My take on Rose Elliot's White Nutmeat Loaf: FH3
(according to my wife, this was a failure)
(according to my wife, this was a failure)
One of our long-time favourite vegetarian recipes comes from British Chef Rose Elliot's cookbook. The cookbook "Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking" (1982) is no longer in print, but Elliot probably has updated this recipe in some of her more recent cookbooks (she is very prolific). The recipe is "White Nutmeat Loaf and Capers". We bring it out for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and usually have some mushroom-peppercorn veggie gravy overtop of it when it is fresh from the oven, or cranberries if there is some on the table; and if there is any left over, it can be refrigerated and then slices carved from it to be placed on sandwiches with mustard, in the following week. It is a decent loaf, our version of a veggie meatloaf. That is why we sometimes name it after the German word for meatloaf, 'Falsche Hase' (Fake Rabbit). Only, this is a fake meatloaf, so it sometimes is called 'Falsche Falsche Hase', (Fake fake rabbit).
I was looking at the recipe the other day and realized for the first time how many bread crumbs it uses. I thought to myself, "Why not omit the middleman? Why not just bake a loaf of bread with the ingredients?"
Here is the original recipe, in a nutshell:
~50 g butter (25 g plus some to line a tin)
~250 g breadcrumbs (125 g plus some to line a tin)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
225 g grated cashews (or 1/2 this plus 1/2 this in grated almonds)
4 TBSP milk
Line a loaf pan with butter and some dry breadcrumbs.
Melt 25 g of butter and fry 1 onion, peeled and chopped, until soft not brown.
Turn off the heat, mix in 225 g of grated cashews (or use 1/2 of this amount as ground almonds).
Also mix in milk, breadcrumbs, 2 eggs and season it with salt and pepper.
Lastly, fold in 75 g of capers (or add part peppercorns for extra spiciness).
Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth it, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
After this, remove the foil and brown another 5-10 minutes.
Let cool for 3-4 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving dish.
I set off to experiment with a loaf with these ingredients, more or less, to make a Falsche Falsche Falsche Hase (or Falsche Hase Cubed, which I will call FH3).
I gathered up some of the ingredients (what I had, anyway).
217 g cashews
13 g almonds (Omit if you have enough cashews)
1 med onion, chopped and fried in butter until just soft not brown
44 g capers(You should use the whole 75 g of capers)
12 g whole coriander(this adds nothing that you will like. Or use less)
4 g whole peppercorns (optional)
1 tbsp kosher salt(use less, about 1 tsp or maybe none at all)
142 g 1 c whole wheat flour (cut this back by half)
154 g 1 c all purpose flour (cut this back by half)
200 ml water (if you cut back the flours, you won't need as much water)
1 tsp dried instant yeast(you won't need this, it isn't going to rise)
1 tsp dried savory
Obviously I was really just making this up as I went along. I didn't have enough cashews, so I added some almonds, more than I should I guess. And I didn't have enough capers, but I didn't want to add the rest of the required amount in peppercorns, so I added some coriander. But this is very light stuff, and I didn't want to add so much of it that I made up the rest of the 75 g of missing capers. I just added a bit, for the crunchiness and curiosity factor.
I added the savory because my friend David likes it and he told me that he puts it in a lot of his dishes, so I thought I'd try it. It smelled appropriate and I thought it might go well with the capers.
As for the bread dough, I just started with 1 cup of each whole wheat and all purpose flours; I began by adding all the dry ingredients and then the increasingly wet ingredients. The capers went in before the eggs, and the eggs went in before the water. I added the water 100 ml at a time. I stopped at 200 ml. I tried kneading this in a bowl, but it was useless. At the time, it didn't occur to me to add more flour.
I didn't expect my yeast to raise the dough, but I figured I'd try anyway for a couple of hours just to see what would happen.
To form the loaf, I spread it on the countertop and rolled it up.
I put it into my thin pan.
The loaf baked well at 350 degrees F. and was done in 45 minutes. I had not felt it necessary to put tinfoil on the top during the first part of the bake (like the original recipe), nor had I felt the need to steam it.
We had some for dinner. My wife made a mushroom soup sauce to pour over it, using soy sauce, which is quite salty.
How did it taste? My wife didn't like it. It was nothing like the original. There was too much salt. (Conversation over dinner: "Well, you made the gravy. Is the gravy too salty?" - "No. The gravy cut through the salt") Too much bread. It was far too dense. The cumin seeds added nothing she liked. I cut the pieces too thick. I gave her two when one would have been enough. Blah blah blah.
So I'll likely never make it again.
What else shall I add to this blog? Oh, just that I liked it well enough.
That's good, because I'll be eating the rest of it all by myself.
Notes to Myself:
- Cut the flour to 1/2 cup of each.
- Omit the yeast. It won't work on this loaf.
- Add some milk, you didn't use any milk, and the original called for several TBSP.
- Forget the cumin and peppercorns.
- Get the right amount of capers.
- Bloggers always get the last word in arguments: it was the soy sauce in the mushroom gravy that made it salty. But they should still listen to their wife. If anyone else makes this, they should: Cut the salt to 1 tsp, or use none at all.