Tag Archives: Puff pastry

Easy veggie sausage rolls, in honour of #ivjfd15

30 Aug

2015-08-11 09.56.57

Whenever I post a recipe for something less healthy, I usually feel the need to include a disclaimer about my diet normally involving vibrant, healthy, whole foods. Well not today! Yesterday was the second annual International Vegan Junk Food Day, an in its honour here is my unapologetically unhealthy sausage roll recipe.

Sausage rolls were the first thing I ever cooked for Mr Veg, so they hold a particularly special place in my heart. Delicious food and with no animals harmed, I think that’s a pretty good start to a new relationship.

It is entirely serendipitous that one sheet of puff pastry is exactly the right amount for one packet of sausage mix. It’s like the universe wants it to happen. If you wanted to make sausage rolls from other ingredients, roughly equal weights of pastry and filling would normally be a good place to start.

2015-08-10 19.03.36

Recipe (makes 16 small or 8 large sausage rolls):

  • 1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry (375g) – store-bought puff pastry is usually vegan, but please check the ingredients first
  • 1 packet of veggie sausage mix (150g dry weight)
  • Herbs and spices (optional)
  • A small amount of oil, for greasing the baking sheet
  • A small amount of non-dairy milk, for brushing
  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Make up the sausage mix according to the packet instructions. I like to jazz it up with extra herbs and spices, but this is optional.

2015-08-10 19.23.43

  1. Unroll the pastry sheet. Leaving it on the backing paper for now, and cut it in half lengthwise.

2015-08-10 19.27.07

  1. Spread half of the sausage mix lengthwise along the middle third of each pastry rectangle. This is the only slightly fiddly bit, I find it easiest to put small spoonfuls of the mixture along the pastry, and then spread it out with my fingers.

2015-08-10 19.27.49

  1. Brush a small amount of non-dairy milk along one of the edges of the pastry; this will help the pastry stick together.

2015-08-10 19.28.35

  1. Carefully take the edge of the pastry that you didn’t brush with milk, and fold it over the sausage mix.

2015-08-10 19.29.21

  1. Continue rolling, so the edge you rolled onto the sausage mix now goes onto the edge you brushed with milk. This double layer of pastry (the seam) should stay underneath.

2015-08-10 19.30.59

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls to your preferred size.

2015-08-10 19.34.19

  1. Keeping the seam underneath, transfer the sausage rolls from the backing paper to the greased baking sheet. Prick each sausage roll with a fork to allow any steam to escape.

2015-08-10 19.35.17

  1. To help the sausage rolls brown, brush each one lightly with more non-dairy milk.
  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Enjoy hot or cold.

2015-08-11 09.57.13

A very veggie Christmas

21 Dec

“So, what do you eat for Christmas dinner?”

It’s the one question all meat-eaters want to ask vegetarians and vegans at this time of year. It’s no surprise they’re curious, food seems like one of the most important aspects of Christmas, and for many people the idea of Christmas day without a massive dead bird in the oven seems a bit weird. To answer their question, and to make a few suggestions, here are a few things I’ve had for my veggie Christmases over the years.

Nothing

I don’t mean nothing at all. What I mean is nothing extra. Pile your plate high with roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, stuffing balls, Yorkshire puddings, and drown the whole lot in some lovely vegetarian gravy. I’ve read comments from other vegetarians complaining about being forgotten at Christmas meals and being given a plate of side dishes, but when the side dishes make the meal you don’t really need anything else!

Nut roast

The mainstay of the office Christmas lunch has a terrible reputation, but when it’s done right it’s a fab choice. It’s tasty, satisfying and super healthy, and it’s brilliant for leftovers. Don’t go for a dull, brown packet-mix. Instead, scour the internet for a festive recipe that has things you like in it. To name just a few:

Pie

I’m the only vegetarian in my immediate family, so when I spend Christmas day with them I tend to make my own meat alternative, usually a pie of some sort. Making something different for just one person does sound kind of lonely, but I see it as a real treat, a chance to have whatever I want. Unfortunately I am a creature of habit and tend to always want the same thing – a brie and mushroom parcel. I’ve recently cut out dairy completely, so next time I’m with my parents for Christmas I’ll probably make a mushroom and something else parcel (pine nuts would be lovely). As a rough guide, 100g of puff pastry to 100g of filling makes a generous pie or pasty for one person.

