Friday 21 December 2018

Celebration Nut Roast with Lemon and Garlic Stuffing

I came across the original of this recipe several years ago when I first tried to go vegan. I think the original was in a nut cookery book I borrowed from the library. I know I've changed it a fair bit since though.


1              large onion, finely chopped
1 knob  Margarine
1 tbs         Flour
150ml  Vegan Milk
150ml  Vegetable stock
1 tsp         Yeast extract or miso
1 tsp         Nutmeg, grated
  Black pepper
100g Breadcrumbs
225g Finely ground mixed nuts


75g        Breadcrumbs
75g        Margarine, melted 
1/2        small Onion, grated
1 cl         Garlic, crushed
2 tbs       Fresh chopped parsley
1        Lemon
1 tbs        Flour


Large saucepan; Milk saucepan; 2lb loaf tin; Large mixing bowl.


Set the oven to 190C/375F/Mk 5. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin


Fry the onion in the margarine in the saucepan until soft.
Add the flour, stir and cook for one minute.
Remove from heat and gradually add the milk and stock, stirring continually to avoid lumps.
Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened.
Add the yeast extract/miso, nutmeg and pepper, stir well.
Add the nuts and breadcrumbs to the onion sauce and mix thoroughly to form a stiff but moist nutmeat.


Combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the lemon juice, margarine and sufficient water to make a moist but firm mixture.
Press sufficient of the nutmeat into the tin to line the base and sides leaving enough room in the centre for the stuffing.
Press the stuffing into the centre of the nutmeat and cover it with the remaining nutmeat.
Bake for one hour until brown and firm. Cool slightly in the tin.
Turn out onto a plate and garnish with the parsley.

Can be frozen cooked or uncooked. Thaw before baking.

Monday 6 January 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is based on a template in the +Rachel Cotterill book Design Your Own Cookies which I had the pleasure of proof reading some time ago. I decided on peanut butter because it's a taste I love (I could happily eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar) and when eating them I could kid myself that I was having a semi-healthy breakfast.

Prepare:        15 minutes
Cook:            20 minutes
Serves:         12 cookies


                     250g     plain flour              
                     135g     muscovado sugar    
                      1/2tsp  baking powder        
                         1       egg
                     125g     butter
                     240g     crunchy peanut butter


Milk saucepan, large mixing bowl, baking trays, tray liners


Melt the butter, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F / gas mark 3.
Lightly grease or line two baking trays.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
If necessary, sieve to eliminate any lumps. If the sugar has solidified into a lump warm it in the microwave for around a minute. (I got this tip from Mary Berry on the Bake Off Christmas Special.)

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
Add the egg and melted butter.
Break the egg yolk with a fork and gradually fold in the flour.

Knead the dough with clean hands until no dry patches remain.
Add the peanut butter and knead gently into the dough.

Divide the dough into twelve even-sized pieces.
Roll each piece between your palms to make a ball, then place on the baking tray and press lightly to flatten.
Remember to leave enough space for the cookies to spread in the oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the surface begins to turn golden brown.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Halogen Oven Semi-Wholemeal Loaf

I've posted previously about my problems making bread and in that post said that my next attempt would be using my halogen oven and the recipe book I got with it (The Halogen Oven Cookbook by Norma Miller). This is, approximately, that recipe. I say approximately because I never follow a recipe exactly as written. The following version is the result of a few experiments which were all somewhat more edible than the ones referred to above.

Prepare:         approx 1 day including rising time
Cook:            15 minutes
Serves:         1 350g loaf


150ml             water
    1tsp           clear honey
    1tbs           dry active yeast
175g              strong plain wholemeal flour
  55g              strong white flour
1/2tsp            salt


Heatproof measuring jug, thermometer, kettle, large mixing bowl, flour shaker, loaf tin


Boil the water in the kettle.
Pour the hot water into the jug and add the honey.
When the water has cooled to around 30 to 37C add the yeast and give it a good stir.
Leave the yeast mixture to do its thing for around 10 to 15 minutes until there's a layer of froth around 20mm deep on the top.
Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl.
Stir the water, honey and yeast mixture and add to the bowl mixing thoroughly.
Tip the dough out on to a floured surface and knead it until its elastic.
Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm.
Leave the dough in a fairly warm place until it's doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen remove it from the bowl, lightly knead it into a suitable shape and transfer it to a loaf tin.
Cover the tin with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to rise again for a few hours.
Once the dough has finished rising transfer the tin to the halogen oven and cook it at 200C until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, approximately 15 minutes.

