Vegetarian Feast

Mushroom Arancini

FALAFELS

 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

400g can chickpeas

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

Zest of ½ lemon

½ tsp baking powder

Handful of parsley, chopped coriander or mint work as well

1 beaten egg

For a spicy mix add ½ tbsp harissa paste

Sesame seeds optional

 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, then fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened.  Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas, spices, lemon, baking powder and harissa, if using, then mash together with a fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down.

Stir in the parsley and season to taste.  Add the egg, then squish the mixture together with your hands.

Mould the mix into 6 balls, then flatten into patties in the sesame seeds to coat the outsides.  Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and firm.

Serve hot and cold with couscous pitta bread or salad

 

ARANCINI RICE CAKES

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

330g Arborio risotto rice

100ml white wine

40g grated parmesan

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped tarragon

½ tsp chopped thyme

2 eggs

 

Pane:

2 eggs, 180g dried breadcrumbs, 150g plain flour, 100g mozzarella and vegetable oil to deep fry

Place the stock in a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring just to the boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low, hold at a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Add the rice to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until the grains appear slightly glassy.  Add the white wine and cook, stirring until completely dissolved.  Now add a ladleful of the simmering stock to the rice mixture and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful, for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite and risotto is creamy.  Stir in the parmesan and herbs.  Set aside for 2-3 hours to cool completely.  Add 2 eggs and stir until well combined.

Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate.  Place the flour in a bowl.  Crack the remaining eggs into a separate bowl and use a fork to lightly whisk.  Use wet hands to shape two tablespoons of the risotto mixture into a ball.  Press your thumbs into the centre of the ball to make an indent.  Place a piece of mozzarella in the indent, then mould the risotto mixture around the mozzarella to enclose.

Repeat with the remaining risotto mixture and mozzarella to make 28 balls.

Roll the risotto balls in the flour and shake off any excess.  Dip in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place on a large plate.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Add enough oil in a large saucepan to reach a depth of 5cm.  Heat to 190c over a medium-high heat (when the oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden in 10 seconds).  Now fry the balls in small batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.  Repeat in batches with the remaining risotto balls.

 

VEGETABLE STOCK

1 onion

3 sticks of celery

2 carrots

4 cloves of garlic

1 leek

1 head of fennel

Small bunch of herbs: thyme, 4 bay leaves, broken up, parsley stalks and a branch of tarragon

1tsp coriander seeds

¼ pint of white wine

10 black peppercorns

Roughly chop all the vegetables and wash.  Heat a pan with a little oil then add the vegetables, coriander and peppercorns and give it a good stir.  Turn down low and cook until soft but not coloured.

Add the white wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated then add the herbs and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for ½ an hour and then remove from the heat and leave to cool overnight.

Strain through a sieve and push as much water from the vegetables as possible, place back on the stove and reduce by half – this will give your stock a stronger flavour.

For mushroom stock, make as above with the addition of 50g dried ceps or porcini mushrooms and any mushroom trimmings you may have.

 

SMOKY BEAN CAKES

½ onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 – 2 red chillies chopped

400g mixed beans

250g cooked brown rice

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Fry onion in a little oil until almost soft then add the garlic and chilli. Cook for a couple of minutes more then add the paprika.

Mash the beans, not too finely, leave some chunky bits.  Mash the rice as well as much as you can.

Mix everything together, form into burgers and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat a pan and fry for a few minutes on each side to colour.  If they break up, press them back together or place in a pre-heated oven 190c for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with a nice tomato salsa, guacamole or mayonnaise

 

TOMATO, CORIANDER AND RED ONION SALSA

6 ripe plum tomatoes

2 small red onions, peeled

2 medium red chillies

½ oz coriander leaves

2 tblsp olive oil or avocado oil

Ground black pepper

Salt

 

Cut the plum tomatoes into quarters

Cut the onions into 1” chunks

Blow torch the chillies to blacken the skin and remove, chop the chillies

Roughly chop the coriander

Now mix all the ingredients together

 

HOT & SPICY GUACAMOLE

2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic

2 red chillies – de-seeded and roughly chopped

6 black peppercorns

2 large avocados

2 tbsp olive oil

Juice of one lemon

Salt to taste

 

Pound the chillies, garlic and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar to make a paste.

Peel and stone the avocados and mash the flesh well.  Stir in the chilli paste, olive oil and lemon, season to taste.

 

FLAVOURED MAYOS FOR DIPS AND ACCOMPANIMENTS

Flavour mayo by adding the following:

  1. Grain mustard, lemon and herbs
  2. Garlic and parsley
  3. Reduce 50ml white wine with a pinch of saffron and 1 crushed garlic clove, add to the mayo for a rich flavour
  4. Creamed horseradish and tomato ketchup

 

SPICY AUBERGINE AND TOMATO SAMOSA

2 aubergines cut into small dice

4 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and cut into small dice

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Zest and juice of one lime

Small bunch of coriander, chopped

2 small hot chillies, chopped

1 tsp cumin

 

Cut the aubergines in half and sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar and toss together.  Leave to one side for a couple of hours, squeeze out some of the liquid.

Heat a pan with a little oil and sautee the shallots, add the chopped aubergine, garlic and chilli and then the lime and cook until it starts to break down. Turn down the heat and cook slowly to dry the mixture just as you take mixture from the heat, add the tomato and coriander and allow to cool.

Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with butter.  Cut into 2” strips and place a teaspoon of mixture on each strip and fold into a triangle.  Brush the top with melted butter and refrigerate for one hour.

Cook in a moderate until crisp and golden

The addition of 60g of grated parmesan cheese to the mixture gives it a strong flavour.