Sunday, 25 September 2011

Veggie Birthday Pie

... seeing that The Viking and I have pretty much spent all our money on the new kitchen we both agreed that this years birthday presents would be token gifts... Alys Fowler's - The Thrifty Forager for him... a new pair of Jack Purcell Converse for me.... (clearly I won the birthday stakes this year....)

... I also wanted to treat him to his favourite food so yesterday morning we started with a big breakfast; baked mushrooms, veggie sausage, beans, fried eggs and home-made bread... for lunch we pretty much rubbed our still-full bellies and then for dinner I made pie... The Viking loves his pie.  I've spoken of this before but one of the things that he hates about other peoples attitude to vegetarians is that they seem to over compensate when cooking for him... he simply wants what everyone else is eating, without the meat.  Not some tomato goo with godforsaken goats cheese on it...! So pie it was, with a good old-fashioned vegetarian suet crust.  I made the filling on Friday so not only did I not have to slave over a hot stove on my birthday but it also gave the filling a day to intensify its flavours.... Pie was good!

Veggie Mince Pie
As I was making the filling I realised that it seemed very much like a veggie Cornish Pasty filling... which isn't such a bad thing and is something I will exploit at a later date.

for the filling
1 large onion - finely chopped
1 packet of Quorn mince (you can use any veggie mince but I think Quorn keeps its consistency well)
1 large stick of celery - finely chopped
1 large carrot - finely chopped
half a medium swede - finely diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of mixed beans
1/2 pint of veggie stock topped up with half a glass of red wine
4 cloves of garlic - un-peeled
3 bay leaves plus some other fresh herbs

for the pastry
12oz self raising flour
6oz vegetarian suet
a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
a large pinch of fresh thyme
cold water to mix

- in butter and olive oil, saute the onions in a heavy pan or casserole dish you can transfer to the oven, when translucent add the rest of the vegetables and let them sweat for about 8 minutes.

- season, then add the veg mince and let it soak up all the vegetable juices for another couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes, beans and stock and wine.

- bring it to a gentle bubble, add the whole, un-peeled garlic cloves and bay leaves and then transfer the whole lot to a hot oven for an hour.  Try and make this the day before or at least in the morning.

- when you're ready to cook (this pastry doesn't need to sit in the fridge) make the pastry by combining the flour and suet with the salt and fresh herbs, then with a pallet knife add cold water until it starts to bind together, bring it together with your hands before rolling out.  It should be rolled thicker than normal pastry.

- once rolled out, fill your pie dish with filling, then cut a thin trim of pastry and run this along the edge of your pie dish, then press down to create indents.  Glaze with a beaten egg/milk mix.

- then lay your pastry lid on top and press down the edge with the end of a knife.  Glaze the lid.  You can create fancy stuff with the left-over pastry.

- bake in a hot oven for 35 - 40 mins or until the pastry is golden.

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. I am starving and this is not helping!

  2. That pie looks THE BIZ!!
    and many happy returns to the Birthday Boy!!

  3. Pastry, especially 'suet' pastry, really makes me hungry - I am a carbohydrate addict in remission, but not for much longer now that I've seen that pie! Love to you both.

  4. Absolutely with the Viking on this one - I can't count the number of times I've almost been reduced to tears because all of the omnivores were tucking into good, hearty, solid food while I was presented with some semi-liquified arty-farty gloop featuring every vegetable known to mankind.

    I think folk panic. Omnivores live their whole lives thinking that meat is "it" and vegetables are plate-decoration, so they over-compensate!

    Hmmm... pastry...

    Incidentally, the word verification here was "unalusho" - isn't that Italian for your nickname? ;-)

  5. What a professional looking pie - I am salivating at the thought. My husband (also a pie lover) is looking over my shoulder and demanding I try this soon!

  6. How beautiful it looks. And Happy Birthday! What is swede? What is vegetarian suet? I might not see your answers unless you write to me at Thanks, pal.

  7. That is one perfect looking pie! Fit for a (Vi)King ... teehee!

  8. Mmmm, pie! I'm with the Viking on the pie love and this one looks like a great example of pie!

  9. @ Ian... I am a Lush!

    @ Stephen C - how to describe suet to an American without it sounding like a heartattack on a plate... see my email...

    @ Choclette - you, as usual, are HYLARIOUS! xx

  10. I am a pie-aholic and that is MINE I think, all of it! My parents are veggie and I often cook with quorn for them, your pie looks like the dog's round spherical bits ~ JUST gorgeous darlink! The crust looks to die for and I love suet pastry too.
    What a great birthday pie.

  11. Happy birthday to you both. The perfect way to celebrate is making pie in your new kitchen.

  12. i love quorn mince...even though i am happy to eat meat I enjoy cooking with veggie alternatives...have never tried veggie suet though! looks incredible and i bet the leftover s(if there were any) were the perfect cure to any hangover :) x

  13. I adore pie in all it's forms and this veggie one is no exception!

  14. now just look at you go.....this looks wonderful....i LOVE how you decorated it....

    happy belated birthday to all !!!!

    happy to stop by today, my friend

    kary and teddy

  15. Dom, please wish the Viking a "Happy Birthday" from me! I have to tell you, this is one handsome looking pie! I'm also crazy for pies!

    While I'm not a vegetarian, I really love my veggies and this is right up my ally! Your crust looks fantastic, and I love the touch with the Autumn leaves!

    Also, thank you for your kind words about my mom, she will be forever missed and in our hearts.

  16. Yo, the Viking! He knows a thing or two about vegetarians. And doesn't sound as though he did too badly in the birthday stakes either. Breakfast sounds fab and this pie looks fab. Would highly dispute any likeness to a Cornish pasty though ;-)

  17. The pie looks absolutely glorious Dom! Yum!!

  18. Dom this pie looks lovely *drools* I can never resist pastry and am tempted to go shopping tomorrow to get all the stuff to make it! xx

  19. Dom - really professional looking pie ... very impressed with that pastry.

    Happy Birthday to all at Belleau!

  20. It's a good thing that dinner's in the oven or I'd be all over making this pie ...

    PS ... so envious of the look of this crust! Gorgeous!

  21. ooh great pie. Love the suet crust pastry, never thought of using that for a mince pie. Happy Birthday to you both. X

  22. You are a pie crust master. It looks like a magazine picture. There are a few ingredients I am not to familiar with so I'm off to google.

  23. Wow this looks awesome. I love your presentation. Perfectly cooked too I think!

    Happy Birthday to him.

  24. The pie looks amazing! It might be an asian thing but I grew up thinking of vegetables as proper dishes not just accompaniments to meat, we used to fight over my mum's cabbage fry haha.

  25. Happy belated birthday Dom!!!!

  26. I love the crust on that pie and since I love love vegetarian food myself, I would love a slice of the gorgeous filling too!! Absolutely good.

  27. The Viking is right a lot of people think Vegetarian food has to be salad or cooked in cheese sauce.

    Lovely pie.

    Happy Birthday

  28. I love pie! This looks amazing. Happy birthday to both of you :)

  29. I've just got the Thrifty Forager this weekend and I'm now even more obsessed with foraging! Blackberry cake this weekend and I'm just off to collect some nettles to go with fish for supper...amazing book.

    Oh and happy birthday...and the crust on that pie looks amazing...


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