Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Nut loaf

I love nut loaf. I remember in the 70s and 80s when one of the worst insults you could throw at vegetarians was to talk in sneering tones about a roast dinner that substituted a glorious hunk of meat with what? Nut loaf. How could anyone eat this stuff? was the incredulous undertone. Well, I'm a meat eater and I love a good nut loaf. It used to be pretty frugal, but nuts are pricey these days so I look on it as a delicious nutty luxury. Normally, I use the nut loaf recipe from The Greens Cookbook, but Simon Rimmer has different take on it in The Seasoned Vegetarian. I had a sudden pang of nut loaf fever yesterday at work, and a quick google brought up this recipe from Simon.
Once I'd secured my mushrooms, I headed for home, fairly sure that I had most of the other ingredients, or suitable substitutes. Yep, no carrot but an allotment yellow courgette would, I reckoned, add the necessary veggie moisture. No hazelnuts, but some rummaging in the cupboard yielded pecans, walnuts, a few whole almonds and an unopened bag of mixed nuts.
Instead of Parmesan, I used my Rye Harbour Sussex Charmer cheese. And a teaspoon full of chipotle sauce took the place of Tabasco. One thing that worried me a bit about the recipe was the quantity of breadcrumbs - a whopping 150g, moistened with milk and a beaten egg. But I put my trust in Mr Rimmer and cooked on.
You need a BIG bowl to take the final mixture, and I was a bit doubtful if it would really all fit into a 2lb loaf tin, but it does, just, with a bit of pressing and squidging. It goes into a medium oven (gas mark 4) for an hour.
It's a very beige beast and smells great. Whatever you do, don't do what I did: I took the loaf out of the tin before it had cooled down, and the poor thing collapsed in the middle. So I crammed it back into the tin and left well alone.

Which is why it looks a bit sunken and wobblesome in the middle. Mr Rimmer, I owe you an apology for doubting you. The loaf is light, a little bit chewy, nutty and lovely.


mangocheeks said...

Thank you for making me smile.

During the winter, i usually fill my small freezer with little nutloaf 'not pork pies', but you've reminded me that nutloaf without the pastry can be just as good, I just have to be reminded now and again.

fran39 said...

Thanks, Mango. Let's hear it for the much-maligned nut loaf!

Dan said...

Fran - never really fancied trying nut loaf, being a committed carnivore. But this looks pretty nice actually.

fran39 said...

Dan - hope you give it a go! You could always have a meaty side dish with it for your carnivore inner beast.

Abby said...

I've never had this! I wonder if I could trick my husband with this instead of our usual meatloaf...