Go green this Christmas by enjoying a festive vegetarian menu

Spinach, roast butternut squash and ricotta roulade

Makes: 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 small butternut squash Olive oil 1 pinch chilli flakes Salt and pepper 300g (10½oz) baby spinach 3 eggs 375ml (13¼fl oz) milk 150g (5¼oz) flour, sifted A small knob of butter 100g (3½oz) ricotta 50g (1¾oz) cream cheese Zest of 1 lemon 200g (7oz) peppery salad leaves such as rocketPreheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 3 fan oven, 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 conventional oven.

Peel the butternut squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Cut into 2cm (¾in) cubes and place in a bowl. Drizzle over enough olive oil to coat the chunks, add the chilli flakes and season. Place on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender.

• Steam the spinach for 2 minutes then mix it in a blender with the eggs until smooth and green. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk with the flour and a good pinch of salt. Pour the spinach mixture through a sieve into the flour and milk then whisk well.

• Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and pour in 1 ladle (160ml/5¾fl oz) of the spinach batter. Cook the pancake for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip and cook for 1 minute. This side needs to be cooked less to keep the green of the pancake, as this will be your presentation side. Repeat.

• Separate half of the roast squash, put in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork until smooth. l Mix the ricotta, cream cheese, lemon zest and a splash of olive oil in a bowl.

• Take the pancakes and trim 3cm (1¼in) off so you have a straight edge to work with. Starting 1cm (½in) in from the straight edge spread a quarter of the butternut purée over two thirds of the pancake. Spread the ricotta mixture over the butternut purée. Fold the straight edge over and roll the pancake. Trim the edge of the pancakes and cut into 3 equal pieces.

• In a frying pan, cook the remaining spinach with a splash of olive oil  over a high heat until just wilted.

• To finish, assemble the spinach, roulade and squash on a plate with salad leaves.

Beetroot

The PHWarm beetroot salad
Warm beetroot saladServes: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 5 medium candy beetroots Olive oil Salt 6 baby beetroots 2 glasses mulled wine 3 Comice pears 1 cooking apple Juice of 1 lemon 50g (1¾oz) caster sugar 200g (7oz) feta cheese Zest of 1 orange 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar 200g (7oz) baby salad leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 fan oven, 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 conventional oven.

• Rinse and trim the candy beetroots. Individually wrap 4 beetroots in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place on an oven tray and roast for 1 hour.

• Repeat the process with the 6 other baby beetroots and put them in the oven 20 minutes later.

• In a heavy-based pan, reduce the mulled wine by half and remove from the heat. Peel, core and dice the pears then add to the reduced mulled wine.

• Peel, core and dice the apple then heat in a pan with the lemon juice and sugar until soft. Place in a food processor and blend until smooth.

• Slice the remaining candy beetroot super finely, preferably with a mandolin slicer. Put in ice-cold water.

• Remove any excess liquid from the feta with a paper towel. Crumble the feta and toss it in a drizzle of olive oil and orange zest.

• Test the beetroot is ready by pushing a toothpick into the centre – it should go in and out easily. Once ready, remove and allow to cool a little. When cool enough to touch, remove the foil. Using your thumbs, peel off the skin and cut into wedges.

• In a hot frying pan, cook the tomatoes in the balsamic vinegar until the vinegar has reduced and the tomatoes are just starting to burst.

• In each of 4 serving bowls, place a tablespoon of the apple purée.

• Remove the pears from the mulled wine and the raw beetroot slices from the water. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss in a little olive oil.

• Place in the serving bowls on top of the purée and enjoy with baby salad leaves.

Tarts

PHStilton and cranberry tarts
Stilton and cranberry tartsServes: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

For the pastry: 250g (8¾oz) plain flour, sifted 110g (4oz) butter Salt

For the filling: 200ml (7fl oz) double cream 2 large eggs 75g (2¾oz) Stilton cheese, grated 50g (1¾oz) dried cranberries

• Place the flour, butter and a pinch of salt into a food processor then mix for 30 seconds or until the butter and flour are mixed. Add 4-5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 at a time, to the flour until it forms a soft not sticky dough.

