Regardless of the holiday(s) you celebrate this time of year, I hope you’re having a wonderful season. My Christmas was cold, windy, foggy, and rainy, but the rain melted all the snow and I can see our lawn again! Euge! My family eats baked ham for Christmas dinner, so I made baked “hammy” seitan, only instead of the mustard/agave glaze I used for Easter, I used my grandmother’s recipe for pineapple baked ham. I’ll do a post on it sometime. Today Boxing Day was celebrated in many parts of the world, but not America, where most people have no idea if it is some sort of pugilist holiday or what. I got some new kitchen items for Christmas I wanted to break in, and decided we’d celebrate the mysterious Boxing Day the way I’ve decided thousands of European and Australian vegetarians do: with a nut loaf. I’ve never made a nut loaf before, but it seems very British to me for some reason and I wanted to have a very British Boxing Day.
In looking for nut loaf recipes, I found that many of them call for an unfortunate ratio of mushrooms. I finally found this promising-looking recipe that requires no mushrooms (and is accompanied by a video narrated by a lady with a most delightful accent). My recipe is heavily influenced by this recipe, but instead of bread crumbs, I used some leftover couscous I wanted to get rid of. The result was husband-approved…little surprise considering my husband would live off nuts alone if I’d let him.
Boxing Day Nut Loaf
8 oz mixed nuts (I used equal proportions hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp each: thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon (or some other combination of dried herbs to your liking, although you have to pronounce the “h” even if you’re American and it sounds weird because it’s Boxing Day and everyone is British on Boxing Day)
1 tsp dried parsley
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup vegan stock
2 tsp Marmite
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables (I used corn, peas, and spinach)
5 oz cooked couscous
1/2 cup whole wheat panko (or other breadcrumbs) + additional for topping
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or gas mark 6, which is 400 degrees Fahrenheit if your oven is American even if you’re not, which you’re not because it’s Boxing Day.
Place some olive oil in a small pot over medium heat and then add the onions. This is my new orange Le Creuset sauce pot, which my parents gave me for Christmas! I LOVE it!
While the onions are cooking, grind the nuts in a food processor or blender, but call it a “liquidizer” because you’re British today. Set aside in a bowl with the nutritional yeast and dried herbs (pronounce that h!).
Whisk the Marmite (it’s British!) into the stock. It’s not pictured, but another of my presents was an electric kettle (oooh, so British!). I had requested one, although with a few reservations, wondering if I would really use it often enough to make it worthwhile. Well, aside from tea, I used it no less than five times today, so the answer is yes, I WILL use it and it’s great! I brought a cup of water to a boil in less than a minute, then whisked in the bouillon and Marmite. Yes, I could have used the microwave, but for some reason I felt a LOT better about using the kettle.
I also used the electric kettle to defrost the frozen veggies. I put them in a bowl and poured boiling water over them to cover, let sit for a few minutes, then drained.
When the onions are soft, add the carrots, cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Here I’m weighing my leftover couscous so I can record how much I used.
In a large bowl, combine the mixed dry ingredients, the thawed frozen veggies, the onions and carrots, and 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs.
Add the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.
Spread into a greased loaf pan or baking dish. I used a shallow baking dish anticipating the same problem I had with my lentil loaf, in which it stayed so moist it never held together. Smooth the top of the loaf. (This baking dish was actually a previous Christmas present from my aunt, so it’s extra appropriate for this post.)
Sprinkle the additional panko or breadcrumbs atop the loaf. I forgot to take a picture before loading it into the oven, so here it is in the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
While the nut loaf was baking, I tossed some baby potatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and spread them out in another baking dish, which I slid in next to the nut loaf.
Then I halved some Brussels sprouts – which I think the British love during Christmas and I’m assuming Boxing Day – and placed them cut side down in some olive oil in my OTHER new Le Creuset pot, a gorgeous kiwi Dutch oven (which I’ve been lusting after for a while) from Mark.
I let them cook for a few minutes, covered, then took the lid off, stirred them and cooked a few more minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper. I didn’t take any pictures, but in the orange Le Creuset, I made some Fiery Red Wine Gravy – I was pretty true to that recipe, though without the mint.
The finished nut loaf:
And here was our meal, served on a new stoneware plate from my parents, although you can’t see the pattern, which is red boxes (it’s Boxing Day after all!) for the food. Mark and I ate it while watching Whale Wars. The crew only eats vegan meals, which I liked to hear while eating my vegan meal, although I had a hard time with some of the scenes of whales being hurt.
I love my new pots so much I’m storing them on the stove. Well, I love them and also I don’t have anywhere else to store them. So it’s especially good I got the electric kettle since this means the tea kettle got kicked off the stove.
And in other news, Mark and I made gingerbread cookies, using my mother’s recipe, on Christmas Eve. I decorated mine pretty traditionally:
I don’t even know what to tell you about Mark’s: