Soup, cheese scones, mushroom burgers: Joe Woodhouse’s vegetarian recipes for Bonfire Night

These recipes promise a bright burst of flavour and subtle smokiness to set you up for a solid night of seasonal revelry.

Roast mushroom buns with chipotle slaw

I can’t think of another sandwich I’d rather have at this time of year. If you are cooking for a larger crowd, toss the mushrooms in oil and roast them in the oven at 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 until crisp but still plump.

Prep 20 minCook 10 minServes 6

6 portobello mushrooms, or 500g smaller mushrooms6 tbsp oil6 buns, sliced in half6 tbsp mayonnaise

For the slaw250g white cabbage, finely shredded1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely shredded4 spring onions, finely sliced10g chives, finely chopped100g soured cream, or yoghurt2 tbsp chipotle sauce, or more to tastePut a griddle pan, cast- iron skillet or heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat. Drizzle four tablespoons of the oil over both sides of the mushrooms (if using smaller mushrooms, add the oil to the pan directly). Add the mushrooms to the pan top side down and cook for three minutes until charred but still juicy. Turn and cook for a further three minutes on the other side, then turn back again, cook for a final minute or so, and sprinkle with salt. The mushrooms are ready when a knife is met with little resistance. The juices will begin to collect in the caps of the mushrooms, so try to keep this golden liquor because it will add to the overall juiciness.

Put all the slaw ingredients in a bowl, season and mix well; add more chipotle sauce or soured cream as you please.

When the mushrooms yield to the tip of a knife, remove them from the pan. Lightly brush the cut sides of the buns with the remaining oil and toast them in batches in the still-hot pa, until golden. Flip and crisp the other side for a minute or so.

Spread the mayonnaise on the bottom half of each bun. Add a mushroom and dress with any cooking juices. Spoon the slaw into the mushrooms caps, crown each bun with its lid and serve. You will need napkins.

Spinach soup with nutmeg

This earthy, vibrant soup has such purity of flavour, and it warms but isn’t too heavy.

Prep 15 minCook 20 minServes 6 (makes 1½ litres)

1 onion, peeled and roughly sliced2 fennel bulbs, woody stalks and the first thick outer layer removed, then roughly sliced800g baby spinach1 litre boiling water, or stock (water keeps the flavours much clearer, though)3 tbsp olive oil1-2 tbsp cider vinegar⅓-¾ whole nutmeg, to taste150ml double cream, to serve

Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring often, for 12-16 minutes, until soft; if they start to stick before they turn soft, add 200ml water and let it bubble away until done.

Add the spinach 200g at a time, stirring to wilt before adding some more. If it is taking too long, add some more water to help everything get going. Repeat until all the spinach has been added.

Tip the contents of the pan to a blender and add the rest of the water or stock and the grated nutmeg, then salt generouslyand blitz until very smooth and bright green (blend the mix in batches, if need be). Pour the soup back into the pan and add the vinegar and more nutmeg or salt to taste. Serve in warm bowls topped with a swirl of cream.

Cheddar and thyme scones

These are a cross between American biscuits and savoury rock cakes. They go extremely well with the spinach soup above, and are also great on their own. I prefer using wholemeal flour for nuttiness and depth, although white makes the cheese stand out more – follow your heart on this one.

Prep 10 minKnead 10 minChill 30 minCook 20 minMakes 12

170g cold unsalted butter, cubed330g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling10g salt10g thyme sprigs, leaves picked150g vegetarian cheddar (smoked works especially well in these), coarsely grated420g kefir, soured cream or natural yoghurt1 tbsp vinegar

Combine the flour, salt and butter in a food processor, then pulse until the mix resembles sand (if you are doing this by hand, rub the butter into the flour mix with your fingertips, as swiftly as possible). Tip the flour mix into a large bowl, stir in the cheese, then add the thyme, kefir and vinegar and combine until it comes together into a dough.

Tip out on to a well-floured work surface and gently roll out into a roughly 25cm x 20cm, about 3-4cm thick, using more flour as needed.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and space these out well on the trays. If you have room in the freezer, pop the trays in it for 30 minutes, to firm up; otherwise, chill them in the fridge for the same time.

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9, then bake the scones for 10 minutes. Rotate the trays by 180 degrees, put the tray that was on the lower shelf on the higher one this time, and vice versa, and bake for eight to 12 minutes more (depending on your oven), until golden. Remove and cool on a rack. They are good to go when you can handle them.


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