Wednesday 7 April 2010

WHB Easter nut roast and reflections

On the Friday night before Easter Sunday, I suddenly wondered if I should make a nut roast for Sunday lunch at my mum and dad's. I rang my mum and decided I would bring one. I hadn't planned to go to the supermarket until the next week so I had to look around at what was in the house before. I had lots of pumpkin but no eggs so a vegan pumpkin nut roast suggested itself.

I looked up a vegan nut roast with parsnip that I had made a couple of years back and used the recipe as a guide but I substituted roast pumpkin for the parsnip, almonds for the cashews and used some different flavourings. It wasn't the prettiest of nut roasts but it tasted great and Sylvia loved it. Actually most of my family had some with their Easter lamb roast.

I needed some fried onions for a tomato sauce I was making for dinner so I fried up a few onions together and took out what I needed for the nut roast. I cut my large wedge of pumpkin into dice, drizzled it with olive oil, added a generous pinch of salt. I roasted it in a very hot oven for about 30-40 minutes. The tomato sauce was just onions, garlic and tomatoes. At the last moment I decided to add the leftover roasted pumpkin and it was very good.

Easter lunch was full of delicious food. My mum did lots of roast vegetables and a meltingly delicious eggplant and tomato bake. We had sponge cake with cream and strawberries for dessert complete with candles as a late celebration of my brother Paul's birthday. Sylvia was quite partial to some sponge cake though not into cream or strawberries. I preferred Susie's gf chocolate layer cake.

The day could not pass without hot cross buns. Before I left home my mum asked me to bring some yeast because hers had run out and the shops were shut for Easter. Hers were fluffy and delicious this year, with some thanks to her bread maker. You can see the batch she whipped up on Sunday in the photo.

The pleasantly sunny weather saw us spending time outside with the mosquitos and Woody, my mum and dad's dog. I mention the mosquitos first because they clamoured for attention with their constant biting. Woody, on the other hand, is an old dog who is content to mostly lie in a corner and sleep. Being black she melts into the shadows. In fact, when she was a pup we lost her once and finally found her asleep in a shadow between the house and the back door step!

My mum's hen's are growing and will soon be laying eggs. Apparently my nieces can tell them apart. They are amusing to watch when out of their hen house. The sound of their clucking is quite relaxing.

While my mum is busy with her hens (and loving feeding them all the food scraps), my dad has been busy creating a yellow brick road for my nieces. He always relishes a challenge in the garden.

Of course Emerald City is at the end of the yellow brick road. I just love this little set up by the compost bin. I have not yet sampled the mud pies so unfortunately I cannot review this enticing cafe.

E, Sylvia and I stayed overnight. Dinner was a fantastically simple but tasty open sandwich of tomatoes, cheese and leftover nut roast. It went down very nicely, accompanied by an episode of Midsomer Murders.

Lunch was an impressive batch of pakoras that my mum made. They were excellent, especially with a dollop of my nanny's wonderful tomato chutney, made with a glut of tomatoes from her garden.

Sylvia had a wonderful time, especially playing with her cousin Grace on Monday, who also slept over. They played at the toy kitchen, sorted the doll house and ran/crawled up and down the hallway. But Sylvia's favourite new toy was this little trolley that she loves to push about. She is not quite walking but can walk quite well if she holds onto the handle. We brought it back with us on loan for a while. Mum also gave me some fantastic pumpkin and ricotta cannelloni so we had dinner sorted on our arrival back home. A great way to end a relaxing and delicious Easter weekend.

As this is another great way to use pumpkin, I am sending this post to Prof Kitty of The Cabinet of Prof Kitty for Weekend Herb Blogging #228. WHB is a weekly blog event started by Kalyn and now coordinated by Haalo. It is an opportunity for bloggers to showcase ways to use different herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables.

