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Acorn recipe

Recipe: Acorn’s Beetroot and walnut paté

Looking for a plant-based paté alternative? The chefs at Acorn have just the thing to add some vibrancy to a Veganuary lunch with this kitchen colour

Did you get along to the supper club that Acorn – West Country pioneers of creative veggie cuisine – put on at Dela in Easton last month? Perhaps you’d be interested in signing our petition to get them to open a Bristol restaurant permanently… In the meantime, here’s a dish of theirs to recreate at home.

A simple winter paté full of healthy nutrients, perfect for cold January nights. A nod to northern Europe with the flavour combinations, it is perfect with rye bread, sauerkraut and mustard. It requires 30 minutes’ cooking time but allow 90 minutes to cook the beetroots and 2 hours for the paté to set.

Beetroot and walnut paté (serves 4)

650g medium red beetroot
30ml water
20ml walnut oil
100g walnuts
100ml water
5g dill
2g agar powder (setting agent; use it and you’ll be able to ‘pop’ the paté out of the terrine mould if you don’t, you need to make it in the pot you will serve in)

• Put the walnuts into a bowl and cover with cold water by at least 2cm. Leave for 6 hours or ideally overnight.
• Preheat oven to 180°C (fan-assisted 160°C)/Gas Mark 4
• Lay out a 45cm length of tinfoil over a deep baking tray and put the beetroot into the centre, leaving plenty of room around the edges to fold it.
• Bring the foil up around the beetroot, capturing them in the middle, add the 30g of water, and seal the parcel by rolling up the edges, rather like a pasty or calazone, to form a sealed parcel.
• Place the parcel on a small baking tray to catch any leaks and roast for 45 – 60 minutes until the beetroot feel soft when pushed carefully through the outside of the bag, but aren’t coloured.
• While the beetroot is roasting, line your small terrine mould with baking paper, using a little oil to help it stick to the tin and prevent any wrinkles. The primary purpose here is to enable you to lift the set paté out without too much drama so make sure it comes as far up to the edges of the mould as possible and has plenty of paper overhanging the edges that you can grab hold of to lift it out. If you are omitting the agar then simply make sure you have the pots you are going to serve it in ready and to hand.
• When the beetroot is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely while still sealed. Remove it from the parcel and gently rub the skins from it. They should just peel straight off but if they are bit tough use a paring knife to speed things along. Cut the beetroot flesh into chunks and put it into the jug of a high-speed blender.
• Drain the soaked walnuts and rinse them with cold water. Add them to the blender jug with the beetroot.
• Add the dill and a generous pinch of salt to the blender jug.
• Put the water into a small saucepan and whisk it gently while slowly sprinkling in the agar powder.
• Bring up to a simmer gently, whisking all the time to make sure the agar doesn’t settle on the bottom of the pan and catch.
• When the agar mix comes to a gentle boil, remove from the heat and set to one side.
• Blend all of this together until very smooth with a silky texture and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps (or, if you aren’t that much of a perfectionist and don’t want to clean paté from a sieve, carry on regardless).
• Taste for salt and adjust as necessary, bearing in mind the mix will be served cold.
• If you are making this without agar then simply spoon or pipe it evenly between your pots, clingfilm the top of them to prevent a dry skin from forming and pop them in the fridge.
• If you are making the agar version: while the mix is still hot, carefully spoon or pipe the mix into the prepared terrine mould, smoothing it and banging the mould down as you go to knock out any air pockets.
• Carefully smooth off the top with a palette knife and cover with clingfilm, in contact with the mix to prevent a skin from forming.
• Pop in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours to set.
• When ready to serve, remove the clingfilm, use the baking paper you carefully left hanging over the edge of the mould to work the mix loose and carefully turn over the mould onto a chopping board and removing the baking paper. Cut cleanly into 1.5cm (½ inch) slices and serve with rye bread, sauerkraut and mustard.