Walnut and Spiced Plum Christmas Cob
Serves 4

(Can be) Vegan

1    round cob loaf or boule
2 tbsp    olive oil
     For Spiced Plum Sauce
10        ripe plums, roughly chopped (use tinned if fresh not available)
6 tbsp    full bodied vegetarian red wine (*use vegan red wine)
4    star anise
8    cloves
6    allspice berries
     For the Rough Walnut Pate
2 tbsp    olive oil
1 slice    seeded bread, made into breadcrumbs
150g    walnuts
1    shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick    celery, finely chopped
1 clove    garlic crushed
50g    of the bread from hollowed out loaf
10g    Flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1    chilli – deseeded (optional)
1 tbsp    soya sauce
2 bunches    fresh asparagus (about 32 spears) – use tender stem broccoli or green beans if not available
150g    vegetarian brie or camembert (*do not use for vegan cob)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

  2. To hollow out cob loaf: place cob loaf on its side and cut off a lid. Using your hands hollow out centre leaving just a little bread on the crust – do the same for the lid. Reserve 50g of the bread for later. Brush inside of hollowed out loaf and lid with olive oil.

  3. For spiced plum sauce: place all ingredients in medium pan and cook on low heat until plums have softened – you may need to add a little water to prevent plums sticking – the end mixture should be soft and moist (not wet). Remove spices and discard. Allow sauce to cool.

  4. For walnut pate: sauté both the shallot and celery in oil until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for further 2 minutes.

  5. Add remaining ingredients (except 50g of walnuts) to a food processor and process until walnut mixture comes together but is still rough and not quite a paste. Roughly chop remaining 50g of walnuts and add to mixture.

  6. For the asparagus/broccoli: cut asparagus in half and discard bottom half. Gently peel asparagus to expose pale green colour. Steam for between 2-3 minutes, depending on size, until soft. Allow to cool. If using broccoli or green beans, trim ends and steam for 2-3 minutes.

  7. To assemble and cook: divide the walnut pate in half and place one half in bottom of hollowed out cob loaf ensuring mixture goes right into edges. Press down well.

  8. Place half of the asparagus over the top alternating the spears end to opposite end. Spoon half the plum sauce on top, then add slices of cheese (*omit for vegan recipe). Top this with the remaining asparagus, then the remaining walnut pate and lastly the rest of the plum sauce. Press down well. Place the bread lid back on top.

  9. Wrap whole loaf in tin foil and bake in oven for 1 hour – to test if the loaf is ready, take out of oven remove the lid and place a knife in the centre. If the knife comes out very hot the loaf is ready.

  10. Allow to stand for a few minutes before cutting into wedges.

NB: this recipe works with individual good quality rolls and will fill 6 depending on the size of the rolls. If using individual rolls, bake for 15 minutes instead of 1 hour. Can be eaten hot or cold.

© The Vegetarian Society 2010

Walnut and Spiced Plum Christmas Cob
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