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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Less than 30 minutes

13Aug 12

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu
What better way to start your day than with a protein-filled serving of delicious scrambled  tofu?!  It’s just as filling and flavourful as eggs, but without the fat or cholesterol.

You’ll notice that the recipe says to freeze the tofu and then thaw it before use.  This is a trick I learnt recently, and it adds a whole new dimension  to the tofu.  Due to the freezing process, the texture of the tofu changes; it becomes more crumbly and somewhat similar in appearance to minced beef.  This same method also works great for making vegetarian bolognese sauce or chilli, or anything that would typically call for minced beef.

This is my most basic version of the recipe, but tofu is so great at absorbing different flavours that I strongly encourage you to go ahead and try different variations of seasoning. Basically anything you might have used with scrambled eggs should work just fine.  You could also add some spinach or other veggies to the mix if you like.

I usually eat this for breakfast alongside toast smothered in apricot jam. But you can of course eat it at any time of the day you prefer!

If you like this idea, you will probably also like menemen – Turkish scrambled eggs.

 

Scrambled Breakfast Tofu
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 350-400g firm tofu, frozen then thawed, then crumbled
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½tsp paprika
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two, taking care that it doesn't brown or burn.
  3. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the frying pan, and add the paprika to the empty side.
  4. Fry the paprika for about 30 seconds, stirring and mixing into the oil.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add more oil if necessary.
  7. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve immediately with a few slices of toast.

 

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31Jul 12

Linguine with Roquefort and Walnuts

Linguine with Roquefort and WalnutsPasta, can you imagine what our world would be without it?!  So easy to make and so versatile, it’s virtually everyone in the western world’s go-to dish for spur-of-the-moment meals or fussy children!  In fact, it’s one of the first foods that most children agree to eat without too much complaining.

This linguine with Roquefort and walnuts, surprisingly, is no exception, at least in my own experience with my kids.  I expected the blue cheese and white colour of the sauce to turn them off, but they lapped it right up and even asked for more! (You could also try this pasta with egg yolks and walnuts recipe.)

Of course, my children may not be representative of the national average, so if you want, you can try substituting the Roquefort for another, more kid-friendly cheese.  Any easily melted cheese, such as Manchego or Gruyère should work fine.  If kids aren’t a problem, you can of course go the other way as well and try a stronger cheese like Gorgonzola or Stilton.

 

Linguine with Roquefort and Walnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 500g dried linguine
  • 4 whole walnuts
  • 300ml double cream
  • 8 tbsp Port
  • 225g Roquefort cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  2. Add the pasta, give it a stir and cook according to the instructions on the pasta. Start to check it a few minutes before the indicated time to make sure you get it just how you like it. I prefer it al dente, but go ahead and cook it however you prefer.
  3. While the linguine is cooking, shell the walnuts and chop them up very finely. Set aside.
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain it immediately.
  5. Place the double cream, Port and Roquefort in a saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. The cheese should take a few minutes to melt.
  6. Toss the pasta with the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve on plates with the walnuts sprinkled over the top of each serving.

 

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29Jul 12

Fennel and Parsley Salad

Fennel and Parsley SaladAn often forgotten vegetable in many homes, fennel has got to be one of my personal favourite comfort-foods, and this fennel and parsley salad is no exception!  The slight licorice aroma of the fennel bulbs is a truly delightful sensation for the taste buds and stomach alike.  Fennel is known for its soothing effects on the stomach, so I find it’s the perfect thing when you’re not feeling 100%, whether that be due to the flu or an overly excessive night on the town.

If you are looking for a more subtle fennel flavour, try this mushroom risotto recipe.

Some people suggest that fennel should be cooked just until it’s al dente, but I personally strongly disagree with this.  I believe it should be nice and tender, as this is when its true flavour really shines through.  I like to serve this salad on a bed of rocket and topped with some Parmesan cheese shavings, as suggested in the recipe, but you can go ahead and leave this out if you prefer, or substitute it for any other lettuce and cheese combination.  As usual, let your taste-buds be your guide!

