Laura Wycherley is a keen cook, who eats mostly vegan dishes when at home with her husband James. She likes to cook from scratch, believing that what we put in our bodies should be as natural as possible. Laura’s approach to cooking has rubbed off on her two daughters and son-in-law, who feed her two grandsons healthy dishes with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Laura also has a very new granddaughter. Says a proud Laura: “Her meals are the healthiest they can be because they are supplied by her mum”.
This recipe is adapted to be vegan from a Gary Rhodes cookbook I have, and I have used it since my girls were small.
Each time I put this meal together it reminds me of a day when I invited my friend, Kim, and her two daughters round for lunch. We were all seated around the table and I was getting ready to serve up the meal. I just happened to say: “There’s nothing you really can’t eat is there?” to which my replied “Only mushrooms…”
This was a very embarrassing moment because mushrooms are one of the main ingredients in this dish! Poor Kim had to have a sandwich while the rest of us tucked into Roasted Mushroom and Leek Shepherd’s Pie. The recipe is below.
Roasted Mushroom and Leek Shepherd’s Pie
Olive oil or vegetable oil
2lb/900g flat or open-cup mushrooms, wiped and stalks removed
3–4 leeks, finely shredded
Dairy-free spread such as Vitalite or Pure
1 onion, sliced
1.5–2lb/750–900g mashed potatoes (use dairy-free spread as above and soya milk or almond milk (unsweetened) mashed into boiled potatoes)
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon each chopped fresh parsley, tarragon and basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8.
- Heat a frying pan or roasting tray with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and place in the pan or on tray. Fry mushrooms on a high heat, colouring them well. After a minute, turn them in the tray and repeat the colouring (another teaspoon of oil may be needed). Roast the mushrooms in the hot oven for 5–6 mins. Once cooked, remove and keep to one side. The mushrooms should have retained their juices and have a rich flavour.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil with a knob of dairy-free spread and add sliced onion. Cook on moderate heat for a few minutes, until softened but with very little colour. Increase the heat, add shredded leeks and season with salt and pepper. Stir for 3–4 minutes; the leeks should now be tender.
- 'Butter' an ovenproof dish with dairy-free spread, carve the mushrooms into slices and lay them in the base of the dish. Spoon some leeks on top and then repeat with mushrooms. Continue layering until none of the ingredients remain unused.
- Mix the lemon juice and herbs into the mashed potatoes and spread over the top of the leek and mushrooms. Place in the hot oven until the top of the potatoes is nicely browned.
- Serve on warm plates.
Mash grated soya cheese into the mashed potatoes before placing into the oven, or mash horseradish sauce into the mashed potatoes before placing into the oven. Sainsbury’s have a delicious horseradish sauce that does not contain any dairy products.