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Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Better than turkey

A long afternoon of farting into couch cushions is as much a part of Christmas as carol singing and mistletoe. So if you want to cut down on your emissions this year, do away with the traditional Nut Roast and try this festive recipe instead.
This roulade is for those who don't mind a little lacto-ovo action and it's a little complicated to make, but the vegetarian at your Christmas table will love you for it.
In past years, I have followed this ABC Delicious magazine recipe word for word. This year I’m feeling pretty confident and I’m going to add a few yule tide-esque trimmings of my own - and I’m trialling it before the big day next week so I don’t poison my boyfriend’s family.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, finely chopped
60g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
300 ml soy milk (or cow's milk if you prefer it)
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sweet potato filling
500g sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped
15g butter
100ml light cream or 2 tablespoons Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
handful of roughly chopped walnuts

Chestnut cranberry stuffing

30g unsalted butter
1 brown onion, finely diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup fresh brown breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped and peeled whole roasted chestnuts (I used the vacuum-pack sealed Merchant Gourmet ones)
a child's handful of chopped fresh sage
a child's handful chopped flat leaf parsley
a few sprigs of thyme, with stalks removed

1. The night before, place cranberries in a bowl and cover with port - set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C.

3. Grease and line a Swiss roll pan (I used one that was about 33x22 - but if you have one about 39x26 - it would be better)

To make roulade, heat the oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat.

5. Add the leek and cook gently for five minutes until soft.

6. In a saucepan, heat butter. When it has melted, add the flour and cook 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until milk is combined and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat, beat in egg yolks one at a time, then season with salt and pepper.

7. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the mixture in the saucepan and mix lightly. Fold in leeks and cheddar until just combined then gently fold in remaining egg whites, being careful not to lose all the air you've put into the eggs.

8. Pour into the prepared Swiss roll pan and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

For the filling, steam or microwave sweet potato until tender. Drain and mash with butter, cream and nutmeg. Season to taste and set aside.

10. To make stuffing, melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, cook for five minutes or until soft. Add garlic, cranberries and breadcrumbs and cook for further 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper.When roulade is cooked, place clean tea towel on the workbench and sprinkle with Parmesan. Turn the roulade out onto the tea towel and peel off baking paper. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then spread the sweet potato over the roulade except for 2 inches across the far edge. Distribute walnuts evenly over the surface.

11. Sprinkle the stuffing over the sweet potato putting most of it on the edge closer to you, then (this bit is a little tricky...) using the edge of the tea towel, carefully roll up the roulade like a sushi roll, finishing with the seam down. This takes a little practice so don't worry if it cracks or isn't perfect - it's not worth razzing out over.

12. Using the tea towel and a spatula, carefully transfer it back onto the Swiss roll pan (you may need the help of a trusty assistant) and bake at 180 for about 15 minutes

13. Slice and serve warm with all the Christmas sides.

You can make this the day before. Wrap in tin foil and heat through when needed. You may want to make an extra one because in my experience, meat-eaters have finished this off leaving me without seconds.

Happy Christmas!!

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