Recipe: Starter, Stilton, Mushroom and Spinach Wellingtons

These make a great starter or vegetarian main course and are nice served with a chive and crème fraiche sauce. You can alter the size according to the shape of your mushrooms and button chestnut or small field mushrooms make dinky canapé-sized bites. They can be made ahead and frozen (uncooked) then defrosted and cooked when required.

Makes 10 scone-sized Wellingtons, serving 5 people as a starter (two per person).

150g Stilton10 medium field mushrooms300g baby spinach leaves1 fat clove garlicSmall bunch thyme1 medium eggGrating of nutmeg3tbsp olive oil10g butterSmall onion500g ready-made puff pastry

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Finely chop the onion and garlic, strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and crumble the stilton.

2. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and lightly sauté the mushrooms, turning once until golden brown on both sides then drain on kitchen paper.


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3. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and butter in the same pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until softened, then add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season the spinach with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg and place in a sieve to drain any liquid.

4. Scatter the thyme leaves over a lightly floured work surface and roll the pastry out over the thyme leaves to a 2-3mm thickness.

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5. Cut out 10 disks of pastry, 2cm larger than the diameter of the caps of the mushrooms, then another 10 disks 4cm larger than the diameter of the caps of the mushrooms.

6. Place the smaller pastry disks on the baking sheets, spacing them out evenly. Add a tablespoon of spinach to each disk, then a little of the Stilton, a mushroom cap, another tablespoon of spinach and finally top with the remaining Stilton.

7. Place the larger disks over each mound and press the edges together, crimping and sealing with the tines of a fork.

8. Beat together the egg with a pinch of salt and brush over the tops of each Wellington and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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