Friday, 1 April 2011

Nut roast renovation: raw and rescued

My timing for my Neb at Nut Roast event is not great. When I decided upon the event, I hadn't peered into my crystal ball to foresee a kitchen renovation, a lack of energy, and a dodgy raw nut roast. There are still five weeks to go to make amends with my brand new kitchen. But first I will tell you about my brush with raw nut roast and how an oven was needed for a spot of recipe renovation.

Lacking a functioning oven, I decided the raw food movement probably started with kitchen renovations and I had better jump on board. I consulted a few recipes for raw nut roast. I decided I was comfortable enough with nut roasts to create my own, forgetting that I am quite new to the idea of raw recipes. I further compounded my problems by deciding to use cauliflower that needed using up, rather than using a vegetable suggested by one of the recipes. It was not a success.

Having a partner who loves a hot meal, even in the middle of an Australian summer, doesn't help any forays into raw recipes. E was not at all keen. I liked the idea but my nut roast had a bitter edge to it. I suspect it was the cauliflower. I may not have used enough seasoning - many of the recipes seemed to have a truckload of seasoning. I tried it in a sandwich, on crackers and in a raw wrap. Yes, it was more like pate than nut roast. Even I was not keen on it.

After so little time in the kitchen, I needed a roast dinner once the new oven was installed. This called for nut roast. I had lots of ideas but a tub of raw nut roast that wasn't going to be eaten. I did what any frugal cook would do. I added some eggs and breadcrumbs. I baked my raw nut roast and served it with gravy, roast veg and Brussels sprouts.

I've made roast dinners so often that it seemed a good easy choice. Yet this one wasn't quite right. The great successes were a tray of roast potatoes and the mushroom whisky gravy. The gravy recipe is below because it covered up a multitude of sins. I was also pleased that Sylvia enjoyed the roasted purple carrot and the Brussels sprouts, as well as the potatoes.

The baked nut roast still tasted strongly of cauliflower but was quite edible under a blanket of gravy. The vegetables that looked so beautiful raw didn't cook so well. I suspect it might be because midway through I discovered a little hand had been playing with the oven switches and the fan forced function was turned off. Even the Brussels sprouts hadn't cooked quite enough and I had to put them back in the pot to cook a little more. Despite all my problems, it was lovely to sit down to a home cooked meal in our new kitchen.

On reflection, it seems I need a little time to adjust to a new oven and to raw recipes - though not at the same time. I found it useful to have a look at Gena's Choosing Raw blog that I have been enjoying reading recently. She describes raw food as not heated above 118 degrees (I assume this is Fahrenheit). Interestingly, she baked her raw nut roast in a very very low oven. Maybe I will attempt the raw nut roast again but for now I am happy to stick with Sylvia's favourite fruit balls that were great little bundles of raw nutrients during the renovations.

While not my finest hour in nut roasts, I am submitting this one to my Neb at Nut Roast event. Part of the idea behind the event is to reflect on nut roasts, and so I encourage you to share your ideas and thoughts, even if it is not your favourite recipe. The event is open until 5 May.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Eating by colours – orange burgers
This time two years ago: Marvellous Mars Bar Slice
This time three years ago: Dahl, Panch Phoran and Candlelight

Cauliflower and sun-dried tomato nut roast (work in progress)
serves 4-6
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground linseeds (flax)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • shake of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup GF crispy corn crumbs (or more breadcrumbs)
Finely grind almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds in the blender. Add linseeds, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, chilli, cauliflower, garlic, tamari, and maple syrup and blend until finely chopped and incorporated. Adjust seasoning. (This is where I stopped with it as a raw nut roast and ate some of it.)

Remove to a mixing bowl and stir in eggs and crumbs. Spoon into a loaf tin (I use silicone but if using a tin, it should be well greased and lined).

Bake for about 30-40 minutes in a 200 C oven until golden brown. Eat warm with gravy and roast vegetables. We had the leftovers chopped in a curry.

Mushroom Whisky Gravy
serves about 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • glug of good whisky
  • 2 dessertspoons of plain wholemeal flour
  • 1-2 tsp promite (or other yeast extract)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
Heat oil in a heavy based non stick frying pan and add onion. Fry stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until starting to brown. Add mushrooms and garlic. Fry a further 15 minutes or so until well cooked. Deglaze with whisky and stir in flour (or should it have been the opposite way around?). I then added water and stirred in promite. Stir well until the flour lumps have dissolved and then mixture boils and thickens. Serve hot. If you let it cool, you may need to add a bit more water when it reheats to thin it down a little.

On the Stereo:
Little Bird: Kasey Chambers


  1. With risks sometimes come disappointments. Raw food can be so good, though! Too bad your partner isn't all about it.

    I love me some vegetarian gravy. We put nutritional yeast flakes in ours!

  2. Oh Johanna, you're not having much luck with the raw thing yet, are you? *chuckles* Actually, one of my first attempts was a horrible failure, and it was also becaase I tried to play around with the recipe... oops :P

    In terms of the bitterness, might I ask what brand of ground linseed you're using? Because I recently bought a different brand and it has quite an unpleasant taste - think it might have gone rancid on the shelf :(

  3. Thanks Ellen - nutritional yeast flakes sounds like a great addition to gravy - yes risks and disappointment can go hand in hand - I appreciate it is part of trying a new way of food, and hope I will find a raw nut roast to enthuse me one day

    Thanks Hannah - I don't think the problem is with my linseed - I have used it in other recipes without problem (though they are usually cooked) and I keep it in the fridge to prolong the life of it. I had had some raw disasters but at least have a few raw successes such as the cashew fudge, so am still trying out recipes.

  4. Sorry to read your first attempt at raw nut loaf didn't work out, but I do admire your attempts, the only raw thing i've ever made are fruit and nut balls. Good to read that you were still able to consume your loaf (cooked). I have a couple of Raw Cookbooks and you've encouraged me to look at them again.

    Things are a little up in the air for me, but I do plan to participate in your event, I remember it being one of the first things that brought me to your blog.

  5. that gravy sounds fabulous...been watching your kitchen reno...looking good thus far! x

  6. Thanks Mangocheeks - I am in love with fruit and nut balls - seem to lend themselves to raw so much easier than nut roast - will try again - would love to have you part of the event if you have the time

    Thanks Lucy - I think the tomato soup I made from your blog the other day encouraged me to use E's good whisky again - and it was again so lovely and smoky

  7. I've actually never heard of a raw nut roast (then again, before your blog, I had never heard of a baked one, either) ;) It looks good, anyway. . .!! I had a similar experience with my recent experiment in nut roasts--the idea was a good one, but the darned thing didn't bake up properly (and was still raw in the middle). Still working on it so I can submit something to the event!

  8. A lot of obstacles you had to overcome :(
    Still, I'm glad you posted your 'nearly raw' nut roast. I wasn't even aware you could have a 'raw' roast. But there you go...
    I hope you will not abondon this idea and tell us in future about your perfect raw nut roast :)

  9. Good for you for being so adventurous to make a raw nut roast! Sorry to hear it didn't turn out. I love cauliflower so it sounds like it would be good to me. I'm always impressed by how you transform leftovers into other things or improve on them somehow. That whisky gravy sounds extremely delicious! I never make gravy and really should.


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