Cheese and mushroom parcels

Mushroom Gruyère Parcels
Mushroom Gruyère Parcels

It’s not even Christmas and my jeans are already a bit on the snug side but who cares, because this year, I’m full of Christmas cheer, merriment and mince pies. I’ve been eating and drinking my way through the season with the dedication you would expect to see from an Olympic athlete. Naturally I look and feel like utter shit but I’m determined to stick to only the most important food groups; chocolate, cheese, wine and butter – I can unclog my arteries in January.
Right so, as usual nut roast is NOT on the menu (whoever thought mushing nuts and baking them would taste nice was clearly a lunatic). So, if you’re looking for a great vegetarian option this Christmas day for yourself or a guest, look no further. This is my mums recipe and she’s cooked it for me and my family every Christmas as long as I can remember. However, as she’s currently recovering from chemotherapy, it’s up to me to have a go at cooking them this year. Wish me luck and have yourself a merry little Christmas.


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Cheese and mushroom parcels
Makes 4 Parcels / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 1 hr 20 mins  / 
Knob of unsalted butter
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbs plain flour
75ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Small handful freshly chopped parsley
Few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
60g vegetarian Emmental or *Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg
320g ready rolled puff pastry, I use Jus-Rol


TIP: Make in advance and freeze before cooking to save yourself Christmas day stress. Wrap each parcel individually in a few layers of cling film before freezing. Defrost thoroughly before cooking.


Method
1. In a large saucepan or pot on a medium heat, sweat down the chopped onion in a generous knob of butter for about 10 minutes or until soft and slightly translucent. Add the chopped garlic and the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add a tablespoon of plain flour and mix well before adding the milk gradually, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes until thickened. Take off the heat before adding the mustard, herbs and the egg. Mix well until combined and season with salt and pepper before covering and leaving to cool for 20 minutes. Now is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.
3. Roll out your sheet of puff pastry onto a clean surface and divide into 4 even-ish squares (I use ready rolled pastry which comes in an oblong shape so I simply cut a couple of inches off one end).
4. Place your pastry squares on a couple of lined baking trays before you start assembling them. Once your mixture has cooled, spoon a couple of tablespoons of the mushroom mixture into the centre of one of your pastry squares before carefully folding the corners of the pastry in on itself. This will create a kind of envelope shape. Try and prevent the mixture from spilling out the gaps but don’t worry if it does a bit. Repeat until you have 4 pastry parcels. Put both trays in the fridge and allow to chill for a further 20 minutes. Once chilled you now have the option of freezing them if you’re making them in advance. Simply wrap each individual parcel in a few layers of clingfilm and freeze. (Allow to defrost fully before cooking).
5. Brush each parcel with milk and top with a good sprinkling of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve immediately as part of a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Merry Christmas.

Mushroom Gruyère Parcels

If you’ve had a go at making my mushroom parcels or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


*Gruyére is a cheese of protected status originating from Switzerland. The production and maturation is defined in Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules, however this doesn’t specify the use of animal rennet. Therefore it could or could not be vegetarian. Use an alternative if you are vegetarian.
 The parcels are suitable for home freezing once assembled for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before cooking.
 The mushroom mixture is also suitable for home freezing for up to 3 months.


Mushroom steak with chips & béarnaise

Mushroom Steak with Chips & Béarnaise
Mushroom Steak with Chips & Béarnaise

If you’re vegetarian then chances are, you’ve never had béarnaise sauce. Despite béarnaise sauce actually being vegetarian, it almost never comes with anything vegetarian, always steak. I’ve attempted to try it before but more often than not, I’m pipped to the post when whoever I’m with, has already stuck a big forkful of steak into it, leaving the béarnaise swimming with meat juices. No thanks.
However, last week I finally got my chance. Jamie ordered a steak and invited me to dunk a chip into his béarnaise before it went all steaky. It. Was. Amazing! A bit like hollandaise, it was rich and buttery but had a slight tarragon flavour which I have to admit, isn’t my favourite herb but was pleasantly surprised. Delicious! But how do I make this magical sauce? Turns out, with great difficulty. My problem is, I’m too lazy to spend an hour making just a sauce, so attempted to make my own quicker version. 12 eggs and 450g of butter later, I finally got it right so here it is! Jamie loved it too, which for quite a hardened carnivore, is really saying something!


