Blind Scouse (Liverpool)


1 leek, washed and cut into bite-sized chunks

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into small pieces

3 medium (500g) potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks

3-4 (300g) carrots, peeled and chopped

Handfuls pearl barley (soaked overnight in cold water or soaked in boiling water for an hour)

1ltr vegetable stock

1x 410g can butter beans, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Herb dumplings

Pickled red cabbage, or chopped pickled beetroot (optional)

1. For the Scouse: Put all ingredients except the butter beans in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Add the butter beans, return to the boil then add the dumplings (if using). Replace lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve in soup plates.

Dumplings (optional) (Makes about 16) 125g self-raising flour 50g vegetable suet1tbs onion, peeled and very finely chopped 2tsp dried mixed herbs Salt and pepper 100ml very cold water Mix all dry ingredients. Just before adding to the Scouse, mix in enough cold water to make a sticky dough. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls into the boiling soup and continue as point 2.

Leek and Caerphilly Cheese Crumble

Serves 4

500g leeks (trimmed)

400ml light stock

100ml single cream

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

100g breadcrumbs (white)

30g skinned hazelnuts

2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

125g vegetarian Caerphilly cheese, finely grated or crumbled

Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C/400F 1. Slice the leeks into thick circles (no larger than 2cm) and place in a large saucepan with the stock, cream and mustard. Cook gently for 15 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Transfer to a ceramic baking dish, saving 2 or 3 tbsp of the stock mixture.

3. Place the breadcrumbs, nuts and parsley in a food processor and whizz together until finely chopped.

4. Scatter the crumble and cheese over the leeks and drizzle the remaining stock mixture over the top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until starting to turn crisp and golden. If necessary finish under the grill.

Simple Veg Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 leeks washed, trimmed and chopped

1 litre light vegetable stock

1 baking potato, peeled and cut into cubes

2 handfuls frozen peas

1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and fry the onion and leeks until soft.

2. Add the stock and potato and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add the peas and bring back to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Cool slightly and blend with a food processor. Season to taste and serve piping hot with bread.

You could also try… - Using parsnip instead of potato.

- Making a simple stew by adding a tin of tomatoes and chickpeas.

Cornish Pasties (Cornwall)

Makes four large pasties

For the pastry

120g + 25g hard vegetarian margarine, straight from the fridge

225g + 25g plain white flour

1tsp salt

150ml very cold water

To glaze:

Sweetened soya milk

For the filling:

200g potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks

½ medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks

125g swede, peeled and cut into chunks

2 - 3 rounded tsps light vegetable stock powder

50g canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5. Grease a baking sheet, or line with baking paper (not greaseproof) 2. To make the filling: put all ingredients except the kidney beans into a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Turn into a bowl and stir in the kidney beans. Add plenty of pepper.

3. To make the pastry: Grate 120g margarine (or 60g margarine and 60g white fat) into 225g flour and the salt. Stir and cut through well with a large blunt knife to break up the fat and margarine a little.

4. Using the blunt knife to stir, gradually add enough water to make a soft dough. Do not make too sticky. Using a little of the remaining flour, gently roll out the pastry until about 1cm thick. Fold the pastry into thirds by bringing the bottom edge up to about two thirds, and the top edge down to cover. Then fold the sides in the same way. If not using straight away, wrap in foil and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

5. To form the pasties: Roll out the pastry to about 1cm thick and cut into 4 rounds about the size of a large tea plate. Pile filling into the centre of each circle and top with a piece of the remaining margarine. For each pasty, dampen the edge of the pastry with a little water, then fold pastry over the filling to form and half circle. Try to stuff as much filling in as you possibly can.

6. To make the traditional edging, beginning at the right side, use the forefinger and thumb of your right hand to pinch the pastry together while using the forefinger and thumb of your left hand to fold over the section of pastry next to it. Move along to the next section of pastry, and repeat. Continue in this way along the edge of the pastry, making a rope-like join.

7. Place the pasties onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush each one with sweetened soya milk, and prick with a fork to let the steam escape.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve piping hot. The pasties should not split open, but if they do, it’s not a problem, they are merely called ‘laughing pasties’!

Hearty Sausage Hotpot

Serves 4-6

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tin baked beans

1 tin chopped tomatoes

3 teaspoons mixed herbs

1 packet vegetarian sausages

1. Fry the chopped onion in oil until beginning to brown.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to the boil and then simmer until ready to serve.

3. Fry the sausages until browned. Cut into chunks then add to the beans. Continue to simmer for up to 15 minutes until required. Serve with crusty bread.

You could also try… - Adding some chilli to spice it up.

- Using a different variety of baked beans, such as BBQ flavour.

Ale and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie with Champ

Serves 4

100g vegan margarine

2 large bunches spring onions

550g small chestnut mushrooms

1 tbsp cornflour

½ tsp yeast extract

300-350ml light vegan ale

210g ready rolled puff pastry

800g floury potatoes, peeled

100ml unsweetened soya milk

Preheat Oven to Gas 6/200C/400F.

1. Melt 50g of margarine in a large non-stick frying pan (you may find it easier to do in two batches). Chop the bottom 7cm part of the spring onions roughly and sauté briefly. Save the tops as you will need them later.

2. Cut the mushrooms into 5mm slices and add into the pan. Continue to sauté for 5 minutes until starting to colour, stirring to prevent sticking.

3. Take off the heat and sprinkle the cornflour over. Once back on the hob add the Marmite and 300ml of ale. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften. Use more ale if the mixture seems too dry.

4. Divide the mixture into 4 small soufflé/ceramic pie dishes. Cut out 4 circles of the pastry and place on top, leaving some room to rise. Brush with soya milk and make a small hole in the top to let the steam escape. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

5. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and boil until soft but not falling apart. Drain and empty back into the pan to dry slightly. Add the remaining 50g margarine and mash very well. Finely chop the remaining green part of the spring onions and add, with enough soya milk, to make a smooth mash.