Thursday, 9 February 2012

Mum's Baked Tofu and Roasted Veggies

Baked Tofu, Roast Veggies and Noodles

This is the way my mum taught me to do this:
1 block of firm tofu (I have used Cauldron Original)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Combine the soya sauce and sunflower oil.  Drain and cube the tofu;  pat dry with a clean tea-towel.  Put the tofu in flat ovenproof dish and pour the sunflower oil and soy over, turn the chunks of tofu so they are all covered.  Leave to marinate for a few hours (or not if you don't have time!) Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the tofu. Bake at about 180 C for 40 mins.

I love tofu.. so would quite happily eat this on its own on my own but it is really enough for two adult portions.  Tonight, Ruby and I are having this with some veggies that I will put in the oven about half way through and probably some chow mein noodles with peas.

This tofu is high in calcium and iron and is really tasty.  Peppers really high in Vitamin C.

Caroline's Goulash

My friend, Caroline Quain, made this yummy looking Goulash yesterday, very kindly sent me the recipe and said I could post it on here!  I will definitely give this a go!  Thanks Caroline!  (Although I'll probably cheat and use a stock cube)

Goulash Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 Savoy cabbage, cored & shredded
I small red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 litre stock
2 potatoes, chunked
1-2 tsp sugar (I left it out)
Salt & pepper
Crème fraiche, to garnish (I left that out too)

1.       Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic & carrots & cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 mins, until lightly coloured. Add the cabbage & pepper and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 mins.
2.       Sprinkle in the flour & paprika & cook, stirring constantly for 1 min. Gradually stir in the stock, a little at a time. Increase the heat to medium & bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Season with salt, reduce the heat,  cover & simmer for 30 mins.
3.       Add the potatoes & bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat, re-cover the pan & simmer for a further 20-30 mins, until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.
4.       Taste & adjust the seasoning & add the sugar. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, swirl in a little crème fraiche on top of each & serve immediately.
Serves 6  (maybe)

Vegan Not-So Junk Food

Some days you just need chips.. big, fat juicy chips.  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  I started making these for Harry when he was about Ruby's age (before I gave in to the demands for adep fat fryer which has now passed on!).  You can flavour them with anything you like - I either leave them plain for Ruby, cover them in a combination of garlic powder and garam masala for me, or Tandoori Curry powder for Harry (and my dad!).

Cut your potatoes into wedges, I tend to make them smallish.  I sometimes peel the potatoes sometime don't.  I usually leave the wedges soaking in water for a while either because I am preparing them in advance or waiting for the oven to heat up.  Oven temp, is usually about 180C (although if I have a cake in the oven the chips have to fit in with everything else - you just don't want it too hot or they'll burn on the outside and be raw in the middle).

Put 1 -2 Tblspns sunflower oil into a large bowl.  Add 1-2 tabspns curry powder or a little salt or garlic powder (don't used crushed garlic, it will burn!).  Mix it up!
Dry your wedges.  Toss them in the oil until all completely covered.  Place on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Cook for about half an hour to forty mins.

I try to use the least amount of oil possible... but you do need to cover them so they don't stick.

Had a couple of comments on facebook about this;  thanks Ann Davis McNally, love the idea of par-boiling in the microwave first.  I am going to try that out next time and thanks Michael Farrell for the sweet potato idea.  I have tried it this with Butternut Squash and that works out well too and is really good for slimmers.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Cyprus Beans.  I love this because it is warm and comforting but reminds me of beautiful, happy sun-filled days in Cyprus with my family.  Fasolia is different than gigantes because it uses cannelini beans instead of butterbeans but in every other way is very similar.

I make Fasolia in a slo-cooker which was handed down to me by my mum.   Brilliant for days when you are going to be out late and home hungry in need of something warm. 

250g cannelini beans
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely grated
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery
1 -2 tbspns olive oil
6 tomatoes
tomato puree
3 tbsps fresh parsley
stock cube
Enough water to completely cover everything in the pot.
Lemon to serve and maybe some extra olive oil.  Great with crust bread and a green salad.

