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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Meal for 2 people

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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18Jul 12

Seitan Teriyaki

Seitan Teriyaki
My mum used to make a beef version of this seitan teriyaki when I was growing up, and I have always loved the strong sweet and salty taste of the sauce.  Since fried seitan has quite a similar texture to beef, I decided to have a go at making up a vegetarian version of my childhood favourite.

The one thing taking away from the authenticity of the recipe is my inability to find a decent vegetarian fish sauce.  In the end I decided to just go with regular Tamari sauce, which tastes great, but is obviously missing a bit of the tangy and pungent effect that a fish sauce would have provided.  If anyone knows of, or ever finds a decent vegetarian or vegan fish sauce, please let me know; I’d love to try it.

I also like to sprinkle over sesame seeds for extra crunch, but that is optional. Serve it over rice and veggies for a balanced meal.

Also try these Japanese noodles with bell peppers and beef. And as we do here, replace the meat for seitan.

Seitan Teriyaki
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
The vegetarian version of beef teriyaki
Ingredients
  • 400g seitan, cut into 1cm strips
  • 3 tablespoons oil, for frying
  • For the marinade:
  • 125ml water
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • For the Teriyaki Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sake
Instructions
  1. Make the marinade by combining the water, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin in a large, shallow Tupperware container or a wide and shallow bowl.
  2. Add the seitan strips, mixing well with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. To make the teriyaki sauce, simply add the honey, soy sauce, mirin and sake to a small sauce pan and boil over medium heat until the sauce is glossy and slightly viscous. It should start to acquire a caramelized taste, but be careful not to burn it.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
  5. Add the marinated seitan strips and sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the seitan turns brown and a bit crispy on the outside.
  6. Pour the Teriyaki into the pan with the seitan and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  7. Remove from heat and serve immediately with some rice or noodles, or on its own.

 

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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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31May 12

Cream of Courgette Soup

Cream of Courgette SoupI really like eating soup, and this Cream of Courgette Soup recipe has got to be one of my all time top-five!  It has a lot more than just courgettes in it, so I guess it’s not technically a simple cream of courgette, but I find that the celery provides a nice tangy contrast while the carrots and potato give it a bit more depth.  And the nutmeg, well, that’s probably the whole secret to this incredibly tasty soup!

I strongly suggest leaving the skin on the courgettes, mostly because that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but also because it gives a nice green colour.  I’ve also used cornflour rather than cheese or cream to thicken the mix in order to make it vegan-friendly, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use those as you would in any other creamy broth (such as this roasted fennel and somerset cider soup).

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium size courgettes, washed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish

What you have to do:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks (the size isn’t very important since they’re going to be puréed anyway).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  3. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the courgettes, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir often so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, parsley, nutmeg, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  9. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Mix the cornflour with the water to a make a thick paste.
  11. Add the cornflour paste to the soup and mix it in well.
  12. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and a dash of nutmeg and serve.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium


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01Apr 12

Spanish Potato Omelette

Spanish OmeletteI learned how to make this delicious Spanish Potato Omelette many years ago when living with some Spaniards in North London. The difficult part about this omelette is the flip. It may take you a few tries to get it right, but the result is well worth the effort!

For desserts you could try one of my favourite Spanish treats – a turrón mousse, inspired by the typical Spanish dessert served only at the holidays.

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, well beaten

What you have to do:

  1. Heat 6 tbsp of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, but before it starts to smoke, add the potatoes, onions and salt.
  3. Fry for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onions are golden.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the oil in a colander.
  5. Wipe the frying pan with a paper towel to remove the used oil and put back on medium heat with new olive oil (2 tbsp).
  6. In a large bowl, mix the beaten eggs with a pinch of salt; add the potato and onions and mix well.
  7. When the oil is hot but not smoking, pour in the egg, potato and onion mixture.
  8. Move the pan over the burner in a circular fashion so that the omelette rotates in the pan and doesn’t stick.
  9. When the egg on the bottom starts to set, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  10. Keep cooking for about 3 more minutes (4 minutes total).
  11. Now for the hard part, flipping the omelette:
    1. Place a large plate (at least a little bit bigger than the frying pan) upside down over the top of the frying pan.
    2. Lift the pan upwards and flip it over at the same time so that the omelette falls onto the plate.
    3. Put the frying pan back onto the burner and slide the omelette back in with the uncooked side facing down.
  12. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  13. When the omelette is ready, it should be golden brown on both sides, and the egg in the centre should still be just a little bit runny.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Difficulty: Medium

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