Recipe: Nut Roast, Poached Pears

Belated seasonal post - January was too cold and snowy to inspire anything other than overeating and hot toddy consumption.

Had a delicious nut roast for Christmas Day, a super veggie dish that takes minimal effort but is very filling and protein-rich. The 'traditional' dessert of poached pears was made by moi, except I made the mistake of using a very fruity Merlot to poach the pears in, and I think an oaky wine works better, like Rioja, so it doesn't overpower the taste of the pears.

Chestnut Nut Roast
Serves 5

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1-2 small carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g chestnut puree (or mashed chestnuts)
1-2 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley and thyme)
1 tbsp veggie stock/Bouillon powder
1 egg
1/2 cup (lightly packed) grated cheese
Salt + Pepper

1. Grease and line a loaf tin (about 13 x 22 cm) with baking paper or well greased greaseproof paper. Heat the oven to 200 C.

2. Heat oil in frypan and fry the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

3. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-60 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes and the turn out onto serving dish. Goes superbly well with roast parsnips and cranberry sauce. I had steamed broccoli on the side too (but I only took a photo of the next day's leftovers, which I had freezer veg with instead).

Poached Pears
Serves 4

1/2 bottle good red wine
4 pears, cored (tricky, but an apple corer does the job)
200 g caster sugar
1 clove

1. Put wine, clove and sugar into pot and bring slowly to a bubble.

2. Add pears upright [takes a bit of fiddly balancing] and leave to simmer for 30 mins, or until pink colour has spread through the pear (make take longer than 30 mins, depending on type of pear and ripeness)

3. Remove pears from pan then boil down remaining wine mixture to a sticky syrup [the proper recipes say reduce it by half]. Pour this over each of the pears and if you want something to top it all off with, add a couple of raspberries to the plate.

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