Category Archives: Vegetarian

Food Monday ~ Caramelised Onion and Fennel

Caramelised Onion and Fennel

3 tbsp Olive oil
3 large onion, thinly sliced
2-3 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan to a moderate heat. Add the sliced onion and fennel, salt and pepper and coat with the oil. Cover with a layer of greaseproof and replace the lid on the saucepan and reduce the heat a little. Allow the onion/fennel mix to sweat and soften for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and paper, stir in the honey. Continue to cook the onions and stir occasionally as the onions begin to brown and have a sticky consistency. (about 15-20 minutes.)
At this stage, add a dash of Balsamic vinegar, cook for another 5 minutes.

While the onions are working their magic, wash the jars and lids and place them on their sides in a preheated oven 150°C for at least 10 mins.

Carefully remove the jars and fill with the onion mixture while still hot, cover & seal.

This recipe is very versatile, it can be used with salads, cold meats or as a topping for pizza.  It also works well on crackers with pre dinner drinks.


Food Monday ~ Onion Marmalade

I adapted this recipe from the one in the Eden cook book.
Onion Marmalade

1½ kg red & brown onions
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
4 tbsp sunflower oil
300g brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp white pepper
4 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey (optional)
Dash of vermouth or white wine (optional)

Peel and slice the onions thinly.
Heat oil in sauce pan over moderate heat, add onion and stir well. I also place a disc of grease proof paper over the onions in the saucepan lightly pressed down as it helps them sweat and soften. Replace pan lid and cook gently for 10 mins.

Add the remaining ingredients, cover, reduce heat and cook for another 40 mins. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 mins, stirring regularly.

While the onions are working their magic, wash the jars and lids and place them on their sides in a preheated oven 150°C for at least 10 mins.

Carefully remove the jars and the lids. Then fill the jars with the onions mixture and seal the jars.

Food Monday ~ Italian Fennel Casserole

Italian Fennel Casserole
Preheat oven to 200°C

3 bulbs of fennel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped.
3 cloves of garlic crushed
14oz tin of tomatoes
Salt & black pepper
2ozs fresh brown bread crumbs
2 ozs grated Parmigiano cheese

Prepare the fennel by discarding any coarse outer leaves and the root base, then slice the bulbs very thinly.  Keep some of the feathery tops for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the chopped onion and garlic.  Add the slices of fennel and cook these for a few more minutes, turning them over in the pan.

Empty the tin of tomatoes into a bowl and break down slightly with a spoon.  Add the tomatoes to the fennel and onion mixture and season well.  Cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a greased oven proof dish.

Mix the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over the top, then bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is nice and crisp.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Food Monday ~ Portobello Mushrooms with Pine Nuts

Portobello Mushrooms with Pine Nuts

Preheat the oven to 200°C
Serves 4

4 Large Portobello Mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
275g jar or canned red pimentos, finely chopped
75g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
25g pine kernals, toasted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons low fat soft cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper
15g parmesan cheese, grated

Wipe the mushrooms with damp kitchen towel.  Remove the stalks and scrape out the flesh leaving the cap intact.  Chop the stalks and flesh and place in a mixing bowl.  Brush the caps with a little oil and place in a roasting tin.
In a frying pan, heat the remainder of the oil and the vinegar, fry the garlic and pimentos until tender.  Stir in the mushroom flesh, breadcrumbs, pine kernels, soft cheese, parsley and seasoning.
Divide the mixture between the four mushroom caps and sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until tender.

Food Monday ~ Potato and Leek Bake with Coriander

Potato and Leek Bake with Coriander

Preheat oven to 200°C

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1oz butter
  • 1lb leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into ½ inch rings
  • 2lbs of potatoes scrubbed and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Put the oil and the butter in a shallow roasting tin and put it in the preheated oven to melt the butter.  Add the prepared potatoes and leeks, turning them to coat both sides with the oil and butter.  Spread into a single layer.  Crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds and mix with the sea salt. Sprinkle over the leeks and potatoes.  Cook for 45-50 minutes or until the potatoes are nicely browned.

Food Monday ~ Fried Potatoes with a difference

I am very late today, please go easy on me as I am struggling a little today.  I’ll be grand tomorrow!

