Aubergine nut roast with redcurrant sauce

This recipe didn’t make it into the Essex Road Recipes box set because it was declared too long by the editor. Which I guess is why they call them editors….

It’s loosely based on a Mary Berry recipe – “if you’re going to steal, steal from the best”.

For the nut roast:
1 large aubergine, sliced into rounds about 1 cm thick
Olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g shelled mixed nuts (I used brazils, pecans, blanched almonds, hazelnuts and a few pine nuts). Blitz these together briefly in a food processor. If you don’t have one, put them in a resealable plastic bag and bash and roll them with a rolling pin.
100g fresh breadcrumbs – Raab’s the bakers sometimes sell bags of these at the end of the day.
Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
100g mature Cheddar, grated
2 eggs, beaten
A handful of chopped coriander leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
50 g sunflower seeds

For the redcurrant sauce:
1 pack/punnet of tiny redcurrants
About 1 teaspoon grated ginger root 5 or 6 mint leaves
1 very small chopped red chilli.


What to do. Roughly speaking:

The nut roast:


Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. Grease a non-stick loaf tin.

Place the aubergine discs on foil on your grill pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on one side for about 4 minutes and then turn them and grill for another 2 minutes. They need to be cooked enough to bend, as you’re going to use them to line the loaf tin.

In a fairly large pan, heat some more olive oil and fry the onions and celery for a couple of minutes on a high heat, let them brown a little bit as this intensifies the flavour. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

Take this off the heat and let it cool, add the beaten eggs and lemon juice, then all the other ingredients except for the sunflower seeds. Mix it well.
Line the bottom and sides of the loaf tin with the cooked aubergine, so that the aubergine slices come up a bit higher than the sides of the tin. Press the nut mix down very firmly, you want this to be really dense. Once you’ve filled the tin, fold the tops of the aubergine discs onto the top of the loaf. They won’t completely cover it, but that’s fine, that’s what the sunflower seeds are for.

Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes. Then cover the top with a layer of sunflower seeds and pop it back in for another 10 – 15 minutes.
You can either slice it in the loaf tin and ease out the slices, or turn the entire nut roast out onto a flat board and serve from there. If you’re going to do the latter, let it cool for a few minutes first.

The redcurrant sauce:


Pick all the tiny currants off the stalks, rinse and put in a small saucepan on a very low heat with the grated ginger, mint leaves and a small amount of chopped red chilli. Slowly bring to a simmer and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Taste the sauce, if it’s very bitter, add a small amount of sugar, agave or maple syrup and stir it in well. Allow to cool and fish out the mint leaves and larger pieces of ginger before serving with the nut roast.


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