Tag Archives: shared table

Meat free Lent XXXII: Nut Roast

Nicky – All Saints’ Church

Very simple recipe that can be adjusted as required.

8oz/225g chopped nuts 
8oz/225g sliced mushrooms 
1 large onion 
1 large carrot 
3 skinned/chopped tomatoes (or tinned) 
1 free range egg 
2 tsp mixed herbs 
2 tsp yeast extract or Marmite 
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1.       Cook chopped onion and grated carrot in oil for a few minutes until soft. 

2.       Add mushrooms and cook for further 2-3 mins.

3.       Stir in yeast extract.  Mix together all ingredients and place in greased loaf tin.

4.       Press down firmly.

5.       Bake in medium oven for 45 mins.

 You can freeze what you don’t use and either use it later hot or mixed with tahini, tomato puree, chives etc.

Mash it up and call it pâté!

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Meat free Lent, XXXI: Chickpea Moussaka

Nicky – All Saints’ Church: An old, well-used recipe.

 4oz/110 g chickpeas 
12 oz/340g aubergines 
12oz/340g potatoes scrubbed 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 onion peeled & chopped 
2 garlic cloves 
14oz/400g can tomatoes pureed 
2 tsp oregano dried 
1 tsp fresh mint 
1-2 tbsp tomato puree 
1 tsp cumin seeds 
natural yoghurt 
1 small egg beaten

1.       Drain chickpeas and bring to the boil in fresh water.   Boil fast for 10 mins, simmer 35-45 mins.

2.       Prick and trim aubergines and bake at 180 C for 20 mins, then slice.

3.       Boil potatoes until tender, slice thickly.

4.       Gently fry onion for 5-7 mins.  Add garlic and cook for 1 min.

5.       Add tomatoes, oregano, mint, tomato puree and chickpeas. Cook gently for 10 mins then season.

6.       Grease deep dish and fill in layers of aubergine, potato and chickpeas sauce.

7.       For the topping:

Roast cumin seeds, mix into yoghurt and add egg.  Spoon over moussaka.

Bake in preheated oven, Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 mins.


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Meat free Lent XXX: Super Raw Brownies

Judith T – All Saints’ Church

Makes approximately 20 mini brownies.

This recipe is from a very trendy imaginative vegetarian book that my younger son and his wife gave me a few years ago.  Actually the name of the recipe rather put me off to start with: I adore brownies, but ‘raw’ ones?!  Not to say that I don’t indulge in a little spoon-licking of raw mixture whilst cooking, but consuming an entire ‘raw’ brownie?!  Anyway two years ago, my desire to reverse my pre-diabetic status by seriously reducing my carbs meant that I looked beyond the name and decided to try this recipe for myself.  The result is delicious!  However, I’m still not sure that I’d want to advertise these nutty, chocolaty, date squares as ‘brownies’ – that builds a very different set of expectations.  Also, they aren’t cheap due to all those nuts – although if you’re looking for a less extravagant version, I’m sure you could substitute rolled oats for the pecans and some of the almonds.  However, they are very tasty, completely gluten-free, and very low on carbs – and can be cut into small squares.

100g almonds, skin on 
250g Medjool dates, pitted (about 12) 
2 tbsp set honey (raw honey if possible) 
75g cocoa powder (Fairtrade if possible) 
½ tsp salt 
50g pecan nuts, chopped

1.       Put the almonds into a food processor and whizz until you have a coarse powder. 

2.       Add the dates, honey, cocoa and salt and whizz again for about a minute, until the lot comes together into a dough-like ball.

3.       Turn the brownie mixture into a bowl, add the chopped pecans and knead to bring them into the dough. 

4.       Line a 20 cm square baking tin with baking paper and turn the mixture into it, pressing it down with your fingers until you have an even layer.

5.       Cover and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes before cutting up. Top with a dusting of cocoa.

They will keep for up to a week – if it’s hot, keep them in the fridge.

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Meat free Lent XXVIII: Tandoori Veg kebab

Bee – All Saints’ Church

This is a great, simple meal which my family enjoy.

