Scrambled Tofu

dsc_2591

Regular followers of this blog will know I am a huge fan of tofu. When I hear someone say how horrid and tasteless it is I always think to myself that they don’t know how to cook it. Tofu on it’s own is pretty tasteless stuff. But then so is a piece of chicken unless you add some flavour, seasoning, marinate it, etc.

I saw this on social media recently. Written and perhaps shared by someone who has never actually eaten the stuff.

15822840_10154190870892546_1798247837497542111_n

So apart from using tofu in casseroles and stews, in stir fries, in sandwiches, burgers, salads, you can also eat the stuff for breakfast. It makes a perfect substitute for eggs, contains huge amounts of protein, pretty much zero fat plus lots of goodies like iron, calcium, zinc, selenium and more. It really is wonderful stuff. Pair that up with powerful medicinal properties of turmeric and you can enjoy a breakfast to get your day off to the best possible start.

Any firm tofu will do. Tofoo now sold in my local Tesco is particularly good as is this which I pick up from oriental supermarkets when in London and freeze.

This makes breakfast for two.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pack firm tofu – about 200g
1 small clove garlic – finely chopped or minced
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
a splash of light soy sauce
1 tomato – diced

Heat the oil over a high to medium heat in a frying pan. Crumble the tofu with your fingers into the pan and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The tofu may release quite a bit of water at this stage so fry a little longer if needed to dry it off.

Add the garlic, turmeric and paprika and continue to fry and stir for a further minute. Now add the remaining ingredients and carry on stirring and cooking for a further 5 minutes.

Serve on toast

Advertisements

Courgette and Cheese Tart with Beetroot and Bulgur Wheat Salad

I’ve always struggled to build the right kind of relationship with courgettes. They are so easy to grow provided you have sufficient space. However some late summer they produce so many that it becomes a struggle knowing quite what to do with them all. On a good day I can pick 6 to 8 of them, only to find another crop just a few days later.

We recently had our first frost as winter starts to show its face and with that the courgette plants wither and start the process of becoming next year’s compost. Funny thing is, I miss them. I miss being able to pick my own and I refuse to buy them from the supermarket out of season. However if you are more relaxed about your courgette relationship you could try this tart

This is like a quiche but made with puff pastry rather than shortcrust. Despite blind baking to restrict the amount of rise in the pastry, it still takes on a life of its own. Very different to a traditional quiche or tart.

I served it with a salad made from raw beets, carrots and bulgur wheat.

To make the tart
1 onion – finely sliced
2 medium courgettes – sliced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
6 eggs
A splash of cream (optional)
1 pack of puff pastry – I use ready rolled for ease
150g crumbly cheese – Lancashire, Feta, Wensleydale all work well
salt and pepper

Put the oven onto 200C. Line a loose bottomed, metal tart tin with the pastry. This usually requires using two pieces of pastry so make sure there are no cracks in the join else the filling will leak through. Keep the off cuts for now. Pop a sheet of baking parchment over the base, fill with baking beans (or use dried beans or chick peas) to weigh it down, then bake for around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the parchment. Let the beans cool and store them for reuse.

Meanwhile you can make the filling. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the courgette slices over a high heat. You want a little colour to develop as this adds some flavour to the otherwise bland courgettes. When browned and a little charred on both sides, remove and allow to cool. Turn the heat down and fry the onion gently until browned and starting to caramelise. Add these to the courgettes and allow to cool.

Beat 6 eggs with the cream if using, season to taste then add the cooled courgettes and onions along the the crumbled cheese. Pour into your par-baked pastry case. If you like you can use the off cuts of pastry to make a lattice top as per the photo. Brush with a little milk then place in the oven for 35-45 minutes until browned and the egg filling has set. Remove from the oven and from the tin and serve with the salad.

For the salad
1 medium beetroot
1 medium carrot
100g bulgur wheat
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
A very large handful of Parsley
salt

Boil a kettle. Pop the wheat in a bowl. Just cover with boiling water and leave until all the water has been absorbed.

Take a large mixing bowl and grate the beetroot and carrot. Roughly chop the parsley and add this then add the other ingredients including the cooked bulgur wheat. Mix well and season to taste

20161010_192733

Green Shakshuka

Some might argue that this isn’t really a shakshuka, or what some call huevos rancheros. Both are made with tomatoes, chilis and onion and would normally be served looking something like this

20141230_094153

However, I thought I would experiment a little. This is a little like a cross between a traditional shakshuka and eggs florentine. It was also a great way of using up some leftover potato salad I had from the night before.

This serves 3-4 for breakfast or brunch.

2 tablespoons olive oil
A small knob of butter
1 large onion – finely sliced
10 or so new potatoes
1 green chili – finely chopped
1 cup of frozen petit pois
500g spinach
4-8 eggs depending on the number of people you are serving
Salt and pepper to taste
A large handful each of parsley, mint, coriander, chives – all roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sumac

Start by boiling the potatoes in their skins until tender. the time depends on how large or small your potatoes are. When cooked, drain, cool then slice into 1cm slices.

