Vegetarian recipes

May’s Recipe – Vegetarian Mageiritsa, a Greek soup of greens and mushroom

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May is the period of the hungry gap but at Blaencamel Farm where, during this period of summer anticipation , they continue to grow nourishing greens. Gem and pink, and green Battavia lettuce have appeared on the stall. There is spinach, sweetheart cabbage, wild and green garlic. Whilst the seasonal bouquet garni can complement the dill that makes this spring soup so special.

May’s recipe is a Greek traditional Easter soup with a Welsh and clean-eating twist! Mageiritsa is traditionally cooked with lamb’s liver and plenty of greens and salad leaves. This is a vegetarian version and could be made vegan if you choose to not use avgolemono, the egg-lemon sauce typical of many Greek recipes. If you live in Wales what makes this Mageiritsa extra special is using dried kelp from Pembrokeshire. And the final Greek note is the use of the tangy and sharp sea buckthorn berry, which is becoming a staple in my cooking this year.

Visit www.liaskitchen.com for more ideas and monthly seasonal recipes inspired by Blaencamel Farm’s crops.

Ingredients (4-6 portions)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 -2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 green garlic or 1 bunch of wild garlic
  • 500-700g finely chopped mixed Blaencamel greens, such as spinach, lettuce and/or sweetheart cabbage
  • 500g mushrooms, Blaencamel farm or chestnut if they are not available
  • 1 punnet of mixed Blaencamel farm herbs (fennel, sage, mint, thyme) (Optional)
  • 1 finely chopped bunch of dill or 1 tbsp. tried dill
  • 2 Tbsp. uncooked rice
  • 1 heaped tsp. Pembrokeshire Beach Company Kelp or other dried/crumbled sea weed (optional)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea buckthorn berries roughly chopped (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Around 2 litres of stock

For the Avgolemono sauce:

  • 1 small egg
  • Juice of one small lemon

Preparation (45 minutes)

  1. Coat the base of a deep pot with olive oil and sauté the onion and leeks with one teaspoon of salt until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the cubed mushrooms (2 -3 cm chunks) and sauté for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Add the finely chopped herbs, wild or fresh garlic and greens, and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Then add the stock, stir well and (if you are using) add the dried kelp or other sea weed, pepper and sea buckthorn berries.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes and then add the rice.
  6. After 20 minutes (when the rice has softened and soup has thickened) remove from the hob.
  7. Beat the egg really well until it is fluffy and creamy (around 5 minutes), and whilst you continue whisking gradually add the lemon juice.
  8. Take one ladle of hot stock from the soup, strain through a fine sieve and add the hot stock slowly to the egg-lemon mixture whilst still whisking on low speed or by hand.
  9. Finally add the thinned egg-lemon and stock juice to the hot soup stirring in well to make sure it flavours and thickens all of the soup.
  10. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
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Large Portabella mushrooms with beans and puy lentils

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This is a recipe for my beloved Lydia who I can’t wait to see soon. Enjoy your veggie-ventures!

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Vegetarian cooking is fun and offers itself to great experimentation and variation. This is a hearty but easily digestible recipe that makes it easier to fast, reduce your meat intake or move to a meat free lifestyle. For me there have been as many variations as the times I have cooked it by using different cheeses, fillings, spices…I wonder what you could do to change it? Let me know won’t you?

This meal is easy to prepare and is yet another one of my recipes that stacks up different ingredients in a tower of flavours and textures. It combines a crusty top with a soft, flavoursome filling in a firm but pre-grilled mushroom base. Serve with a crunchy sunflower and pumpkin seed salad dressed in balsamic and honey vinaigrette for a great light meal or starter.

You can replace the mushrooms with half pre-grilled peppers. And if you don’t like using pre-cooked pulses in cans you can cook your own beans and lentils.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or mashed
  • 6-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can precooked cannellini beans (drained weight about 200gr)
  • 1 can precooked puy lentils (drained weight about 200gr)
  • 200gr baby spinach leaves
  • 1 pack soft Welsh cheese (125gr)
  • 8 large portabella mushrooms
  • 150-200gr parmesan cheese
  • A handful of breadcrumbs
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • Mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Mixed salad leaves

Preparation

  1. Sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in a generous splash of olive oil for two to five minutes on low heat.
  2. Add and sauté the pepper for another two minutes.
  3. Then add the cherry tomatoes and after another couple of minutes the garlic.
  4. Add another pinch of salt (or not) and a bit of pepper.
  5. Stir fry for another couple of minutes or until all ingredients are softened.
  6. Drain your precooked beans and puy lentils well and add to the mixture, stirring and frying until all juices evaporate and the mixture binds.
  7. Add the spinach leaves and stir, cover, stir on low heat until they wither in the mixture. Depending on your preference you can add more spinach.
  8. Turn the hob off and crumble the small pack of soft Welsh cheese in the mixture last. If you cannot get hold of soft Welsh cheese use feta or other salty white cheese instead. This dish tastes better with goat’s or ewe’s cheese though!
  9. Stir until the whole mixture is creamed by the cheese.
  10. Put the mixture aside.
  11. Pick large and firm mushrooms as they shrink in size when grilled.
  12. Remove the stem from the bottom of the mushroom by cutting flat with a knife.
  13. Peel the skin of the mushroom if you wish but if your mushrooms are really fresh dry clean well before grilling.
  14. Brush with a little oil and either grill on the hob in a non stick pan turning regularly or under the grill for ten minutes. Your aim is to pre cook the mushroom so that they are soft enough to eat but not to make them so soft as to break.
  15. Prepare your breadcrumb topping by blitzing the cubed parmesan cheese, chopped basil and the breadcrumbs in a kitchen chopper (mixer) until crumbly but not fine.
  16. Whilst assembling the dish preheat the grill until quite hot.
  17. Place the mushrooms top down in a baking tray alongside each other.
  18. Separate the bean and lentil mixture evenly between the mushrooms.
  19. Top with the parmesan breadcrumb.
  20. Grill for ten minutes maximum.

Serve the dish with seasonal fresh salad leaves, in balsamic and honey vinaigrette and topped with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

For the vinaigrette use :one unit of balsamic, two of olive oil, and half of honey as well as a pinch or two of salt (depending on the size of your salad and your units). Put all ingredients in a small jar, close the lid firmly and shake joyfully whilst dancing to a favourite tune!

Toast the seeds in a pan in which you have melted a tiny bit of butter, just enough to coat your non stick pan. Naughty but nice!

Inspired by Hannah Briggs and Dan Green.