So, fresh from looking at National Butcher’s Week, we now turn our attention to National Vegetarian Week.

It’s fair to say these are polar opposites but we’re a broad church here in the SK development kitchen and we love cooking vegetarian just as much as meat.

This year, the Vegetarian Society are asking people to take the 1, 2,3 challenge which is:

  1. Eat veggie for a week
  2. Nominate 2 people to do it as well
  3. Donate £3 to the Vegetarian Society

All eminently sensible in our book, especially as this is a charitable organisation behind the event and this year the focus is on being veggie or vegan can help the planet, so for example did you know:

  • Eating a vegetable diet means 2.5 times less carbon emissions than a meat diet
  • A vegetarian diet uses less water. A chicken breast takes over 542 litres of water to produce, that could fill up your bathtub 6.5 times.
  • By eating vegetarian food for a year you could save the same amount of emissions as taking a small family car off the road for 6 months.

A survey carried out in 2018 revealed that 14% of the UK population is now vegetarian but we think if a survey was carried out today, that figure would be much higeher.

That’s because the growth of vegetarian and vegan food has rocketed over the last few years and more importantly the quantity and quality has also gone through the roof.

Whether it’s fast food restaurants like Burger King launching the Rebel Whopper and just recently the Vegan Royale, or supermarkets which now have entire aisles dedicated to vegetarian or vegan food, there’s definitely been a noticeable shift change.

If you put a vegan or vegetarian ‘faux meat’ dish in front of a hardened meat-eater and blindfolded them so they didn’t know what was coming, we’re willing to bet they would struggle to notice the difference.

And that’s the big difference. Vegetarian or vegan food is now so good, there’s no reason why you couldn’t easily give up meat for a week, a month or even longer.

That’s not something many people would have contemplated even five years ago.

Chef Jane was so excited about National Vegetarian Week, she’s treating you to not one, not two, not three, but four dishes this week, all designed to be eaten as small plates or shared with friends when restrictions allow that is (two more weeks, two more weeks……)

Cauliflower Cheese filo rolls with Zaatar sprinkle

  • 60g single Cream
  • 60ml water
  • 20g butter
  • 42g cornflour
  • 120g milk
  • 30g soft cheese
  • 4g sugar
  • 80g grated extra mature cheddar
  • Cauliflower florets (10-15mm pieces or smaller)
  • Melted utter
  • Filo pastry
  • Zaatar


Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the cauliflower florets and reduced the heat to medium. Cook the cauliflower florets for 3-5 minutes depending on how crunchy you prefer the texture.

Once cooked to your liking remove from the pan and set aside

Make the béchamel by melting the soft cheese and butter in a pan with the milk, sugar and cream on a low heat.

Make a paste in a separate bowl using the corn starch and water, making sure there are no lumps. Then add this to the pan stirring continuously until sauce thickens.

Remove sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese and cooked cauliflower florets, the cheese should melt fully in the pan, if not return to a low heat and stir continuously until the cheese fully melts.

Remove from the pan and chill the béchamel in a fridge.


Remove the Filo pastry from the packet and follow instructions on the packet, keep covered what you’re not using with a tea towel.

Take 2 sheets of filo pastry and brush one half with melted butter and fold in half, sticking it together. Then brush half again and all around the edges with melted butter.

Place 2 chilled teaspoons of the mixture onto the bottom end of the filo pastry sheet nearest to your body and roll away from you, folding in the sides to create a sealed roll filled with your cauliflower mix.

Once you have used up all the filo pastry brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with Zaatar spice blend.

Bake at 180Oc for 15 minutes.

Crispy Tempura Green Beans

  • Green beans topped and tailed
  • 100g tempura powder
  • 150g water
  • 6g cayenne pepper
  • 8g salt
  • 15g Zaatar


Boil a pan of salted water and add the topped and tailed green beans, boil for 2 minutes and refresh into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Make up your Tempura batter to the same consistency as pancake mix.

