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    John Whaite’s Veggie Strudel

    Try this Moroccan-inspired vegetable strudel for your Christmas starter!

    Here's what you'll need...

    • 3 mixed peppers
    • 2 aubergines
    • 125g cherry tomatoes
    • 2 large red onions, finely sliced
    • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2tbsp sugar
    • 100g couscous
    • 1 vegetable stock cube   
    • 2tbsp ras el hanout spice mix
    • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
    • Small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
    • 300g goats cheese
    • Salt, pepper and sunflower oil

    For the Pastry

    • 10 sheets filo pastry
    • 70g unsalted butter, melted
    • Clean tablecloth

    Here's how it's done... Step 1 

    Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Place the whole peppers and aubergines into a roasting dish and drizzle over a little oil then season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and roast for a further 20 minutes, or until the skins of the peppers and aubergines are slightly charred (the aubergines may need a little longer than the peppers). Once roasted allow to cool completely, then peel the aubergines and peppers and pull them apart into strips of flesh.

    Meanwhile caramelise the onion. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the finely sliced onion and allow to slowly cook down for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are dark, sticky and sweet. Allow to cool.

     

    Step 2

    Place the couscous into a heatproof bowl and crumble in the stock cube along with a little salt and pepper. Give it a good mix together, then pour over some hot water so that it covers the couscous by about 2cm. Cover with cling and allow to soak for a few minutes, until the couscous has swollen and the water is all absorbed. Once cool, add the strips of pepper and aubergine, the roasted tomatoes, caramelised onions, spice mix, chilli and coriander as well as a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a good mix, then crumble in the goats cheese and mix through gently. Make sure you taste it to ensure the seasoning is just right.

     

    Step 3

    For the pastry, place the clean table cloth onto the counter top. Line up 5 sheets of filo pastry, top to bottom, overlapping each one over the previous one by a good 2 inches. Repeat with the other 5 starting from the same point, overlapping over the previous 5 by 2 inches. So you should end up with a panel of filo sheets, 2 wide, 5 deep. Paint the butter over the filo with a pastry brush.

     

    Step 4

    Pile the filling into a line across the pastry – make sure you pile it at the first two sheets of filo, and leave a good 2 inches either side of the filling.

     

    Step 5

    Using the tablecloth, roll the filling up into the pastry and tuck the excess bits of pastry under the strudel.

     

    Step 6

    Arrange on a large baking sheet – you may need to snake the strudel around – then bake in the preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.

     

     

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