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The New Nut Roast

If you are vegetarian or cooking for anyone who is vegetarian this Christmas – fear not, there is more to the Christmas Dinner than the dreaded Nut Roast. This recipe is a great one for everyone to enjoy too, so give it a go.


Serves 4-8, depending on whether you serve it as a vegetarian main course or a side dish.
1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin
25g dried porcini mushrooms
50g breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
400g tin of butterbeans, drained
50g toasted pinenuts
75g ready-to-eat apricots, chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 stalks of rosemary, leaves chopped
a good grating of nutmeg
sprigs of rosemary and 3 dried apricots, cut in half, to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan ovens/gas mark 6

Brush the base and sides of an 18cm non-stick loose-bottomed cake tin with olive oil.

Place the butternut squash, garlic and onion in a roasting tray, season with salt and pepper and toss in the olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until the squash is tender and becoming golden.

While the vegetables are roasting, put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 30 minutes to soak and become plump. Once soaked, drain and roughly chop. Keep to one side.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a food processor. Add the breadcrumbs, egg and butterbeans. Blitz to a rough paste and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the porcini mushrooms, pinenuts, apricots, celery, rosemary, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into the cake tin and smooth over the top. Decorate with the rosemary and apricots and brush over the top with a little olive oil.

Sit on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for about 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes until it begins to feel firm. Once cooked, allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes before removing from the tin. Serve cut into wedges.


When you have prepared the stuffing cake, it ca be kept in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. You will need to add on about 10 more minutes of cooking time if it is cooked from chilled.

Festive Mince Pies

I am feeling very festive today as I have just made a load of mince pies. This is my favourite recipe at the moment. The crumble topping makes them just delicious and they are so easy and quik to throw together. Give them a try….


Makes approx.12
approx. 375g shortcrust pastry
250g good quality mincemeat
50g plain flour
4 tbsp demerara sugar
40g butter
finely grated zest of ½ orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon

you will also need 1 or 2 x 12 hole patty tins.

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

Thinly roll out the pastry and using a 7.5-9cm pastry cutter, cut out as many disks as you can, re-rolling the trimmings as you go. Press the disks into the holes of one or two 12 hole patty tins.

Spoon a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat into each pastry case and set aside.

To make the crumble topping, rub together the flour, demerara sugar, butter, orange zest and cinnamon until you have a chunky crumble mixture.  Scatter over the top of the mincemeat and place in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the mince pies are golden and the tops are crisp.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the tins. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.


For those who aren’t lovers of mincemeat, a delicious alternative is to replace it with some apple pie filling, and make as above with the crumble topping.

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