Happy day four of National Vegetarian Week! In complete contrast to my salad yesterday, today’s recipe is a dish I would generally reserve for the deep throes of winter. However, given the awful stormy weather outside, I decided that the family were in need of something warm and hearty for tea tonight. This meal is fab as it warms you from the inside out and contains most of the main food groups in one dish. It is also a great way to get vegetables and fibre into your kids.
I vegetarianised this recipe from the NetMums “Feeding Kids” recipe book. I absolutely love this book as for me, it played a pivotal role in teaching me how to become a better cook, and a whizz at preparing family meals.
When my eldest daughter was born we were living in hubby’s flat. He owned a very dated cooker and hob which never worked properly, one! saucepan and a frying pan. We were used to eating mainly ready meals as we both dashed about so often and although I loved to cook, cooking in his kitchen was impossible. Luckily, by the time I had battled though weaning using his one saucepan and exhausted all of the baby purees in the Annabel Karmel recipe books, we had moved into a house with a shiny new cooker and hob that actually worked and acquired more kitchen paraphernalia than we knew what to do with. So with my kitchen all set up, and my daughter wanting to eat solids, I suddenly realised that I although I knew how to cook, none of my repertoire was toddler friendly and I had no idea how to cook for a family, especially a vegetarian family. My fail-safe back-up meal substitution of a cheese sandwich used so often in my single days, simply would not make the grade. I needed to learn how to provide a healthy balanced diet, and I needed simple, kid-proof family recipes. Cue the NetMums “Feeding Kids” recipe book which literally saved my life. It contains chapters on nutrition, balanced diets and provides meal planners, which I still use to make meal times less stressful and cost effective. I challenged myself for the next year to cook two new recipes in this book every week, often modifying them to make them vegetarian. This book gave me a greater love and appreciation of food, an understanding of the basics of family cooking, and gave me the confidence to move on to more “foodie” cookery books. Even though other recipe books now adorn my windowsill, the NetMums cookery book is still a staple recipe book that I use every week in my kitchen. The pages are stained with food, there are notes in the margins, and the colour is fading from sun exposure, but I absolutely love this book and still have so many recipes I have not tried as there are suggestions for lots of different versions of the same recipe.
As this week is National Vegetarian Week, why not challenge yourself to cook a vegetarian recipe for the family you haven’t cooked before, or to cook one vegetarian recipe a week, or even find a recipe to modify and make vegetarian? There are lots of ideas on the National Vegetarian Week website.
(Adapted from the Netmum’s recipe book)
Quorn Sausage, Vegetable and Bean Cobbler
Olive Oil for brushing/frying
336g pack Quorn Sausages (about 8 sausages)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Pinch of Maldon sea flakes
1tsp dried Oregano
1tsp dried Italian Seasoning
700g frozen mixed Veg (Broccoli, Cauliflower and baby carrots)
400ml Vegetable stock
1 x 400g can of Baked Beans in tomato sauce
For the Cobbler Topping
125g self-raising Flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of Soda
100g mature Cheddar, grated
1 Small Egg, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
60ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1. Pre-heat the grill to medium hot and the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
2. Brush the sausages with oil and place under the grill for 15-20 mins, turning to cook evenly. Once cooked, leave to cool and slice into small bite size pieces.
3. Chop the onion. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion to the pan, adding the sea-salt flakes to prevent burning. Cook until transparent and just turning golden – about 8 minutes.
4. Boil the kettle and make the vegetable stock according to packet instructions. Once the onion is golden, add the vegetable stock, frozen veg, oregano and Italian seasoning to the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make the cobbler. Combine the flour and cheese in a bowl and add the egg, oil and milk. Using a fork, mix to a dough. Flour a clean surface and roll out and cut into 2cm thick circles. I used a cookie cutter to cut the scones out, or you can use a small glass.
6. Add the beans and sliced sausages to the vegetables, stir well and place in an ovenproof dish. Arrange the cobbler shapes on top and brush with milk.
7. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cobbler topping is golden.