For the past four mounts, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been vegetarian. Good on him.
I often think that I could be vegetarian too – well, until someone puts a steak in front of me…or a pork pie, a roast chicken, a Cornish pasty…you get the point.
I was in fact vegetarian when I was about ten years old. I think that it was a desperate attempt to annoy my parents, or to emulate my (vegetarian) granddad, which has been somewhat of a lifetime ambition.
Anyway, the whole scheme drew to a fairly quick end. Firstly because my mum didn’t bat an eyelid (like any cunning mother dealing with a childhood fad), and calmly cooked me vegetarian equivalents of what my brother and sister were having for tea without saying a word. Annoying when you’re trying to get a reaction.
The real nail in the coffin though was when there were some sausage rolls cooking in the aga. The smell wafted round the house, and drew me to the kitchen in blind haze. It wasn’t until I’d scoffed several ‘pigs in blankets’ that I remembered that they contained meat, and this was not conducive to vegetarianism. This was about two weeks in. Surely one of the worst attempts of vegetarianism out there.
Anyway, I still like a good veg dish, so when lovely old Hugh was cooking a celeriac and squash pasty on Sunday evening, I couldn’t help but have a go myself.
This recipe tasted even better than it looked. Mum and I are always keeping half an eye open for good vegetarian meals for when Grandad comes round, and this one’s definitely going in the arsenal – especially because the roasted vegetables would work as a side dish to go with the meaty main thereby killing two birds with one stone. The only problem is that it’s going to make carnivores guests jealous when your veggie diner cuts into this little cheesy, buttery beauty…
Ingredients (for 1)
1 square of roasted celeriac (about 4x4cm and 1.5cm thick)
2 slices of butternut squash
1 lump of blue cheese (the equivalent of a heaped tablespoon – I used Castello Danish Blue)
2 blanched cabbage leaves
1/3 sheet of jus-roll puff pastry
milk (just for brushing on as a gloss for the pastry)
Start off by roasting the celeriac and butternut squash for 40 minutes (Hugh actually used a pumpkin) – add some fresh thyme and pepper to the roasting tin.
If you’ve got lots of people round for supper, then cook all of the celeriac and squash so you can serve the leftovers as a side. If you don’t have lots of people round for supper, then still cook all of celeriac and squash so you can have a roasted root vegetable salad for lunch the next couple of days. Yum.
While the root vegetables are roasting, take the outer leaves off a savoy cabbage and blanche them (dunk them in already- boiling water for a couple of minutes and then run them under a cold tap to stop the leave from cooking).
Lay out the puff pastry. Put a cabbage leaf in the middle and plonk the celeriac square in the middle of it. Next place the butternut squash on top and nestle the blue cheese in amongst it all before using the other cabbage leaf to wrap up your beautiful little parcel.
Finally, wrap the puff pastry around the cabbage parcel – pinching the edges where they meet. Brush the pastry with milk (a nice glaze) and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 20 minutes.
When the puff pastry is nicely golden and crispy, the insides will be cooked to perfection, guaranteed.