Black Sesame Tofu (v)

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Oh tofu, how much do I love you? I created this savoury tofu to top some vegetable noodles we had on Sunday. The texture was nicely chewy without being rubbery and the taste was deep, savoury and satisfying.

For 4 portions you need

  • 1 396g pack cauldron tofu, drained and pressed for 4-5 hours (I have an awesome tofu press which cost a fortune but honestly it’s BRILLIANT!)
  • 1″ chunk of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Begin by dicing the tofu into 5mm cubes.
  2. Heat a wok until smoking hot and add the oil. Toss the tofu in the hot oil for about 10 mins until it is lightly browned all over.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, aside from the sesame seeds, and cook until the sauce has reduced into a thick sticky glaze that coats the tofu.
  4. Toss through the sesame seeds and serve. It’s equally delicious hot or cold.

 

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Smoked Tofu and Charred Broccoli Salad (v)

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We drove home from a lovely holiday in the Lakes on Friday and made the regular stop at the most middle class of services, Tebay. I was delighted to find a really good selection of vegan sandwiches and salads available. I was less delighted to find how much they cost… I can’t say their version of this was worth the £5 price tag, but it was tasty and inspired me to make this which we all scoffed, even the teen.

For five portions you need:

Salad

  • 200g pack thin rice noodles
  • 1 pack smoked tofu (taifun is my favourite)
  • 1 pack beansprouts
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 100g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pack fresh coriander
  • 1/2 pack watercress, very roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

  • 1 red chilli, diced
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup light soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar (or use mirin instead of the vinegar and sweetener)
  1. Soak the noodles in boiling water for about 10 mins. Drain, run through with cold water and then squeeze out any excess water. Toss through 1 tsp sesame oil to stop them sticking and place onto the serving plates.
  2. Layer up grated carrot, beansprouts, shredded watercress, the sliced chilli and some roughly chopped watercress onto the plates.
  3. Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix. Add the remaining coriander, chopped quite finely to the dressing.
  4. Char the broccoli in a griddle pan until tender and lightly charred. Add to the serving plates.
  5. Slice the tofu into thin slices and heat in a hot pan until lightly golden and starting to crisp. Add to the plates, pour over the dressing, sprinkle over some extra sesame seeds and enjoy.

Treacle Tart (v)

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I posted a pic of this on instagram (as usual…) and said it needed just four ingredients. According to my brother those are sugar, sugar, flour and nommmy nom. The actual four ingredients are listed below, but suffice to say there’s a lot of sugar and the resulting combination does indeed lead to nommy nom. Make it!

For 8-10 portions you need

  • 1 pack pre-made ready rolled sweet pastry (checking it’s SFV natch)
  • 100g fresh soft breadcrumbs
  • 350g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
  1. Allow the pastry to come up to room temperature before unrolling or it will crack. Remove from the backing paper and place in a loose bottomed flan tin.
  2. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Drip over the lemon juice. Pour the golden syrup on top of everything – I put the tin on the scales and weigh from the jar of syrup to make this stage as mess free as possible! DO NOT MIX!!! You do not need to mix, just leave everything as is and it will sort itself out in the oven when baking.
  3. Place in a pre-heated oven at 170 degree and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown and you have no soggy bottoms.
  4. Serve with vegan ice cream/creme fraiche or whatever you fancy. It’s also nice with some tart fresh raspberries or blueberries to offset the teeth melting sweetness. Enjoy 😀

Sort of Wagamama Bang Bang Cauliflower (v)

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Sort of because it wasn’t the same as the actual dish at Wagamama, but it was very delicious. And also sort of because I clearly didn’t use cauliflower. It’s broccoli. I know it’s broccoli. Cauliflower is currently out of season and therefore unavailable.

This was searingly hot, just as it should be, but tempered with the sweetness and sourness that allows you to be able to eat it. I served with katsu quorn nuggets and lots of rice.

To make enough sauce for 4 portions you need:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2-3 tbsp agave nectar (adjust to taste depending on the fierceness of the chilli heat)
  • 2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • fresh coriander and fresh sliced chilli to garnish
  1. Place all the ingredients into a pan and slowly heat. Simmer and reduce until thickened. You need to lose about 1/3 to 1/2 of the original volume of liquid to get the right consistency.
  2. Steam your veggies and once done pour the sauce over. Garnish and serve.

Rose Elliot’s Lentil Croquettes (v)

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After a week on holiday eating and drinking whatever we wanted, I thought it was about time to get back into the kitchen and prepare something vaguely nutritious… These hit the spot. I love red lentils but usually just lob them into a dhal. I forget how lovely they are in their own right.

Rose’s recipe is very simple to follow. I added 2 tsp of marigold stock powder to the lentil cooking water as I like to boost the flavour a little. The mixture was also a little sloppy after I added the lemon juice and onions so I added 100g fresh breadcrumbs to stiffen it a little before shaping into croquettes. They were delicious hot for our tea and also nice cold for my lunch the following day. Enjoy!

Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.

Smoked Butterbean and Sesame Hummus (v)

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I used to think I didn’t like hummus, but the reality was I don’t like mass produced supermarket hummus. I also don’t like the over reliance on serving hummus as the bog standard vegan/vegetarian dip of choice. Variety is the spice of life people…

Anyway, I do like hummus. Especially when it’s made with butterbeans which give it an even softer more voluptuous texture. The sesame seeds enhance the tahini and the smoked paprika adds a piquant smoky back note. Delicious served in many different ways, don’t just limit yourself to pitta bread or crudites. It’s really nice when used as a sauce over pasta or hot new potatoes for instance. The possibilities are endless.

This recipe is adjusted to our tastes which means it’s quite zingy and citrusy. Amend the ingredients below to suit your palate.

For one can of butterbeans you also need:

  • 1 can butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 80ml or thereabouts of olive oil
  • 80ml or thereabouts of tahini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  1. Place everything apart from the sesame seeds and paprika into a small blender and mix until creamy and smooth.
  2. Season to taste and pour into a serving dish.
  3. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and paprika then drizzle over a little more olive oil.

Instant Pot Carrot and Potato Tagine (v)

I’ve made this recipe countless times on the stove, but today was the first outing for my beloved Instant Pot. Super quick and easy, and it tasted lovely. It’s an Instant Pot adaptation of an original recipe by Ghillie Basan with a few tweaks of my own thrown in for good measure.

For 4-6 portions you need 

  • 250g new potatoes
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, grated
  • 500ml stock
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 400g cooked chickpeas (I used previously cooked frozen chickpeas)
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin; coriander; turmeric and chilli flakes
  • Cous cous to serve
  • Freshly chopped coriander to garnish
  1. Begin by putting everything apart from the cous cous and fresh coriander into the pot.
  2. Set on manual for 5 mins. I have mine 20mins NPR as I was busy but it’s fine with only 5-10 mins NPR.
  3. Add the peas and pop the lid back on to the pot for another 3-4 mins until the peas are hot.
  4. Serve with cous cous and fresh coriander.