 

Fennel and Parsley Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, sprigs and leaves
  • 1tsp minced lemon zest
  • 1tsp minced tangerine zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1tbsp fresh tangerine juice
  • 100g rocket lettuce
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, shaved
Instructions
  1. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, cut out the cores and remove any bruised outer leaves.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut the fennel halves crosswise, as thin as you can.
  3. Transfer the fennel to a medium-sized bowl and toss with the parsley, lemon zest, tangerine zest, ¼ teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper and the olive oil.
  4. Add the lemon juice and the tangerine juice and toss again.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Arrange a bed of rocket lettuce on each plate and nestle the salad on top.
  7. Place a few shavings of Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

 

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23Jul 12

Spinach and Warm Veggie Salad

Spinach and Warm Veggie SaladThis spinach and warm veggie salad recipe, smothered in a delicious creamy mustard sauce, makes a great starter or side dish for any occasion.  The warm vegetables make a welcome change to a typical cold salad and provide the perfect contrast to the bed of tender fresh spinach leaves.

If you have more of an appetite, you could also try this pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese. The extra carbs will give you an energy boost.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 medium-sized red onions
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 110g fresh tender spinach  leaves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread
  • 65ml vegetable stock
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tsp grainy mustard
  • 2tbsp crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground coriander

What you have to do:

 

  1. Chop the red onions.
  2. Trim the fennel, wash and cut into eighths lengthwise.
  3. Wash and trim the spinach. Remove the thick stems, and wash thoroughly in cold standing water. Allow to drain thoroughly and transfer to plates.
  4. Wash the lemon with hot water, remove a thin layer of zest, and chop finely. Squeeze out the juice and set aside.
  5. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley leaves over top of the spinach.
  7. Soak the bread in the vegetable stock.
  8.  In a blender, finely purée the bread with the extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Mix in the grainy mustard and crème fraîche and season to taste with 1.5 tablespoons of the lemon juice, along with the salt, pepper, and coriander.
  10. In a wide pot, bring about 5cm of salted water to the boil for the vegetables.
  11. Cover and cook the vegetables 5 minutes, or until they are tender and crisp.
  12. Drain the excess water from the vegetables and arrange them on top of the spinach leaves.
  13. Pour the mustard cream over the salad or mix it all together so that the entire dish is coated with the dressing.
  14. Serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time:  20

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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05Jul 12

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese SauceAlthough broccoli is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet  due to its high content of calcium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron, it can be quite difficult at times to get your kids to eat it, regardless of how much you threaten them with chores or no dessert!

Luckily, almost all kids love Cheddar cheese, so this broccoli in cheddar cheese sauce may just be the perfect way to finally get them to eat something green and healthy for once.  I know it worked for me when I was a kid!

You can really use any kind of cheese you prefer for this dish, but I find the bright orange colour of the cheddar looks really nice with the dark green of the broccoli and helps make this into an attractive and delicious side dish. (If you prefer a main dish, I recommend this pasta salad with broccoli and bacon – without the bacon, of course!)

What you’re going to need:

  • 315ml milk (or soy or other milk)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 100g (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese or cheese alternative
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 500g broccoli, cut into 2 to 3 cm florets

 

What you have to do:

 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together about 65ml of the milk and the cornflour until smooth and lump-free.
  2. Add the rest of the milk and the garlic and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cheese. Keep stirring until all the cheese melts.
  4. Add salt and cayenne pepper and taste.  Add more if desired.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and reduce the heat as low as possible in order to keep the sauce warm while the broccoli is cooking.
  6. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the florets.
  7. Remove the broccoli from the water, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  8. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the cooked broccoli and serve immediately.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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24Jun 12

Peanut Hoi Sin Dipping Sauce

Peanut Hoi Sin Dipping SauceThis spicy, Malaysian influenced, peanut hoi sin dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment to my vegetarian Vietnamese spring rolls. You can also try aubergines in peanut sauce, or substitute aubergine for your favourite veggie.  The sauce is sweet and salty and has a very intense flavour.  It’ll keep up to two or three weeks in the fridge as long as you don’t add the peanuts until you are ready to use it.  The recipe calls for sambal hot sauce, which can be hard to find, so you can substitute any other hot chilli sauce or paste if necessary.

