Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Savoury Nut Loaf

Kitchen Play List: Count Basie ~ The Atomic Mr Basie Album

Is it just me or is the first day back to normal routines after the holidays..a huge bummer? I am filled with the happy fact that I can start back on my Green Smoothie Breakfasts and fresh soups and salads...but this morning I seem to be feeling a little blue. My body is tired from all the indulgences I've allowed it over the festive period and I feel like the only thing that is going to get me going again is a huge strong black coffee..with a shot of Hazelnut if you please! No? No..not for at least six months..it's back to my decaf coffee with Sunday Brunch existence. And I am completely on board with this as usual...it's just taking my willpower a few days to catch up..lol. I feel like I need those matchsticks to keep my eyelids open today...or maybe it's because the New Year is bringing with it more hospital visits and tests/treatments. Not just for me but for two of my loved ones also, so maybe the blues are a little justified but I do need to 'get a grip'! Anyway...

Back to the food...lol. Today is Mystery Ingredient Challenge day and the item was Hazelnuts and I had received an email recently from a chap called Callum who had been given a bag of  hazelnuts and had no idea how to use them other then just eating them straight from the bag. He wanted to do 'something more' with them. I also had a fair amount left from Christmas baking and My Love suggested them as the Challenge Item for this week.

I turned to one of my favourite nutty recipes in Leah Leneman's great cookbook Easy Vegan Cooking

As it's the New Year and we are all trying to eat better, I decided against making the Hazelnut Sandwich Cake I sometimes make with leftover hazelnuts and opted for a savoury dish. I first made this loaf for a Sunday Lunch and served it with low fat roast potatoes and parsnips and a heap of steamed green veggies and it's been a regular dish ever since. But yesterday I served it with steamed new potatoes, broccoli, green beans, sprouts and carrots. We had our good pals D & B here for the evening and D opted to have some veggie gravy with hers.

I love this loaf because it is classically vegetarian/vegan and despite this kind of meal being the butt of some meat eaters jokes...to me it's comforting, savoury and I love the use of cashews for texture and the hazelnuts for the flavour. So what if it can be a little crumbly around the edges? It's delicious served hot with veggies...sliced cold with a salad...mashed up with a little R&R Garlic Aioli in a sandwich and we have eaten it as a baked potato filling. It's very versatile.

Savoury Nut Roast
 Savoury Nut Loaf Serves 4-6
(Recipe from Easy Vegan Cooking/Leneman)

1 onion
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used 1/2 tbsp sunflower)
2 small tomatoes
30g/3oz/1/4cup wholewheat flour
140ml/ 1/4pt/ 2/3 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
115g/4oz/3/4 cup hazelnuts
115g/4oz/3/4cup cashew nut pieces
85g/3oz/1 1/2 cups wholemeal bread crumbs
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
30g/1oz/1/4cup soya flour

Chop the onion finely and saute in the oil until tender.

Skin and chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and slowly add the water, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Remove from the heat

Grind the hazelnuts and add them to the sauce together with all the other ingredients. Mix very thoroughly and place in a lined loaf tin and smooth over.

Bake in a moderate oven at 350'F/180'C/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Leave to sit in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a serving dish and carefully remove the lining paper. Serve