Here’s a Mother’s Garden favourite, not only because it is so so yummy hot or cold, but because we can source most of the ingredients here on the farm.
We are not vegetarians, but meat is absent from a great deal of our diet and our kitchen bookshelves feature recipes by the likes of Sarah Brown, Rose Elliot and the American Mollie Katzen.
This nut roast is quick, simple and can be enjoyed with roast potatoes and steamed vegetables, or cold with a fresh crisp salad.
For us, though, it is a slow food, as we enjoy sitting at the kitchen table, talking or listening to the radio, cracking farm nuts and filling the large jar that we know equates to two nut roasts.
Why not do what we do and always make double the mixture and pop two roasts in the oven, ensuring there will be some to enjoy cold. The use of an egg to help bind is optional, but we tend to put one in.
As I said, so many of the ingredients can be sourced on the farm – the walnuts, almonds, hazels , onions, garlic, wild thyme, extra virgin olive oil, breadcrumbs – and we then cook them in the little oven above our woodstove.
Ingredients for two roasts
Two tablespoons of Mother’s Garden arbequina olive oil.
4 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
25g of flour
thyme, fresh or dried, two or more teaspoons
300ml of vegetable stock
300g of mixed almonds, walnuts and hazels, ground or roughly chopped. We vary the percentages and sometimes replace one with bought cashews.
200g of breadcrumbs.
One fresh free-range egg(optional)
Juice of a lemon
Large clove of garlic, finally chopped
Gently saute the onions in a heavy pan until tender. Stir occasionally. This should take about ten minutes
Use this time to mix your ground nuts and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and, if time, line two loaf tins with saved butter papers or grease-proof paper.
When the onions are soft add the flour. Stir for a minute then add stock and and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat.
Now the sticky bit.
Combine the onion mixture with the ground nuts and breadcrumbs. This is when we add a farm egg, but not essential.
Add the lemon juice, crushed garlic, thyme and salt and pepper to taste and then work the mixture together with a wooden spoon. It should provide enough mixture to three-quarter fill two loaf tins.
You can now leave these in the fridge for a few hours or, if your oven is heated and ready, pop them in.
We have tried baking at a high heat (200C) for 40 minutes, but prefer to cook them for an hour at a slightly lower temperature. It is always hard for us to gauge because of the personality of our woodstove, but all you have to do is keep checking. Sticking a knife into the roast is always a good test. If it comes out sticky it will need a little longer in the oven.
We have also learned to let them rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
If we are having it as a hot meal we always pour fresh olive oil on our steamed vegetables (so so good) but you may want to either make a gravy or, as we do regularly, some homemade garlic mayonnaise (ali-oli).
A popular gravy at Mother’s Garden is made with mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, a little brandy, flour to thicken, vegetable stock and seasoning to taste.
Lightly saute the chopped mushrooms (400g) in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil , add a nip of brandy if you like the idea, stir until the liquid has gone and the mushrooms are brown then add the flour, stirring for a few minutes. In goes the stock. We let this simmer for 5 minutes, then allow it to cool a little before liquidising. You can then leave until you need it, or reheat immediately to serve.
Any leftovers always make a great addition to a “what’s left in the fridge?” soup.
Tell us how you get on! We love feedback…..