With more than 1.2 million vegetarians in the UK and 25 per cent of people cutting back on how much meat they eat, the chances are there’ll be more people around the table this Christmas looking for a veggie alternative.

To inspire people to try something different this Christmas, The Organic Trade Board has launched the Organic Feed Your Happy campaign to “celebrate the joy of organic at Christmas” by encouraging people to share the organic foods that feed their happy.

To do this, they’ve enlisted the help of a group of top UK chefs to create their favourite recipes for a festive organic feast.

The Feed Your Happy Christmas ambassadors are British chefs Anna Jones, Rosie Birkett and Gill Meller, who have created an exciting festive vegetarian spread – featuring organic dishes such as sweet garlic and celeriac pie with a popped bean top for the main course.

So what does eating organic mean?

The team define organic food as “food as it should be” , meaning that whenever you see the organic symbol on the products you buy, you can be sure what you buy has been produced to the highest standards.

According to the campaign, eating organic also means

• There are fewer pesticides used in the food you eat.
• you avoid additives and preservatives in our food.
•  The food you eat is always free range.
• There’s been no routine use of antibiotics or any GM ingredients.

As a starter, Rosie Birkett, chef and author of A Lot on Her Plate, has created an organic canapé of dehydrated beetroot crisps topped with raw chopped beetroot salad and fresh Sussex Slipcote cheese from High Weald Dairy.

Starter

Organic dehydrated beetroot crisps topped with raw chopped beetroot salad and fresh cheese

Serves 8

Organic Christmas

Ingredients:

(All ingredients to be organic where possible)

For the dehydrated beets

• 1 large beetroot, peeled and finely sliced

For the chopped salad

• 1 large golden beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped

• 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

• 1 sharp green apple, cored

• 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

• Small bunch of dill

• Juice of 1 lemon

• Salt and pepper

• 10ml rapeseed oil

• 100g fresh cheese

Method: 

1.Preheat the oven to 110°C. Prepare some baking sheets with baking paper and lie the beetroot discs on them. Dehydrate in the oven until crisp and dry for a few hours.

2.To make the chopped salad, combine the beetroot, carrot, apple and shallots in a food processor

3.Add the dill, lemon juice and rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.

4.Blitz for a couple more seconds, until you have a finely chopped salad.

5.Taste for seasoning.

6.To assemble, place a spoonful of the chopped salad on a dehydrated beetroot crisp.

7.Top with a little of the fresh cheese and garnish with dill

For the main, the inspiring vegetarian alternative to the turkey is Anna Jones’ (chef and author of The Modern Cook’s Year) sweet garlic pie with a popped bean top.

The cheddar and winter herb flaky pastry, made with Hodmedod’s organic flour, contains a creamy filling, sweet with balsamic, garlic and roasted celeriac, capped with a crisp, grated popped bean top.

Main

Organic sweet garlic and celeriac pie with a popped bean top

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

(All ingredients to be organic where possible)

For the pastry

• 250g of wheat and/or pea flour, plus little extra

• 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed

• ½ tsp fine sea salt

• A few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage

• Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

• 25g good cheddar, grated

• 1 medium egg yolk

• 50–70ml cold water

For the filling

• 3 heads of garlic, separated and peeled

• Olive oil

• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

• 2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage

• 1 tbsp runny honey

• 700g celeriac

• 220g good cheddar cheese, crumbled

• 150g crème fraîche

• Juice of ½ a lemon

• 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

• Bunch of parsley, quite finely chopped

• Worcester sauce

• 2 eggs, beaten

For the topping

• 500g of cooked white beans, drained

• 1 lemon Olive oil

Method:

1.Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and salt.

Rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the herbs, lemon zest and cheddar.

2.Beat the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of cold water. Add to the flour and mix until it forms a dough.

Add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together into a smooth dough.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

3.For the filling, put the cloves of garlic into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain.

4.Wipe the saucepan dry. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 100ml water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the honey, most of the rosemary and thyme (reserving the rest, with the sage) and a good pinch of salt.

Continue to cook on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark syrup.

5.Meanwhile, peel the celeriac, cut it into quarters and slice it into 2cm-thick bite sized pieces.

Put them into a saucepan, cover with hot water and boil for 7–10 minutes, until they are soft and have turned slightly translucent.

Drain and tip into a big mixing bowl. Add the cheese, crème fraîche, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, a splash of Worcester sauce and eggs.

