Two for one
After the excesses of Christmas, here is something festive, meat-free and unbelievably good for you. If you have vegetarian guests over Christmas or New Year, this is a great dish to offer them. Nut bake has received a bad press over the years because the massproduced versions served in canteens are usually dry, solid and completely devoid of
flavour. The nut bake recipe here includes a layer of herby breadcrumbs and is light, well seasoned and moist. It is delicious in its own right but also goes well with
cranberry sauce. It is based on a recipe that Polly and Rosie cooked while they were at the Carved Angel.
The quantites below are enough to make two loaves, feeding eight people in total. One loaf is intended for the freezer.
* 60 g butter
* 1 tbsp groundnut or grapeseed oil
* 2 medium onions, approx. 240 g
* 4 garlic cloves
* 450 g mixed shelled nuts (pine nuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts or almonds)
* 4 large free-range eggs
* 200 g white breadcrumbs, or 6–8 slices bread suitable for
* 8 tbsp milk, approx. 120 ml
* salt and pepper
For the breadcrumb filling
* 1 lemon
* 250 g brown breadcrumbs, or 8–10 slices bread suitable for
* 2 sprigs fresh sage
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* small handful of fresh parsley
* 1 bunch watercress, approx. 85 g
* 85 g butter
* green vegetable, cranberry or Cumberland sauce
GET AHEAD PREPARATION (optional)
The nut bake can be prepared 1-2 days in advance, up to the
point of going in the oven. If you only have a little time:
* Prepare the onions and garlic.
* Chop the nuts.
* Chop the sage, thyme, parsley and watercress.
50 minutes before you want to eat
* Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
* Start by making the nut layers. Heat the butter and oil in a small pan over a low heat.
Peel and finely chop the onions and add them to the pan. Leave the onions to soften for 10 minutes.
* Peel and crush the garlic and when the onions have softened add the garlic to the pan and cook for a couple more minutes.
* While the onions are cooking, roughly chop the whole mixed nuts – either pulse them a few times in a food processor or cover them with a clean tea towel and bash them
with a rolling pin. Place the nuts in a large mixing bowl and add the white breadcrumbs, milk, beaten eggs and a good dose of salt and pepper. When the onions and garlic are cooked add these too.
* Now make the breadcrumb filling. Grate the zest of the lemon. Place the breadcrumbs in a second bowl and add the zest. Chop the sage and thyme leaves with the parsley and
watercress. Add the chopped herbs and watercress to the breadcrumbs along with the melted butter. Mix together well and season to taste.
* You are now ready to build the loaf. Thoroughly grease two cake or loaf tins with butter. Put a qurter of the nut mixture in the bottom of each tin. Smooth out to form
an even layer then cover each with half the bvreadcrumb mixture. Cover the breadcrumbs with the remaining nut mixture.
* Cover the tins with foil and place one of the nut bakes in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Leave the other one to cool for freezing.
* Once the nut bake in the oven is firm to the touch, remove from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes before turning it out. Serve with a green vegetable and leftover cranberry or Cumberland sauce.