Thursday, 1 December 2016

Vegan Christmas; wedding pilaf pumpkin

Stuffed roast pumpkin with wedding pilaf

Stuffed roast pumpkin with wedding pilaf

What to serve vegans and vegetarians at Christmas is a head scratcher for those used to the simplicities of a giant turkey as a centrepiece. Some people can only imagine meat as an impressive seasonal treat, and they are stumped when it comes to thinking of a similarly spectacular vegan or vegetarian dish.

This stunning stuffed pumpkin recipe is not difficult, but looks as if you have spent hours constructing something special. It's inspired by Armenian cuisine. 

Find out more about the difference between organic, biodynamic, vegan and vegetarian wines at this post on Winetrust
Stuffed roast pumpkin with wedding pilaf

Armenian Wedding Rice Pilaf Recipe

Serves 6

One medium sized pumpkin
3tbsp coconut butter (vegan) or butter (vegetarian)
4tbsp date syrup (vegan) or honey (vegetarian)
150g good quality basmati rice (I use Amira, which you have to soak for 30 minutes before using)
1tsp salt
2tbsp sultanas
2tbsp pistachio slivers
2tbsp almond slivers
2tbsp dried sour cherries, pitted
A handful of hazelnuts
2tbsp barberries
1tsp cinnamon, ground
A pinch of clove, ground
Parsley to garnish

Tip: I tend to use whatever dried fruit and nuts I have in my cupboard, so you can use apricots, raisins, prunes, figs, walnuts, whole almonds, pine nuts, whole pistachios or macadamia nuts.


See the rest of this recipe at my post on
Stuffed roast pumpkin with wedding pilaf
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Pretzel recipe using lye

Home made pretzel

Home made pretzel
 It's well known that bars give free salty snacks to make you drink more alcohol. One of my favourite drink snacks is the pretzel, shaped to represent the crossed arms of children in prayer. I like all pretzels, thin and crispy or fat and soft.  
I remember as a child visiting a German beer garden in Munich, impressed by the sheer quantity of empty 'steins', the tall ceramic beer tankards crowded on tables. Some of the gardens are so large, it is hard to make a meeting point with a friend. Part of the appeal of the Munich beer garden or hall, is their egalitarian atmosphere: you will have rich and poor, all ages, all  drinking next to each other. Any decent beer garden worth their salt, will have giant pretzels hanging from hooks, ready to be consumed with a few pints of lager.
Recreate the beer garden vibe by making these pretzels. I might even dust off my dirndl costume. 
Home made pretzel

Giant soft pretzel recipe

Makes around 6 big ones

Basic recipe:
7g dried yeast (double it for fresh)
1 tbsp sugar or malt extract syrup
410g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
230g warm not hot water

For boiling:
1 litre water
 2 tbsps baking soda (more authentically use food grade lye, using the appropriate safety procedures, available from ). This gives a fabulously shiny brown crust to the outside....

See the rest of the recipe on

Home made pretzel

Monday, 21 November 2016

Vegan autumnal curry recipe

Vegan Coriander, Butternut Squash and Green tomato curry
Fresh herbs are often the difference between a dull dish and one zinging with flavour. Coriander is the most frequently used herb the world over, used in several continents comprising both Asian cookery and Latin American food. 
For years parsley was the most popular herb in Britain, but it now has a slightly dated and naff reputation. Curly parsley, in particular, is used mostly as a garnish. Flat leaf parsley is preferred by cooks under 50. 
Today coriander has taken over. According to, who supply most British supermarkets, it is number one in the herb parade. The biggest coriander fans are Londoners and cities with high Asian populations such as Bradford and Birmingham. Why? For their curries, of course.
Don't forget to use every part of coriander: the stems and leaves, but also the pale roots for Thai-style curries. 
 This is a great way for gardeners to use up the last of their tomatoes, some of which are still green. 
In this recipe I've also used fresh ginger and turmeric roots. I keep them in the freezer and grate them directly into dishes as and when I need to use them. Kashmiri chillies are also the key to an authentic curry; they provide depth of flavour without too much heat. Order them online. To use dried chillies, soak them in boiling water for half an hour then snip off the stems and deseed. 
Vegan Coriander, Butternut Squash and Green tomato curry

Vegan Coriander, Butternut Squash and Green tomato curry

Serves 4-6

3 dried kashmiri chillies, soaked, deseeded. 
50ml of ground nut or vegetable oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1 large black cardomom
1tsp of cumin seeds

Go to for the rest of the recipe

Find more vegan recipes in my book V is for Vegan
Follow me on twitter @msmarmitelover

Vegan Coriander, Butternut Squash and Green tomato curry