This only makes a small loaf but is sufficient for one person.

Saturday 19 January 2013

(Mis)Adventures in Bread Making

Over the years I've made numerous attempts to bake my own bread. For some reason these rarely come out quite right.

For example, I tried to make a sourdough loaf last summer (for those of you not familiar with the term 'summer' is when the rain is slightly warmer that it is the rest of the year) and it was so solid that even the birds left it alone. I suspect the problem was largely due to the fact that, no matter how long I left it, the dough just didn't seem to want to rise although the starter gave off plenty of gas so the yeast was presumably alive.

The other day I decided to try a soda bread loaf on the basis that that would be more likely to rise. I chose the version from the New Year edition of Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers as this was supposed to be foolproof. Well, it may have been had I been able to follow the recipe properly. You see, I have this little problem (but enough of my medical history): the thermostat in my cooker doesn't allow the oven to get warmer than 180C which is rather cool for bread making. That being so, I decided to use my halogen oven instead. That presents, if anything, the opposite problem in that if I use the same temperature as in the original recipe things tend to burn. Sure enough, the top of my loaf started getting too dark for my liking so I took it out, turned it over and turned the temperature down 10 degrees or so. This stopped the loaf burning but I ended up with a loaf that was OK on the outside but undercooked in the middle.

For my next attempt I'll use a recipe from the book I got with the halogen oven.

Saturday 29 December 2012

No! Sushi

I just had my first attempt at making Maki Sushi. Needless to say, I didn't find it anywhere near as easy as this guy. Lets put it this way, if I was on The Generation Game doing it I would certainly not consider it a 'good game' and I doubt that 'the score on the door' would be all that high. Still, the end result is edible, even if one does need a fork and spoon to do so.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Roast Beetroot

Back when I was a child my Dad used to grow quite a bit of beetroot but all Mum ever did with it was pickle it. As this recipe helps to prove it's a much more versatile vegetable than that.

Prepare:            10 mins
Cook:                1 hour
Serves:             4


455g      beetroot, whole unpeeled
10 cl      garlic, unpeeled, squashed
             handful of fresh oregano or marjoram
             salt and pepper
10 tbs    balsamic vinegar
6 tbs     rapeseed oil


Aluminium foil; roasting tray


Heat the oven to 200C.
Tear off 1.5 metres of foil (less foil?) and fold in half to produce a double layer 750mm long.
Place the beets in the middle of the foil with the garlic and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fold up the foil all round to make a waterproof container and add the vinegar and oil.
Seal and cook for an hour.

Sunday 12 August 2012

Protein and Cancer

For a while now I've realised that I need to lose weight. Knowing I need to do it and doing it are, however, two separate things. My problem is that I just enjoy food too much, hence starting this blog. Now that I'm between jobs though I've got the time to devote to trying to do something about my weight problem. The latest prod to get me dieting came from this post from Jacqueline's blog. This, in turn, lead me to Michael Moseley's recent 'Horizon' programme. One thing he mentioned struck me as very interesting and that was that a low protein diet can help reduce the incidence of various cancers and other diseases. Naturally, as a good carnivore Michael ignored this titbit but as a committed vegetarian I decided to follow it up, which lead me to this abstract which indicates that reduced protein intake is indeed the way to go. As most vegetarians know, a vegetarian diet is naturally lower in protein than a carnivorous/omnivorous one so getting my protein intake down to the requisite level shouldn't be a problem. According to what I was taught in my nutrition course the relevant proportions are: 55% carbohydrates; 15% protein and 30% fats. All I need to do now is find out the protein, carbohydrate, fat and energy content of everything I eat. It's going to be a bit of a pain working all that out for everything I eat but hopefully it will rapidly become second nature.