Pumpkin Nut Roast
adapted from my parsnip nut roast
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 150 g (1½ cups) dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp soy flour
  • 1 heaped cup of roasted diced pumpkin, lightly mashed with a fork (see above if you want to see how I roasted it)
  • 1 tbsp fresh herbs (I used rosemary, sage and chives), finely chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp stock powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use)
Preheat oven to 180°C ( 350°F, gas 4). Fry onions in the oil until brown and caramelised. Stir together all ingredients and spoon into silicon loaf pan (about 13 x 22cm). Smooth top with the back of your spoon. Bake for about 50 mins til top firms up. Cool in pan. Reheat in pan in oven with roast dinner (ie at the heat the oven needs for the other food). Or serve straight away!

On the Stereo:
Thunder Perfect Mind: Current 93


  1. Looks like you had a great holiday. That yellow brick road and cafe are way too cute! I'd love to learn how to make pakoras like your mom.

  2. What a fabulous break. Your parents look as if they live in the country - it sees to be the life!! Woody is adorable - I can empathise with the need to simply sink into the shadows and sleep.

  3. mmm, mum made pakoras, how scrummy.

  4. Hmm, I now have the Midsomer Murders theme song stuck in my head.. do doo do dooo do, do do doooooo :)

    That is one gorgeous old dog too. We once freaked out about losing our black dog, but we were even worse that you - she was in her bed, as per usual, but the bed is under a table, and there were shadows... still, we felt a bit silly!

  5. I think I've been waiting for that nutroast recipe. . . pumpkin in a nut roast sounds divine! And this one could so easily be made GF. :) Love the photos of your Mum's place--that Emerald City Cafe is just too cute! (And how could I forget Woody?!) ;)

  6. Thanks Sarah - I'd like to make pakoras that taste like my mum but I fear there is too much frying involved for my comfort levels - maybe one day

    Thanks Cakelaw - my parents are just across the road from a supermarket carpark in Geelong - not at all the idyllic country town where I grew up but enough space to run about out in their yard

    Thanks Nic - they were wonderful

    Thanks Hannah - sometimes the ability to melt into the shadows like a black dog would be most useful

    Thanks Ricki - I thought it was high time I did a pumpkin nut roast too - never come across a recipe for it that I really had to make but I loved this parsnip nut roast and it adapted well - would love to hear if you come up with a GF version - am sure it would be well within your abilities - if you try this recipe you might find it was a bit on the crumbly side - I had to rush the last bit and didn't get to make sure the texture was exactly to my satisfaction.

  7. Great holiday for you and your family! Nice photos of it! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  9. Any recipe with pumpkin gets my attention. I have one that I know I have to consume fast and you gave me a very nice suggestion: thanks!

  10. Sounds like a wonderful weekend! =) Roasted pumpkin sounds like a delicious addition to a nut roast. I just found a recipe for a teriyaki mushroom nut roast that I want to try.

  11. I'm so excited to tell you that I finally made my first nut roast! I had been dreaming of making one ever since you had your "Neb at Nutroast" event so many years ago, but most of the recipes I come across are either not vegan or not gluten-free (or both) so I'd been putting it off. Recently I came across Vegan Lunch Box's Magical Loaf Studio, which lets you choose your binder and your carb, etc., and I made an amazing loaf using flax seed for binder and millet for my carb. I thought of you as I ate my delicious, filling, hearty, thoroughly satisfying meal!

  12. Looks like a great holiday feast! This pumpkin nut roast is something that I would definitely find myself salivating over.

  13. Thanks Simona - hope you enjoy your pumpkin

    Thanks Ashley - sounds intriguing - hope to hear more about it soon

    Thanks Scrumptious - your nut roast sounds wonderful - hope there is no looking back now that you have joined the nut roast fraternity - if you used gluten free breadcrumbs then you could make this one vegan and gluten free too

    Thanks Joanne - it went down well in our holiday feast but you make me think that in America it might go down well on a thanksgiving table as pumpkin would be in season then

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed the nosy around your parents garden. I specially loved Emerald City cafe. Makes me wish I was a child again. If you do to sample those 'mud pies', do let us know how they tasted :D

  15. Hi Johanna. I found your lovely blog when searching for nut roast recipes. I made your pumpkin nut roast - with my own home-grown squash! - and it was gorgeous. So popular in fact that I bought an extra loaf tin and will make double for Christmas.

    So thankyou! I will drop by again to see what you've been cooking!


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