Sticky Tofu with Noodles & Zingy Lime Dressing (v)

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This is another brilliant dish for hot weather when you don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove but still want something tasty, nutritious and filling in your belly. Choose whatever veggies you have to hand and swap the noodles for rice if necessary.

For three portions you need

  • 1 pack tofu, pressed. (we prefer cauldron foods and use a tofu torture press – worth every penny). Cut into thin strips.
  • 1/2 bottle hoisin sauce
  • 1 pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, cut into ribbons with a speed peeler
  • 1/2 chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 nests thin rice noodles
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • handful fresh coriander
  • 1-2 tbsp oil

Dressing

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1″ piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 thai chillies, finely grated
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup
  1. Begin by making the dressing. I keep my chillies and ginger in the freezer so I always have fresh available. This also means I can grate them straight into a dressing to ensure even distribution in the dressing. Combine all the ingredients together and leave to mingle.
  2. Soak the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions. Once ready, drain and refresh in cold water and squeeze out any excess to prevent the dish from being too soggy.
  3.  Heat a griddle pan and add the oil. Stir fry the broccoli for 2-3 mins until slightly charred. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.
  4. Re-heat the pan and place the tofu in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 mins on a high heat until crispy and golden brown. Turn and repeat. You may need to add a little more oil.
  5. Once the tofu is crispy, pour over the hoisin sauce and remove from the heat. Toss the tofu until coated. Do not keep it on the heat or the sugar in the sauce will burn and it will taste nasty.
  6. Dress the bowls with all the ingredients, finishing with the hot tofu. Drizzle over the sauce and top with slices of spring onion and coriander.

Simple Mango Sorbet (v)

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With the warmer weather last week, we ate a LOT of ice cream and sorbet so I had a go at making some mango sorbet myself. This is pretty easy if you have an ice cream maker. If you don’t, simply pour the mix into a tub and freeze it, remembering to take it out and beat it every hour or so to keep too many ice crystals from forming. I cheated and used a tin of ready made puree because frankly it’s cheap, easy to use and you know it’s going to be sweet and perfect. If you have a glut of fresh mangoes, puree the flesh and sweeten to taste, remembering that when you freeze something you need to add a little more sugar than normal.

For approx 900ml of sorbet you need:

  • 1 tin mango puree
  • 5ml liquid glycerine
  1. Chill the tin of puree overnight in the fridge and make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is likewise frozen overnight (unless you have one of those fancy pants ones that doesn’t need to be frozen).
  2. Pour the puree into the machine along with the glycerine. Churn until thickened then transfer to a tub and finish freezing in the freezer until you are ready to eat it.

Simple Curry Sauce (v)

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This is a quick and simple curry sauce that tastes just like the sauce base you get from the takeaway. Play around with the heat to adjust to taste and add other embellishments depending on mood and what needs to be used up – some cream or yogurt perhaps or some butter or even some desiccated coconut instead of the ground almonds.

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped into pieces
  • 2 finger chillies (adjust to taste, we like a spicy curry!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp stock powder
  • 1 tsp each of turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin and curry powder
  • About 200ml water
  • 3-4 tbsp ground almonds
  1. Begin by placing the tomatoes, onion, garlic and ginger in a blender and smooshing to a smooth consistency.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan until hot and then add the curry leaves. Cook out for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and stir to fry off in the oil.
  4. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Cook for about 10 mins until the raw smell of the onions has eased off a little.
  5. Add everything else apart from the almonds. Cook out for another 5-10 mins, adjusting the seasoning, heat and consistency of the sauce to suit.
  6. If you’re making this into a curry e.g. chana masala or paneer etc add these now and heat into the sauce.
  7. Finish by adding the ground almonds to thicken and lighten the sauce, adjust the seasoning again if necessary and scoff. You can add a spoonful of cream, yogurt or butter at this stage too to enrich the sauce if you want.

We had it as paneer curry the first time and as a sauce for a vegetable and chickpea biryani last night, yummy!

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Two Ingredient Flat Breads

Dhal, curry and flat bread.

I’ve never made these before but fancied some bread with our curry last night. These are ridiculously simple and were fluffy on the inside.

You need equal quantities of natural yogurt (dairy free works fine) and self raising flour. I used 150g of each which made enough for the three of us. Mix together to form a dough then break off pieces and roll flat on a floured surface, don’t roll them too thin. Heat a griddle pan until hot and dry fry until puffed and light golden. Eat whilst hot.

Cook till puffed.
Light golden brown 😍

Coconut Vegetable Dhal Soup (v)

We eat a lot of soup. It’s tasty, nourishing and you can hide all sorts in it. This used up some leftover sweet potatoes and some sad celery as well as delivering a nutritional hit from the red lentils. Freeze some if you have leftovers. It’s a warm and comforting hug in a bowl.

Coconut Vegetable Dhal Soup

For six portions you need:

  • 1 swede, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1-1.5 litres vegetable stock (more or less depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • Toasted mixed seeds
  • Fresh coriander
  1. Begin by sautéing the vegetables in the oil for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add the lentils and curry powder and mix well.
  3. Add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 20 mins.
  4. Blitz the soup with a stick blender, season to taste and serve garnished with the seeds and coriander.

Chocolate Peanut Smoothie (v)

Chocolate banana smoothie

In these uncertain and unsettling times I’m struggling to eat. I’m also hyper aware that I don’t want to waste any food at all. This smoothie delivers a healthy boost of fruit; is easy to drink if you’ve no appetite and uses up some bananas that are too ripe for me to enjoy as they are. You can use whatever ingredients you have to hand. These were in my freezer/cupboard.

