Pete is known around Square Root for being the grandeous chef de lunch due to his elaborate, gourmet lunchtime offerings. We also call him Peter Pan because he uses every single pan in the house to make these lunches - sometimes sacrifices must be made! Here's his recipe, in his own words, for a delicious and veggie Sunday lunch treat - the Nuts and Tings Roast!
1 Onion, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced.
200g Mushrooms - chestnut, perhaps? Pulsed or diced to a gravel-y texture
1 Butternut squash, peeled and chopped to 1cm cubes. Do not discard seeds!
2 Parsnips peeled and chopped as per squash.
Head of Garlic
100g Nuts - whatever you have in the pantry, or whatever you like from the shop, toasted and roughly bashed/chopped.
Seeds, if you have them - sunflower, sesame… toast them with the nuts, for extra flave.
Cheese (Stilton’s good, always, but whatever you’re into)
Herbs of choice
Preheat oven to, oh I dunno, 180 deg celz? Depends on the oven, doesn’t it. You know your own oven.
Slice aubergine thinly (3-4mm) using a mandolin or sharp knife (careful now!). Salt liberally, and set aside. If you can (be bothered), preserve liquid - salt on a rack, or in a colander?
Toss squash, parsnip and garlic, skin on, in olive oil. Season. Place in a baking tray large enough, ideally, that all the bits are in contact with the tray base, ie not piled up, and into the oven.
Fry mushrooms in butter, oil and thyme on a medium heat until excess water has evaporated, maybe 20min? Stirring often. Set aside in a large bowl.
Check on the oven, give knobs of root veg (veggie knobbage?) a stir. You’re looking for some nice colouration around the perimeters. Mmmmm. Check the garlic is roasting nicely - if it’s squishy and caramelised, remove from the tray.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Remove excess liquid from aubergine and lay slices on the tray and into the oven until lightly browned. You might want to turn them if you feel so inclined.
Find a little corner in the oven for the butternut seeds. Roast on some tin foil or in a small tray until lightly coloured, you’ll hear them start to crack, they will be ready soon after.
Fry off onion and celery in some oil in the same pan as mushrooms on a moderate heat until at least translucent. If you kept the salty aubergine liquid, pop it in now and reduce. Combine with mushrooms.
Add toasted nuts, seeds and roasted root veg from the oven. Squeeze in the caramelised garlic, lick your fingers, wash your hands. Crumble over stilton, and herbs (sage and/or parsley?). Stir everything to combine and embrace the sense of building excitement. Stir in an egg to bind, and add a glug of good olive oil to keep everything nice and moist, once baked.
Line a cake or tart tin or ovenable pan with aluminium foil, allowing extra to cover the top. Line with aubergine, hanging plenty over the sides, reserving a couple of slices to finish. Fill with roast contents and pack down moderately. Fold over aubergine flaps, and lay down any leftover slices to cover the mixture completely. Cover with foil.
Into the oven for 30min or thereabouts. Fold back the foil and roast until the aubergine is a deep brown.
Place a board or serving plate over the tin and flip. Peel back the foil and rejoice.
Serve with the usual suspects and lots of caramelised onion and ale gravy.
For less faffage, wrap in steamed cabbage, instead of aubergine
For more faffage, wrap in wilted spinach and puff pastry for a nut roast/veggie welly cross.
A final word; Since you’re cooking a few things separately and then combining, it’s easy to be guilty of (i.e. I’ve been guilty of) overseasoning. Ever so slightly less unforgivable than under seasoning, so be mindful of this!
Pairs great with a tall glass of our Pear & Aronia Soda for epic Sunday lunch vibes!