Category Archives: Side dishes

Potato dishes, vegetables etc

Chestnut Paté en Crôute (Christmas 2020)

This recipe comes courtesy of Rose Elliot, via Viva!

Serves 6

Approximately 55 minutes:

  • 5-10 minutes preparation
  • 13 minutes cooking
  • 25-30 minutes baking time

Thanks to Rose Elliot, the goddess of veggie food, for the lovely recipe! This is so easy – and it frees you up to do other things while it’s baking. Serve with piles of roast potatoes, butternut squash and parsnips – plus gravy, of course!


  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g/31⁄2oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 435g can unsweetened chestnut puree
  • 75g/3oz soft breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Salt and pepper
  • 375g/13oz frozen ready-rolled puff pastry sheets (Jus-RolTM and Brake Brothers brands are both vegan)
  • Soya milk to glaze


  1. Fry the onions and celery in the oil in a large saucepan, covered, for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Mix in the chestnut puree, breadcrumbs, brandy and seasoning.
  4. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.
  5. Put the pastry on a baking sheet. Pile the chestnut mixture lengthways down the middle third – you may need more than one sheet of pastry.
  6. Make diagonal cuts 1cm/1⁄2 inch apart on the pastry on either side of the chestnut mixture.
  7. Fold these up alternately to make a lattice covering it.
  8. Trim the ends – you could make pastry leaves and stick on top with water.
  9. Brush with soya milk.
  10. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat setting to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.

Festive seitan skewers by Chris (Christmas 2019)



  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten (you can buy this at health food shops or online)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (you should be able to get this at the same place at the wheat gluten)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • A pinch of black pepper


  • 80ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250g cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 medium parsnips (about 150g), cut into 3.5cm thick slices
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes (about 150g), cut into 3.5cm thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper


  • 1x Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1x Wooden Spoon
  • 1x Rolling Pin
  • 1x set of measuring Cups and Spoons
  • 2x Large Oven Trays
  • 1x Chopping Board
  • A pack of skewers


Roasting The Veggies

  1. Start by pre heating your oven to 180℃
  2. While you are waiting for the oven to heat up peel the parsnips, sweet potato and remove the outer leaves of the sprouts
  3. Chop the sprouts in half and dice the root veggies into thick circles around 3.5cm in size
  4. Grease a large baking tray with olive or sunflower oil and place vegetables, adding the dried herbs, garlic cloves and salt and pepper – leave these to cook whilst you prepare the seitan.

Making The Seitan Steak

  1. Firstly, put all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well
  2. Add in the veg stock and liquid smoke and knead together until it has a dough like feel to it (you might need to knead it more it if it’s being unruly)
  3. Pop the mixture onto a lightly greased oven tray and use a rolling pin to help the dough cover as much space in the tray as possible (again, the dough is notoriously unruly so don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease)
  4. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for 10 minutes each side at 180℃ (356℉)
  5. Take out the oven, cut into the steak length ways and then dice into bitesize pieces for your skewer.

Preparing the skewers

Pierce the roasted veg and seitan onto the skewer in any which way you fancy – like to wedge the seitan steak pieces between the veggies.

You should be able to make around 8 skewers in total depending on how much you have loaded them up.

For an added festive touch, I like to add balls of vegan stuffing and drizzle a small amount of cranberry sauce over the skewers – you can make you own or most shop bought cranberry sauce is vegan (but always check the ingredients are vegan beforehand).

That’s all there is to it, tuck in and enjoy


By Chris

Faux gras by Rebecca (Christmas 2019)

Faux grasRich and complex. Just like the real thing, but without the cruelty.


  • 150g cashews
  • 65g walnuts
  • Tbsp olive oil
  • 150g chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 50g dairy-free butter
  • 50g flavourless coconut oil
  •  2 tbsps white miso
  • 2 tbsps tahini
  • 2 tbsps nooch
  • 2 tbsps brandy (important!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak the nuts in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Gently sauté the chopped shallots and mushrooms with a teaspoon of salt for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool a little.
  3. Blend everything till supersmooth.
  4. Season and taste.
  5. Melt a little butter – add a touch of salt and a sprinkling of nooch. Pour into the base of the mould and allow to set in the freezer. Put the pâté into the moulds, tamping it down to get rid of any air pockets. Freeze till solid.
  6. To serve, warm the outside a little to release the shaped pâté, using a knife to gently ease it out. Plate up and let it come to room temperature.
  7. Gorgeous with gherkins or a subtle chutney and on sourdough toast or crispbreads.

Chestnut stuffing by Rebecca (Christmas 2019)


  • A large onion, finely chopped
  • Two cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Packet or tin of cooked chestnuts, broken up a little
  • Packet or tin of unsweetened chestnut purée
  • 150g or so of breadcrumbs
  • A tbsp nooch
  • A handful of cranberries, chopped apricot, apple or prunes
  • Sage, rosemary, thyme
  • Soy sauce and pepper to taste
  • Non-dairy butter or oil
  • Optional: Chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds
  • Optional: Finely chopped mushrooms


  1. Sauté the onion till soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes.
  2. Optional: If you’re making this as a meal rather than as stuffing or a side dish, sauté 200g of finely chopped mushrooms with the onion till almost cooked and there’s no liquid.
  3. Combine the sauté mixture with the breadcrumbs, nooch, chestnuts and purée, fruit, herbs and nuts (if using).
  4. Season with a tablespoon or so of soy sauce and pepper. Check for taste.
  5. If it seems dry and won’t clump together when you squeeze a bit of it, add non-dairy butter or oil.
  6. Use this stuffing to fill the Christmas Roast, bake it in a dish to serve as it is, form it into patties or balls and bake or fry. It’s also great for stuffing portobello mushrooms or red peppers. Freezes perfectly.

By Rebecca

Onion Bhajis and Coconut Riata


  • Onions
  • Chilli powder
  • Salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Cumin seeds and powder
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Gram flour
  • Water
  • Vegetable or rapeseed oil for frying


  1. Mix all ingredients into a thick batter.
  2. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil until golden brown.

blackshaw head1



  • Alpro or Coco yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped coriander


  1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
  2. Leave in fridge to chill.

Recipe: Tanu

Vietnamese spring rolls, as demoed at the Incredible Festival of Ideas


Plate of delicious food at IFI
A plate of some of the wonderful food offered by volunteers at Todmorden Learning Centre. See top-left for a spring roll

Hilary demonstrated how to make Vietnamese spring rolls at the Incredible Festival of Ideas future of food event. They are very easy to make, healthy and tasty. You can experiment with different fillings as you wish.


  • Rice wrappers
  • Thin batons of carrot, cucumber and peppers
  • Beansprouts or cooked thin rice noodles.
  • Chopped coriander
  • Thin strips of tofu
  • Soy sauce / chilli sauce etc


Rice wrappers can be small or large, square or round and can be bought from Asian / Chinese shops or the lady selling Chinese food on Todmorden market.

Tofu should be marinated in soy sauce beforehand or cooked ’til crisp.

  1. Soak wrappers, one at a time, in a shallow bowl of water until just soft enough to roll.
  2. Put wrapper on a dry surface and place strips of tufu, veg, herbs and noodles etc in a small pile in the centre, lower half, of the wrapper.
  3. Roll wrapper from the bottom, folding sides in as you go and press firmly to seal at the top.
  4. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with a dip of choice … soy sauce, chili sauce, tahini sauce etc.

Experiment with different fillings and sauces. Better still, watch this video!!