For one portion you need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Handful of frozen black cherries
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • ~200ml soya milk or whatever milk you have to hand.
  1. Put everything into a blender goblet. Blitz till smooth, adding more liquid if you need to. Enjoy.

If you have lots of ripe bananas, peel them and freeze them. If you use frozen banana you will need to add more liquid as it will thicken a lot.

Bangers and Mash with Red Wine Onion Gravy (v)

When it’s your birthday in our house, you can choose what’s for tea. This year I chose bangers and mash as it’s been a grey January so far and I wanted comfort food. But to make it that little bit extra special I made the gravy from scratch. It only takes 20 mins and the results are soooooooo worth it.

For three people you need

  • Vegan sausages (we used Shroomdogs and Linda McCartney sausages)
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Vegan spread – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I used my mandolin for consistency)
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp each of soya sauce and mushroom ketchup
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  1. Put the potatoes on to boil. Cook for 17 mins once boiling until tender. Drain and add 1 tbsp spread then mash thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
  2. Heat a large frying pan and add the other 1 tbsp spread. Add the onion and sugar and cook for 10 mins until lightly golden.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook out for 2-3 mins. Add the stock, wine, soya sauce and mushroom ketchup and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to thicken. Stir every now and then to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook the sausages – I use my air fryer where they take about 16 mins.
  5. Steam the veg and then serve up and enjoy.

Rainbow Tofu Poke Bowl (v)

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They say you should eat the rainbow, and this bowl is packed full of delicious things to help you achieve that goal! I think it’s also at least four of your five a day in one yummy bowl. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, it’s not complicated to make.

For four portions you need:

Marinated Cucumber in Ginger, Garlic and Mirin

  • 1/2 cucumber, cut in half and de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (add more for extra heat)
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

Crispy Kale

  • 200g fresh kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt flakes

Crispy Tofu

Avocado with Lime and Ginger

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

Other

  • 225g sushi rice, cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 2 tbsp toasted mixed seeds
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and then peeled into ribbons
  • 1/4 red cabbage, finely shredded
  • Remaining lime to garnish
  1. Begin by pressing the tofu. Use a press if you have one and if not, drain the tofu, wrap in a thick tea towel and place on a plate and put a very heavy weight on top of it – I use a cast iron pan and a 4kg kettlebell! Ideally press overnight or for at least an hour.
  2. Cook the sushi rice and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Cut the cucumber into slices about .25cm thick. Place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and set aside to marinate whilst you make the rest of the dish.
  4. Place all the avocado ingredients together in a bowl and leave to one side.
  5. I use my air fryer to cook the kale – simply place everything in the fryer and cook for 5-7 mins until crispy. If you don’t have an air fryer then cook in a single layer in a hot (220 degrees) oven for 8-10 mins.
  6. Cut the tofu into 1cm cubes. Heat the oil in a wok until very hot then fry the tofu, tossing it frequently to ensure even cooking. This will take about 10 mins. Add the poke sauce to the pan and heat briefly. Take off the heat and assemble your bowls. Sprinkle with the seeds and squeeze over the lime. Eat. Feel simultaneously smug and amazed you made something this good!

Smokey Beans with Kale and Sweet Potatoes (v)

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Another winter warmer, this has the warming scent of smoke paprika running through the earthiness of butter beans and tomatoes. Internal central heating! I served it with baked sweet potatoes, mashed swede and potatoes and quinoa cooked with red lentils. It was a winning combination that was so good the teen requested the same meal again three days later!

For six portions you need

Stew

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced.
  • 1 large jar passata.
  • 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika.
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning.
  • 1 tsp vegan stock powder.
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar.
  • salt and pepper.

Quinoa and Lentils

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1.5 cups stock
  1. Sautee the onions, garlic and carrots in the oil for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven (170 degrees) for 45 mins until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile cook the lentils and quinoa in the stock – bring to the boil, cover and cook for 17 mins. Turn off the heat and leave to stand until the stew is ready.
  4. Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour until soft.
  5. Roast kale to make kale chips.
  6. Boil swede and potato together and mash once tender.
  7. Serve, eat, be happy!

Lentils in Cider and Mustard (v)

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We are lucky enough to live near an excellent farm shop (Nelson’s) and each week I plan my meals around what’s in season and looks good to eat. We were spoilt for choice this week with all the delicious root crops available, along with bags of vibrant green kale.
I LOVE KALE CHIPS!! We are also trying to keep up with the teen’s insatiable demand for protein, protein and more protein so lentils have featured heavily as a cost effective way to achieve this. I snuck in a Linda McCartney sausage too for some contrast in texture and flavour. This keeps and freezes well so it’s worth making a large batch and stashing some in the freezer if you’re able to.

For 6 portions you need

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into roughly 1cm dice.
  • 2 carrots, ditto.
  • 1/2 a swede, ditto.
  • 1 sweet potato, ditto.
  • 1 leek, sliced.
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced.
  • 1 cup mixed lentils – we had brown, green and puy.
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley.
  • 1 can cider.
  • 1 pint vegetable stock.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 tbsp dried sage.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Begin by sauteeing the vegetables in the oil for 5-10 mins. Use a large ovenproof pan with a lid to save on washing up!
  2. Add the lentils, mustard, cider, herbs and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in a 170 degree oven for an hour.
  3. Serve with kale chips and other veg of your choice.