Date SlicesI discovered these sweet treats in a gorgeous book called Lost in London, which is all about finding green and wild spaces within the capital.  The book is full of wonderful hidden spaces, and it includes articles on food foragers and producers who are all finding ways to live the good life in the most urban settings.

I used gluten free flour, which works perfectly.  I also followed the suggested amount of sugar and they were seriously sweet, so you may want to reduce the quantity a little!

Date Slices – by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery

Date Paste
250g chopped dates
150 ml water
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (or splash of lemon juice)
1 tsp real vanilla extract

Oat Slice
225g butter
150g light brown sugar
3 tbsp. honey
250g gluten free flour
250g rolled oats (gluten free)

Preheat the oven to 170C.  Grease and line an 8 inch square tin (or similar).

Place all the date paste ingredients in a pan and simmer until the dates break down and start to form a puree.  Stir well, or blitz in a food processor.

Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a pan over a gentle heat and stir gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.

In a bowl, mix together the flour and oats, then stir through the melted butter mixture until well combined.

Spread half the oat mixture in the base of the lined tin.  Dollop the date mixture around the tin and smooth to an even layer.  Spoon the rest of the oat mix on top and press down to a firm layer.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the oats have started to brown.  Cool slightly before cutting into approximately 16 squares, then leave to cool before lifting from the tin.

The reason I ended up writing ‘Early Vegetarian Recipes’ was because of a lady called Florence George, a cookery teacher and writer from the early 20th century.  She just happened to have a been a teacher at my old school (slightly before I attended.  Obviously), who wrote a book called ‘Vegetarian Cookery’ in 1908.  It was while looking for her book in the British Library that I discovered the other wonderful vegetarian writers of the time.

I’ve now discovered a book, published by the school (King Edward VI High School), which looks at the life of Florence George and the history of cookery teaching in schools.  It’s a fascinating story as Florence was one of the first teachers to attend the National Training School of Cookery in London.

A large portion of the book is devoted to recipes, including a section of vegetarian recipes.  They are mostly simple recipes as you would expect from a school collection, but there’s plenty  here for adults looking for something quick and easy.  These tasty chick pea croquettes fall into that category.


Chick Pea Croquettes

1 1/2 lb cooked chick peas
2 cloves garlic
2 tblspns chopped parsley
1 medium potato, cooked
1 tblspn soy sauce (use tamari for wheat free recipe)
squeeze lemon juice
flour for coating (use gluten free)
vegetable oil for frying

Mash the chick peas with the garlic and potato.  Add parsley, soy sauce, lemon juice and seasoning and mix well.

Roll the mixture into croquette of fritter shapes, then into the flour.  Cool in the fridge for 1 hour if possible.  Fry the croquettes or brush with oil before cooking under the grill.

Recipes for Success: 125 Years of Cookery at King Edward VI High School for Girls by Sally Huxley

Last Saturday I attended an event organised by the Vegetarian Society, with Philip Lymbery talking about his new book Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat.  Philip Lymbery is the CEO of the charity Compassion in World Farming, and for this book he has travelled the world and seen some of the truly horrific animal suffering involved in the mass production of meat, dairy and eggs.  This is not a vegetarian or vegan manifesto, but it certainly is a call for a complete change in global farming practices.  Philip argues that so-called ‘cheap’ meat is not feeding the world, but is in fact depleting the world’s resources at an alarming rate and destroying wildlife, as well as causing the intense suffering of countless millions of animals.  The book is easy to read, even though the details are hard to stomach.  Anyone who eats (oh yes, that’s all of us!) should read this book!

This being National Vegetarian Week, it’s a good time to think about getting hold of some new recipes.  The Vegetarian Society’s new free Receipe App is now available, with a collection of over 700 recipes.

Veg soc recipe app

The app is suitable for android and iphones and is easy to download from Google or Apple.  I particularly like the search function which allows you to select by diet type as well as meal type, or occasion.  By choosing both gluten-free and vegan, I got an impressive 200 recipes returned.  I can then keep those in place while I search for Christmas main course (7 suggestions),  or Greek starter (3 suggestions).  I also like the way you can search according to cooking ability, from simple recipes up to caterer level.  An extra keyword facility allows you to search by ingredient.  The layout is good – clear and easy to use.  I think this app is great inspiration for veggies and the perfect answer to anyone who asks ‘What can I cook for a vegetarian?’


These little vegan, gluten free nibbles are great with a spicy salsa, in a pitta with garlic mayo, or even with ketchup and chips!  The original recipe is surprisingly old, as it’s by Charles Walter Forward from 1891 and features in Early Vegetarian Recipes.  That’s why the measurement for the lentils appears here as a 1/2 pint!  It sounds odd to modern cooks, but I’ve found measuring out lentils in a pint jug to be pretty effective!  I find that a greater proportion of rice than in the original holds the mix together better, and I’ve coated them here in gluten free flour rather than breadcrumbs.  The flavouring I’ve used is as in the original, but they can also be spiced up with chilli, garlic or curry flavour for when you want to ring the changes!

Lentil Bites

1/2 pint shelled lentils
5 tblsp rice
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
1 pint water (and more if needed)
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried mixed  herbs
Salt and Pepper
Gluten free flour for coating (or use fine cornmeal)
Vegetable oil

Boil the lentils, rice and vegetables together until cooked and the mixture resembles a stiff paste.  Add the pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and dried herbs and stir in.  Leave the mix to cool completely.

Shape the mixture with your hands and a small spoon to make small patty shapes.  Sprinkle some gluten free flour onto a plate, then coat each of the patties in the flour.

Cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil, and heat thoroughly.  Fry the patties on both sides until brown.

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