Sunday 12 July 2015

Stuffed nut roast for Christmas in July dinner party

As a lover of nut roasts, I sit up and listen when someone else tells me they have a favourite nut roast they have been making for over 25 years.  So when Kate of The Gluten Free Alchemist posted a favourite Stuffed Cashew Nut Roast I couldn't wait to try it.  While they are perfect for Kate at Christmas, I waited until our winter to make a nut roast for the winter solstice and another for Christmas in July dinner party.

I have posted 31 nut roast recipes in the eight years that I have had this blog.  Yet in all this time I have two types of nut roasts that have lingered on my to do list.  The long list has not had one stuffed nut roast nor one nut roast in pastry.  This nut roast is rolled up like a roulade.  Roulades intimidate me.  Yet Kate was reassuring that it wasn't so hard.

Finally I summoned up the courage to try this nut roast for a winter solstice roast dinner.  It wasn't so hard and it tasted amazing.  We had it with roast (white and purple) potatoes, roast pumpkin, boiled brussel sprouts and gravy.  It was delicious.  Sylvia even had a little nut roast.

My main concern was that there wasn't so much of a swirl as was so clear in Kate's slices of nut roast.  However I agreed with her that it sliced up beautiful and tasted amazing when cold.  In fact for a bit of fun I made my own roast dinner sandwich with some leftovers.  The Home Alone sandwich at the new Smith and Deli vegan sandwich bar has wowed everyone with a vegan American roast dinner in a sandwich.  This is my Australian version: nut roast, roast potato, roast pumpkin, peas and gravy.

When I made the nut roast for the winter solstice, I was already thinking about a Christmas in July dinner party I had organised with a couple of families from Sylvia's school this weekend.  It seemed the perfect nut roast to serve.  I prefer tried and tested recipes when cooking a meal for others, especially one that looks and tastes impressive.

A couple of days before the lunch, Sylvia and I made paper chains and paper snowflakes.  Do you like her idea of sticking a snowflake on the lamp?  On the morning before everyone arrived we dug out a little plastic Christmas tree, cds and some other festive touches.  I set our kitchen table for the adults and had the children sitting around the little table.  Sylvia helped me lay out the cutlery and E did a last load of dishes.

I wasn't sure exactly how many people we would have, given some illness and the possibility of a couple of last minute guests.  By the time everyone arrived it was pouring rain in a most wintery fashion and we had 6 adults and 5 children.  All the food was prepared and just needed a bit of reheating, other than chopping up brussel sprouts. Benchtops were cleared and serving dishes were laid out.

The previous day I had made nut roast (up to the chilling stage), gravy, gingerbread biscuits and chopped up the potato and pumpkin for roasting.  My mum would sometimes put the vegies for roasting into water in advance when preparing large dinners so I did this overnight.  In the morning I roasted the vegies for about an hour, cooked the nut roast, made pizzas and put the gingerbread stars together into a Christmas tree. 

I had decided that the children would need feeding first so I had the candy cane pizzas ready when they arrived.  I had tried candy cane pizza last Christmas and it was not quite right.  This pizza looked better because I baked the pizza with the tomato sauce on it and only put the cheese on it in the last 5 minutes.  However when I tasted some leftover pizza later I thought it tasted a little on the doughy side, possibly due to me messing with a favourite pizza base recipe.  The kids seemed to enjoy it.  In fact they loved all the festive touches.

Meanwhile I was reheating the nut roast , gravy, roast potato and roast pumpkin while boiling the sprouts.  Naomi brought along a bottle of red wine and a lovely beetroot, feta and greens salad.  By the time the adults were settled down to the meal and the kids were just about finished and creating mayhem in Sylvia's bedroom.

Everyone loved the nut roast.  Quite a few guests had never had one before.  They were impressed and few of us had seconds.  There was only a small crusty piece remaining when we finished our meal.  The kids were too busy running about to taste any but I think they sampled some roast potatoes.

I didn't get any photos of the inside of the nut roast at the Christmas in July.  I had thought I might photograph the leftovers but there was nothing worth photographing.  So instead here is another picture of the inside of my first nut roast which looks far neater because it was sliced cold.  You can see a bit of a swirl.  I hoped for more swirl in the second but I don't think it was any more obvious.

Swirl or no swirl, it was an excellent nut roast and you don't just need to take my word for it.  E thought it more cheesy than many of my nut roasts.  Being baked like a roulade meant it had more crispy edges and it is not too stodgy with the carrot filling.

For dessert Kerin brought over a tray of apple rose tarts.  They looked so gorgeous and were delicious with custard that I cooked up while they baked.  Sylvia was smitten with the custard but her friend said it tasted of nothing.  Kerin also brought along a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream which went very well with the tarts and warmed us in the dark wintery afternoon.

I had also made a gingerbread Christmas tree with my graded star cutters.  Sylvia had a lovely time helping to put this together and scattering cachou baubles over the tree.  I thought it would be a festive table decoration.  However Sylvia wanted it on the kids table and then it was removed from it while they ate pizza.  I was surprised that they kids demolished the tree, even with the gingerbread people that Kerin brought along.

We were pleased the skies cleared enough for the kids to run about outside while we had a cuppa.  Then it was time for everyone to find their coats and head home.  We did dishes and tidied up and then collapsed in front of the telly with some leftover pizza for dinner.

I am sending this post to Jac for Meatfree Mondays, Karen for Cooking with Herbs, and Michelle and Helen for Extra Veg.

More festive meals on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Christmas dinner for two with broccoli roulade
Festive vegetarian haggis wreath for New Year's Eve
Hubert the (vegetarian) hog’s head Christmas in July feast
Christmas day dinner with the family
Parsnip, cranberry and chestnut roast at Christmas dinner in Scotland 
A vegetarian Christmas dinner in Scotland
Winter solstice galettes and fruitcake

Stuffed cashew nut roast
Adapted from Kate at The Gluten Free Alchemist
Serves 6 - 10

1 to 2 tbsp neutral oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 leek, diced
170g (about 2-3 medium) carrots, - peeled and grated
85g ground walnuts* 
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

Outer layer:
225g raw cashew nuts,  finely ground
125g stale breadcrumbs*
125g grated vintage cheese*
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped*
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
140 ml (¼ pint) milk

Extra whole raw cashews to decorate

First make the stuffing.  Fry leek in the oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add grated carrots and fry about 10 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.  Set aside to cool while you mix up the outer layer.

To make the outer layer mix all ingredients together to make a slightly sticky mixture.

Line a swiss roll tin with baking paper hanging over either long end.  Spread the outer layer over the base of the tin.  Then spread the cooled filling over the outer layer leaving about 2 cm on either long end.

Starting at the long end, use baking paper to assist you roll the nut roast up tightly.  It will be very fragile.  If there are any cracks, now is the best time to patch them up with your fingers.  Kate suggests smoothing over the seam where the rolling finishes but I find it easier to put the seam on the base.  Place cashews on top to decorate and wrap in baking paper.  Chill in fridge for at least an hour.  It can be made the day before and chilled overnight.

Unwrap from baking paper and bake on a tray for 45 minutes on 180 C or until golden brown.  (I turned my slow oven up to 200 C for half the time.)  Eat hot or cold.

  • Any breadcrumbs will do. I used sourdough breadcrumbs and Kate used gluten free breadcrumbs.  The first time I made this I used a mixture of gruyere and cheddar cheese. 
  •  The second time I made it I made my own breadcrumbs in the blender and put some fresh parsley in with it so it was chopped really fine, but this is not necessary.  
  • The first time I used some celery and all the leek but the second time I used the white part of the leek.
  • The first time I made it I had roasted garlic and added it to the outer layer which was great.  
  • I would always use cashews for the outer layer but am still experimenting with the middle layer.  Kate uses skinned hazelnuts but I have used walnuts and pecans and have thought about using blanched almonds.  
  • Kate spreads her filling on baking paper that is not in a tin but I find it easier to spread it on paper in a tin to determine the size.
Here are photos of making the nut roast - on the left are photos from the first time I made it and one the left are photos from the second time I made it:

On the Stereo:
White Christmas: Bing Crosby


  1. Wow! I love that you celebrated Christmas in July with such spirit and this nut roast looks amazingly like a turkey roll. For you to give it high praise is endorsement indeed, and I'll be referring back to this post in Christmas I suspect. The candy cane pizzas are a great idea too!

    1. Thanks Kari - Christmas in July is fun - all the good food without the commercialisation. I have never had a turkey roll but I think I know the sort of thing you mean.

  2. love this so much!!! And the nut roast looks delish :)

  3. ooh lovely nut roast! Now I'm craving a roast dinner...

    1. Thanks Cate - am sure you can whip yourself up a lovely roast dinner - right now :-)

  4. that roast really does look fab, as does everything else!

    1. Thanks Faye - it tasted great and I was wondering I could do a vegan version?

  5. So out of the 31 nut roasts you've made, which one is your favourite or most often made? I want to try making a vegan one, and it would be good to have a starting point. I have bad memories of hippy nut roasts in the 70s. :)

    1. Thanks Rosalie - That is a hard question. The nut roast I make most is my Christmas nut roast (no 1) and I have done a vegan version of it (no 17). However of the vegan nut roasts I think I would recommend this parsnip one (no 7) which I really loved or the lentil ones (no 25 and no 26). But it really depends on what you like - I find that vegan nut roasts are a bit softer than if they have egg but still wonderful. My memories are nut roast are great but perhaps it was because my first one was by a friend who was a great cook.

  6. I love Christmas in July. I do like the look of the nut roast and how interesting that it is made like a roulade. I think the meal looks beautiful with the vegetables and gravy and the table setting and decorations are gorgeous. I love the look of your gingerbread Christmas tree xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - the roulade style was quite impressive compared to my usually scraggy edged nut roasts - sylvia loved doing the decorations with me

  7. Christmas in July sounds AWESOME. Way less stress than Christmas at Christmas. :P

    1. Thanks Joanne - yes it is just lots of good food and no worrying about presents!

  8. SO glad you made it! And so glad you enjoyed it!!! I love this nut roast, so it is fab to see someone else like it too. And it looks great..... swirl or no swirl.
    Thanks so much for the link (if you've seen my latest post (which isn't veggie... sorry!) you will see I have been having a few internet troubles lately, so I can do with the word-spreading!)
    The idea of Christmas in July is so fun too..... The feast looks wonderful.... so much great food it is hard to know which is my favourite dish..... but the candy cane pizzas are very cool!
    Thanks again xxx (Happy Christmas!)

    1. Thanks Kate - with recipes like these, you deserve better treatment of your blog - I am sorry to hear of your internet troubles - Google is great when it works and so frustrating when it goes wrong! I hope people will check out your beautiful swirl. I really wanted it to look like that but I guess I just have to appreciate my own style!

  9. We missed out on having a Christmas in July (although I guess there is still time) because we were away. I can definitely see the swirl in your nutroast. Nice to see that the apple rose tarts made another appearance!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - yes there is still time for Christmas in July - and I was pleased to see the apple rose tarts too - Kerin is very taken with the recipe and it was such a beautiful dessert for a feast!

  10. What a cool idea to celebrate Christmas in July! Your swirly not roast looks so elegant and festive.

    1. Thanks Mihl - Christmas in July is such a great idea - especially for us Aussies to have a good winter festive feast

  11. Your nut roast sounds good and I love the gingerbread tree. We are doing Christmas in July at the pub later in July.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I am interested to hear of pubs here doing Christmas in July - I haven't seen it being a big thing in cafes and restaurants but then I guess I don't get out enough :-)

  12. I love the idea of Christmas in July! And you are a domestic diva! I can't believe how wonderfully all of your food turned out - your spread is gorgeous! The nut roast sounds deliciously divine.

  13. JUST fabulous, what an amazing spread Johanna! Merry Christmas in July to you!

  14. You really are the queen of nut roasts Johanna. Thanks for sharing with #ExtraVeg and apologies for being so slow to come and comment.

  15. Yeah I also loved how you celebrated Christmas in July and with such spirit!! All the party food looks amazing. My favorite is nut roast. I am dying to give it a try. Very soon I’ll be hosting a private party at some local private parties Los Angeles venue and would love to include this to my party.


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