Vegetarians Coming for Christmas?

Have you got vegetarian guests joining you for Christmas? Looking for something different to offer them as a tasty alternative to the festive turkey? Well, here are two dishes I can highly recommend. Both of them will impress your visitors and provide a seasonal alternative to the dishes you usually prepare for your vegetarian friends.

Broccoli and Stilton Roulade - serves 4 and can be served as a starter with salad leaves or as a main course with a rich tomato or Port sauce.

 
Ingredients:
225g broccoli florets
40g butter
25g plain flour
150ml milk
100g stilton cheese - crumbled
3 large eggs - separated
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese - to serve
For the filling -
250g cream cheese
50g stilton cheese - crumbled
2tbs cranberry sauce
 
Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180'C or gas mark 6. Line a 20cm x 30cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
  • Cook the broccoli until it is tender. Drain and puree in a liquidizer or blender.
  • Place the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan and whisk over a moderate heat until sauce has formed. Simmer over a gentle heat for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the stilton until it has melted. Add the egg yokes, one at a time, and beat to incorporate them thoroughly. Fold in the broccoli puree and season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they are stiff. Add a tablespoon to the broccoli mixture and beat in to loosen it. Fold in the remaining egg whites using a figure of eight action so you don't knock out the air.
  • Gently spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, carefully level the surface and spread the mixture into the corners.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the surface is brown and firm to touch. Place a wire cooling rack on top, turn the roulade out and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow to cool.
  • When cool, using the four corners of the parchment paper to help you lift the roulade onto a large piece of greaseproof paper on the work surface. Peel off the baking parchment.
  • Spread the cream cheese over the surface, scatter the stilton over this and then spread the cranberry sauce on top. With one of the long sides facing you, roll up the roulade using the paper to help you.
  • Cover the roulade with foil until you are ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, place the roulade in a moderate oven in the foil to warm it through. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and with extra cranberry sauce.  
Why not prepare it now ready for Christmas and open freeze the roulade on a tray and then wrap in a freezer bag and place in the freezer. Thaw out overnight in the fridge before heating.
 
Mushroom Strudel - makes 2 strudels to serve 6 
 
 
Ingredients:
175g butter
1 small onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - crushed
125g button mushrooms - sliced
150g chestnut mushrooms - sliced
225g flat mushrooms - halved and sliced
1tbs sherry
half teaspoon dried thyme
25g fresh white breadcrumbs
25g pine nuts - toasted
salt and black pepper
8 small sheets of filo pastry
3tbs cranberry sauce
1tbs sesame seeds
Sprigs of fresh thyme to garnish
 
Method:
  • Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onions and garlic gently until soft. Add all the mushrooms and toss well in the onion and garlic Fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Remove from the heat and sir in the sherry, thyme, breadcrumbs, pine nuts an seasoning. Allow to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 180' or gas mark 6.
  • Melt the remaining butter. Lay a clean tea towel on the work surface and arrange one sheet of filo pastry on top with one of the longest sides closest to you. Brush with some melted butter. Repeat until you have four layers of pastry. 
  • Spread half the cranberry sauce evenly over the pastry. Spoon half the mushroom mixture along the side furthest away from you but leaving a gap at either end to fold over the filling. Fold the ends over the mushroom filling and then, using the towel to help you, roll the strudel towards you until all the mixture is enclosed in the pastry.
  • Carefully lift the strudel onto a large baking tray . Brush with butter and sprinkle with half the sesame seeds.
  • Repeat to make the second strudel.
  • Bake the strudels in the oven for 30-35 minutes until crisp and golden brown. If they seem to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Serve garnished with fresh thyme.  
I would not recommend freezing the strudels, but you can prepare them a day in advance and simply cover them with cling film or foil and store them in the fridge.

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