Vegetable and herb casserole

Serves 4

Like meat-eaters, vegetarians like to be a bit spoilt sometimes too – but it's often the case that restaurants don't make much of an effort, preferring to treat them like they have some sort of social disorder or disease instead. In our defence, I'd say that British chefs are getting much better at serving veggies than we used to be, and in some restaurants these days you even get a separate vegetarian or vegan menu. By contrast, in some nameless countries not too far across the water, the old ways of treating vegetarian guests sadly still prevail.

1 large onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A couple of good knobs of butter
2tsp flour
1ltr vegetable stock
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into cm slices on the angle
4 medium young turnips, scrubbed
4-6 sticks of celery, peeled if necessary and cut into 1cm-thick slices on the angle
1 young leek, cut into rounds
4-5 leaves of green cabbage, cut into rough squares
2-3tbsp chopped green herbs like tarragon, parsley, chervil, chives, fennel
2-3tbsp double cream

Gently cook the onion and garlic in the butter for 2-3 minutes without colouring, add the flour then gradually stir in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the carrots, turnips and celery and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the leak and cabbage and simmer for another 6-7 minutes, then add the herbs and double cream. Check seasoning and re-season if necessary.

Serve with rice or mashed potato or whatever else you fancy.

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