For the pie filling
Coat the vegetarian ‘beef’ chunks in a little oil and cook in oven at 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for 7-10 minutes. This will add a little flavour. When ready take out and allow to cool.
Fry all the chunky veg in a little oil to get some colour (put the carrots in first so they cook a little longer until they are soft). The caramelisation will add depth and flavour to the dish. Season with salt and pepper.
For the vegetable stock
Sweat down the onions, leeks, carrots and celery in a little oil to get some colour.
Add the herbs and water and cook for 20 minutes.
Bring to the boil and then simmer. Season to taste.
For the gravy
In a large pot that can hold over 2 litres of water, add 3 tablespoons of oil and allow to heat up.
Add the onions, garlic and thyme and fry until golden.
Add the ale, cook for 5-7 minutes then add the vegetable stock you made earlier.
Bring to boil and gravy mix until it thickens.
Add the chunky vegetables and ‘beef’ chunks (the pie filling) you cooked earlier to the large gravy pot as well as some salt and pepper and a little sugar to taste, to take away the bitterness of the ale.
Simmer for 7-10 minutes to incorporate the flavor and check the seasoning to see if it needs more sugar.
Strain the gravy, keeping the mushrooms, vegetarian ‘beef’ chunks, etc.
Put the gravy into a different pot.
Place the strained mushrooms, veg and vegetarian ‘beef’ chunks into a ceramic baking dish and add a little gravy to the dish for added moisture (keep rest until later).
Glaze the edge of the baking ceramic dish with soya milk and lay puff pastry over the ‘beef’ and vegetables.
Score the puff pastry (don’t pierce it): Poke 5 holes to let steam out and glaze the pastry with egg wash.
Place in the oven at 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and bake until the puff pastry has risen and is golden.
Take out and rest for 5 minutes before serving with the remaining gravy.