Care chef’s bold veggie challenge

Posted by Ollie on 01/10/19 in Recipes, VfL News and Events

The Moreton Centre is a care home in St Leonards, East Sussex – part of St Matthews Healthcare. As part of my role as Roving Chef, I visited in the first week of September to deliver some vegan cookery training to the fantastic kitchen team.

At the helm is ambitious and enthusiastic head chef, Steve Dale. Steve is passionate about introducing more plant-based options at the Moreton Centre, as well as the other care homes in the St Matthews chain. He has introduced a weekly meat-free day in the care home, as well as increasing the number of daily meat-free options. Steve talked about his ambitions for the care home. He believes that introducing more plant-based options into the care home could reduce the incidence of, and help manage, type 2 diabetes among residents.

I visited the care home to give them some new recipe ideas and to demonstrate how to create healthy veggie meals, proving that these can be nutritionally balanced, energy dense and delicious!

We spent the time making a savoury vegan nut roast, vegan mac and cheese, and a vegan eggless and cremeless crème brûlée. The team loved the simplicity and flavours achieved in the recipes. The crème brûlée was apparently indecipherable from the traditional article, and the texture and taste of the mac and cheese again was well received. We talked about how the nut roast was such a versatile dish, because you could adapt the original recipe by adding a variety of different spices and flavours to create something for different seasons or to accompany other dishes.

Since the visit Steve has got in touch to let us know his director has challenged him to go vegetarian for 6 months! This is to show that this diet works and to prove that he can 'walk the walk'. If successful, Steve will be sponsored £1,000, which he has promised to donate to VfL. Steve's challenge will start on the 1 October 2019 and we wish him the best of luck!

If you'd like support to introduce more meat-free options in your care home, or to run your own meat-free day, please get in touch to book a roving chef visit. Contact our training co-ordinator, Ellie, at or on 0161 257 0887.

See below for the Savoury Roast recipe made on the day. All of the other recipes are available on our website.

Savoury Roast

Serves: 2

Time to prepare: 15 mins

Time to cook: 50 mins

Dietary requirements: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Halal, Kosher


1 carrot grated

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp oil

1 level tbsp soya flour

4oz/100g mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp yeast extract

4oz/100g chopped mixed nuts

2 tsp chopped sunflower seeds

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp mixed herbs


  1. Cook carrot and onion in the oil over a low heat for a minute.
  2. Moisten soya flour with a little stock or water and stir into the cooking vegetables.
  3. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 3 minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the yeast extract and add the nuts, seeds, tomatoes and herbs.
  5. Grease a small loaf tin and fill with the mixture. Press down and brush the top with oil.
  6. Cover and bake for 30–35 minutes at 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
  7. Remove the covering and brown for a further 5–10 minutes


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