Wild garlic grows on the edges of woodlands from March onwards and can be used for wonderful garlic flavour in many dishes. Also see wild garlic pesto
Ingredients to serve four people:
six large carrots, scraped and chopped
four sticks of celery, chopped
a good bunch of wild garlic leaves
a handful or two of cashew nuts depending how creamy you want it
salt to taste
Place carrots and celery in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer for a few minutes. Add the wild garlic and cook for a few minutes more, until everything is tender. Pour into blender jug with nuts and salt. Blend and enjoy.
Tips: If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them. You can use 3 or 4 cloves of normal garlic in place of the wild garlic. Add a bunch of coriander for a popular classic!
A protein dense and filling meal, the recipe is a variant of red dragon pie. I bought the dried beans very cheaply from Approved Food, they do seem to get them in quite often. Mention goes to Lucy who reminded me of the protein rich properties of Amaranth, and then I was surprised to see it at only 83p for 250g from Goodness Direct (at time of writing).
The quantities listed are for an enormous pie that feeds four people with lots of leftovers for the next day. Adjust as required.
500g of dried aduki beans, soaked in water overnight
4 scraped and chopped carrots
6 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves (remove before or while serving)
1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce
a bag of potatoes (I used 750g), peeled if needed and chopped. The smaller you cut them, the less cooking time they require.
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (optional, but they give a cheesy edge without being too rich)a dab of marge
splash of soya milk.
salt and pepper to taste.
Place your soaked beans in a large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Different brands seem to need different times of cooking. Supermarket ones could need an hour, organic types need less. Once they are beginning to soften, add your amaranth, vegetables, herbs and bayleaves and cook until tender. The amaranth will swell quite a bit so top up with water if needed. Once it’s all cooked add the soy sauce, tomato puree and season to taste.
It’s a good idea to put your potatoes on to cook at the same time as the amaranth, or before, for simultaneous readiness. Mash the tatties up with marge, milk and seasoning and place on top of the bean mix. It’s great if you have hob to oven cookware and can plop everything in the same pan, but if not layer them up in a suitable casserole. Run a fork round the top of the mash for a nice finish. Bake in a hot oven for 10-20 minutes until nicely browned.
The leftovers are often comprised of mainly bean mix, so get used as a base for pasta sauce the next day.
Gluten-free if you’re careful with your brand of soy sauce, some have wheat.
A sixth of a cup/30g/1oz of margarine
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of hot water
1 teaspoon of yeast extract (marmite, vegemite or Vecon Stock etc.)
3 cups/550g/16oz of ground nuts (cashews, almonds, brazils – even peanuts do)
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of fresh herbs – winter savoury is great (if using dried 1 teaspoon)
3 cups/160g/6oz of white bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the margarine (in a large pan for mixing) and cook the celery and onion in it for a few minutes. Mix the yeast extract into the hot water (alternatively you could use any stock you like) and add this to the onion and celery. Stir in the flour, nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin. Place the nut roast mixture in the tin and press down well. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180/360 then turn out of the tin and slice. Nice served with all the traditional trimmings.
Variations:- you can substitute wine (red or white) or soya milk for the water and yeast extract. A layer of sliced mushrooms and garlic is nice. Fill with sage and onion stuffing. You can use this mixture to stuff vegetables like peppers or large tomatoes for a different dish too.
The rosemary and redcurrant jelly detailed here is a gorgeous accompaniment to any nut roast. Amazing in sandwiches too with the cold sliced roast next day. If reading this in winter, sorry, it’s a bit late to go out and get redcurrants (though rosemary plants grow all year round!), but it’s a great one to make for next year. A jar of that would be a very nice gift too.