Speaking of mushrooms, one of the nicest meals I ever had was a beautiful mushroom strudel. It was probably nothing more than wild mushrooms cooked with garlic, wrapped in filo pastry, but despite its simplicity it was so special.

Fake meat

I don’t eat an awful lot of fake meat. It’s high in protein but nutritionally it doesn’t have a lot else going for it. I prefer whole foods. However, it is a fun option if you fancy a nostalgic treat, and you can use it to make a very traditional-looking Christmas dinner. A fake meat extravaganza is the usual choice for Christmas dinner in the Veg household, where the vegetarians (me, Mr Veg and his little bro) outnumber the one meat eater (my mother-in-law, AKA Southern Mum). There are several brands of vegetarian chicken-style roasts now, we normally have a couple of these so there will be plenty of leftovers.

I love making veggie pigs in blankets to go with it. Just brush some vegetarian bacon slices with a little oil, and wrap around your favourite vegetarian sausages, hold together with cocktail sticks and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

A slightly unusual alternative to this that I’ve tried very recently is a shiitake and leek stuffed seitan roast from Isa Chandra Moskowitz: http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/seitan-roast-stuffed-with-shiitakes-and-leeks/. It’s dense and chewy and really tasty, and the best thing is you can adapt the stuffing and other flavourings to suit you.

The only bad Christmas meal I ever had

I’ve written more than once about chefs who don’t have a clue about what to cook for vegetarians and this is probably the worst experience I’ve had in that respect. The vegetarian option for the office Christmas lunch a few years ago was described only as a vegetarian suet pudding. It could have been lovely, but sadly it was suet pastry wrapped around unseasoned, mealy lentils. It probably would have been ok if there was some gravy or other sauce but sadly there wasn’t. It was dry and bland and a real disappointment.

I’d love to hear what other vegetarians and vegans have for Christmas dinner, please let me know your best and worst experiences.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

Spanokopitta sausage rolls

9 Jul

2013-07-06 18.55.12

At the weekend, my mum asked me to bake some vegetarian sausage rolls for a family picnic. Normally I’d wrap some veggie sausages in puff pastry and get on with my day but on this occasion I was the only vegetarian there, and I wanted to make something the omnivores would enjoy as much as I would. I decided to make something based on my favourite Greek dish, spanokopitta (basically an AMAZING spinach and feta filo pie).

So here’s what I came up with. They went down really well, even with the meat-eaters. The children didn’t really like them (my two-year-old niece ate half of one and politely shoved the rest in my mouth); perhaps a milder, less freaky cheese would make them more child-friendly.

2013-07-06 18.43.04

Recipe (makes 24 mini rolls)

  • 500g puff pastry
  • 300g frozen spinach, defrosted, preferably the whole-leaf stuff
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 30g pine nuts, toasted
  • Two eggs (one for the filling and the other to use as eggwash)
  • One clove of garlic, mashed to a pulp, or a handful of finely chopped garlic scapes
  • A good grinding of black pepper and nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Roll the pastry out into two long rectangles, roughly 20cm x 40cm each, about 0.25cm thick.

Mash the drained feta with one of the eggs, then add the garlic, pepper, nutmeg, and pine nuts.

Drain the spinach in a sieve, and press as much of the water out of it as you can. Stir it into the feta mixture. It should be fairly dry, otherwise the pastry will end up soggy and the filling will spill out of the edges.

Spread half the filling down the middle of one of the sheets of pastry. Brush some beaten egg along one of the edges. Roll the sheet of pastry into one long sausage, ending on the side that you brushed with egg. Cut into 12 mini sausage rolls and place them onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the filling and the second sheet of pastry. Brush all of the sausage rolls with beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden. Enjoy hot or cold.

%d bloggers like this: