Roast Aubergine and Tomato Nut Roast with Macadamia Mustard Sauce
This is the nut roast, a heavenly, light slice of nuttiness, and the creamy macadamia sauce is the big fat cherry on top of the cake. I make this on Sundays – with a plate of saucy nut roast I feel connected with the veggie food pioneers of the 60s and 70s, and this is based loosely on a Cranks recipe I unearthed in an old dusty book. You use a lot of nuts here, but it’s a treat dish, a Sunday special. You can use any combination of nuts; just steer clear of peanuts, as they can dominate. Good-quality rapeseed oil is a wonderful ingredient and adds a lovely butteriness to the dish, but vegetable oil is perfectly acceptable.
|2 tsp||cumin seeds|
|2 tsp||coriander seeds|
|½ tsp||ground cinnamon|
|4||ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped|
|A handful||sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (including any oil)|
|¼ tsp||black pepper|
|1 tsp||dried mint|
|1 tsp||dried thyme|
|2 handfuls each||walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, all soaked for 4 hours|
|A handful||unsoaked sunflower seeds for the tin|
|2 tbsp||sultanas, soaked for 2 hours|
|A handful||ground almonds|
|A big handful||chickpea flour, or:|
|2 handfuls||breadcrumbs (more if needed)|
|1 tsp||sea salt|
|1 tsp||black pepper|
|2 large handfuls||fresh parsley, finely chopped|
|For the Macadamia Mustard Sauce:|
|2 tsp||good rapeseed oil or olive oil|
|½||a white onion, finely sliced|
|2 big handfuls||macadamia nuts, soaked for 4 hours|
|2 ½ tsp||apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar|
|½–1 tbsp||English mustard powder (to taste)|
|1½ tsp||brown rice syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)|
|½ tsp||sea salt|
|125ml||vegetable stock or water|
|For the garnish:|
|2 tbsp||finely chopped fresh parsley|
You will need: a food processor and a 450g loaf tin.
For the nut roast:
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Rub the whole aubergines with oil and place on a baking tray. Bake them for 40–45 minutes, turning them at least once, until they are very tender. Cover and set aside. When cooled, scoop out the soft insides and roughly chop. Discard the skins. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C/gas mark 2.
Roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet for 1 minute, until they pop and slightly brown. Grind together in a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder. Peel the onion and garlic and blend together in a food processor. Warm ½ a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the blended onion and garlic, and stir and fry for 4 minutes. Add the spices – the cumin, coriander and cinnamon – and fry for 1 minute. Add the aubergine, chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper, followed by the dried herbs, and cook on a high simmer for 12–15 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and a thickish sauce has formed. Check the seasoning.
Blitz up the nuts and sultanas in a food processor until a rough crumb is formed. Put into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients, finally adding the warm tomato mixture. With your trusty wooden spoon or your hands, get it all well combined. It should be slightly dry, but definitely sticky to the touch. You should be able to form small balls with the mix. Add more flour or breadcrumbs if too wet.
Sprinkle a layer of sunflower seeds in the bottom of an oiled and lined 450g loaf tin and pack in the nutty mix. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the top is beginning to go brown and crisp. Check with a skewer – the middle should be piping hot. Once crisp, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.
While the nut roast is in the oven, make the macadamia mustard sauce.
For the macadamia mustard sauce:
Warm the oil on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 6–8 minutes, until they are soft and sweet. Place in a food processor with the macadamias, vinegar, mustard, brown rice syrup and salt and blitz until smooth. Now drizzle in the stock, little by little, until you have a thick sauce. Keep blending until very smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan and warm through, without boiling. It should have the consistency of double cream.
Place the loaf on a warm serving platter and slice into hearty slabs. Serve with lashings of the macadamia mustard sauce, and sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top. A pile of roasted or steamed veggies rounds things off nicely.