not sticky) dough.
3. Knead lightly for a few moments until smooth, then wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes.
4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and then simmer in lightly salted boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the chopped courgette to the saucepan for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking time and drain well.
6. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and thinly sliced mushrooms until very soft, then remove and set aside to cool.
7. Drain and tear the peppers into pieces and mix in together with the squash, courgettes and chestnuts. Season to taste.
8. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle and trim the edges neatly to a square measuring 30 x 30cm (12 x12 inches).
9. Spread the mushroom mixture down the centre third of the pastry and pile the vegetable mixture on top, then sprinkle with the grated cheese and herbs.
10. Slash the pastry on each side of the mixture at 2cm (¾ inch) intervals, brush with beaten egg, then fold the strips over the filling to overlap like a plait.
11. Lift the plait onto a lightly greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
12. Transfer to the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.
Sweet Potato, Red Cabbage and Butternut Squash Layer
750g sweet potatoes
750g butternut squash
½ red cabbage (approx. 450g)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Black pepper to taste
Grated rind of ½ orange
For the topping:
1 thick slice wholemeal bread, cut into small cubes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g pumpkin seeds
15g chia seeds
1. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and butternut squash and cook in 2 separate pans with enough lightly salted water to just cover. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Drain well.
2. Slice the red cabbage thinly and cook covered in a pan with the sugar and raisins and 100ml water for approx. 10 minutes, until tender.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC/Gas Mark 5. Mash the sweet potato with the butter, cumin and black pepper, then spoon into the base of the casserole dish, leveling the surface. Drain the red cabbage of any juice and layer on top of the potato.
4. Mash the butternut squash with the orange rind and layer on top of the red cabbage.
5. Mix together the topping ingredients and scatter over the top of the butternut squash. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until the bread is crunchy and golden brown.
Cheese and Leek Croquettes
1 British leek, washed and finely chopped, tough outer leaves removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and cut into chunks
60g Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and black pepper
60g plain flour
150g panko breadcrumbs
1 bottle vegetable oil, for deep frying
1. In a frying pan set over a low heat, sweat the leek with a splash of olive oil for about 5 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
2. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to the pan and mash until smooth. Add the leeks, 1 egg, cheese and parsley and mix together with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm.
3. Spread the flour over a flat tray, and lightly beat the remaining 2 eggs in a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs on a separate plate. Roll the chilled mixture into 12 balls of equal-sized cylinders. Gently roll the croquettes in the flour, then dip each one in the beaten egg before coating in the breadcrumbs.
4. Heat the oil to 150°C in a large saucepan or deep fat fryer. Test the temperature by dropping in a few breadcrumbs, if they sizzle nicely the heat is at the correct temperature, if they turn black quickly, turn the heat down. Deep fry the croquettes for 5 minutes until golden brown. Cook in batches. Serve immediately.
Amaretti Christmas Pudding
175g amaretti biscuits
250g stoned soft dates, chopped
250g dried soft figs, chopped
750g mixed dried fruit
75g dark brown Muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g firm, slightly salted butter
200ml strong ale
1. Grease a 1.7-litre pudding basin (see tip) and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper. Put the amaretti biscuits in a polythene bag and crush with a rolling pin until fairly finely ground. Tip into a large bowl. Add the dates, figs, mixed dried fruit, sugar, breadcrumbs and beaten egg and mix well.
2. Grate the butter into the bowl, mixing it in frequently as you grate, so the butter doesn’t lump together. Add the ale. Give the ingredients a good stir, then cover and leave to stand in the fridge for a couple of hours.
3. Pack the mixture into the basin. Cover with a large circle of greaseproof paper, securing it under the rim with string. Cover the greaseproof with foil, tucking it firmly over the paper to create a moisture-proof lid.
4. Place an upturned saucer or piece of crumpled foil in the base of a large saucepan and rest the basin on top. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the basin. Cover with a lid and steam gently.
Tip: Instead of using one large pudding basin, divide the mixture between two smaller basins totalling about 1.7 litres in capacity and keep one pudding for another time. Reduce the initial steaming time to 3 hours.