All posts for the month January, 2009

By far my favourite vegetarian main meal is this cashew nut loaf.  This recipe is stolen almost shamelessly from The Vegetarian Gourmet by Paul Southey.  It should serve as an advert for that fantastic cookbook, which has been our cooking bible for many years.

The loaf is soft and moist, and has a cheesy layer of shredded red pepper and onion in the middle.  Our family of six gets through one loaf in a meal, but larger people might be hungrier still.  Typically I make two and freeze one – it freezes well.

The loaf

225g ground cashew nuts
100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs (stale white ones also work!)
100g finely chopped onion
25g  butter
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
150ml milk
grated rind of one lemon
half-teaspoonful of finely chopped marjoram
freshly ground black pepper

The filling

100g finely chopped onion
225g shredded red pepper (very approximately)
25g butter
freshly ground black pepper
100g coarsely grated Edam or Cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten


Set the oven at 200C (400°F, gas mark 6 (UK)).  Note that both the loaf and filling require chopped onion, so chop it all at once!

To make the loaf, mix together the nuts and breadcrumbs in a bowl.  If using broken cashew pieces, grind in a mixer together with chunks of bread for the breadcrumbs – it seems to grind better with both together.

Fry the onion in the butter until soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and fry gently for a few moments longer without allowing it to colour.  Take out of the pan and add to the mixed nuts and crumbs.

Beat the eggs with the milk, lemon rind, marjoram, salt and pepper.  Pour into the nut and crumb mixture and mix thoroughly.

To make the filling, fry the onion and red pepper in the butter until almost soft but not browned.  Season liberally with black pepper and a little salt, then remove from the heat and add the cheese and enough beaten egg to bind the mixture.

Line a 1 litre capacity hinged loaf tin (I just use a bread tin) with greaseproof paper and press half the nut mixture into the bottom of the tin.  Spread the filling mixture on top, then cover with the remaining nut mixture.  One could decorate the top perhaps with nuts, but I haven’t tried that!

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes or until firm.  (In a Rayburn or Aga it seems to take longer.)

Serve hot with Béarnaise sauce accompanied with caulifower or broccoli, or (as we prefer) a tomato and onion sauce made with a roux, and carrots and potatos.