Mushroom steak with chips & béarnaise
Serves 2 / Hands on time 50 mins / Total time 1 hour 10 mins / V
You’ll need: A blender
Rapeseed spray oil (see tip below)
2 large baking potatoes, cut into chips
4 portobello mushrooms, de-stalked
150ml vegetable stock, I like to use half a Knorr stock pot
1 tsp Marmite
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp mirin
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
For the Béarnaise sauce
Small handful tarragon leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 shallot, peeled and diced
4 egg yolks
150g butter
Pinch turmeric
Leaves to serve (optional)


TIP: Buy an empty spray bottle and fill it with your favourite cooking oil – I use rapeseed oil. This distributes the oil evenly over food and is a great way of cutting calories when roasting or frying as you don’t need to use as much. 


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Slice the baking potatoes into thick chip shapes (I leave the skins on but you can peel them if you like). Lie them flat on a baking tray and spray well with oil. Give them a toss, spray them again and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes give the chips a bit of a shake, another spritz of oil and bake for a further 25 minutes. This is a good time to start the mushrooms.
3. De-stalk the mushrooms and put to one side. In a jug, combine the vegetable stock, garlic, Marmite, mirin, balsamic vinegar and the fresh thyme leaves. Mix with a fork and pour into a large saucepan with a lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat down to a simmer. Carefully immerse the mushrooms into the broth (don’t worry if it’s a bit snug, they’ll soften). Put the lid on and turn your attention to the béarnaise.
4. Blitz the eggs yolks, shallot and white wine vinegar in a blender until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper, a pinch of turmeric and a handful of tarragon leaves. Blitz again and put to one side.
5. In a small saucepan on a medium to low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Turn the blender on for a third time and slowly pour the butter into the sauce remembering to leave any white solids of butter in the pan.
6. Uncover the mushrooms and flip them over carefully, cover again with the lid and turn the heat right down. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Pour the béarnaise sauce into a small clean saucepan and gently heat through stirring all the time (don’t let the sauce get too hot, you only want to warm it through.
7. Once the chips are cooked, uncover the mushrooms and lift out onto plates. Add a handful of chips and pour the béarnaise into small jugs or ramekins. Serve with salad leaves.

Mushroom Steak with Chips & Béarnaise

If you’ve had a go at making my mushroom steak and chips or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian



Open spinach & mushroom lasagne

Open Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne
Open Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne

Seriously, why have I never thought about making this before? It’s elegant and sophisticated but only takes 20 minutes. Perfect for a date night meal in for two… Although mine ended up being a date night meal in for one — Jamie was out with his friend watching the Arsenal game yesterday. His loss… and Arsenal’s – four nil to Liverpool apparently.
Anyway, I’ll be making it again for Jamie soon because it was pretty special and there was something a little sad about me eating it on my own. It’s the sort of dish you want the person you’ve made it for, to roll their eyes into the back of their head and start groaning incomprehensible sex noises at you… So maybe don’t make it for your mum. Just kidding, it’s not THAT good but the thing that makes this dish, isn’t the garlicky mushrooms or the perfect paring of spinach and ricotta, it’s the truffle oil and capers. Truffle oil can be quite a rich, overpowering flavour but team it with fresh, zingy capers and it balances out nicely. Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have a very hungover boyfriend who needs my attention and an urgent fondant fancy.


Open spinach & mushroom lasagne
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins 
3 sheets of fresh pasta, cut in half to make 6 squares
250g chestnut mushrooms, de-stalked and roughly sliced
260g spinach
3 tsp Pomora extra virgin truffle oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs (the bigger the better, as you’ll need to fish them out of the mixture later)
150g *vegetarian ricotta
vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan shavings to serve
2 tsp capers


TIP: Wrap up any fresh pasta sheets you don’t use and freeze. Use within 3 months and defrost thoroughly before use. 


Method
1. Take the fresh lasagne sheets and cut them in half creating 6 squares. Place in a saucepan and put to one side and pre-boil a kettle ready for later.
2. De-stalk and roughly chop the mushrooms and put to one side. In a large saucepan or cooking pot add a tsp of Pomora truffle oil, the crushed garlic and the fresh thyme. Cook on a medium to high heat for one minute before adding the mushrooms (if it gets a bit hot, add a dash of water to prevent from burning). Sweat for 5 more minutes and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium.
3. Once the mushrooms start to soften, add the spinach in handfuls of two. Mix in and allow to wilt before adding more handfuls. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Meanwhile, use this time to shave your Italian hard cheese. Once all the spinach has wilted, season again with salt and pepper and give it a good mix. Take off the heat and put the lid on to keep warm.
4. Boil the lasagne sheets in a saucepan for 3-4 minutes and then drain. Drizzle with a little bit of truffle oil and mix carefully with a spoon to prevent the sheets sticking together.
5. Assemble your lasagne by placing one sheet of pasta on each plate and top with a teaspoon of ricotta. Uncover the mushroom mixture and discard the thyme stalks (you my notice a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pot, to prevent the lasagne becoming too wet, use a slotted spoon). Top each lasagne sheet with a spoonful of the mushroom mixture. Add another layer of pasta, a teaspoon of ricotta and yet another spoon of the mushroom mixture. Top with the final pasta layer, a good dollop of ricotta and the last bit of the mushroom mixture.
6. Finally top with a teaspoon of capers, cheese shavings, a good drizzle of truffle oil and a good crack of salt and pepper.

Open Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne

If you’ve had a go at making my open lasagne or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


*Ricotta is traditionally made with animal rennet but you can get vegetarian varieties. UK supermarket home brands tend to be, click here.
* Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Mushrooms & goats cheese on toast

Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast

Forget Brexit, forget Donald Trump, we have a bigger crisis on our hands people, brace yourselves, this news is horrifying and potentially life changing… Ready?

There is currently a courgette shortage…

CUE NATIONAL HYSTERIA!!!! Where’s Deliciously Ella?!!! Can someone check she’s not sitting in a corner somewhere, spiralizing her own fingers like some courgette deprived lunatic?
I mean, I like courgettes as much as the next person (actually I don’t, I find them slimy and horrible, that’s why I grate them into my recipes) but surely the lack of courgettes isn’t such a bad thing after all? Think about it, now all those spiralizing, clean eating freaks can stop fainting and eat a proper meal, because you know what tastes better than boiled strips of courgette? Literally anything but especially spaghetti! So stop pretending you’re gluten intolerant (because hardly anyone is) and boil up some delicious pasta why don’t you. Oh and whoever came up with the word ‘courgetti’ should be shot.
Anyway, as usual, this post has nothing to do with pasta or courgettes but the humble mushroom and one of my other favourite carbs, BREAD! I pretty much love anything on toast, especially Marmite but I found some left over goats cheese from Christmas and a couple of portobello mushrooms in my fridge and thought, yes! Enjoy.


Mushrooms & goats cheese on toast
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins / V
2 large portobello mushrooms, roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
60g soft vegetarian goats cheese
1 tsp unsalted butter
2 pieces of bread for toasting
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Pomora extra virgin olive oil to serve
2 poached eggs to serve (optional)


Method
1. Roughly chop the mushrooms into strips and crush the garlic. In a large saucepan, heat and melt the butter on a medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and cook down in the butter. If the butter absorbs quickly, add a dash of water to help the mushrooms steam. Cook for about 5 mins until the mushrooms begin to soften.
2. Add the garlic along with the thyme sprigs, give it a good stir and cook for a further 2 mins (again, add a dash of water if needed to help cook the mushrooms down).
3. Once the mushrooms start to look soft and cooked, add a third of the goats cheese and mix straight in. Season well with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and cover with a lid to keep the mushrooms warm.
4. Meanwhile toast the bread and poach the eggs (optional). Finally, discard the thyme sprigs and serve the mushrooms on top of your toast with the remaining goats cheese, a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast

If you’ve had a go at making my mushrooms on toast or any of my recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian


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Mini Shallot & Mushroom Pies

Mini Shallot & Mushroom Pies
Mini Shallot & Mushroom Pies

If there was ever an excuse to eat pies then surely this is it. It’s British Pie Week everyone, hip hip hooray! I have to confess, I’ve never actually made a pie before, it always seemed like more trouble than it’s worth but armed with a packet of puff pastry, these mini pies were a piece of cake… I mean pie.
Anyway, you can make one big pie or a few little pies, I opted for mini ones this time so I could use my cute mini casserole dishes. I actually made my pie filling a few days earlier and kept it in the fridge so that when it came to assembling my pies, all I had to do was fill my dishes and top with pastry. I was pretty stunned at how well these turned out, they were super cute and utterly delicious. Jamie loved his little pie so it’s a shame he won’t get to eat one ever again. We discovered shortly after he ate his pie that he has a rather severe onion intolerance, so no more pies for Jamie.
But pies for everyone else, yay!


Shallot & Mushroom Pies
Serves 4 as 1 big pie or makes 3-4 individual pies / Hands on time 40-50 mins / Total time 1hr 10mins /
V
250g chestnut mushrooms, roughly sliced
250g portobello mushrooms, roughly sliced
30g unsalted butter
400g banana shallots, whole but peeled (you can use regular shallots but the smaller the shallot, the harder it is to peel. Banana shallots tend to be bigger so less tricky). 
1 sprig of rosemary
2 bay leaves
300ml veg stock (1 vegetable stock cube or pot)
200ml red wine (or a small bottle of 187ml)
1 Tbs plain flour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of chopped parsley
Pack of ready rolled puff pastry 375g
1 egg beaten
Mini heart pastry cutter (optional)

TIP: Not keen on pastry? Why not try this pie topped with mashed potato? 4 large baking potatoes should do it. 

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C /180°C fan/gas mark 6. Peel the shallots keeping them whole and then fry for 5 minutes in a knob of butter on a medium heat in a large pot until slightly golden. (I’m quite rough with my shallots, often I’ll just chop the stalks off and peel an entire layer of flesh off, its quicker.)
2. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the shallots and give them a good stir. Cover with a lid and cook for a further five minutes. Remove the lid and add the stock, wine, bay leaves, rosemary and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter and whisk in a heaped tablespoon of flour. Once combined, stir straight into the mushroom filling to help thicken the sauce. (You don’t need to wait 20 minutes to add this.)
4. Once reduced, add the mustard, parsely and season with salt and pepper. Carefully fish out the rosemary and bay leaves and fill your pie dishes with the mixture. Top your dishes with pieces of puff pastry a little bigger than the pie dishes themselves. Crimp the pastry around the edge with your fingers or with the back of a fork (don’t worry if your pies look a bit flat and messy, they’ll look wonderful once they’re cooked). Insert a knife into the middle of your pies to allow air to escape. I like to do a cross because it’s prettier.
5. Cut the remaining pastry into heart shapes using a cutter and place them on top of the pies or make your own shapes (this step it optional). Brush each pie with a bit of beaten egg and bake in an oven, on the middle shelf for 20-25  minutes.
6. Serve with steam vegetables and mash. Good times.

Mini Shallot & Mushroom Pies
Mini Shallot & Mushroom Pies

If you’ve had a go at making my pies or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Valentines Day Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow. Does anyone care? Thought not. Now I don’t have a problem with flowers, chocolates or even ugly bears with hearts sewn to their paws but I do have a problem with couples who shell out on real gifts. There is just something inherently pushy about Valentines Day and the presumption that you would buy anything other than flowers and chocolates deeply offends me. I mean who does that? If Jamie bought me a fancy Jo Malone candle for Valentines Day I’d be very cross. That money could have gone towards a very affordable microwave.

Anyway, I did actually make Jamie a romantic dinner a few weeks back because I’m nice like that. The velvety breton sauce is the key to this dish, it’s easy but takes about an hour to make. Once made though, the rest of the recipe is quick and simple. I tend to make the sauce the night before and pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. Breton sauce is not traditionally vegetarian being French but I was determined to create a vegetarian dish that could stand up in a French restaurant. Oh and if you’re not keen on the idea of chickpea mash then normal mash will suffice. Bon appetite mon amie.

Leek and Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Serves 4 / 1 hour 40 minutes 

You’ll need: a hand blender or a food processor for the mash but if you don’t have either then substitute the chickpea mash for regular mash.
Sauce:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery rib roughly chopped
85g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 litre vegetable stock ( I use 2 knorr vegetable stock pots)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Half tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs Worcester sauce
100ml red wine*
2tbs tomato purée
Vegetables:
2 large Leeks
2 Carrots
5 chestnut Mushrooms
Fresh parsley
Mash:
3 cans of chick peas drained
3 large garlic cloves crushed
Half an onion
Knob Butter

*Most wines are unfortunately not vegetarian or vegan, due to products used in the ‘fining’ process. Wine makers are also under no obligation to disclose if they have used animal products on the label. Vegetarian and vegan wines are available in most supermarkets. 

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and add the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery .Cook on a low heat until soft for around 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour and stir into the carrot and onion mixture. Add a litre of vegetable stock in a fast stream and whisk to get rid of any lumps.
3. Add garlic, bay leaf, red wine, salt, peppercorns, Worcester sauce, tomato purée and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Give it a mix every now and again to get the skin off the top and to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.
4. Sieve the sauce into a bowl. The sauce will be thick so I use a wooden spoon to squidge it down before leaving it for 10 minutes to strain by itself. You want to try and get as much sauce out as possible. Disregard the pulp and either refrigerate the sauce over night like I do or pour back into the heavy bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
5. Add the chopped mushrooms, leeks and carrots to the sauce and simmer until vegetables are tender (around 15 Minutes).
6. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, add half a chopped onion, 3 large crushed garlic cloves and a knob of butter. Heat until soft (add a bit of water to help the onions cook in their own steam).
7. Once cooked add three drained cans of chickpeas. Heat through, season with salt and pepper and shmush with a hand blender until you have mash. If you don’t have a hand blender then use a food processor.  Finish with a generous knob of butter and a good season of salt and pepper.
8. Plate up your mash, cover with the Breton sauce and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

If you’ve had a go at making my Leek & Mushroom Breton or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com