One of my Christmas cookbooks this year was, by my own request, The Vegetarian Pantry, by Chloe Coker and my friend Jane Montgomery, who teaches at the School of Wok and also runs pop-up events with Waste Not Want Not. Chloe grew up in a vegetarian kitchen, her mum has been vegetarian for over 40 years, and Jane was inspired by her quest for more interesting meat-free recipes for her clients. Both are passionate about fresh, healthy, seasonal, meat-free cooking and in this book share this passion with those of us who often entertain vegetarians and need ideas that will satisfy carnivores as well!
Anyway, I had my vegetarian friends around again (one is actually a pescetarian but we won't hold that against him), so I chose two Indian recipes from the book to satisfy our chilli-love. Incidentally, they also brought some new Mr Singh's Chilli Sauces (now stocked in The Larder N21!), which fitted perfectly into my plans.
We began with poppadums and the chilli sauces (top ingredient: Scotch Bonnet!) and my homemade Indian mint sauce.
Butternut Squash with Spinach and Pine Nuts Samosa
Courgette with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes Samosa
Homemade Mint Sauce
Samosas look difficult to make but the way they are made here are quite manageable. Baked rather than traditionally deep-fried, with two delicious vegetarian fillings. A bit of nifty filo-pastry folding, topped with poppy seeds, served with mint sauce and Mr Singh's Chilli sauces... authentic!
Roasted Aubergine, Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry
Served with steamed basmati rice and honey/coconut naan bread
Simple, light and healthy, the vegetables are roasted with some cinnamon and then stir fried with mustard seeds and spices, with a tomato base. A touch of lime and perhaps an extra chilli, and this gives even meat-lovers a curry of substance.
I found this recipe in the Metro as I was heading into work, wondering what to make for dessert. Even though the Italians would probably be abhorred, I thought it perfectly appropriate to finish off an Indian evening.
A very successful vegetarian evening, and I'm looking forward to getting these friends round again so I can get stuck into a few more recipes from The Vegetarian Pantry - I like the look of the courgette fritters with minted yoghurt, vegetable dumplings with soy dipping sauce, and the vegetable tempura with wasabi dipping sauce... and that's just for starters!