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Spelt bake (vegan or vegetarian)

Unripe spelt grain (German: Grünkern) is a wonderfully versatile ingredient and very popular among vegetarians in Germany when preparing sweet and savoury dishes. I use it to make patties, bakes and pastry.

The advantage of cooking the spelt mixture in the Thermomix is that you don’t need to stand next to the machine and stir constantly to stop the spelt from sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

I added tomato paste and the paprika to give the dish a bit of colour. If you can find them, chilli olives are great in this and give the spelt bake a little heat. Ovo-lacto vegetarians can use 2 eggs instead of soya flour to bind mixture and add 40g grated cheese. If you’re vegan, you could try adding a bit of nutritional yeast to give the mixture a cheesier taste.

Servings: 4-6

2 onions, quartered

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 leek, white only, sliced lengthways, cleaned, cut into 1-inch lengths

40 g oil of your choice

200 g unripe spelt grain (Grünkern)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp mild Hungarian paprika

400 ml vegetable stock

40 g nuts

2 tbsp soya flour mixed with 4 tbsp water to replace two eggs

sliced olives to taste (can be omitted)

80 g oatmeal

sea salt

black pepper freshly ground

nutmeg

oil for greasing baking pan

1. Before you start: coarsely mill spelt (approx. 6s/speed10) and nuts (5s/speed 5) separately in TM. Set aside nuts for step 5 and spelt for step 3.

2. Cut onions, leek and carrots into chunks. Chop on speed 5 until finely chopped.

3. Add oil and spelt to vegetables with vegetable stock. Scrape any ingredients from sides into bowl. Add tomato paste and paprika. Cook 100/20m/speed2/reverse. (You may have to increase the speed up to speed 3/4, reverse at the beginning to mix the ingredients thoroughly).

Make sure you insert the measuring cup, because the mixture starts to splutter after about 10 minutes.

4. Open the lid carefully, because the mixture is really hot. Scrape out the contents of TM into a bowl. Set aside until mixture has cooled a little.

5. Heat oven to 175C. Add nuts, soya flour with water (or eggs), sliced olives and oatmeal (and grated cheese if using) to spelt mixture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

6. Grease a baking pan (I used a square, silicon one) with oil and pour spelt mixture into it. Smooth top before baking for 35-40 minutes. Leave to stand a few minutes before cutting.

This is great served with a spicy tomato sauce and steamed vegetables from the Varoma.

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