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Monday, 28 December 2015

Incredible Christmas Pie

This year was a vegetarian Christmas as we were at my mum's. However, this wasn't my first so I already had some ideas about what we would cook. In years past we've used the BBC Good Food magazine vegetarian Christmas special and simply followed a recipe. A couple of months previously I'd had a trial run with a recipe of my own, that was magpied from several different chestnut roast recipes, with a little of my own added. So, being already confident with my recipe, I was able to recreate the pie Christmas eve with a minimum of fuss. We then had the pie warmed and sliced with the all the usual Christmas sides (rosemary roast potatoes, cumin roast parsnips, brussel sprouts and carrots), cranberry sauce, and gravy.

Before I lose the scrap of notepaper my recipe is written on, here is the ingredients list and basic method to make the incredible Christmas pie, AKA quinoa pie, or the fake pork pie.


Onion, red (1)
Garlic cloves (3)
Celery sticks (2)
Chestnuts, cooked and peeled (200g)
Panko Breadcrumbs (60g)
Apricots, chopped dried (50g*)
Quiona (100g)
Eggs (3)
Apple (1)
Walnuts (50g*)
Feta cheese (50g)
Lemon zest
Dried herbs, Thyme and Oregano (*)
Fresh herbs, Parsley (*)
Butter and oil
Puff Pastry


1. Pre-cook the quinoa. In a saucepan cover the quinoa with about double the amount of boiling water. I add the dried herbs at this point, but they can be added directly into the mix also, personal taste. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer at a low heat for about 15 minutes or until all the water is gone. Set aside and let it cool.
2. Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery. Saute in a little oil at a medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until everything is soft and translucent (but not browned). Let this cool.
3. Chop the chestnuts (finely chopped will help texture and binding the pie together, but I like it a bit more 'rustic' as they say) and gently fry in butter with the zest of one lemon and chopped fresh parsley (if you have any, I didn't have any for Christmas). Finally, let this cool too.
4. In a large mixing bowl (the biggest you can find) beat the three eggs. Add the fruits and nuts you are using, for me this is one grated apple, chopped dried apricots, and chopped walnuts, but you could experiment with whatever you have to hand. Add the Panko Breadcrumbs (it doesn't have to be Panko, but I love them, they are dry and very crisp) and all the cooked ingredients (1, 2, and 3). Mix very thoroughly, start with a spoon then give up and use your hands!
5. Put half the mix in a puff pastry lined loaf tin. Save enough pastry for the top!
 Cube the feta and add to the middle of the mix, without touching any sides. Cover with the other half of the mix. Top with the pastry lid. Pinch the edges together and brush an egg glaze if desired (mix a beaten egg yolk and a little milk).
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 for at least an hour.

Serve hot, or for a better texture and flavour let it cool before slicing.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What I said, but funnier

Many moons ago I attempted to explain my mostly tongue-in-cheek 'handle' by way of the page "Why Godfreemorals?"

British news satire site The Daily Mash has recently forwarded a similar argument in a more amusing fashion.

Here: Atheist able to make moral decisions

Friday, 16 May 2014

Quotes worth saving (16) Dear Ridley Scott...

Over the years, many people engaged on the Alien  franchise had spoken about the need to explain the aliens - where they came from, how they were made, why they were so 'hostile', what they wanted. That was always an understandable mistake. As both figures on the screen and entities in a story, they had a magnificence, an arbitrariness, that would have been spoiled by explanation. Far more important than any causative, narrative answer to how they had acid for blood was their living up to the legendary status of being endlessly renewable, nasty, dangerous and beyond reason. To be alien is to be unknowable.

David Thomson on the Alien Quartet, p. 171 (Bloomsbury, London: 1998)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Foodie Fridays: Treehouse Super Salad

To finish my Welsh holiday themed day, I thought I'd post this salad recipe that was inspired by a visit to the Treehouse Organic Foodshop and Restaurant in Aberystwyth.

Now that the sun's come out to play a little more often, it feels like the time for lots of lovely healthy salads. This one is a complete meal on its own, but could also work as a super side salad at a barbecue or buffet for those that like a bit of excitement with their salads rather than the usual tired green variety.

So, here it is, the (titled by JJ)...

Like a Treehouse tangerine dream in purple, orange, and green!

This salad could easily serve 4 as a main meal, possibly 6 with some extra leaves (I'm thinking Little Gem or Romaine lettuce) and plenty as a side.


100g Pearl Barley
200g Fine Green Beans
3 Carrots grated
Equivalent amount of Red Cabbage shredded into strips
Iceberg Lettuce shredded (amount is left to personal preference, I only used a small amount)
1/3 Cucumber finely sliced
50g Seed Mix (I had Sunflower, Pumpkin, Linseed, and Sesame)
2 or 3 Tangerines or 1 Small Orange, cut into small pieces
1 small eating Apple, cut into small cubes
Fresh Herbs; Parsley, Mint, and Basil
Salad leaves

1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp of Black Mustard Seeds
1 finely sliced clove of Garlic
Dried Herbs; Mint and Basil, 1 tsp of each
Ground Black Pepper


1. Soak the pearl barley in cold water for at least half an hour. Drain and rinse. Add to pan with double the amount of salted water to pearl barley (I have a measuring cup and the barley filled it, so I just added two cups of water) and bring to boil with the lid on. Keep covered and reduce to a low simmer, cook for at least half an hour or all the water has been absorbed. After half an hour taste the pearl barley, it should be al dente. When done, drain and cool (run under cold water).
2. While the pearl barley is cooking chop and prep all the other salad ingredients. Top and tail the green beans, but cook them last, you want a bit of crunch with them! Add everything to the biggest bowl you have.
3. Mix up the dressing. Leave in a cup or jug with a spoon for people to add indivdually.
4. Add the cooked pearl barley and now boil the green beans. Four minutes maximum to keep a bit of bite and colour to them.
5. Give it a big stir and serve straight away with extra salad leaves or cover and chill until later. Enjoy!