• Separate the pastry into 4, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15 minutes.

• Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 3 fan oven, 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 conventional oven.

• Put 10cm (4in) long Christmas tree-shaped biscuit cutters on a lined baking tray.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Drape over the cutters and push the pastry into all the corners, leaving the excess pastry hanging over the edges. Blind-bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.

• Beat the cream and eggs together then mix in the Stilton and cranberries.

•Pour the cream mixture into the pastry cases, stopping 5mm below the top, and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry and remove from the cutters.

cauliflower, charred sprout leaves and yoghurt

PHRoast spiced cauliflower, charred sprout leaves and yoghurt snow
Roast spiced cauliflower, charred sprout leaves and yoghurt snowServes: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 5 hours’ freezing for the yoghurt snow

Cooking time: 25 minutes

200ml (7fl oz) natural unsweetened yoghurt 1 tbsp runny honey 4 medium parsnips 300ml (10½fl oz) double cream 1 head of cauliflower 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp curry powder 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a splash Salt 8 Brussels sprouts Candied hazelnuts and pecans.

• Mix the yoghurt and honey well. Place in a small container and freeze for 5 hours. Also put a small spoon in the freezer.

• Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 3 fan oven, 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 conventional oven.

• Peel, top and tail the parsnips then cut into 1cm (½in) slices. Place into a heavy-based pan and just cover with the cream. Bring to a light simmer (do not boil) and cook for 10-12 minutes or until soft.

• Remove the cauliflower’s outer leaves and discard. Cut the cauliflower into thumb-sized florettes and toss in the cumin, curry powder and rapeseed oil. Place on a lined roasting tray and roast for 12 minutes.

• Meanwhile, blend the parsnips and cream with a pinch of salt in a food processor until silky smooth.

• Cut off the base of the sprouts and peel the leaves. Place the leaves in a very hot frying pan with a splash of rapeseed oil. Do not toss for 30 seconds so the leaves blister a little then toss a couple of times, sprinkle with salt and remove from the heat.

• Take a spoonful of parsnip purée and spread a 10cm (4in) diameter circle on each plate. Place the cauliflower, sprout leaves and candied nuts on top.

• Remove the yoghurt from the freezer. With an upside-down fork head, scrape the yoghurt to form snow. Using the spoon from the freezer, sprinkle the yoghurt snow over the top of the dish and serve.

Camembert and water biscuits

PHBaked Camembert and seeded water biscuits
Baked Camembert and seeded water biscuitsServes: 3-4

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

200g (7oz) flour, sifted 1 tsp baking powder, sifted 50g (1¾oz) butter 2 tsps pumpkin seeds 2 tsps sunflower seeds 2 tsps chia seeds 2 tsps linseeds Flour, for dusting 250g (8¾oz – a small wheel) unpasteurised Camembert A splash of white wine 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 4 sprigs of rosemary Sea salt and cracked pepper

• Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 3 fan oven, 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 conventional oven

•Place the flour, baking powder and butter in a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds or until the butter has mixed into the flour. Add 3-4 tablespoons of water, 1 at a time, to the food processor until the dough comes together and is soft to the touch.

•Place the dough into a bowl, add all the seeds and mix well.

• Lightly dust the surface with flour and roll out the dough to the thickness of the seeds.

• Using a 4cm (1½in) star-shaped cookie cutter (or the shape of your choice), cut out the biscuits. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack.

• Turn the oven up to 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4 fan oven/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 conventional oven.

• Remove the box and wrapper from the Camembert. Cut a circle of parchment paper 5cm (2in) bigger than the Camembert. Place the parchment paper into the original cheese box followed by the Camembert and fold back the paper.

• Cut a cross in the middle of the Camembert and pour on the wine. Stud with slices of garlic and sprigs of rosemary. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey.

• Sprinkle with salt and pepper then serve immediately with the water biscuits.

Source: express.co.uk

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