Serves 8

For the bulgur wheat:
150g (5½ oz) bulgur wheat 
900ml (1½ pints) boiling water 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
1 tbsp rapeseed oil 
¼ tsp salt 
¼ tsp ground black pepper
For the skewers: 
I sweet potato, halved lengthways and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) slices
 1 courgette, cut into 5 mm (¼ inch) circles 
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges 
100g (3½ oz) natural yoghurt 
1 tbsp tandoori masala 
¼ tsp chilli powder 
¼ tsp salt 
Oil, for brushing
For the dressing: 
100g (3½ oz) natural yoghurt 
¼ tsp ground cumin 
                    A pinch of salt

1.       Put the bulgur wheat into a heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Leave to soak for 20 minutes, then drain well. 

2.       Wipe out the bowl and return the bulgur to it.  Add the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper and mix well.  Set aside.

3.       To prepare the kebabs, par-cook the sliced sweet potato in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes only.  Rinse and drain.

4.       Put the courgette and onion into a large bowl and add the sweet potato slices.  In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, tandoori masala, chilli powder and salt together and pour this all over the veg.  Stir to make sure the veg are well covered with the marinade.

5.       Preheat your barbecue or grill.  Take the skewers and thread the veg onto them.  Brush a little oil over the top.  When the barbecue or grill is hot, cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden.

6.       In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.  Spread the bulgur wheat on a serving platter, lay the skewers on top and drizzle over the dressing to serve. Best eaten immediately!

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Meat free Lent XXVII: Nut and Cream Cheese Bake

With Will and Mrs T being out of town, we’ve lost touch with the recipes! Here is No 27.

Mary Cooke – Blean Church

This is a bit luxurious and is really nice served hot or cold: a delicious mingling of rich flavours without introducing any meat.  Serve it with a fresh tomato and watercress salad for a simple yet substantial main meal dish.

Serves 6-8

4oz butter or margarine (100g) 
1lb onions, skinned and chopped (450g) 
1lb courgettes, wiped and sliced (450g) 
6oz mushrooms wiped and sliced (175g) 
6oz wholemeal breadcrumbs (175g) 
12oz cream cheese (350g) 
2oz nibbed almonds (50g) 
2oz walnut pieces, chopped (50g) 
2oz desiccated coconut (50g) 
2 level tablespoons tomato paste  
few drops of Tabasco sauce 
half level teaspoon each of dried rosemary, sage and marjoram 
salt and freshly milled pepper

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan.  Sauté the onions and courgettes together until onion is transparent. 

2. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes. 

3. In a large basin, combine the vegetable mixture with all the remaining ingredients until evenly blended. 

4. Turn into a 2 ¾ pint ovenproof dish (1.6 litre). 

5. Cover and bake at Gas Mark 5, (375 F, 190 C) for 40 minutes. 

6. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the lid to brown the surface.

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6 April: Little things make a big difference.

We were thinking on exiles yesterday, and again so today. Thanks to the London Irish Chaplaincy for the following reflection. Note that the team do not take it for granted that a cup of tea is all that’s needed. They do their research and act on it, including tried and tested activities alongside innovations. See, Judge, Act, as my father used to say from his YCW days. Consciousness again!

Let us, in other words, be there for our neighbours, and let them be there for us. A widowed lady that I know, another exile, always likes to make a cup of tea when I do a few little jobs for her. She is then able to do a sharing, Christian deed, more important than having her roses pruned.

Although the term ‘innovation’ seems to be the buzzword, we’ve found that most of the time it’s the little things that make a big difference. For example, simply talking to someone, holding a Travellers’ forum in a prison to offer someone a voice, or writing a letter to a prisoner are the most effective ways to lift their spirit. We know people’s needs change over time and we’ve carried out plenty of research to be sure we’re offering the most helpful services. But the message is clear, that in most cases simply being a kind friend is powerful enough to change someone’s life. For us, these simple actions have stood the test of time.

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Meat free Lent, XXV, XXVI

Meat free Recipes for Friday & Saturday

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chickpea Stew with Coconut

Margaret Shaw – St Dunstan’s Church

Somewhere between a soup and a stew.  Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.  If you like spicy, add two chillies and all of their seeds; if not, add one chilli / keep the seeds out etc.  It will be mild.

