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We’ve noticed that much of the world is having some pretty terrible weather. Let’s curl up with some comforting barley, lentil, & onion soup for Meat Free Monday.
MEAT-FREE MONDAY: PAPPARDELLE WITH CHERRY TOMATOES & ROCKET
It’s Christmas Eve, you’re busy with last minute gift wrapping, and don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking dinner? We hear you! Here is a super quick and easy dish that the whole family can enjoy this Xmas Eve!
Involtini di cavolo verza or Stuffed Cabbage
From the Love Food Cookbook: The Italian Kitchen
Meat Free Monday - Macaroni Cheese
There is nothing more comforting and homely than Macaroni Cheese, so why not make it your Meat Free Monday dish this week? For a little texture, sprinkle some wholemeal breadcrumbs over the cheese before placing under the grill.
Macaroni Cheese, serves 4.
250g/9oz dried macaroni pasta
55g/2oz butter, plus extra for cooking the pasta
600ml/1 pint milk
½ tsp grated nutmeg
55g/2oz plain flour
200g/7oz mature Cheddar cheese, grated
55g/2oz Parmesan cheese, grated
200g/7oz baby spinach
salt and pepper
1. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet. Remove from the heat, drain, add a small knob of butter to keep it soft, return to the saucepan and cover to keep warm.
2. Put the milk and nutmeg into a saucepan over a low heat and heat until warm, but don’t boil. Put the butter into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter, add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the milk a little at a time, whisking it into the roux, then cook for about 10-15 minutes to make loose, custard-style sauce.
3. Add three quarters of the Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir through until they have melted in, then add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
4. Preheat the grill to high. Put the macaroni into a shallow heatproof dish, then pour the sauce over. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and place the dish under the preheated grill. Grill until the cheese begins to brown, then serve.
Meat Free Monday - Nutty Stilton Roast
Happy Monday everyone! This week’s dish is one of our favourites - Nutty Stilton Roast - make it one of yours too!
Nutty Stilton Roast, serves 6-8.
2 tbsp virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling
3-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
175g/6oz cooked and peeled chestnuts
175g/6oz mixed chopped nuts
55g/2oz ground almonds
55g/2oz fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
225g/8oz Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus extra sprigs to garnish
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
1 red pepper, skinned, deseeded and cut into thin wedges
1 courgette, about 115g/4oz, cut into wedges
cherry tomatoes, to garnish
Tomato Sauce and lightly cooked green vegetables to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly oil a 900-g/2/lb loaf tin.
2. Finely chop one of the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the chopped onion, 1-2 of the garlic cloves and the celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from the pan, drain through a sieve or colander and transfer to a food processor with the nuts, breadcrumbs, half the cheese and the basil. Using the pulse button, blend the ingredients together, then slowly blend in the egg to form a stiff mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Cut the remaining onion into thin wedges. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, remaining garlic, red pepper and courgette and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the pan, add salt and pepper to taste and drain through a sieve or colander.
5. Place half the nut mixture in the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the onion and pepper mixture on top and crumble over the remaining cheese. top with the remaining nut mixture and press down firmly. Cover with foil.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 25-35 minutes, or until cooked and firm to the touch.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before inverting on to a warmed serving platter. Serve with a little of the Tomato Sauce drizzled over the top, garnished with basil sprigs and cherry tomatoes, accompanied by vegetables.
Meat Free Monday - Spicy Tofu
Stir things up a bit with this winner of a dish - tofu, vegetables and a touch of spice. Meat Free Monday magic!
Spicy Tofu, serves 4.
75ml/2½ fl oz vegetable stock
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of chilli flakes
4 tbsp groundnut oil
250g/9oz firm tofu, rinsed and drained thoroughly and cut into 1-cm/½-inch cubes
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
250g/9oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
steamed rice, to serve
1. To make the marinade, blend the vegetable stock, cornflour, soy sauce, sugar and chilli flakes together in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss well to cover in the marinade. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
2. In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the groundnut oil and stir-fry the tofu with its marinade until brown and crispy. Remove from the wok and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil in the wok and stir-fry the ginger, garlic and spring onions for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, carrot, yellow pepper and mushrooms to the wok and cook for 5-6 minutes. Return the tofu to the wok and stir-fry to reheat. Serve immediately over freshly steamed rice.
