Explore Leiths Diploma Open House – 5th June 2024


Vegetarian and Vegan Christmas Recipes

Aubergine and Chestnut Pie


Serves 4

For the Aubergine Layer

1 medium-sized aubergine, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Nut Layer

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

55ml water

110g walnuts, roughly chopped

110g unsweetened chestnut purée (easily made with pre-cooked chestnuts, 1-2 TBSP boiling water, blitzed with a hand blender)

55g peeled and cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

30g fresh wholemeal bread cubes

For the Courgette Layer

225g courgette, sliced

1 small bunch chives, finely chopped

1 tablespoon single cream (this can be left out to make the recipe vegan)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Finish

3 tablespoons oil or melted butter

7 sheets filo pastry

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the aubergine cubes. Fry them until beginning to soften and browning slightly (you may need to do this in a couple of batches depending on your pan size).

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently until tender.

4. To make the nut layer, cook the onions and celery in 1 tablespoon of oil until soft (this may take 15-20 minutes). Add the water, walnuts, chestnut purée, chestnuts, bread cubes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Fry the courgette in the remaining oil, until lightly browned and softened. When tender add the cream, chives salt and pepper.

6. Layer the fillings up in a large dish, starting with the aubergine and finishing with the courgette.

7. Cover the pie with 7 layers of filo pastry, brushing each layer with oil or melted butter. Brush the top with oil or melted butter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

8. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp and the filling is piping hot.


To get 55g of peeled cooked chestnuts you will need to buy about 170g of fresh chestnuts. To cook them, make a slit in the skin of each chestnut, and place into a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, and then take off the heat. Remove 1 or 2 nuts at a time and peel – the skins come off quite easily if the chestnuts are hot but not overcooked. Alternatively they can be bought cooked, peeled and ready to use, which is easier.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnuts


250 g dairy-free dark chocolate (at least 75% cocoa solids)

700 g silken tofu

160 g maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 large pinch of sea salt

150ml aquafaba liquid

150g caster sugar (this can be reduced if wanting less sugar)

150g fresh blackberries or raspberries

100g skinned hazelnuts

1. Place a small pan over a medium-low heat, half-fill with boiling water, then place a medium heatproof bowl on top, making sure the base doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Break in the chocolate, then allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

2. Line a medium bowl with a clean tea towel. Add the tofu, bunch up the tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture into the bowl.

3. Add the tofu to a food processor with the maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and 1 good pinch of sea salt, then blitz for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until silky and combined.

4. Using electric beater, whip the aquafaba until they form stiff peaks. Then slowly add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Add half of the aquafaba to the chocolate mixture and fold in, add the remaining aquafaba and fold in.

5. Divide between serving glasses and put in the fridge to chill until ready to eat. Serve garnished with the fresh berries and chopped hazelnuts.