 Serves: 4 – 6

1tbs vegetable oil

1 onion, halved and sliced

30 g pie of fresh ginger peeled and grated

1 – 2 fresh red chillies, halved and sliced

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1.3kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

400 ml tin coconut milk

450 ml vegetable stock

1 tbs Thai fish sauce (optional but good)

410g tin chickpeas, drained

225 fresh baby spinach leaves, washed

Sea salt

Basmati/jasmine rice, to serve

1.       Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook over low heat for 3 – 5 minutes, until just soft. 

2.       Add the ginger, chillies, curry power, cumin and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring until aromatic.

3.       Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat in the spices. 

4.       Add the coconut milk and stock and a little water, if necessary, just to cover the sweet potatoes; the mixture should be soupy as it will cook down.

5.       Add the fish sauce (if using) or some salt, if preferred.  Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered, for 15 minutes.

6.       Add the chickpeas and continue to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes more, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

7.       Add the spinach in batches, stirring to blend and waiting for each batch to wilt before adding the next.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve immediately with the rice. 

Nut Roast

Caroline Blamey – St Dunstan’s Church

I am indebted to my colleague for telling me about this recipe.  This nut roast recipe is a winner; all my other ones had been a disaster!  This one’s a firm family favourite (and a massive relief) for Christmas and any get-together.  Everyone seems to love it and it’s so rich and nutritious.  Serve hot with the usual variety of Christmas vegetables, roast potatoes and lashings of gravy.  Alternatively, have it crumbled cold over salad with a little pickle/chutney.  (Obviously not a recipe for those with a nut sensitivity/allergy.)

Nut roasts are high in protein.  Protein is the building block of life: it helps to repair and renew cells, makes hormones and enzymes, maintains muscle mass and is important for body growth and development.  Recommended dietary allowance for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 g per kg of body weight i.e., a 75 kg person should have about 60 g of protein a day.

Serves 4-6

1 2/3 cups (400 ml) mixed nuts (any from your cupboard – almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, walnuts)

butter for greasing

3½ oz (100 g) shallots (about 4 small), finely chopped

14 oz (435 g) can drained chopped tomatoes (I prefer a drier version of skinning and chopping fresh tomatoes to the same weight)

3 eggs, beaten

5 oz (150 g) Gruyère or sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 tsp (5 ml) fresh or ½ tsp (2.5 ml) dried thyme

2 tsp (10 ml) fresh sage, chopped or ½ tsp (2.5 ml) dried sage

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dried mint (I don’t add this usually)

1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) Marmite blended with 1 tsp (5 ml) boiling water or use 2 tsp/10 ml soy sauce

1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper

herb sprigs, to garnish (optional)

gravy or rich tomato sauce, to serve

1.       Place the nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat.  Toast, stirring gently, until golden and fragrant, taking care not to burn. Remove to a bowl and leave to cool.  Whizz in a food processor until very finely chopped; the mixture should still be loose, not a purée.

2.       Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Grease a 1-pound (500-g) loaf pan (about 8 in / 20 cm in diameter) with butter.  Line with parchment paper then grease the paper.

3.       In a large bowl, combine the ground nuts with the shallots, tomatoes, eggs, cheese, herbs, yeast extract mixture, lemon juice and seasoning.  Mix thoroughly.

4.       Scoop the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm and golden. Cool slightly, then turn out on to a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper ready to slice carefully with a sharp knife.  Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with gravy or a rich tomato sauce.

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Meat free Lent XXIV: Potatoes and Beans and Sardines

Helen Rose and Gerardo Calia – St Dunstan’s Church

Here is a meat-free recipe which you might like to consider for the 40 days of Lent.  We like this one because it is full of flavour and cheap. 

Serves 4

500g small new or salad potatoes

200g French beans, trimmed

120g tin sardine fillets (or pilchard fillets) in olive oil

A good squeeze of lemon juice

A little extra virgin olive oil (if needed)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.       Cut the potatoes into 2 or 3 pieces each.  Put them into a saucepan, cover with water and add salt.  Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 6-10 mins until tender. 

2.       Meanwhile, cut the French beans into 3-4 cm lengths and add to the pan for the last 3-5 mins – they should still have a bit of crunch when cooked.