Separately blend together the dry powders, salt, pepper and Zaatar spice blend in a bowl. Leave these for dusting the beans post fry.

Deep Fry the green beans in Tempura batter at 175Oc for 2 minutes. Do these in batches so you don’t over load the fryer.

The beans may need to be tossed in flour before the batter if the Tempura doesn’t adhere well in the fryer. Corn flour or plain flour is fine for dusting.

Once removed from the fryer sprinkle over a generous amount of the dry spice blend and shake the beans until they get a good coating of spices. Adjust this seasoning to taste, using less or more cayenne depending on how spicy you like food.

These are better served straight from the fryer but can be reheated in the oven for:

180oc for 4-6 minutes.

Courgette, Carrot and Parmesan Puff Pastry Lollipops

  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 ready rolled puff pastry
  • 80g grated mozzarella
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 whisked egg
  • Chopped parsley
  • Small wooden skewers
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper


Using a peeler, peel slithers of the courgette and carrot and set to one side. You may want to peel the carrot as normal to start with and discard of the outer peelings.

Unroll the ready rolled puff pastry and using a knife cut the pastry in half top to bottom and then again side to side with a 1” depth.

Take one of the cut pieces of pastry and on the top place a slither of carrot and on top of that a slither of courgette.

Then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and over that Mozzarella.

Season well with the salt and cracked black pepper.

Then roll up the pastry slowly to look like a lolly pop (pin wheel), insert a wooden skewer at the join of pastry to hold it in place. Place your lollipops (pin wheels) onto parchment paper on a baking tray so they don’t stick then brush over with egg wash and sprinkle with more seasoning and chopped up parsley.

Fill the baking tray with your lollipops using up all pastry.

Bake these for 15 minutes at 180oc or until golden in colour and crispy.

Chargrilled Spring Onion, Tomato Salsa and Halloumi Bruschetta

  • Large bread stick
  • 2 bunches of spring onions topped and tailed
  • 2 packets of halloumi in a block
  • 50g mozzarella
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • Zaatar

For the Salsa:

  • 100g diced onion
  • 30g vegetable oil
  • 4g paprika
  • 2 tins chopped tomato
  • 20g garlic puree
  • 8g chipotle chilli (Alternatively use 2g cayenne pepper or 2g chilli powder)
  • 10g Salt
  • 5g granulated sugar
  • Lime Juice or Lemon (to taste)
  • 80g semi dried tomatoes chopped
  • 30g fresh coriander chopped
  • 3g dried oregano
  • 40g tomato paste
  • 60g water
  • 15g corn flour


Make the salsa by frying the onions and dried oregano in the oil on a low heat for 10 minutes or until soft.

Then add the paprika, garlic puree and chilli paste or powders, cook for 2 minutes stirring well.

Stir in the tomato paste and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the water and starch (already blended together with no lumps) and stir continuously until sauce thickens.

Finally add semi dried tomatoes, chopped coriander, seasoning and the lime or lemon juice to taste.

Adjust the salt, sugar and citrus flavours to your desired taste.

Chill the salsa once made.

Prep the spring onions, cut them in half and chargrill them in a pan with a very small amount of oil, this only takes a few minutes constantly turning the onions until they colour. Set aside.

Do the same with the Halloumi, slice into thin slices and chargrill in a pan using vegetable oil so it doesn’t stick. Set aside.

Separately slice the bread stick into 1” slices, you can rub garlic oil over the centre of the bread to add flavour.

Heat a griddle pan and sear both sides of the bread then place them onto a baking tray.

Top each baguette with a generous amount of chunky salsa and 3 halves of spring onion.

On the top of that add a slice or 2 of halloumi, sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper and top with grated mozzarella. Finally sprinkle with Zaatar, add as much as you like for your palate.

Bake at 180Oc for 15 minutes.

About Jane Beesley
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.