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Winter warmers with Lorraine Fitzmaurice

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The weather is still very icy and we all want some healthy warm recipes to make on these cold nights.

Lorraine Fitzmaurice - professional cook and proprietor of Blazing Salads

Blazing Salads began in 1982 as a wholefood/vegetarian restaurant. The best quality ingredients were used in their whole form, the recipes came out of experimentation and a wide reading of cookbooks and food magazines and a menu that was interesting, tasty and nutritious was created. Word soon spread and it became one of the busiest and popular eating spots in Dublin.

In 2000 we decided that Dublin needed a wholefood/vegetarian take-away, serving high quality, tasty food, full of nutrition to take home or back to the office. Since opening the Deli we see a demand for quality breads, salads and ready made meals. We have now closed the restaurant so that we can meet this demand.

Towards the end of 2004 we opened a certified organic bakery which supplies daily specilised food shops with quality hand rolled sourdough breads was expanded 2 weeks ago with the intention of supplying outside the Dublin area and supplying other baked goods.

Winter Vegetable Pie

Serves 4/6

. 4 sticks of celery
. 4 carrots
. 2 parsnips
. turnip
. 150g button mushrooms (use any mushrooms of choice)
. 2 large cloves garlic, minced
. 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs finely chopped; parsley, thyme and oregano
. extra virgin olive oil

1 Shortcrust pastry:

Shop bought pastry is suitable but if you want to make your own here's how:

. 90g wholemeal spelt flour
. 90g white spelt flour
. 90g unsalted butter or chilled sunflower margarine
. pinch of sea salt

1. Sift both flours into a food processor. Add the salt and the butter straight from the fridge cut into cubes. Pulse for a few seconds until the mix resembles bread crumbs.
2. With the motor running add 2/3 dessertspoons of chilled water gradually until the dough comes together from the edges of the processor bowl. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. If making by hand; sift the flour into a bowl. Add the salt and butter.
4. Rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips until the mix resembles bread crumbs.
5. Add the chilled water gradually until a ball can be formed. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
6. Any fine wholemeal or white pastry flour can be used to make this dough. By using spelt flour it will make the pastry wheat free and more digestible.

Onion gravy
. 1 onion diced finely
. 250 ml vegetable stock
. 2 dessertspoons of white spelt flour, (plain flour can also be used)
. 1 tablespoon of butter or sunflower margarine
. soy sauce to taste
. 1 beaten free range egg

1. Melt the butter in a pot and fry the onions over a low heat until soft.
2. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly add the stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
3. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Season with soy sauce to make a rich sauce.
5. Wash the celery and slice into 1 inch thick pieces. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and add the celery and saute for a few minutes.
6. Wipe the mushrooms and add to the pot along with the garlic. Peel the carrots, halve lengthwise and slice into 1 inch pieces, add to the pot.
7. Continue stirring the vegetables. Peel the parsnips, halve lengthwise and slice into 1 inch pieces. Add to the pot.
8. Dice turnip into 1 inch pieces and add to the vegetables. Add 1/2 inch of water, a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, place a lid on top and simmer for 7/8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and season with pepper. Set aside to cool. Make the gravy.
9. Preheat the oven to Gas4, 180C, 350F.
10. Use a 9 inch round baking dish or a 9in x 5 in baking dish.
11. Stir the gravy into the vegetables. Season with soy sauce. Pour into the baking dish.
12. Roll out the pastry to 1/4 cm thick. Cut to 1 inch larger than the baking dish. Lay the pastry on top of the vegetables and gravy.
13. Turn the edges under. Brush with beaten egg. If there is pastry left over cut out some shapes and lay them on the pastry and brush with egg also.
14. Prick the pastry twice with a fork.
15. Bake in the preheated oven for 30/40 minutes until golden.
16. Serve with creamy mash potatoes, green vegetables or creamy polenta.

Plum Cobbler with flaked almonds

Serves 6

. 750g plums
. 1 tablespoon agave syrup
. 50ml apple concentrate

. 225g (8oz) white spelt flour (or plain white flour)
. pinch of sea salt
. 2 teaspoons of baking powder
. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top)
. 110g (4oz) butter, cubed and chilled (or chilled sunflower margarine)
. 1 tablespoon agave syrup
. 175ml (6 fl oz) buttermilk
. 60g (2oz) flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to Gas 6, 200 C. Prepare the plums. Wash well and using a sharp knife slit the plums all the way around through to the pip.
2. Using both hands twist and pull apart. Remove the stone. Cut into quarters. Place in a 9 in ( 2-3 in deep) baking dish. Stir in the agave syrup coating all the pieces. Set aside.
3. Make the topping. Sift the flour and place into the bowl of a food processor along with salt, baking powder, cinnamon and the cubed butter.
4. Pulse several times until the mix resembles bread crumbs. Stir the agave syrup into the buttermilk and with the motor running pour into the flour mixture until a sticky mix forms. This will only take a few minutes.
5. Pour the apple concentrate into a measuring jug and add water until 200ml has been reached. Pour over the plums and agave syrup. Spoon the dough mixture over the plums keeping in uneven.
6. Scatter the flaked almonds over and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crusty.

This dish is also delicious using pears or apples.

The agave syrup and apple concentrate can be replaced with golden caster sugar if you wish.
Replace the 1 tablespoon of agave syrup and 50 ml of apple concentrate with 50g(2oz) golden caster sugar in the plums. Use 1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar for 1 tablespoon of agave syrup in the topping in the topping.