Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Welsh Vegetarian Tart

I got called a vegetarian slut a few months back.  I was quite taken aback.  Apparently, it was meant to be a compliment.  For me the word slut has negative connotations.  I know some women may use the word as a hook, or even as a strap-line to grab your attention, which of course it certainly does, but I personally don't think the word slut can be reclaimed by women in a positive way.

Whilst trying to figure out an interesting and  appropriate name for my new vegetarian venture, it was suggested to me that I should perhaps call myself The Welsh Vegetarian Tart; or even home in on my South Asian ethnic heritage to give it more sex appeal.  But nah...I'm not that tacky either! I will not use those tactics to promote myself and my vegetarian endeavour either.  No you won't find me dolled up with bright red lipstick, rosy red cheeks and long batty lashes posing suggestively with a asparagus in my mouth; or gazing seductively at the camera lens. I do not wish to pose with my food, though I do scrub up quite nicely in fact.  I am not naive and I know in some cases its tongue and cheek and of course it works, hence the reason some women employ those tactics as a publicity move or to get noticed, but I choose not to be one of those women.   For me its about the food I make.  It is about inspiring others to cook creatively and imaginatively with seasonal vegetables, and maybe whilst on this culinary journey the sun will shine on me.  I am not chasing it for the sake of getting some attention.  

 Okay I know you really came here looking for a Welsh Vegetarian Tart.  Here it is.
This Welsh Red Dragon Vegetarian Tart aka Cheddar, Mustard, Leek and Potato Pie is made with Really Welsh Leeks grown in Flintshire, North Wales, as well as other Welsh ingredients such as : Blas y Tir  potatoes from Pembrokeshire,  Dragon Mature Cheddar  Cheese and Welsh Red Mustard. As the ingredients are relatively local to me -  from Wales,
*I had some excess pastry, so re-rolled it with the addition of red food colouring and used my Welsh Dragon cookie cutter for the topping, I think it looks pretty effective and no mistaking what in the tart.  Anyway, next time come back for a Welsh Vegan Tart!  Oh as a side, see this link for a short article on No tasty tarts for Welsh town.  
Welsh Red Dragon Vegetarian Tart aka Cheddar, Mustard, Leek and Potato Pie
Serves 4 - 6
For the pastry (to line a 8 inch round fluted tart tin with removable base)
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
65g butter, diced
65g vegetarian suet
Optional: 1 egg, beaten for glazing
You can cheat and make it also with shop bought shortcrust pastry
For the filling
400g  potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2-3 medium leeks, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Welsh Red Mustard (or wholegrain mustard)
200g Welsh Mature Cheddar or equivalent, grated

Method for the pastry
Sift the flour into the bowl with salt, then rub in the butter with your fingertips and stir in the suet.  Add a little cold water to make a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
Method for the filling
Boil the potatoes for the filling in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water until soft, then drain.
Heat the oil in a wide pan or frying pan, add the onions, leeks and garlic and fry until very soft.  Season well and allow to cool.
Combine the fried vegetables with the boiled potatoes and the rest of the filling ingredients, then allow to cool.
To assemble the Pie
Set aside enough pastry for the top lid.  Roll out the rest on a lightly floured surface to fit snuggly into your round baking tin.  It must come up at the sides, so press gently.  Place all the filling in the pastry round and press down, then roll out the remaining pastry to the size of your cake tin and cut out round with a knife.  Gently ease it on top of the filling.  Bring the sides of the pastry down and pinch around it to bind.  Brush with optional egg wash, then bake for 30 - 35 minutes at gas mark 6/200oC.  Allow to cool, before removing from the tin. Find Astrix* for instructions on  red dragon topping.


  1. Bravo Shaheen! I coincide with you 100%

  2. I am not sure if my last comment went through so am writing again in case - love your tart esp the dragon - you have a way with styling food - and I agree that we need to be careful about celebrating derogatory language

    1. Hi Johanna,
      I am always disappointed when I read your comments go astray on blogger, I love reading them. Thank you so much for your comment.

  3. Yum! Thats looks so good. :9
    Maybe they said vegetarian "slut" because sluts tend to like men/women, sex, getting what they want (which can be a lot of things) but with you they probably meant it as a lover of many vegetarian dishes. You LOVE cooking, baking, and eating anything vegetarian and vegan. At least that's what I thought when I read it.

    Someone in high school would call me "virginetairan" because I was still a virgin and a vegetarian (and proud of it!) So I took the nickname as a compliment. People have wicked senses of humor sometimes, surely they meant no harm. :)

    1. Thank you Adi.
      I know they mean't it in a complimentary way :) Thanks for sharing your virginetarian - thats a new one to me.

  4. I think it's great that you have the integrity not to try to grab attention by using those kind of words. I think some words, such as slut and bitch (now in so many songs by women) as are best left unreclaimed. There will always be those who just don't get it, and then you're on dangerous ground. While I would never knock those with ambitions, it's nice to know there are still people out there who are not trying desperately to get noticed and who just want to do their thing. I love the idea of your Welsh pie/ tart btw- what a great way to promote local produce.

    1. Thank you. Appreciated your comment loads.

  5. Wow Shaheen, this looks a stunning tart. I enjoyed reading the post, you do right to stick to who you are and your talent shines out that way :)
    I have mixed feelings about such words as slut, I know my gay friends use it in a complimentary way and it seems lovely hearing it from them. I also hear the words 'coffee bitch' quite a lot in my world of barista training and it's used for men as well as women. But going back to my days in advertisitng design & promotion, we used to try and stay away from any words which had a negative slant, always favouring the positive. However, it doesn't seem to stack up these days because bad advertising seems to work as well as good.
    But back to the tart, it looks a real piece of delicious art. I'm sure a wonderful idea will come for your vegetarian venture. Have a good weekend xx

  6. Oooh I'm glad about the vegan tart, I was thinking "this sounds delicious" but sadly no cheddar for me these days. I think you're right about not using sex appeal to sell food, it is frustrating and odd how many women (and men!) do go that route.

  7. That sounds like a wonderful combination. I always love leeks and cheese together :)

  8. I love this so much! This is a perfect #ShopLocal entry, thank you! Your pie is gorgeous!!


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