Vegan Veggie Loaf with Hazelnuts & a little surprise

At this very moment it is 5 pm in Denmark and the sun has already been set for the past two hours. We are at the time of year where we have the least amount of daylight, and I’m telling you it does complicate things a bit. First of all, I need to say that I love the fact that you can decorate the whole apartment with candle lights, have an excuse for laying on the coach all day and sleep in. However, when you actually love to get up early and go for a run or simply just want to be able to photograph your stunning meals in order to share them on a blog then the sun is not doing a very good job this time of year.
Luckily, we’ll reach the winter solstice  this week. On the 21st of December we have the shortest day of the year, and afterwards the days will slowly (I mean veeery slowly) become longer, brighter and hopefully fill us up with sunshine and a little more energy!

My Christmas holiday has already begun and luckily I now got the time and timing to do a little extra cooking and photo shooting. That is why I will present to you some of my favourite Christmas recipes in the following days and pump some extra Christmas spirit into this lovely little blog.
This recipe is actually new to me as well. I tasted it for the very first time last week, when one of my girl friends brought it to a Christmas party at the university. I think it has some wonderful flavour combinations and I am quite surprised how filling it is. It is a wonderful vegetarian and vegan alternative to anything meaty you’ll normally have around the Christmas table.
Besides the classic nut loaf ingredients such as mushrooms, nuts, onions etc. this version is also filled with celeriac and layered with prunes and apples, which makes it perfect for any winter occasion.
Even though you (like me) enjoy a juicy duck or turkey breast at Christmas Eve I would still recommend you to try this lovely loaf. If not to substitute the meat, then just to get a little extra vegetables and a lighter feeling in the stomach.

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Vegan mushroom loaf w. prunes & apples
Makes 1 big loaf , enough for 4-6 people

12 oz mushrooms (350 g)
1 1/4 cup hazelnuts (150 g)
1 small celeriac (400 g, peeled weight)
2 small onions
4 cloves of garlic
10 prunes
1 apple
2 Tbsp soy
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 400   °F / 200   °C
1.  Begin by peeling the celeriac. Du to the fact that there are so many knotted roots on the bottom half of the vegetable, using a knife is easier for this job. Then cut it into squares and boil it for approximately 10 min, until tender. Mash it or use a blender.
2. Use a mini chopper or food processor to chop nuts, mushrooms, onion and garlic into a fine texture. Prepare one ingredient  at a time in order not to blend everything into a puree, but actually keep some of the texture.
3. Mix everything together and season to taste.
4. Cut the apple into slim boats and the prunes into halves.
5. Use a medium sized loaf pan (around 5 x 9). Grease it or use a piece of parchment paper. Add half of the mix. Add a layer of apple boats and top it with the prunes (se picture above). Then add the rest of the mushroom mix, and place the loaf in the oven for approximately 45 min.

You can serve the loaf straight from the oven together with a lovely salad or you can use it as a spread on bread or simply as a side dish. It is really good and suits any occasion.