Soak the beans overnight in cold water.  In the morning, drain the beans and bring them to the boil in fresh water.  Boil for about ten minutes then simmer for about ten more.  Whilst this is going on, prep the veggies and turn your slo-cooker on.  Heat some oil in a saucepan, add the onion, fry until soft but not browning.  Add the garlic, carrots and celery.  Cook for a few more minutes then add the quartered tomatoes.  After a couple of minutes, turn the veggies in to the slo-cooker;  drain the beans and add them too.  Cover the veggies and beans with boiling water.  Put the lid on the slo-cooker and forget about it.  I usually leave it for at least 8 hours, then stir in a crumbled stock cube and the parsley.  It really is good with freshly squeezed lemon a squirt of olive oil and some fresh bread.

Easy Peasy Seedy Bread

500g wholemeal flour
1 tspn salt
1 tspn sugar
1 tblspn sunflower oil
2 tblspns milled linseeds
1 sachet easy blend yeast
about 430ml tepid water
1 tbsn sesame seeds
1 tbsn sunflower seeds

Grease a 2lb loaf tin. and set fan oven to 170C.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the oil to the water and stir together.  Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a tin (mixture should be quite wet).  Press the sesame and sunflower seeds into the top.  cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 20 mins.  Bake in the oven for about 40 mins.  You know if bread is cooked by tapping the bottom - if it sounds hollow, it is ready.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Yummy Lentil and Tomato Soup

It's cold outside and we needed something warming that my recovering Harry would eat.  This is a really easy and tasty recipe.  Make about 4 servings.

1 onion, chopped
Tbsn olive oil
100g split red lentil, rinsed
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
5 tomatoes, chopped.
1 stock cube made up water as per directions.

Heat the olive oil ina medium sized saucepan.  Add the chopped onion and fry over a medium hear until soft but not browning.  Add the carrots, stir and fry for a further minute or so.  Add the lentils and the tomatoes. Add stock.  Bring to the boil.  Simmer until lentils and carrots are soft.  Blitz with a blender.  If you don't like tomato seeds, pour soup through a seive.  If you want a thinner soup add more water.   Serve with seed bread

Vegetarian and vegan cooking

I have been a vegetarian, dairy and egg free mostly for most of my life. I do a lot of cooking. I have a lot of cookery books but I find that I don’t really use them any more. I learnt to cook with Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegetarian which I bought as a teenager; now I tend to rely on what ingredients I can source locally and cheaply. I tend to buy the ingredients then design the recipe around it. Which I suppose is what my grandmother would have done and the generations before her. Buy what is fresh and beautiful and good value for money and work from there.
To cook you need basic skills, basic kitchen equipment, an understanding of what tastes you like and what nutrition you need.  You don't need a stack of veggie cookbooks (although I confess I have a few!) and you don't need to buy expensive ingredients.
So here goes; I want to keep a record of what I am cooking and eating. How many recipes do I actually follow and does my food turn out ok. This blog is essentially for me to keep track of what I am doing foodwise but would of course, welcome any comm
Dairy Free, Egg Free, Cherry Free Fruit Cake

I made this dairy and egg free in the hope that my fussy 12yo would try it. No such luck! But it is quite nice.
240g plain or wholemeal flour (I used wholemeal;  you could use a bit of both if you like)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice
180g caster sugar
8 tablespoons of sunflower oil
500g mixed fruit (I used raisins, sultanas and mixed peel)
50g chopped nuts
30g soya flour
230ml cold water.
Flaked almonds to decorate top if you like.

Preheat Fan Oven to 150C.  
Grease and line a deep, round 7inch cake tin.
Mix flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a large bowl.  Add the all of the other ingredients and most of the water. Mix well.  If mixture is too stiff add the rest of the water.  You need your cake to be of the consistency that you can spoon it not pour it.  Level top and sprinkle the flaked almonds on.
Cook for about 2 hours.  Check to see if it is ready by inserting a skewer.  If it comes out clean, your cake is ready if not put it back in the oven for a little bit longer.
When it is ready, leave it to cool for a bout an hour in the tin.  Then tip out and cool on a wire rack.