Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Recipe swap

A friend of mine who reads my blog knows that there are vegetarians in my family. She sent me a version of Vegetarian Shepherd's pie with a topping made of mashed cauliflower and then grilled. So today I made it. It's a perfect dish to make in advance and then freeze.  It's a nice feeling to know that you have something like that in your freezer that can be magically transformed into a crowd- pleaser and stomach warmer on a cold Winter's day. you just have to remember to thaw it out in time and then warm up the oven, put flecks of butter on the top and let it get golden brown.
I've got a cousin who has a large family. She's got four children and their partners then one daughter has four children, one son has four, one son has two and one daughter has one, so that's twenty two just immediate family. She told me that when they come to stay she fills her freezer in advance with:-

Shepherd's pie
Beef casserole,
fish Pie
Macaroni cheese
Chicken in breadcrumbs
canneloni with spinach
Soups, carrot, minestrone, red pepper.

Just having those basic dishes ready makes meal planning a whole lot easier.

Here's my friend's Vegetarian Shepherd's pie.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato pureè
300g dried puy lentils
300mg red wine
1 litre stock
dried Rosemary and basil

Gently cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
Add the red wine and tomato pureè and bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for ten minutes.
Add the lentils and stir.
Add the stock and herbs, salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for about half an hour until the lentils are soft and the mixture is quite thick.
Pour into an oven proof dish and let it cool before adding the topping.
I'm using mashed potato this time but will bear in mind the cauliflower for a change.
Variety is the spice of life and the kitchen is a great place to start.

There is not a photo of my finished dish today because I have put it in the freezer for the weekend.
Here is a short verse by the Anon person that I've talked about before.

Ask you who is singing here
Who so blithe can thus appear?
I'm the child of joy and glee,
And my name's Variety.

So divert your mind by a change today and take away your cares. Do something you have never done before, like cauliflower topping or painting a picture or knitting a woolly scarf..

Ingredients at the ready

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