I have a wonderful cookery book from Australia that was published back in the 1980’s that has a wonderful section on Old Fashioned Cooking. I always turn to old style cookery when looking for inspiration for new recipes as there are some wonderful ideas that have been pushed aside as new techniques take pride of place in the kitchen. The plait incorporates some classic old- English flavours such as the combination of Curry Powder, Mustard, Sage and Thyme. This flavour combination was used extensively at the end of the last century and a quick browse of Mrs Beeton’s Household Management shows how much these flavours were loved. If you have been looking for the perfect dish to serve as part of your Sunday Roast, then here it is. This is quick, simple and should definitely be one of your Vegan staples.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or 2 heaped tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
500 g ( 1 pound, 2 oz ) firm tofu, unpressed ( do NOT use Silken Tofu for this dish. I used Cauldron Tofu)
30 g ( 1.2 oz ) cashew nuts, crushed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, hot or mild depending on taste
1 teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried sage
1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, or mushroom ketchup
250 ml ( 10 fl oz ) stock, I use Kallo
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon agave nectar
50 g ( 2 oz ) fresh breadcrumbs
200 g ( 7 oz ) finely chopped fresh spinach, that has been wilted and drained of any excess water.
250 g ( 9 oz ) shop bought or ready made puff pastry, I use Jus-Rol.
A little soya milk for brushing
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 F) Gas Mark 6.
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions have softened.
Crumble in the tofu and nuts and continue to fry for 4-5 minutes until the mixture starts to become dry.
Now add all of the other ingredients and keep the pan on a medium to high heat, stirring frequently, and cook until the mixture resembles a fairly dry mixture and holds together.
Taste for seasoning.
Next, roll out 250 g of puff pastry (I used Jus-Rol) into an oblong approximately 40cm in length and 25cm in width.
Place the mixture in the middle of the pastry and then cut the pastry on a diagonal, towards you, so that the pastry can be plaited.See Picture Below.
Now, startng at the top, fold over the pastry to form a plaited effect. Moisten the plaits with a little water where they cross over. Pull over pastry left at the ends to seal the ends. See picture below.
Place on a baking sheet and brush liberally with soya milk and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and serve.
Tip: I would assemble the dish on the baking tray that you are using as it can be quite tricky to move once filled.