Meat Free Monday - Layered Vegetable Casserole
There couldn’t be an easier way to start your week! This delicious recipe can also be adapted to include more or different vegetables to suit your taste - it goes without saying though that you’ll want more than one helping! (From ‘America’s Family Recipes’, for the iPad and iPhone)
Layered Vegetable Casserole, serves 4.
1 tbsp olive oil, for brushing
5 large white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 leeks, trimmed, thoroughly washed, and thinly sliced
2 large beef tomatoes, sliced
8 fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
300ml/10 fl oz vegetable stock
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Brush an ovenproof casserole dish with a little of the olive oil. Prepare all the vegetables.
3. Place a layer of potato slices in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with half of the basil leaves and cover with a layer of leeks. Top with a layer of tomato slices. Repeat these layers until all the vegetables are used up, ending with a layer of potatoes.
4. Stir the chopped garlic into the vegetable broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the vegetables and brush the top with the remaining olive oil.
5. Bake in the preheated over for 1½ hours, or until the vegetables are gender and the topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Meat Free Monday - Vegetable Cobbler
Not only the ideal winter warmer but the ideal way to start the week. This one pot dish is packed full of vegetables and goodness and will satisfy the hungriest around your kitchen table! (From ‘Grandma’s Best Recipes’).
Vegetable Cobbler, serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 small onions, halved
2 celery sticks, sliced
225g/8oz swede, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
½ small head of cauliflower, broken into florets
225g/8oz button mushrooms, sliced
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
55g/2oz red lentils, rinsed
2 tbsp cornflour
3-4 tbsp water
300ml/10 fl oz vegetable stock
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
fresh oregano sprigs to garnish
225g/8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
4 tbsp butter
115g/4oz grated mature Cheddar cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml/5 fl oz milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and onions and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the celery, swede, carrots and cauliflower and cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and lentils. Place the cornflour and water in a bowl and mix to make a smooth paste. Stir into the frying pan with the stock, Tabasco sauce and oregano. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
3. To make the topping, sift the flour and salt together into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in, then stir in most of the cheese and oregano. Beat the egg with the milk in a small bowl and add enough to the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Knead, then roll out on a lightly floured work surface to 1cm/½ inch thick. Cut into 5-cm/2-inch rounds.
4. Remove the dish from the oven and increase the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Arrange the dough rounds around the edge of the dish, brush with the remaining egg and milk mixture and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10-12 minutes. Garnish with oregano sprigs and serve.
Meat Free Monday - Parmesan Cheese Risotto with Mushrooms
It’s melt-in-your-mouth risotto time - how could you resist such temptation on a Monday!? (from The Vegetarian Cookbook)
Parmesan Cheese Risotto with Mushrooms, serves 4
1 litre/1¾ pints of vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
225g/8oz risotto rice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 red or green pepper, deseeded and chopped
225g/8oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
55g/2oz sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped (optional)
55g/2oz finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
1. Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep simmering gently over a low heat while you are cooking the risotto.
2. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan. Add the rice and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, until the grains are thoroughly coated in oil and translucent.
3. Add the garlic, onion, celery and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the oregano.
4. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir constantly and add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to medium so that the liquid bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, if using, 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in half the cheese until it melts. Transfer the risotto to warmed plates. Top with the remaining cheese, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.
Meat Free Monday - Roast Butternut Squash
This yummy, versatile winter fruit will make your Monday taste a whole lot better! (Recipe from ‘Grandma’s Best Recipes’.)
Roast Butternut Squash - serves 4
1 butternut squash, about 450g/1lb
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 small tomatoes, chopped
85g/3oz chestnut mushrooms, chopped
85g/3 oz canned butter beans, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 courgette, about 115g/4 oz, trimmed and grated
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus extra to garnish
2 tbsp tomato purée
300ml/10 fl oz water
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Prick the squash all over with a metal skewer then roast for 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to rest until cool enough to handle.
2. Cut the squash in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then scoop out some of the flesh, making hollows in both halves. Chop the scooped-out flesh and put in a bowl. Place the two squash halves side by side in a large roasting tin.
3. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms to the squash flesh in the bowl. Add the butter beans, courgette, oregano, and pepper to taste and mix well. Spoon the filling into the two halves of the squash, packing it down as firmly as possible.
4. Mix the tomato purée with the water, spring onions and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and pour around the squash.
5. Cover loosely with a large sheet of foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until piping hot. Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with some chopped oregano.