Almost every weekend in my childhood, my beloved mother made a loaf roast. The variety of flavour combinations was endless. All her recipes were neatly written on scraps of paper, stored in books and hidden in her office. She usually knew exactly where a particular recipe was, even if it took some time to sift through the pieces of paper.
After years of tasting you could say I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of roasts. My preferred ingredients are a mild grain, and a mix of earthy vegetables, fresh herbs and crumbly nuts. In this roast I’ve used millet, yet brown rice could be substituted. I chose to toast the nuts to intensify their flavour and add crunch. If you don’t like roughly chopped nuts in the roast, blend until crumbly in texture. I’ve used unsalted chickpea water with chia seeds to bind the roast, and it’s necessary to press the loaf mixture down firmly into the loaf tin before cooking. You need to be careful turning the roast onto a plate before serving and slice with a sharp knife to avoid crumbling.
· Millet has a sweet nutty flavor, is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains and is one of the few grains that are alkalising to the body.
· Millet will hydrate your colon, act as a prebiotic, is high in fibre and will calm your mood because of the serotonin it contains.
VEGETABLE MILLET ROAST
Makes 24cm x 13cm (9 x 5 inches) loaf
½ cup millet grain
2/3 cup cashew nuts
2/3 cup almonds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
¼ medium butternut pumpkin, peeled and finely chopped
5 medium Swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
2 tablespoon roughly chopped sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon chia seeds, milled in blender
¼ cup water from a 400 gram tin of unsalted chickpeas
salt and black pepper
Wash the millet grains and rinse. Bring the millet and 1¼ cups of water to the boil and reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes until the water is absorbed. Take the saucepan off the heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork and allow cool. Preheat the oven to 200’C (400’F/Gas Mark 6). Place the cashew nuts and almonds on a baking tray lined with baking paper for 10 minutes until they look golden and give off a toasty aroma. Take out of the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven to 180’C (350’F/ Gas Mark 4).
On a medium heat in a large pan, sauté the finely chopped onions until translucent. Add celery, carrot and pumpkin, and continue to cook until the celery is translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Take off the heat, and mix in the chopped herbs and cumin. Blend half the nuts until they resemble coarse crumbs, and roughly chop the remaining nuts. Combine the vegetable and nut mixtures with the millet, and stir to combine. Mix the milled chia seeds and chickpea water together, add to the mixture, season with salt and ground black pepper and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin greased with coconut oil, and press the mixture down very firmly into the tin. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow cool for 15 minutes. Gently remove from the tin and place on a plate. Serve with onion, thyme and cumin gravy and cooked vegetables. The roast will freeze.
ONION, THYME & CUMIN GRAVY
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup vegetable stock
Saute onions and garlic until translucent. Reduce to low heat, add the flour and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and slowly add the apple cider vinegar, stirring well to work out the lumps. Add the tamari, thyme, cumin and vegetable stock. Turn the heat to medium and gently simmer until thickened. Remove from heat, strain through a sieve, mashing the vegetables and herbs down with a spoon. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container.