Last week, I saw an article that talked about the vitamins and enzymes most closely linked with good heart health, and decided to set myself the task of finding a recipe that contained them all. The result was this Hairy Bikers’ recipe for nut roast, which I have made several times in the past and which has always gone down well. It has the added advantage of being less time consuming than other nut roast recipes I have tried and is extremely tasty.
Omega 3 oils have long been linked with strong cardiovascular health and although most commonly associated with oily fish, nuts (especially walnuts) are also an excellent source. Making sure that the mixture of nuts you use contains brazils will also ensure that you get a good dose of selenium. Selenium is an essential nutrient that enhances the effect of Vitamin E, which is another powerful antioxidant known to protect the heart and which is also to be found in nuts. Vitamin C (found in concentrated form in parsley) is another antioxidant that works well with vitamin E and magnesium, a deficiency of which is thought to lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Magnesium is found in nuts and in leafy green vegetables, and this recipe contains a good amount of spinach, which is also an excellent source of co-enzyme Q10. Co-Q10 is an enzyme that plays a vital role in heart health and which is naturally secreted by the body, although its levels tend to fall off with age, so we middle aged hedonists need a dietary boost.
The final vitamin in the healthy heart mix is vitamin D, the best source of which is sunshine. So we all headed out into the garden to chop logs and enjoy the early signs of spring last Sunday, before coming back in starving hungry and ready to tuck in to our hearty nut roast, which I served with a rich onion gravy, some roast potatoes and loads of green veggies.
- 200 grammes fresh baby spinach
- 275 grammes unsalted mixed nuts if possible include walnuts, cashews and brazils
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large carrot grated
- 200 grammes tinned chopped tomatoes
- 50 grammes sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
- 100 grammes gruyere cheese grated
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp fresh mint chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tsp fresh sage chopped
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1 tsp vegetable stock concentrate
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 large onions peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
- 30 grammes Butter
- 30 grammes Plain flour
- 100 mls red wine
- 500 mls vegetable stock made up per instructions
- 1 tsp fresh sage finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Blanch the spinach in boiling water, then drain it well and squeeze out all the water. Chop the spinach finely and set aside.
- Tip the chopped nuts into a large mixing bowl and add the onion, carrot, tinned and sundried tomatoes, egg, cheese, sage, mint, parsley, spinach, garlic, stock and seasoning, then mix everything together well.
- Spray some frylight all over the inside of a loaf tin and pour in the mixture. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the loaf tin and lay it over the top to stop it burning. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour until set. Remove, leave to stand for a few minutes and turn out onto plate.
- While the nut roast cooks, spray a small pan with frylight and sweat the onions for at least 20 minutes until soft and velvety.
- Add the butter and once melted add the flour. Cook the onion roux for a minute or two, stirring all the time.
- Add the red wine and still stirring cook for another minute or so.
- Add the stock, and mix well until smooth: all the onions make this a very forgiving sauce so don't worry too much about lumps. Stir gently while bringing to the boil and once thickened add the sage. Leave on a low simmer until ready to serve the nut roast.