Cook the spinach – either 2½ minutes in the microwave or cooked with a little water in a pan with the lid on until wilted. Drain, squeeze as much liquid out as you can then roughly chop.

Put your oven on to 180C.

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan – you’ll need a pan without any plastic or wooden bits as it is going to go in the oven later. If you haven’t got one then you can pop a lid on instead.

Fry the onion and potatoes until they start to brown then add the chili, peas and spinach. Fry this off, stirring from time to time until the spinach has wilted and the peas are cooked. Season with salt and pepper and half the herbs.

Take a wooden spoon and make wells in the mix. You’ll need a well for each egg. Gently crack an egg into each well then pop into the oven for 10 minutes or so until the eggs have set. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top and scatter the sumac. Serve with toast, natural yogurt or hummus.

20160423_093025

Sweet Potato, Leek and Gruyere Tart

It was Bruce Feirstein who wrote Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. So this, rather than being a quiche, is a tart.

This should be enough to feed four or five people depending on what you serve with it

375g pack of shortcrust pastry – I used to make my own but bought pastry is pretty cheap and pretty good
1 knob of butter and a splash of olive oil
2 small leeks – cut in half lengthwise then sliced into thin half rounds
1 medium sweet potato – peeled and diced quite small
150g gruyere cheese (or some other strong cheese) – grated
4 large eggs
a good pinch of ground nutmeg
salt and black pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the leeks and sweet potato. Fry gently for 15 minutes or so until the potato is soft – the exact time will depend on how big or small you like your dicing to be.

While that is going on, put the oven on at 200C. Line a 20cm loose bottom tart tin with the pastry. The ready rolled stuff is great, but they always make it too narrow so you have to patch it up a little. Make sure it is all well sealed then blind bake with some baking beans and greaseproof paper for around 15 minutes.

Let the leek and potato mixture cool a little, then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Take a large bowl and best the eggs with the grated cheese. You can add a splash of milk or cream if you like but that’s not necessary and doesn’t add much to the dish. Now stir in the leek and sweet potato mixture. Tip into the part-baked pastry case and return to the oven for 25 minutes until the filling has set and the top is beautifully browned

Serve with a salads, or new potatoes, or both.

IMG_20160301_191506

Japanese Style Vegetable Pancakes

Serve this with a simple soy sauce, lime juice and crushed peanut dipping sauce, a warming bowl of miso soup and crispy vegetable spring rolls.

2 tablespoons sunflower or groundnut oil
2 eggs
1 large carrot – grated
3-4 leaves from a cabbage – finely shredded
2-3 spring onions – finely sliced
1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a few chili flakes

Put everything except the oil in a bowl and mix well. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Pour in the mixture and spread out evenly over the pan. Leave for around 7-10 minutes then, if firm enough, flip it over with a fish slice, else tip onto a plate and place back in the pan to cook the other side for the same length of time.

Cut into wedges before serving.

IMG_20151128_192751

Sunday Brunch

I have a thing about eggs for breakfast. Poached, boiled, fried, scrambled. I love them all. I’ve now started baking them too. This is a simple and filling brunch for a cold, lazy Sunday with the newspapers. I usually add salt to potato dishes but the cheese is salty enough that it doesn’t really need any extra.

Serve with lots of ketchup and maybe a little sourdough toast if you are not watching the carbs.

This should make enough for two hungry people

4 large field mushrooms
4 eggs
about 20 baby new potatoes
1 onion – sliced
olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
50g Tallegio cheese

Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 5 minuts then drain and slice the large ones.

Put the oven on to 180C

Heat the butter in a frying pan (use one that you can put in the oven) with a little olive oil. Add the onion and fry until softened and starting to brown. Add the part-cooked new potatoes and fry gently, stirring occasionally until the potatoes start the brown. Place the mushrooms stalk side up in the pan, drizzle with olive oil then place the whole pan in the oven at 180C for around 15 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and shrunk a little.

Now take the pan out of the oven, make 4 holes in amongst the potatoes and crack the eggs into each one. Slice the tallegio and scatter over the mushrooms. Return the pan to the oven for 7-10 minutes until the eggs are done and the cheese has melted.

Scatter with a little chopped parsley and serve piping hot.

20150201_114919

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Not quite a soup, not quite a curry, but delicious all the same

DSC_0641

Couple of tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion – chopped
1 clove garlic – chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
600 ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
1 cauliflower – cut into florets
handful fresh coriander – roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
optional hard boiled eggs – halved or quartered

Heat the oil in a pan, then fry off the garlic and onion until soft. Add the spices and fry for a few seconds then add the stock and coconut milk. Tip in the cauliflower and bring to boil. Simmer until cauliflower just soft then add salt, coriander and eggs.

Serve with hot buttered nan bread