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How to make Christmas nut-roast and Beery apple pie

13 December 2019

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WHAT better way to keep the feast of the birth of the Prince of Peace than to feast on fruits and nuts vegan-wise rather than keep Veganuary as a post-Christmas penance? I found Barbara Boiling’s Christmas nut-roast recipe in A Taste for Peace, a 1996 compilation of recipes and reflections by Pax Christi, an international Christian peace-and-justice movement.
 

100g (4 oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs
40g (2 oz) cashews, ground or chopped
50g (2 oz) hazelnuts, ground or chopped
50g (2 oz) sunflower seeds, ground or chopped
1 medium apple, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
½ teaspoon chopped fresh or dried thyme
½ teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g (4 oz) mushrooms, finely sliced
½ red pepper, chopped (optional)
½ green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon Marmite dissolved in about ½ cup hot water
300ml (½ pint) tomato juice
 

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6. Combine the breadcrumbs, nuts, seeds, grated apple and carrot, herbs, and seasoning to taste, in a large mixing bowl. Lightly sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers in a little oil and add to the mixture. Add the diluted Marmite and enough tomato juice to form a moist baking consistency. Place in a greased ovenproof dish or a 1kg (2 lb) loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Decorate with fresh herbs and slices of tomato if desired.

I’m intrigued to learn that in some places apple pies were “indispensable” at Christmas. I think the ritual of the pudding — the last-minute hunt for a sixpence (and the family row ensuing on the youngest person’s discovery of it on his plate; the dash out to the garden for the forgotten sprig of holly; setting fire to the rum before it’s poured over the pudding), and not forgetting the Stir-up Sunday rites and prayers — define the Christmas feast. But Pax Christi offers you this unattributed Beery apple pie instead.
 

good cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
sugar, to taste
rind and juice of a lemon, to taste
¼ pt hot beer with 1 teaspoon mixed spice
225g (8 oz) plain flour
100g (4 oz) margarine
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
salt
 

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 4. Rub the margarine into the flour, add the beaten egg and a pinch of salt. Add water if the dough is too dry. Place the apples, sugar, and lemon rind and juice in a pie dish. Roll out the pastry to cover the pie and bake until the pastry is cooked. Before serving, remove a segment of pastry and pour in hot, spiced beer.

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