Saturday, 1 November 2014

Sticky Tofu for Bonfire Night

Forget about a mug of tomato soup or a veggie burger while you watch the rockets and Catherine wheels: this recipe would be perfect for a Bonfire Night party. We have served it with noodles or rice and stir-fried or roasted veg, but it would be equally good as a tasty burger or hot dog-replacement in pitta or French bread, with barbecue sauce (for our simple BBQ sauce recipe see here). The delighted "oohs" and "ahhs" you'll hear won't be because of the fireworks; they'll be because of your cooking!

Serves 3-4:
about 425g firm tofu
2 tabs agave- maybe maple syrup would also work well here; let us know if you try it...
2 tsps miso
2 tabs lemon juice
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
1/2 tsp hing
1/2 tab paprika
1/2 tab medium Madras curry powder
1/2 tab melted coconut oil
about a tab each of yeast flakes and ground linseeds for sprinkling

  • Cube the tofu and set aside.
  • Whisk all the other ingredients together until thoroughly combined. If you want it sweeter and stickier, just add a little more agave.
  • Toss the tofu in the sauce and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Brush any remaining sauce over them.
  • Scatter the yeast flakes and ground linseeds on top.
  • Cook straight away in an oven preheated to 180C until warmed through.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Vegan Greek Salad- raw

"I can't believe it's not feta!"
This is proper Greek salad. It looks and tastes like Greek salad should, with chunky veggies and fresh green leaves topped by cubes of salty, tangy, protein-rich yumminess, finished off with a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of dried oregano. How so without feta? You ask- read on and you'll see what the secret is:
When I worked in Crete I ate Greek salad pretty much every day, and when I decided to become vegan part way through my time there, I just had it without the feta. But that was okay, because the locally produced olives, lemon wedges and oil were so good mopped up with the crusty, home made bread I didn't even miss it. But back home in England, with decidedly inferior olives and oil it just wasn't the same. Tofu just didn't cut it as a feta substitute either. So I said goodbye to Greek salad for a very long time, until I discovered that almonds make a brilliant feta analogue; and they are used a lot in Greece so they have the right ambience. Today I'm sharing this recipe so that you too can enjoy chasing crumbs of salty vegan feta round pools of lemon and olive oil with a chunk of your favourite bread...

200g almonds
1 1/2 tsps Himalayan pink salt
2 1/2 tabs lemon juice
tomatoes, Cos lettuce  and/ or baby spinach, cucumber, green pepper rings, Kalamata/ black olives
extra virgin olive oil
lemon wedges
dried oregano

  • Soak the almonds in about 200ml water, just or enough to cover them. Leave them in the fridge overnight.
  • When the almonds have absorbed the water and are looking plump, rub off and discard the skins.(This shouldn't be too difficult- if it is, then run boiling water over them.)
  • Use a high speed blender or grinder to get the almonds to as smooth a paste as possible. If you use a grinder, you will probably have to do this in small batches to avoid the paste getting stuck round the blades. It will have a dough-like consistency.
  • Knead in the salt and the lemon juice and shape into a block. Cut into cubes.
  • Arrange the cucumber, tomatoes, pepper rings and olives on a bed of lettuce and/ or baby spinach.
  • Top with cubes of almond feta and lemon wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and oregano. Serve with your favourite bread.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with White Chocolate Frosting

Pumpkin spice lattes seem to be all the rage at the moment, so I decided to make the cake version. Instead of canned pumpkin puree (which in my experience isn't easily found in the UK) I used some fresh, organic homegrown pumpkin to make the puree.

Makes 12 muffin-sized cakes, or more if you use fairy cake/cupcake moulds.
250g peeled and diced fresh pumpkin
400g self-raising flour
4 tsps baking powder
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
200ml soya milk (or other plant milk)
200ml agave
150ml melted coconut oil
100g cacao butter
50g coconut oil
150ml agave nectar
cacao nibs and/ or ground cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)

  • First make the pumpkin puree; cook the diced pumpkin in a minimal amount of water until it is soft and all the water has been absorbed (you don't want all the nutrients to be thrown away with the cooking water).
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder and spices)
  • In another bowl, whisk up the wet ingredients- not the pumpkin puree though.
  • Beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients for about a minute, and stir in the pumpkin, mixing briefly but thoroughly.
  • Spoon into prepared muffin moulds and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for about 20-25 minutes.
  • While the muffins are cooking prepare the frosting: melt everything together except the sprinkles and refrigerate/ freeze until solid and creamy. The mixture will go from translucent yellow to opaque off-white. Beat well to ensure smoothness.
  • When the muffins are completely cool, spoon or pipe the frosting into the centre of each one and sprinkle with cacao nibs and/ or ground cinnamon.
  • Make yourself a hot drink, put your feet up and enjoy the sweet taste of Autumn...

This recipe goes to Shaheen of the awesome A2K blog- take a look at her wonderful seasonal veggie recipes !