What you’re going to need:

  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thinly (about 65ml)
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 125ml Hoi sin sauce
  • 85ml water
  • 1/2tsp rice vinegar
  • 65ml peanuts
  • 1tsp sambal or other hot chilli pepper-based sauce

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Spread the peanuts out evenly in one layer along the bottom of a rimmed baking tray or oven-proof dish.  The dish/tray should be just big enough for one layer of peanuts. If not, the exposed surface will attract heat and the peanuts won’t toast evenly.
  3. Toast the peanuts in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Give them a shake after 5 minutes to keep the toasting even.  When they start to smell nutty and turn golden, they’re done.  Pay close attention to the toasting as they can burn very quickly.
  4. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cool surface immediately.
  5. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and add the shallots and a pinch of salt.
  6. Sauté until crisp, about 2 minutes.
  7. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Chop very fine and place in a small bowl.
  9. Chop the peanuts and add to the mixture along with the rest of the ingredients except for the sambal/chilli sauce.
  10. Season to taste with the sambal or chilli sauce.  Add just a little at a time and taste after each addition until the desired level of spiciness is reached.
  11. Serve with Vietnamese spring rolls or whatever else you want to dip, such as raw vegetables or onion bhaji.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  n/a, makes about 250ml

Difficulty: Medium

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21Jun 12

Broccoli and Tofu in Coconut Milk

broccoli and tofu in coconut milkLike most stir-fries, this broccoli and tofu in coconut milk stir-fry is incredibly easy to throw together and makes for a tasty meal when you’re short on time and your family is clamouring for their supper.  Both the broccoli and the tofu soak up the sauce really well, so every bite is packed full of yummy coconut and spice flavours. (Also try this vegetable stir-fry delight!)

The best way to make a stir-fry is of course in a wok, but if you don’t have one at hand, you can use any good, large non-stick frying pan.  I do recommend you get yourself a wok as soon as possible though, because it really makes it easier to fry the veggies quickly, plus they tend to be bigger than most frying pans so you don’t have to worry about the ingredients spilling over the side when you stir energetically.

What you’re going to need:

  • 300g soft tofu, cut into pieces 1cm x 1cm x 3cm
  • 500g broccoli, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 1tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp fresh chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp canola oil
  • 2tbsp water

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the garlic, ginger and chillies.
  3. Sauté for about 1 minute or until the spices turn brown and aromatic.
  4. Add the Tamari and stir well to mix in the spices.
  5. Increase the heat to high and add the chopped broccoli and tofu.  Stir well and make sure all the broccoli and tofu are coated with the Tamari and spice liquid.
  6. Continue stir-frying over high heat for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the water and keep stir-frying for another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  9. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 4 minutes.
  10. Serve over a bed of steamed rice or Chinese-style noodles.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves:  2-3

Difficulty: Easy

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14Feb 12

Moroccan Hummus

Moroccan HummusThis classical Arab dish, originally from Beirut, Libya, is a favourite the world over with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.  Hummus is incredibly quick and easy to make and once you’ve learned how to do it and I guarantee it will soon become one of your most useful recipes, and a real crowd pleaser too.

Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and the chickpeas provide a great source of dietary fibre.  When eaten with bread (the standard method), it provides a complete protein serving due to the mixing of grains and pulses and is therefore a very useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.

I usually serve this as a dip, with some kind of flatbread such as Pita or Naan for scooping up the Hummus, but it’s also great with chopped fresh veggies such as carrot or celery sticks, broccoli, red-peppers or even asparagus sticks.  As another interesting variation you can try adding half a red bell pepper to the blended ingredients, or even a jalapeño if you like it spicy or are feeling a bit daring.

Whatever you decide to do, one serving probably won’t be enough, so be sure to have enough ingredients on hand to make a second (or even third  and fourth) batch when your guests start clamouring for it, as I guarantee they will!

What you’re going to need:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt (plain yoghurt will do if you don’t have Greek to hand)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds and/or 1 tsp paprika (for garnish)

What you have to do:

  1. Put all the ingredients except the paprika and cumin seeds into an electric blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed.  Make sure the garlic gets blended well too.
  2. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more tahini and chick peas until the desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too thick, add a little water and blend again.
  3. Pour the mixture out onto a deep plate or shallow bowl and pat down with a spoon.
  4. Splash a little olive on top and garnish with the cumin seeds and/or paprika.
  5. Serve with pitta-bread, or slices of French bread, or crisps or crackers, or whatever you have on hand to dip with.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: n/a

Serves:  2-4

Difficulty: easy

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