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A sad day for veggies, especially London veggies, when Covent Garden institution Food For Thought closes its doors for good on Sunday 21st June. A former banana warehouse was turned into a vegetarian restaurant in 1971, it was a favourite spot of mine. It was brilliantly quirky with it’s basement seating – and nearly always a queue up the stairs waiting to be served. It was always a mystery how the staff did it – keeping so calm while serving in such a tiny space. It will be missed.
I love Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, but rarely watch his tv programmes because they’re just so meaty! Well the good news for us veggie foodies is that for his new series, Hugh decided to go vegetarian for 6 weeks. As well as being a self-sufficiency guru turned restaurant owner and celebrity chef, Hugh is also a passionate campaigner on food issues. He now believes that we need to eat much less meat for the good of our own health, the welfare of animals and the future of the planet. He even has the chefs at his restaurant trying to persuade the dining public to choose vegetarian main courses over meaty ones!
Well, of course we agree with that. I’m also impressed with the recipe ideas in the programme, which look pretty good! The recipes from the show are available over at the Channel 4 website. This week’s Baby Beetroot Tarte Tatin looks like a winner, and if you make it with frozen pastry, it couldn’t be simpler!
Baby Beetroot Tarte Tatin
By HughFearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage Veg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 25g butter
- 500g baby beetroot (no bigger than a
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black
the rough puff pastry
- 400g plain flour
- 200g cold, unsalted butter, cut into
- Pinch of salt
- Iced water
- Green tops from a few spring onions,
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 5 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- Heat the oil and butter in a frying
pan large enough for all the beetroot to sit snugly, add the beetroot and toss
to coat in the oil and butter. Add the sugar and vinegar, season and taste,
adjusting the vinegar and sugar if necessary.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in
an oven preheated to 190°C/gas mark 5 for approximately 30-40 minutes or until
the beetroot are tender.
- For the pastry, mix the flour with
the salt and add the cubed butter. Add enough water to bring the mixture
together into a fairly firm dough. On a floured surface shape the pastry into a
rectangle. Roll out the pastry until it’s approximately 1cm thick. Fold the
pastry into thirds, by taking the end furthest away from you towards you and
then the end closest to you on top of that, you should again have a rectangle.
Turn the pastry a quarter turn and repeat the rolling and folding a further
five times. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30
- When the beetroot are cooked remove
from the oven and arrange the beets neatly in the pan. Roll out the pastry and
cut a circle a little larger than the pan. Carefully place the pastry over the
beetroot tucking the excess pastry into the pan. Return to the oven and cook
for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffed up.
- Make the vinaigrette by placing all
the ingredients in a clean jam jar and give it a good shake.
- When the tart is ready remove from
the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes.
- To serve place a large plate over the
pan and carefully, but quickly, turn upside down, remove the pan and pour over
I’m a big fan of walnuts and add them to salads and pasta sauces, as well as making them into burgers and roasts. Eating nuts everyday, as part of a healthy diet, is known to boost health, but recent research indicates that walnuts are the healthiest, containing antioxidants up to 15 times as powerful as vitamin E. They also contain vitamin B6, protein, magnesium, potassium and zince. On top of all that, they are a useful source of omega 3 fatty acids as they contain omega 3 and 6 in the perfect ratio for human consumption!
So whatever you’re having for dinner tonight, throw in a few walnuts, or try these walnut burgers!
4oz / 110g onion, chopped
4oz / 110g carrot chopped
4oz / 110g celery
2tsp tomato puree
1tbls soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free)
2tsp mixed herbs
8oz / 225g walnuts
8oz / 225g tofu
8oz / 225g cooked rice
2floz / 60ml vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or mixer and blend. You may have to do this in batches. Tip into a bowl and squash the mixture together.
Leave the mixture to rest for 5 minutes before forming into burgers with floured hands.
Cook on a hot barbeque, turning after about 5 minutes, or grill or shallow fry them in hot oil.