Christmas has become a much more mindful affair these days. For me, It’s not about buying heaps of presents anymore, it’s about helping the less fortunate and making this special time of year as magical for as many people as possible. The same goes for Christmas lunch. These days more and more people are choosing not to eating meat, which, if you’re not a seasoned vegetarian cook can be a bit stressful if one of your guests is vegetarian or vegan. So, here’s an incredibly simple, special recipe to help you out. To modify for a vegan, don’t use butter or add the halloumi (but, Beetroot Sauvage in Edinburgh do an amazing range of vegan cheeses).


Kabocha squash (a beautiful intense flavour and textured squash, you can buy these from Kilduff Farm or Wilson’s Farm Produce North Berwick)
Pearled spelt (available from Earth Matters)
Halloumi cheese
Lemon juice and zest
Fennel bulb
Onion and garlic
Mixed spice


Simply place the whole squash (one medium sized should serve two) in 160ºC fan oven for around 40 minutes. Fry the halloumi until golden brown on both sides, put to one side. Slice and fry the fennel bulb until slightly charred, put to one side. Chop a large onion and two cloves of garlic and fry in butter and olive oil gently until softened. Add a teaspoon of mixed spice and taste, you might need a bit more, depending on how much Christmas spice you like. Add a handful of raisins, zest and juice of one lemon, a handful of toasted pinenuts, and set to one side.

Cook two cups of pearled spelt, make sure it is not over-cooked, drain and add to the onion mixture. Chop up halloumi and fennel and add to the onion mixture. Season well, add a handful or more of dill,  taste and add more if needed. Remove squash from oven, they should be firm to the touch, push a knife in to check. Cool slightly, cut the lid off, scoop out the pumpkin seeds and fibrous bits, add your filling and wrap in foil. Keep warm until you are ready to serve. Vegetarian Christmas covered!

Hope you all have the most peaceful and restful Christmas.


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