There’s always next year…we have garlic planted in one bed, various kales in another. A reasonable harvest of good old yacon and enough oca to go through to next year. Other perennials probably still with us at the moment. Not a bad little harvest from our token row of parsnips which was a nice surprise. Very little seed saved last year: only one interesting thing, Sweet Banana peppers from the HSL.
I’ll do a proper gardeny update for my own pleasure and that of anyone who may find it such a thing but mainly I wished to make a note of this excellent recipe which I can’t find on the internet. It’s originally from a Good Food magazine vegetarian special (from Christmas 2003) and unusually doesn’t seem to be on their website. I also, inevitably, adapted it to our own handy ingredients and preferences. It’s very nice and impressive hot with roast vegetables and if anything, even nicer cold for lunch: I would make it for picnics and packed lunches with the filling pressed out more thinly. What’s especially remarkable about this as a vegetarian main meal is that it’s free not only of the ubiquitous goat’s cheese but indeed any cheese at all, which makes a nice change & also means that you could easily make it vegan if you take care with your bread and pastry.
About 10-12 servings depending on your appetite…I split the filling in two and froze one half as a sausage without pastry to use another day, so one half in pastry lasted me for Christmas dinner, and part of two and a bit days of lunch for two of us.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
8oz chopped fresh mushrooms (we had common old white button ones)
8oz walnuts, roasted/toasted in oven around 160 centigrade for 5-7 minutes, and left to cool
8oz ground almonds
8oz bread crumbs (any colour but probably not a good idea to use ones with bits in)
2tbsp each of soya sauce and lemon juice
Sprig of thyme, couple of sage leaves, sprig of rosemary (or any herbs of your choice, fresh or dried)
1 tsp Marmite
Bit of Miso stock powder
- Fry the onions in oil until completely soft and getting a bit of colour. This always takes longer than you think or anyone will tell you. Allow at least 20 minutes in my opinion.
- Add the garlic cloves and mushrooms and cook for as long as you like but until the mushrooms seem cooked through. Tip on to a plate to cool so you don’t ruin your ailing blender. Keep the saucepan for mixing later.
- Tip the walnuts in to the blender/ food processor and grind/blend to a rough powder. Put on a plate.
- Blend the herbs with the mushroom mix until smooth. Tip this back in to the original saucepan.
- Add everything else to the saucepan of mushroom puree – the walnuts, the ground almonds, the breadcrumbs, the soya sauce, the lemon juice, the Marmite, the stock powder, black pepper as desired. Mix with wooden spoon til thoroughly blended then press a bit and it should start to bind together but still be quite dry, so you can handle it without getting very sticky hands.
- At this point I weighed out half the mix (about 1lb 2 oz), shaped it in to a sausage and froze it.
- I then had my lovely assisant (sparkly bikini optional, especially if your lovely assistant is male) roll out about 250g of his home made puff pastry to the size of our chopping board – a rectangle about 12 inches by 8 inches I think. Put the filling down the middle and shape then roll up like a sausage roll and seal. I cut slits in the top, but next time I’d make them bigger: the filling doesn’t dry out too much during cooking, even in a couple of walnut sized balls we cooked unwrapped as an experiment.
- Bake for about 30 minutes at about 180 centrigrade in a fan oven until the pastry looks nice and the filling is hot throughout.
I have made this before and you can change the nuts, the seasonings and the shape/size to suit your needs. I had a medlar jelly with it this year but that was disappointing: quince jelly last year was much better, or you could make a gravy or other sauce if you like. You could probably get an even deeper colour with chestnut or portobello type mushrooms and wholemeal breadcrumbs. It looks very neat sliced and tastes really good – it should satisfy any half-intelligent carnivore as well as vegetarians. Unless they have a nut allergy, of course.