Well, it doesn’t make the prettiest picture, but it IS delicious.
Last Wednesday I bid my mom farewell at Heathrow Airport, sad to see her go but satisfied with a really incredible trip. For the next few days I’ll be posting some of the highlights as I sort through my photos and memories.
It’s probably no surprise that many of those memories are food-related. Take for instance our many trips to The Organic Farm Shop at Abbey Home Farm in Cirencester. I’m extremely lucky to have this little gem just a 15 minute drive from the cottage. The shop sells all of the fruit, veg, milk, meat, poultry and cheese produced on the farm, plus other grocery items sourced elsewhere. It’s like a mini, non-corporatized, uber-local Whole Foods. And they have a cafe that is always vegetarian, except on Sundays, when they offer meat as part of their Sunday roast (plus vegan and vegetarian options).
The English institution of a Sunday Roast was new to my mom, but then again, it probably still is. The farm shop’s roast isn’t typical. After all, it’s a farm, not a pub. And most people are drinking tea and juice rather than beer (though they do stock an awesome selection of organic beer).
Still, the farm shop does maintain most Sunday roast traditions by serving gravy, roast veggies and potatoes with the roasted meat or, in our case, roasted vegetarian / vegan options.
On that particular Sunday, the three veggie roast options were “nut roast with tomato sauce”, “lentil cabbage miso bake” and some kind of cheesy casserole I can’t remember because the former two items sounded way more appealing. The nut roast was fine, but it was the miso bake that stole the show.
When the dish arrived, it was a bit hard to tell what it was… I would call it a casserole, baked with a layer of cabbage on bottom, lentils and veggies in the middle, and another layer of cabbage on top. This was so good, perfect on a cold wet English day. My favorite part was the crispy cabbage bits that formed on the top layer. But then again, I’m a cabbage fiend. This was a winner.
When the bus girl came by to pick up our plates, we told her how much she liked it and she offered to ask the chef to write down the recipe. Uh, yes please. So we waited for a while and eventually decided the girl must have been kidding because the recipe never arrived and people seemed to be carrying on with cleanup.
So we left, but I couldn’t get the miso bake out of my mind (don’t you hate it when that happens?). I went to the farm shop’s website and emailed to ask about the recipe. Huzzah, co-owner Hilary Chester-Master got back right away. Her recipe in brief:
to recreate approx it is a base of red lentils cooked. add some roast veg of the season, then caramelised onions, then greens on top and drizzle white miso on top of that and bake in the oven. very easy but a little time consuming hope you come again!
Well, it’s not exactly a recipe, but I can work with it. Sounds like a great use for leftover roast veggies.
Speaking of roast veggies, I feel compelled to add that the meal came with not only ample roast veggies and gravy (vegetarian), but also savoy cabbage, creamed leaks and mashed swede. This was in stark contrast to a previous farm shop Sunday Roast with dad and Tim who had the roast chick and were quite disappointment in the piddly portion sizes, not only of the chicken but the roast veg, too. I must confess, the veggie option that day – a beetroot and horseradish pie – was outstanding. But it’s hard to enjoy a meal as much when your meat-eating companions feel a little gypped. Perhaps this time our collective vegetarianism stole the show and made everything better. And certainly more filling. Alas, no room for pudding.