Saturday, 26 December 2009

Hoorah - The Day of the Reborn Sun

Feathered friends

A variety of feathered visitors feed here every day throughout winter and early spring. It is also their social centre for some seemingly just come to chatter and never bother to feed. So the 25th D brought no exception and no difference to the small birds' routine unlike Big Bird and myself who were busily preparing oodles of vegetables within close proximity of the fireside. Dissimilar to previous years we had a new delight this day, heralding the success of the my attempt to make clotted cream, for a full 1/2lb sat in the bottom of the fridge, to be enjoyed later with a slice of rich fruit cake.

This was not my only culinary skill of the day, for a large nut roast had been prepared the previous night, to a recipe which I concocted when living a solitary life. In similar vein I was once noted for my exceptional soda bread gained by merely adjusting the recipe and adding a handful of sesame seeds.

Unfortunately due to our having given up wheat and having preference to oat, rye or rice cakes, visitors can no longer enjoy slices of my fresh bread.

The morning of the 25th was by anyone's standards a hardy one as the photos will show. I shivered further, when my eye fell on a tent pitched outside of a neighbours cabin, left there from the summer. 'Lord bless and save us' went through my mind as I hurried home for a glass of warming port.

Mrs Heron (aka BB above) made a wonderful lunch of roasted veg, we had parsnips, delicate slivers of carrot, whole segments of garlic, sprouts, spuds, two lots of stuffing, the nut roast and a red wine sauce all washed down with copious amounts of Chateauneuf de Pape . As you can imagine it was a several hours later before we tucked into our delicious dessert.

The night ended with a glass of Port, followed by another glass of Port and so we floated off to bed and into dreamland.


Nut Roast Loaf

500g Large onions

500g Unsalted peanuts

50g Unsalted cashew cuts (halved)

50g Crushed walnuts

2 Large eggs

5 Cloves of fresh garlic

1 Large can of organic baked beans

1 can of chopped tomato

1Teaspoon of ground Black Pepper

4 Tablespoonfuls of virgin olive oil

10g herbs de provence

1 Teaspoon of fenugreek seed

12 pitted black olives

Butter for greasing baking tin

20 cm diameter x 9 cm Baking Tin

Large iron frying pan.

Large mixing bowl .

Wooden spoon.


& Index finger for tasting the uncooked mix :)

Peel and slice the onions and place in frying pan, add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil - needs to be about 1 cm deep. Sauté the onions on a medium heat till nice and soft.

Whilst the onions are cooking grind the peanuts to a coarse grit, I use a coffee bean grinder,

a few whole ones won’t hurt either.

Tip the ground peanuts into mixing bowl along with a few cashew halves, stir around and mix in the chopped or sliced garlic, add fenugreek, black pepper and the herbs; then make a well in the middle and add the sautéed onions and any oil left in frying pan.

To the mix add a can of chopped tomatoes or baked beans, then add the olives and mix thoroughly. Finally stir in two beaten eggs.

What I do then is to taste the mix before cooking, if it’s okay on your palate, carry on with the process, if not then add additional spices or ingredients until you are satisfied with the flavor.

Grease the sides and bottom of the baking tin with plenty of butter and on the bottom of the tin place a good coverage of cashew nuts. The idea is that when baked and tipped upside down before serving, the nut roast loaf will look pleasing to the eye!

So having put the cashews on bottom of tin, now spoon in the mixture and level the top with either back of spoon or a spatula.

Place in a preheated oven at gas mark 5 for about 45 minute to 60 minutes.

As with a baking a fruit cake, you can test after 45 minutes by inserting the blade of a knife all the way to bottom of tin at the centre, if it comes out clean the baking is done, if not give a few more minutes and test again.

Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Whilst cooling I run a sharp thin bladed knife around the tin to prevent sides from sticking.

When cool tip upside down on to a serving plate and enjoy!


  1. Hiya! That's a good recipe, I shall try these variations on my usual one. I gave up wheat after seeing a nutritionist - she taught me about the alkali/acid balance. I think it was wheat and mainly yeast that were my problems, however, I bake with spelt sometimes and that seems okay, and you can get spelt pizza bases and things. Also sour dough bread with Spelt is gorgeous!

  2. Hello liZZie really nice to hear from you and trust that you have had an enjoyable time?
    A word of warning as you have a problem with yeast then peanuts are most likely out for you because they contain a fungus. Please substitute the peanuts with orange or green lentils or if you insist on using peanuts then drink lots of live yogurt for a couple of days afterwards.

  3. Wonderful...I love the idea od a social centre for birds!

  4. Oh bother, I just wrote a long comment, tried to post it and then came up with a server error which wiped out my original ext. Didn't even work to backspace ;-(

    Okay, in essence I said
    a. Love the social centre for birds. Sadly the seagulls around my barge are cantankerous and not social,
    b. Great photo of 'myself'!
    c. Love the nut roast recipe and am going to try it out. Your fare for the 25th sounded scrummy!

  5. Welcome to Heron's View Molly & thank you for your comment.
    Oh VallyP I do know what it is like to lose text. Which is why I often write in TextEdit first and do a paste and copy job. Enjoy your roast and don't forget the index finger test first before cooking :-)

    Happy New Year to All

  6. Thank you Mel - very good advice that - I tend to be okay with cashew and pecan nuts, do they contain fungus? I'm with you on the live yogurt, I eat loads, often the Alpro soya version as too much dairy is not good for me, and hard cheese makes me seize up like an aged old crone that's fallen off too many broomsticks. Actually, that's a pretty accurate description even without the hard cheese ;-)

  7. A chara Mel

    Many thanks for the tag, I haven't figured yet the ins and outs of this. love your pages and the recent Nut roast, yummy, have a wonderful holiday season and all good wishes for 2010, blessings Aine.

  8. liZZie niether cashews or pecans have a fungus, so you are OK there however mushrooms do. Live Organic Plain Yoghurt is generally ok. Mrs H say's she knows what you mean about broomsticks - I shall question her later ;-)
    Although I dare say something to do with standing in the rain & cold at 70's pop concerts might have a bearing!

  9. Céad míle fáilte Aíne
    100, 1000 welcomes Ann and thank you for your comments. Just watchout for the broomsticks for it seems to be a common problem :-)
    A Happy New Year to you & yours,


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