I know it’s a few weeks away yet but we tend to start discussing (Christmas) there I didn’t really say it…about now so that we can start planning and budgeting! This year eldest has threw a curve ball however, and has changed her way of eating and embraced a Vegetarian diet, youngest is a flexitarian now as well. Mr S and myself have been dabbling with the Flexi side for a good couple of years now, but over the last few months it seems meat has been appearing at least 6 times a week as opposed to the 3 times we initially set out for…so we have taken the decision after three weeks of feeling much better, less bloated (that’s more me really!) and we have far more energy, focused and sleeping better and not waking up wondering where the night has gone and still feeling shattered – that kind of sleep! we thought we might well give it a go…

SO now we are committed to eating a much more varied Vegatarian diet we are enjoying finding lots of different recipes, that we both can get cooking, and of course like any recipe I adjust it to suit tastes, budget and availabilty of some ingredients and tummy issues….

We still have many weeks to go until the girls come for their Christmas with us – but I do like being prepared so, to practice, our Sunday Roast which we probably would start having around now, as the Autumn season is defintely calling for warmer, comfort foods so this week ours, was a Sunday Nut Roast…and verdict was – lovely!! It was packed full of ingredients that we love and as to texture – well Mr S said it was quite “meaty”.

I very loosely followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe and didn’t make the Salsa, if we had fresh chilli’s I may well have had a go but think I might make something along the salsa line for the leftover meal we will be enjoying!

I have re-written it to omit Breadcrumbs, Olive Oil and cut down on his suggested measures (it’s my thing I always do this!) of butter, dried fruit etc. The cheese is an option as well – I don’t think it needed it personally but maybe as a lunch type meal it would be a good addition!

If you want to try his recipe it is on-line but I think once you have an idea of what to do and add in then it’s flying solo!

Nut Roast


Total time for prep and cooking – 2 HOURS 10 MINUTES


  • 10-20 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing you can use vegetal butter or if you prefer nut butter.
  • 100 g quinoa, 50g Red Lentils & 1 tablespoon Chia seeds – pre soaked together (there’s more than enough to make another loaf!)
  • 150 g  Butternut Squash or any type of squash really!
  • 1 onion I prefer red as kinder to the digestive system…
  • 2 cloves of garlic or garlic granules,  lazy garlic
  • 2 sticks of celery – suggested 😉
  • olive oil recipe suggests it but I dry fry
  • 200 g tinned or vac-packed chestnuts or fresh is good
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • 1 lemon for zesting
  • 40 g dried cranberries & dried apricots
  • 100 g mixed nuts , such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
  • 4 large free-range eggs – I used 2 eggs and the chia seed mix
  • 40 g mature Cheddar cheese – suggested but did not use…

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a 1-litre loaf tin with a little butter, then line with greaseproof paper.
  • Cook the quinoa mix in advance or leave to cool whilst prepping other ingredients…
  • Dry fry the onion and just add a teaspoon of water to keep it from burning….this can be done gradually but keep it nice and moist until you add the Butternut Squash and celery
  • I already had half a cooked Butternut Squash which I added in once the onions were soft.
  • Crumble in the chestnuts. Pick in the rosemary leaves, discarding the stalks, then toss well. I used dried herbs much better if you are on a budget as well!
  • Add the cayenne, paprika and oregano. Season with sea salt and black pepper, stir well, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for around 15 minutes, or until softened slightly.
  • Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms, then add to the pan for the final 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and grate in half the lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then stir in the cooled quinoa, , dried fruit and nuts (feel free to chop up some of the larger nuts if you prefer a less chunky consistency).
  • Crack in the eggs, and then stir well to combine. Pop the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, then place in the hot oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cooked through and set.

Salsa Picante


  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ bunch of fresh thyme , (15g)
  • 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • When there’s about 30 minutes to go, make the salsa rossa. Place a roasting tray on the hob over a medium-low heat. Prick the chillies and add to the tray with a lug of olive oil and the cinnamon.
  • Peel and finely slice the garlic, peel and slice the onion into 8 wedges, then add them to the tray. Pick in most of the thyme leaves (save a few sprigs to one side).
  • Pour in the plum tomatoes and 1 tin’s worth of water, then stir well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and stir in the balsamic vinegar, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until thickened and reduced.
  • Once the salsa is ready, take 1 chilli out of the tray, then carefully halve, deseed and roughly chop it before returning it to the tray. Loosen the salsa with a splash of water, if needed, then pick out the extra chilli and cinnamon stick and put to one side.
  • Remove the nut roast from the oven, and then carefully turn it out, peeling away the greaseproof paper. Pop the nut roast into the tray and grate over the cheese.
  • Place the cinnamon stick, chilli and reserved thyme sprigs on top.
  • Return it to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until bubbling and golden
Roasted Celariac, Sweet Potato & Swede

We served with roasted winter veggies that are now in season and my fave staple of frozen haricot vert…along with some homemade gravy.

There’s a chunk in the freezer, for the girls to try, and some left over for a meal for us, during the week in the fridge…

I would honestly say you can chop and change the ingredients add in whatever left over veggies you may have – for instance sweetcorn, peas or carrots.  The dried fruit is probably an option as well and I intended to add fresh cranberries (totally forgot!) but they would be a nice addition for a Christmas version!

 Nuts are pricey here and I always choose salt free nuts especially for cooking, Lidl, Action and Aldi are good on price if you are on a budget.

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