Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sunflower and pumpkin seed loaf ~

Seeds can form the basis of delicious cooked meals.  Here is a recently baked sunflower and pumpkin seed loaf on a serving platter.  This recipe has become a firm favourite: it's substantial and sustaining. 

It is very versatile as it can be served a number of ways: cook it in a generous quantity and you can eat it fresh from the oven as the main part of a hot cooked meal, and then refridgerate or freeze the remainder to enjoy another time.  It reheats well, or can be served cold, by being cubed and included in fresh salad.  It can also be included in stir fries: cubed and added during the final stages of cooking.  I've enjoyed it all these different ways.  This verstality makes it suitable for meals for one or for many.

The seeds can be gently baked - or not, depending on personal preference.  Baking does alter the flavour and texture and I think increasing the nutty flavour and gives them a little more crunch, which is a good contrast in the texture of the loaf.  To do this put the seeds into a pie tin without any oil or salt, and bake at 150 degrees Celcius for about 10 minutes.  I did experiment with baking them in a little oil, but found it quite unnecessary.  In any case seeds, like nuts, contain plenty of their own oil, so why add more?  I took these photos some time ago.  I think they may show them baked in a little oil. 

For faster preparation the seeds can be used raw just as they are.  I like them both ways.

Ingredients and method:
For the sake of simplicity I have shown these together.
  • Pumpkin seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Sunflower seeds - 1/2 cup
Roast these lightly in the oven, then chop them roughly on a large chopping board.
I like to have then coarsely chopped, so do not use a food processor for this.  I enjoy chopping them by hand, using a large and sharp knife as shown below.  Press the tip of the knife down with one hand and hold it there, and do the chopping motion with the remainder of the blade (in this case the right hand end), pivoting the upper part of the blade fan-wise over the seeds:

  • Carrots - or pumpkin - 250gms / 9 oz - grated - place in a large bowl
Chop these and add to the carrots:
  • Parsley - a big bunch
  • Oregano - fresh if you have it
  • Thyme - again, fresh if you have it
    Chop and fry lightly:
    • Onion - 1 large
    • Capsicum - half
    In a second large bowl combine the following:
    • Eggs - 4 - break them into the bowl and beat them
      • Cheese - 150gms / 5 oz / about a cup and a half - grated
      • Wholemeal bread, (fresh rather than baked) - 2 slices / 150gms / 5 oz - grated or whizzed
      • Salt - 1 tsp
      • Water - up to 1/4 of a cup if the mixture seems a little dry.
      Combine all of the above:

      Once satisfied with the texture place into oiled loaf tins for baking spreading the mixture to a relatively shallow depth.  There is enough mixture for two standard loaf tins.

      Bake in the oven at 150 Celsius for about 30 minutes, and then see how its doing.  When well cooked it will be firm and predominantly golden brown.  Cut into squares or wedges and serve.

      It is yummy - everyone I know who has tried it loves it!  It can be served with steamed potatoes, broccoli, and freshly chopped tomatoes, or with any kind of salad.  However you serve it it makes a very tasty and sustaining meal.

      A later variation on a theme:
      Last time I made this I didn't have quite the same ingredients so I made some substitions:
      • I had only 3 eggs, so substituted a tablespoon of chick pea flour (also known as besan or gram flour) and about a cup of water.  This flour is good for holding a mixture together and is tasty and nutritious.  
      • I substituted cooked silver beet (rather like spinach) for capsicum.
      • I may also have added a stick of celery - unusually for me I didn't write this variation in my household diary.  It doesn't matter.  The point is that variations can work wonderfully well, and I encourage you to try your own.
      The two of us here agreed that this particular loaf was the best yet!

      Note: if freezing, it can be helpful to cut into wedges or squares to make subsequent handling easier.

      My other articles about food and cooking can be found by clicking on the link below:

      A list of my vegetarian recipes grouped by protein type can be found by clicking on the link below:

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