Add a good pinch of salt and grind of pepper and gently fold in the garlic cloves.

6.Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and roll out the pastry to 3–4mm thick.

Line a 20cm-diameter cake tin with the pastry, ensuring a little spills over the edges. Pour the filling into the pastry case. Pat the drained beans dry on some kitchen paper then dress with a little olive oil, the zest of the lemon and a good pinch of salt and scatter over the celeriac filling.

Finish with the reserved rosemary and thyme, all the sage, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tart filling has set and the beans have popped and are crisp and light brown.

7.Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, then take it out of the tin. Lay a few herbs on top and serve warm.

The tasty organic veggie side dishes have been devised by Gill Meller (chef and award winning author of Gather), the inspiringpair, created with fresh tasty organic ingredients from organic veg box producer Abel & Cole, work brilliantly together, according to Meller.

The Sides

Organic roasted roots and fennel with sage, pumpkin seeds and labneh

Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 4 small beetroots – roughly golf ball size

• 1 medium-sized celeriac

• 2 bulbs of fennel

• 2 medium red onions

• 1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated with skin on

• A generous handful of sage leaves

• 4–5 sprigs of rosemary

• 2 tsp fennel seeds

• About 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

• Lemon juice

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the labneh

• 500ml plain yoghurt or milk

• 1 tsp fine sea salt

Method:

1.Make the labneh – this should be done at least 8 hours before you want to eat the dish but you can actually start it several days in advance.

2.Place the yoghurt or milk in a bowl, add the salt and stir it in thoroughly. Line a large sieve with a square of clean muslin, cheesecloth or even a very thin cotton tea towel. Spoon the salted yoghurt into the cloth then gather up the sides.

3.Tie the cloth at the top so it encloses the yoghurt. You can suspend the ball of yoghurt over a bowl so it can drain, or leave it sitting in its sieve over a bowl. Transfer it to the fridge and leave it for 6-8 hours or overnight.

4.The labneh is ready when a significant amount of liquid has drained into the bowl and the yoghurt has the texture of thick crème fraiche. Transfer the labneh from the cloth into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

5.Scrub the beetroot, halve them if they are really small or quarter them if they are a bit bigger. Peel the celeriac and cut it into 3-4cm pieces.

Trim the base and top from the fennel, reserving any green frondy leaves. Remove the outer layer of the bulb if it’s a little tired then halve the bulb, and cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges. Peel the onions and cut them into wedges, root to tip.

6.Add the beetroot, celeriac, fennel and onion to the tray, along with the garlic cloves, sage leaves, rosemary and fennel seeds. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, trickle everything generously with olive oil and toss together well.

7.Roast the veg for about 30 mins then gently stir it with a spatula. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and return the tray to the oven for a further 15-20 mins or until everything is tender and beginning to colour.

8.Remove the tray from the oven and stir again. Allow to cool for 10-15 mins.

9.To serve, spread the labneh out over a large platter. Arrange the warm roasted vegetables over the top, then give everything a final trickle of best olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. If you have reserved any fennel tops, tear them over the salad just before you serve.

Organic warm salad of roast squash and pan-fried mushrooms

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

• 1 medium squash Leaves from a medium bunch of sage

• 4 cloves of garlic

• Olive oil

• 50g butter

• 250g chestnut mushrooms

• Small bunch of wild rocket washed

• 200g soft blue cheese

• French dressing

• Salt and pepper

Method:

1.Peel the squash.

2.Cut into 1 inch chunks, and place in a roasting tin along with the bruised sage leaves, the garlic, peeled and thickly sliced, 150ml of olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.

3.Roast the squash in a pre-heated oven, set at 200°C, for 45 minutes or until soft and coloured round the edges.

4.Add 1 tbsp of olive oil along with the butter to a frying pan set over a medium heat, throw in the mushrooms that have been trimmed, cleaned and sliced, season them lightly with salt and pepper and fry for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

5.In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked squash, mushrooms, rocket and cheese.

6.Lightly dress with the French dressing.

7.Toss this all together and divide between the plates.

• To mark the launch of Organic Feed Your Happy Christmas and the Soil Association’s Organic Christmas Marketplace the ambassador chefs are calling on people to celebrate the joy of organic with others by sharing the organic foods that feed their happy this Christmas at #FeedYourHappy.

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