As part of my ongoing project to make old vegetarian cookbooks freely available, I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes and adapting them for the modern kitchen and the ingredients we have now. One topic that fascinates me is the old nutmeats which were popular before soya products became widely available. The only one of these still widely sold, as far as I can tell, is Nuttolene, produced by Granose in the UK and Nutana in Scandinavia. The Protose currently marketed by Worthington Foods seems to have evolved considerably from the original.
These recipes make a small amount, just enough to experiment with, but scale up really easily. They are adapted from those given in The Laurel Health Cookery by Evora Bucknum Perkins, and published in 1911.
A pressure cooker with trivet, steaming basket etc. (not essential, but makes it practical)
A pudding basin and lid, four times the size of your basic measure
A large mixing bowl
A food processor would make it much easier, but I don’t have one and use a mortar and pestle and a grinder.
1/2 cup peanuts, cooked (see notes)
1/2 cup blanched peanuts (be lazy, buy them ready-blanched)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cereal coffee (see notes)
Grind the blanched peanuts as fine as you can. If the peanuts are not very oily, add a bit of groundnut oil to make it stick together (or don’t, if you want to keep the oil down).
Mash the cooked peanuts.
Combine these two in a bowl and mix in the cereal coffee. Add the wheat gluten flour and mix thoroughly – the best way I’ve found to do this is to “rub it in” as when making pastry. This is where a food processor would be nice.
Add the water and mix. At this stage, a fork is an excellent tool – keep cutting it through and mixing until you get a spongy, springy dough. I suspect a heavy duty mixer with dough hook would really help here, but I don’t have one of those either.
Put the mixture into your pudding basin, put the lid on and steam in a pressure cooker on high pressure for between 2 and 4 hours. If you do not have a pressure cooker, the steaming will take 6-12 hours. The original author also suggests “steam 5 hours and bake 1 hour in a very slow oven”. I suspect this recipe could be adapted to a slow cooker, but I do not have one of those to play with.
This quantity contains approximately 1030 calories, 73g of fat (of which 10g saturated), 84g protein, 36g carbohydrates (6g sugars) and 12.4g dietary fibre. For comparison, the same quantity of firm tofu contains 388 calories, 22.4g fat (3.2g saturated) 40.4g protein, 14.8g carbohydrates (3.2g sugars) and 2g dietary fibre.
Red Kidney Bean Trumese
This is probably the easiest of the nutmeats to make, because you can use tinned kidney beans. The recipe and method is the same as for Trumese, but you replace the cooked peanuts with the same quantity of cooked kidney beans. This recipe should work with any other kind of bean or pulse, and I’d be interested in hearing about others’ experiments.
The quantitiy given contains approximately 850 calories, 36g fat (5g saturated), 108g protein (!), 43g carbohydrates (3g sugars) and 10.7g dietary fibre. This is probably the healthiest of these recipes.
Bonus slicing sausage
I once made too much Trumese dough for my pudding basin, so I kneaded in some ground cumin, black pepper, smoked paprika and some herb or other. I made this into a sausage shape and wrapped it well in foil before bunging it in the pressure cooker to steam with the rest of the trumese. It came out rather well.
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1 cup cooked peanuts
a tiny smidgen of salt (very optional)
approx 1/3 cup water.
Grind the raw nuts fine, mash the cooked nuts and mix with the salt. Add water and steam as above. It is easier to buy a tin of Nuttolene, but this is a useful recipe to know in case of drought.
This quantity contains about 1250 calories, 108g fat (15g saturated), 57g protein, 35g carbohydrates (9g sugars) and 19g dietary fibre. Use sparingly!
Cooking peanuts takes about 80 minutes in a pressure cooker, and up to 4 hours on a stovetop.
I found it very difficult to get hold of a cereal coffee that did not contain chicory (which would taste foul). I used Yorzo instant original from Lima Foods, a Belgian company, which is made entirely from roasted barley and nothing else.
My fellow British readers are probably wondering where I got the vital wheat gluten flour from. I’m afraid I get my American frinds to bring it over when they visit, but I do know that The Flourbin sells it under the name gluten powder. The original recipes all involved making the gluten from scratch and then mincing it into the nut mixture repeatedly!
The original recipes contained stupendous amounts of salt, but we know better now, don’t we girls and boys?