Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on January 26th, 2010
by Clarabella

Veggie night #1

Last night was my first foray of the week into the realms of vegetarian fare. The recipe was for Mushroom & cheese parcels with a red wine sauce from Simon Rimmer’s ‘Accidental Vegetarian’. The description of the recipe stated that this is a life-changing dish so I thought it suitable that I started with it as I am more than open to having my life changed by a vegetarian revelation. The dish is a mushroom, cream cheese, ricotta and leek mixture baked in a filo pastry shell, and served with an onion and mushroom red wine sauce.

It was a relatively simple dish to make and I managed to do it while on the phone to my brother in South Africa – being a woman capable of multi-tasking comes in very handy sometimes, especially when I am home from the gym and hungry but also wanting to talk to my brother. The mixture for the filling was very tasty and I am a fan of the light-crunchiness of filo pastry so that side of the dish was very nice indeed. However, I was really not sure about the red wine sauce. It was a nice sauce in itself and would go very well with a more substantial dish (like steak!) but the power of the red wine sauce seemed to overwhelm the delicate flavours in the filo shell. I could not really taste the mushroom or leek once the sauce was added which was a pity as I do love the whole cheese/mushroom/leek combination. In hindsight a white-wine sauce may have been a better combination, but that is just to my taste – maybe Simon Rimmer has differently-tuned tastebuds. Another problem I encountered was the fact that the filling started leaking out of the pastry while it was cooking. I did use 3 layers of hole-free filo, and folded it nicely in the way the recipe instructed, but nevertheless, it still started oozing about 15 minutes into the 25 minute cooking time. I’m not sure what the reason was for the filling’s rebellious breach of the sanctity of the pastry. Did I not roll it correctly? Did I not seal it properly? Was it rolled too tight or too loose? Was the filling not chilled enough? I don’t know, but it was a pity it did leak as it was not quite as pretty as I had hoped.

Altogether is was an ok meal, not as life-changingly spectacular as it had promised but not bad.

Tonight is another pastry-based dish but this time it is a mushroom and hazlenut puff-pastry parcel with no red wine sauce to be seen. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get the puff pastry puffy and not soggy but we will have to wait and see.

Until then, happy cooking.