When I first gave up eating meat on New Year’s Day 1986, standard vegetarian fayre was a nut roast – or if you were eating alone, a nut cutlet. Over the past 20 years or so vegetarian food has come a long way with books such as SImon Hopkinson’s wonderful Vegetarian Option or Terre a Terre’s new book but sometimes, particularly after a long cold weekend when Spurs could only manage a draw away at Birmingham, a nut roast with gravy and all the trimmings does just the trick.
This one was a little experimental, made with items from the bottom of the fridge that had started to look a little beyond their best.
I fried a chopped onion, a grated carrot and 2 grated courgettes in a little sunflower oil. Sometime it’s nice to add a grated apple too but I didn’t have one. Then added finely chopped mushrooms and a dash of soy sauce. After about 20 minutes of cooking most of the liquid should have gone. If not, cook a little longer. The mixture needs to be fairly dryish.
Allow to cool then mix in about 200g of chopped nuts. You can use anything here. I had about 100g cashews, and 50g each of pine nuts and hazelnuts in the cupboard. Take 2-3 slices of white bread and whiz into breadcrumbs in a blender/processor. Add this to the mixture with salt, pepper and an egg. Mix well then put into a prepared 1lb loaf tin, cover with foil and bake at 200C for an hour or so. Remove the foil and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until browned on top. Then remove from oven, leave for 5 minutes before turning out.
Slice and serve with roast potatoes, beetroot and turnips (yes I had some turnips), something green and gravy. I had some brussel sprouts from the allotment and some runner beans I had perpared and frozen at the end of the Summer.
Left over roast can be sliced and put cold into sandwiches (great with Branston pickle) or fried into nut burgers