Fried Potatoes with a difference

Serves 4

  • 500g potatoes, grated and rinsed to extract the starch.
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil.
  • 375g vegetables finely chopped; choose from broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, courgettes, leeks, mushrooms, onion, parsnips, peppers, runner beans or sweet corn.
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, grated.
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Use a cloth to squeeze the excess moisture from the grated potato.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or wok.  Fry the grated potato fot 5-10 minutes or until nearly cooked, stirring frequently.  Add the chosen vegetables, soy sauce, ginger and salt and pepper and fry briskly for a further 5-10 to cook the vegetables yet still keeping them crisp.  Serve hot.

Food Monday ~ Luxury Nut and Seed Loaf


Nut and Seed Loaf served with a Cranberry, Apple and Brandy Sauce
Preheat oven to 190ºC

8oz Bulgar wheat
11fl oz boiling water
3 tablespoons soya sauce
6oz pistachio nuts
6oz pine nuts
8oz blanched almonds
6oz cashew nuts
4oz hazel nuts
4oz sunflower seeds
4oz pumpkin seeds
4oz poppy seeds
9oz onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil
Extra oil for pouring on roast

For the sauce:
9½oz cranberries
9½oz cooking apples chopped
5fl oz apple juice concentrate
2fl oz water
4 tablespoons brandy

Place the bulgar wheat in a mixing bowl and pour on the boiling water and soya sauce. Cover and let swell for 25 minutes. Chop the nuts and add the seeds, mix together with the wheat. Stir in the parsley, thyme, onions, eggs and oil. Mix well and allow it to stand. Oil a large baking sheet and line with greaseproof paper. Form a loaf shape with the nut mixture, about 10cm/4in wide, press firmly together and prick the top with a fork. Pour on a little oil and sprinkle with some extra nuts (optional) and cap loosely with a foil hood. Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove foil, baste with oil on baking sheet and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes. Place in a large serving dish, then cool, easing off the paper as you do so. Cover with the foil until ready to garnish. To make the sauce cook all the ingredients, except the brandy, together for about 20 minutes. Add the brandy and re-heat for 30 seconds. Serve as an accompaniment to the main dish.

Food Monday ~ Quiche with Celery & Cheese

This one has a back story. On a beautiful sunny Sunday morning early in July about 15 years ago and I was sitting in church in good time for the morning service. I was aware of a couple moving into the row behind me. Turning to greet them I saw that they were visitors. I welcomed them among us and from their accents realised they were on holiday. Chatting I discovered they were from Canada and participating in a house swap with friends of mine.

This gave us something in common and they were pleased to have suggestions for places to visit and things to do throughout the Province. As the service drew to a close I wrote my name and phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to them before we left, inviting them to come for afternoon tea some day during their vacation.

The very next day I had a call, saying they would be free in the afternoon and evening and hoped to go to Dublin by train on the Tuesday. Thinking fast I suggested they join us for our evening meal that day and I could tell them about things to do and see in Dublin. We chatted on for a few minutes, I suggested a time and I gave them directions to Grannymar Gables.

As I was about to hang up the Gentleman said “Oh by the way, did I say we were vegetarian? But we do eat eggs!” “That’s fine.” I lied. Back then I was not used to preparing vegetarian meals. A couple of minutes panic and I grabbed my pen & notebook (long before the internet entered my life), Jack handed me the healing cup of coffee and I racked my brains…

A quick list and a trip to the supermarket and we were sorted.

Quiche with Celery & Cheese
Preheat oven to 190°C

5ozs Plain Flour
A pinch Salt
3ozs Butter
1oz toasted Nuts
1 tablespoon Water
1 Egg Yolk size 3

1 small head Celery
4ozs Blue Cheese
½ pint Single Cream
3 Eggs size 3
Salt & Black Pepper
A few Nuts to garnish

Put flour, salt & nuts in a food processor and blend for a few moments. Add the butter and blend well. Add egg yolk and water and mix to dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface & line flan tin. Chill for 30 minutes. Wash & slice celery and cook in boiling salted water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain & cool. Crumble cheese and stir in half the cream. Lightly mix the eggs with the rest of the cream, and add to cheese mixture and season to taste. Arrange celery over pastry base, spoon the cheese mixture and spread level over the celery. Arrange the nuts on top.

Bake for 40 minutes until the filling has set. Serve with salad and/or chips.
Serves 8-10  

To freeze: leave to cool, when cold over-wrap in foil and place in the freezer.
Thaw overnight & warm in the oven for 10 minutes.