A Vegetarian Christmas

Burlington Arcade

I am sure you are wondering what I may be talking about as a vegetarian Christmas is an oxymoron to some people.  After all, Christmas dinners usually consist of a bird of some sort such as turkey, duck, or goose.  Well, there was a period when I was a vegetarian for a many number of years and we used to have a vegetarian Christmas.

A very good friend gave me Rose Elliot’s, The New Vegetarian Cookbook , which has a recipe for a nut loaf made with chestnuts in the Entertaining section.  Since the first time I made this, I haven’t looked back.  Although I am back to eating meat on occasion, I still like to make this for Boxing Day as an alternative to all the meat that is on offer over the holidays.  It is full of protein and very rich.  It is just as tasty in a sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce.  I thought it would be nice to share this with all of you, especially if you are tired from the turkey over Thanksgiving and now again  for Christmas. (By the way, I am also making a rack of lamb as well!) Enjoy!

I am now taking a little break from posting as my kids are all home and I am going to be very busy cooking and socialising over the holidays.  See you all again in 2009!  All the best.

Chestnut, Walnut and Red Wine Loaf (serves eight)


  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ pound cooked fresh or canned chestnuts roughly mashed (I use canned pureed, as fresh can be too dry, or you can try frozen)
  • ¾ pound cashew nuts, grated (sometimes I mix the cashews with pecans)
  • 1 cup walnuts, grated
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup red wine (I have been using mulled wine instead, for the spice)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme and basil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Garnish

  • sprigs of parsley, tomato and lemon slices (I don’t use the tomato)

Preheat the oven to 3750F or gas mark 6.  Grease and line a 2 pound bread pan with a long strip of grease proof paper to cover the base and the short sides of the pan.  Fry the onion and celery in the butter for 7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.  Cover with a piece of aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour, then remove the aluminium foil and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes, until firm in the center.

Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to stand for 4-5 minutes, then loosen the edges by slipping a knife between the loaf and the pan.  Turn the loaf out on to a warmed serving plate.  Garnish with parsley, and lemon slices.

Can be served with roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy, and horseradish sauce.

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