To start off, I thought I’d let you know what I cooked for the centrepiece for Christmas dinner. It’s a special kind of nut bake which we only ever have on Christmas day, thus it is always highly anticipated. It's a lot more moist than your average nut roast, and extremely tasty. The nuts, mushrooms and onions are best chopped in a food processor. Expect to make a mess with the breadcrumbs and chopped nuts. I always make a mess anyway!
Mushroom and Ricotta nut bake
Serves around 6
Allow at least an hour for the whole thing, cooking time is around 45mins.
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 crushed garlic clove or a teaspoon of minced garlic
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
300g cashew nuts, finely chopped
200g fresh white breadcrumbs
A whole standard tub of ricotta cheese (this is usually around 235 - 275g)
1 tsp of dried thyme (I like a little more as thyme is my favourite herb)
½ tsp of ground nutmeg
2 tsp soy sauce
Salt and black pepper for seasoning
Olive oil for frying
Oven at 180C (350F)
*Fry onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until softened, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.
*In a large (Large!) bowl stir together the breadcrumbs, cashew nuts, thyme, nutmeg and then mix in the ricotta.
*Add the mushroom and onion mix along with the salt and pepper and soy sauce and stir thoroughly until it looks evenly distributed.
*Spoon the mixture into a greased 1L cake tin (I used 9”, though I think I would have preferred 8” for a thicker bake).
*Bake for 40-45mins.
Note: You can also add some fresh cranberries as a layer in the middle or on the top.