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How to make vegetarian soup/casserole/stew and Beetroot crisps

19 October 2018


THE summer seems disposed to linger kindly, but the market is full of autumn vegetables, too, and the apples are gathering in faintly accusing mounds. Jane Grigson has celebrated the discovery of a recipe in a local paper, and here’s one for the autumn from mine, which is for those who like the very British combination of savoury and sweet flavours. It’s offered as an accompaniment to pork, a la Normande, but it works well with a well-flavoured Quorn fillet, and it’s a good way to use windfalls.

1kg (2lb) potatoes, peeled
1kg (2lb) eating apples
2 onions, peeled

Boil and mash the potatoes coarsely. Peel, core, and chop the apples, and stew them in a little water, but keep the pieces intact. Chop the onions coarsely, and cook them in plenty of butter in a large saucepan. When the onion is tender, add the potato and apple, season well, and serve with your accompaniment.

Nicola gave us a very simple but delicious Vegetarian soup/casserole/stew in honour of the women’s co-operative in Tamil Nadu that she had just visited. The women get together every day and cook their own lunches, and this is a favourite. Obviously it lends itself to variation, but the basic ingredients are:

a little coconut oil
an onion, chopped finely
mushrooms, chopped roughly
curry powder
a mixture of vegetables: spinach, broccoli florets, green beans, peppers, courgettes, marrow, carrots, aubergines
slices of fresh ginger
tin of chickpeas
1 tin of coconut milk

Fry an onion in the coconut oil, add and briefly cook some chopped mushrooms, add curry powder, stir it, put in your vegetables and a cup or two of water. Cook for quarter of an hour, and, before serving, stir in a tin of coconut milk. Season and serve with rice and yogurt and chutney if you like it. I find the ginger pieces make a refreshing change from my garlic-with-everything approach.

Recently, I made Beetroot crisps, which were pronounced good by others, and didn’t, surprisingly, leave the kitchen looking like a crime scene. So, if you find a beetroot lurking at the bottom of the vegetable box, scrub it, slice it, and toss the slices in a little olive oil and sea salt. Spread them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven, when you’re cooking something else, for about half an hour. A few sprigs of fresh rosemary help.

I find, contrary to my expectations, that a thicker slice is more successful: my thinner sliced ones carbonised rather than dried out. Experiment with oven temperature and placement, and keep an eye on them. Any soggy/chewy ones can be added to a casserole or vegetable dish later.


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