This was my first time making a nut roast and it was super important for me to not make it be dry as that was my perception of them. I achieved that, in fact, what I ended up with was a deliciously moist colourful medley of flavours and textures, fruity, crunchy & wholesome! I loved it and my family did too. First up you’ll need your oven pre-heated to gas mark 4/180c/160cfan.
Add the lentils into a pan of water, then cook to package instructions but only for 15 minutes or so. Then reserve and drain. Whilst the lentils are cooking you can fry the onion off in a little oil in a frying pan, if using sun dried tomatoes / charred peppers in oil, use these. Fry the onion until softened and coloured slightly in the oil. All of the other ingredients (except for the lentils) can now go in to the pan. Stir carefully over the heat to soften. Add any flavour tweaks you wish by tasting as you go.
Take off the heat and stir through the lentils. Bake this in a lined loaf tin, so push all the mixture into the tin, pressing down on it with the spoon to make it compact like a loaf. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. I mention this in the video, but once you take it out and turn it out of the tin, if you want to char the other side you could easily grill it! Either way though, let it cool slightly and enjoy this super moist nut roast!
To make the gravy place the butter (or you can use oil) into a frying pan and melt over a medium-low flame, then add the onion. Brown the onion, caramelising it slightly then add the garlic (if using). Add in the flour and stir to thicken the mixture to a sort of paste, stir for a minute or so, then slowly add in the vegetable stock stirring as you go on a steady simmer. If you want a thicker gravy add a little less stock or add some cornflour. Stir over the heat for a good 5 minutes or until it is smooth and lump free. If you want to have a smooth gravy pass through a sieve, alternatively the chunky onions work a charm in my opinion so transfer straight to a jug! That’s it and it stores great / easy to warm back up!
Honey roast vegetables
Honey roast vegetables can be made in lots of different ways. This one we roast and soften the vegetables then shake them up in a medley of honey and balsamic vinegar, it really is delicious! You can use many different vegetables, the important thing is that they are evenly sized, anything too big won’t roast enough and could still be hard after cooking!
So with the veg all washed and sliced pour it into a large bowl (or just the tin you are roasting in) and drizzle with the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Mix it around so the oil fully coats the vegetables. Place into a roasting tray and roast for 30 mins at 425f/220c/200fan/gas7 or until softened and lightly charred. It’s good to give it a mix halfway through roasting. You can do this at a lower temperature in line with the nut roast but you’ll need to give it longer in the oven, say another 20 minutes. Once done tip the vegetables into a big bowl, drizzle with honey and a shake of balsamic vinegar, mix up together well and serve. Perfect balance of sweetness and zing!
Crunchy cauliflower cheese
For this one i’ve added a yummy panko breadcrumb crunch to the cauliflower cheese, it’s optional but it gives it another texture dimension! Your oven will need to be pre-heated to 190c/170fan/gas5. Slice the cauliflower into even sized pieces and bring to the boil to slightly soften for 5 minutes. You want it not quite tender, still a little firm. Drain in a colander.
The sauce is made by melting the butter in a saucepan, adding the flour and cooking for a minute or so whilst it thickens over a medium-low heat. Turn off the heat and gradually add in the milk stirring as you go, do it in batches though. Once all the milk is in, keep stirring as you put it back on the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer it for a few minutes, it should be nice and thickened, then take off the heat.
Whilst the pan is sat there, add in the mustard powder and a good handful of cheese. Stir this through. The heat will melt the cheese into it. You could add some more spices at this point, paprika may give it a nice twist.
Add the cooled cauliflower into a baking dish spreading it apart so that it is all level. Pour the sauce on top ensuring that it coats the cauliflower and covers it fully. Add some more cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Take out the oven, sprinkle on the panko breadcrumbs and the parmesan and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving, it can also be frozen!