3.       Drain the potatoes and beans well and leave to cool until warm, or at room temperature.  Tip the sardines (or pilchards) with their oil, into a large bowl.  Add some salt and pepper and the lemon juice, then use a fork to mash the sardines to a rough puree.

4.       Tip the cooled potatoes and beans into the bowl with the sardines and toss thoroughly so that the vegetables are well coated in the fishy dressing.  Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice and/or a little extra virgin olive oil as needed, then serve.

Plus one: Try stirring a handful of roughly chopped stoned black olives into the mix.

Plus two: A hard-boiled egg or two will add further to the salade niçoise effect.

Swap: If you can’t get French beans, this salad is also lovely with Little Gem lettuce hearts.  You could shred the lettuce or just halve or quarter the hearts.

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Meat free Lent XXIII

Leek and Feta Cheese Tart

Liz Parsons – St Dunstan’s Church. 

I often make this using my home-grown leeks. It also freezes well.

Serves: It depends how big the slices are!  And whether there are lots of salads with it or not…. I actually make it in a foil tray bake and it certainly feeds four or six more modestly!

One packet ready-rolled shortcrust pastry (or home-made).
For the filling: 
625 g leeks, ie, 350 g trimmed weight 
175 g feta cheese (or firm goats' cheese - rindless) 
10 g butter 
3 large eggs, beaten 
200 ml crème fraîche or double cream 
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, including the green parts (optional) 
salt and freshly milled black pepper 
Quiche tin.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C) pre-heat the baking sheet on the centre shelf.

1.       Clean the leeks and slice in half lengthways and chop into 1 cm slices. In a medium-sized frying pan, melt the butter over a gentle heat and add the leeks and some salt. Give it all a good stir and let them cook gently, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes or until the juice runs out of them. Then drain off the excess juice.

2.       Press the pastry lightly and firmly over the base and sides of the quiche tin. Trim the edges and then prick the base all over with a fork.  Paint some of the beaten egg for the filling over the base and sides. Now place the tin on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

3.       While the pastry case is pre-baking, crumble the cheese with your hands, then gently combine it with the leeks. Now, in a jug, mix the beaten eggs with the crème fraîche or double cream, seasoning with just a little salt and a good grinding of freshly milled black pepper.

4.       As soon as the pastry case is ready, remove it from the oven, arrange the leeks and cheese all over the base and then sprinkle the spring onions over the top. Now gradually pour the cream and egg mixture over the leeks, then put the tart back on the baking sheet. Gently slide the shelf back in and bake the tart for 30-35 minutes, until it’s firm in the centre and the surface has turned golden brown.

5.       Next, remove it from the oven and allow it to settle for 10 minutes before serving.

 God Bless and have a good day


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30 March: Skating and skimming across the abyss.

Reverend Robert Walker skating.

Boswell tells us in Volume V of his Life of Johnson that, ‘Dr Erskine and Mr Robert Walker, two very respectable ministers of Edinburgh, supped with us,’ meaning Dr Johnson and himself. This was on Wednesday November 10th, 1773, shortly before Johnson returned to London after his tour of Scotland including the Hebrides, but not forgetting Edinburgh, home of the Scottish Enlightenment.

In his collected works appears the following verse, in French, followed by Johnson’s translations, firstly the ‘considered’ version followed by an impromptu version, already scanning and rhyming.

I like the image of lightly skimming over pleasures, enjoying them for a while, then hasting away from what could be a dangerous abyss for the less wary. Not a bad ideal for Lent or any time.

Translation of the Following Lines, written under a print representing persons skating.

Sur un mince cristal l'hiver conduit leurs pas,
  Le précipice est sous la glace:
  Telle est de nos plaisirs la légère surface:
Glissez, mortels; n'appuyez pas.

 O'er ice the rapid skater flies,
  With sport above, and death below;
Where mischief lurks in gay disguise,
  Thus lightly touch and quickly go.

Impromptu Translation of the same.

O'er crackling ice, o'er gulfs profound,
  With nimble glide the skaters play;
O'er treach'rous pleasure's flow'ry ground
  Thus lightly skim, and haste away."

(from Volume 1, The Works of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D., in Nine Volumes)

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