Hazlenut Tofu with Japanese Broth and Sticky Rice (v)

This was lush. Really lovely and stupidly healthy too. I am a culinary genius. Just, please, don’t try making this whilst intoxicated like I did. Muchos ouchos.

For 2-3 people you need:
1 packet hazlenut tofu (available from the rather marvellous 8th day in Manchester) cut into thin 1″ square slices
1 leek, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 packet pok choi, shredded
1/2 packet snow peas, cut in half
4 florets of cauliflower, cut into slices the same size as the tofu
1 cup sherry
1/2 cup soya sauce
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1″ piece ginger, grated
about 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup sushi rice

Begin by cooking the rice – place in a pan with 1.5 cups boiling water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and allow to steam cook.

Meanwhile place the sherry and soya sauce into a pan. Add the garlic, ginger, leeks, carrots and tofu and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the water to taste to make sure the broth isn’t too overpowering with the soya sauce etc. Once the rice has finished cooking add the remaining veggies and heat through briefly. Serve with the rice and feel disgustingly healthy.

Spiced Butterbean, Cashew and Almond Patties

These are quick to make but taste delicious. You can vary the contents depending on what beans you have in the cupboard and what nuts you fancy.

For 4 people you need:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 heaped tbsp curry paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tin butterbeans, drained
75g spicy cashew nuts, chopped
125g ground almonds
1 egg

Sautee the onion in the oil for 5 mins. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook out for a further 2-3 mins.

Blitz the beans till smooth then mix everything else in. Divide the mixture into 8 and form into patties. Lay on a baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 mins till lightly cooked.

Serve with roti and something like a minty yogurt dip.

Pasta with Rocket and Watercress Pesto

O. M. G. (as it were…). This is delicious. Am very impressed that something can taste so amazing with so few ingredients and take such a short time to make.

For two people you need:
1/2 cup pine nuts
handful each watercress and rocket
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 cup grape seed oil
200g pasta

Cook the pasta. Meanwhile toast the pine nuts (yes I know Jamie says don’t bother but I like them toasted and think the heat helps to make the sauce too. So there.). Place the garlic, cheese, watercress, rocket and pine nuts into a mini blender and pulse, shaking it to ensure everything gets done. Add the oil and blend again. I used grapeseed oil as I wanted the individual flavours to come through rather than be drowned out by olive oil.

Drain the pasta and toss through the pesto. Serve with a little extra cheese on the top. Like I said, O. M. G.

Nigella’s Brownies

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged these before now, given how many times I have made them. They were the original brownie recipe for me. Dark. Dense. Incredibly chocolatey. Horrifically calorific. But utterly gorgeous. Make with caution…

For about 36 pieces you need:
375g butter
375g good quality plain chocolate
6 eggs
500g vanilla caster sugar
225g plain flour
300g chopped walnuts (optional, I never use them)

Melt the butter and chocolate slowly. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and sugar till thick and fluffy. This will take about 5 mins with an electric whisk. Add the flour and mix well. Allow the chocolate and butter to cool slightly and then mix in well. Pour into a lined tin (I use a lakeland tray bake tin which is the perfect size) and bake for 45 mins or so at 180 degrees. This recipe is notorious for saying cook for 25 mins in the book but I find that this leaves the brownies far too soggy in the middle. Great for a fondant pudding but not good as a brownie. You want it cakey at the edges and squidgy for the middle pieces if that makes sense. Allow to cook and then cut into squares. This recipe freezes really well so is worth making the whole batch.

Chick Pea and Garlic Sauce (v)

This is a sort of houmous but it’s not really houmous per se. I had it with moroccan roasted vegetables, cous cous and haloumi tonight. It worked as a sort of wet sauce to balance the dryness of the vegetables and cous cous.

For 2-3 servings you need:
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice 1 lemon
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp light olive oil

Place everything in a blender and blitz till it’s the consistency you want (I like mine slightly chunky). Eat as you wish.

Crustless Lime and Lemon Meringue Pie

Crustless cos I couldn’t be arsed to make pastry. I mean, it’s not the pastry you eat this for is it? And Lemon and Lime cos I only had two lemons and needed three…

For one pie you need:

Juice and zest of 2 lemons and 2 limes
3 egg yolks
450ml water
6 tbsp cornflour
45g butter
90g caster sugar

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
180g caster sugar

For the base, mix the cornflour with a bit of the water to slacken it and then place the remaining water in a pan with the sugar and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice, zest and cornflour to the sugar syrup. Return to the heat and stir till thickened. Remove from the heat and add the butter and egg yolks. Leave to cool in the pie dish.

For the meringue whip the whites till really stiff then add the sugar. Mix till glossy.

Once the base is cold, and more solid, cover with the meringue taking care to spread right to the sides. Bake in a moderate (160 degrees) oven for about 45 mins. Leave to cool before eating, however hard that might appear cos it will smell gorgeous. Try not to eat it all on one day.

Coconut Broth with Citrus and Noodles (v)

Yes, another variation on the theme but this was delicate and spicy and sour and hot and basically delicious which is why it deserves being blogged. The addition of frozen kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass helped to lift the flavours more than freeze dried.

For 2-3 portions you need:
1 bundle ramen noodles
1 can coconut milk
1 small can cocomut cream
1 litre vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 red chillies, sliced
small bunch corriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 cup peas
2 pak choi, shredded
1 tbsp frozen kaffir lime leaves
4 pieces frozem lemon grass
juice of 2 limes
6 spring onions, chopped

Place everything apart from the spring onions in a large pan and gently heat. Cook for 1-2 mins and then serve topped with the spring onions.

Soda Bread

I have never really made this before, but after the success of the cut rounds last weekend; I had some buttermilk leftover that needed to be used up. So soda bread it was to compliment our celeriac soup.

For one loaf you need:
450g plain flour
1 tsp each: salt, caster sugar and bicarb
about 350ml buttermilk

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly. Make a well and pour in the liquid. Bring it together, but don’t knead. Form into a ball and place on a floured baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the top (supposedly to let out the faeries…) and bake in a hot (220 degree) oven for 15 mins. Turn down the heat to 200 degrees and bake for a further 30 mins or so.