Thursday, 3 October 2013

Recipes Revisited 2: Crispy Coated Tofu in Sweet and Sour Sauce- vegan

The crispy tofu is delicious on a bed of  brown rice and stir-fried veggies
We first posted this back in January (I cringe at the dodgy photography!) and it was published without a proper recipe, so this time I made sure it got written down. The sweet and sour sauce is very basic and easy to make; there is maybe room for further subtle flavour improvements, although I like it that it is so simple. The only major change is that I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup, and had run out of Chinese five-spice powder for the coating so I used garam masala instead, which was just as tasty. I also had no miso to add to the marinade.Today's version served five comfortably(trn cubes of tofu each), with the addition of stir-fried vegetables and rice. See below for the recipe:

400-450g firm tofu (or make your own with 3l unsweetened soya milk)
For the marinade:
5 tabs soy or tamari sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tabs lemon juice
50ml water
For the coating:
3 tabs wholemeal flour
3 tabs millet (aka bajri/ ragi) flour or fine cornmeal
2 tsps powdered ginger
2 tsps garam masala or Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp seasalt
For the sweet and sour sauce:
100g fresh pineapple, cut into very small pieces
500g passata
3 tabs agave nectar
2 tabs soy/ tamari sauce
1 tab lemon juice
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp seasalt
1/3 tsp coarse black pepper
  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour into a shallow dish. Cube the tofu and marinate for as long as you can spare- a minimum of 20 minutes, turning it at least once.
  • Meanwhile, mix the coating ingredients together in another shallow dish.
  • To make the sauce, just stir all the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and heat through gently.
  • When the tofu has been sitting in the marinade for a while coat the tofu in the flour mixture and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cook in an oven preheated to 200C until browned; shake or turn the pieces from time to time.
  • When the tofu is done and the sauce is hot, just serve together with some veggies and rice or noodles for a complete meal.
Possible Future Tweaks: Use a flax egg to stick the coating to the tofu and add extra nutrition. Make it a gluten free recipe by using millet and cornmeal and tamari sauce. Add chilli to the sauce for a spicier kick...

The original version- click here to read the post

This post is for Vegan Thursdays:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ingredient of the Month 25: Apples, and Awesome Apples Event Announcement

Homegrown apples are sweet, fresh and more often than not organic- brilliant in pies and cakes or just to munch on.
Now is the time of year when the apples in our gardens are starting to ripen and the first of the new season's local crop appear in the shops and markets. So what better time than now, to feature the humble yet versatile and health-promoting apple? See below for some fascinating apple facts:

In our garden, this apple waits patiently in the September sunshine for colder nights to give it a red blush...
Apples actually belong to the rose family, along with strawberries, peaches, pears and raspberries. They must be one of the best-known and most widely grown fruits in the world, as apple trees are to be found growing in Asia, North America and Europe. China, the US and Turkey are the top 3 apple-growing countries. There are over 7,500 different types (cultivars) of apple including cooking apples, eating apples and cider apples. Apples come in different sizes and the colours range from golden-brown russets through yellows and greens to pink and red shades.We can munch on crisp, sharp green Granny Smiths, sweet and nutty Egremont Russets or pretty Pink Ladies, or else cook with plump green floury Bramleys; the list is endless...

Apples can, of course, be eaten fresh and raw straight off the tree. They also make great crunchy salad ingredients. Alternatively, both cooking varieties and the sweeter dessert apples can be used to bake cakes, pies, flans, crisps and crumbles. Baked whole apples, cored, and stuffed with dates, raisins and cinnamon are a real cold-weather treat for breakfast or dessert. Apple juice (called apple cider in America) is a sweet drink packed full of natural sugars. Apple sauce, a puree of cooked apple flesh, can be served with savoury meals or used to sweeten cakes and desserts (as is the more syrup-y apple juice concentrate). In Turkey they even have a drink made from powdered dehydrated apple and sugar, to which you just have to add boiling water. Chewy pieces or rings of dried apple make a fantastic snack or a tasty ingredient in baked or raw confectionery such as cookies or bars. I'm sure you can think of your own favourite ways to serve apples- they really are good in anything- I have even made soup using them (apple and celery).

Health Benefits and Nutrition:
It has long been known that apples are good for you- as the old Welsh saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" shows. It is now thought that eating apples may reduce your risk of colon, prostate and lung cancers. And don't throw away your apples peelings either: they contain ursolic acid, which may increase muscle and brown fat while reducing white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease.
Your average apple, it is reckoned, weighs 242g and contains 126 calories. Apples are a great source of fibre and vitamin C. Another substance found in apples, pectin, not only contains fibre but is great for the digestive system as it can ease diarrhoea and the inflammation caused by IBS or colitis but also counteract constipation. (You may be used to using apple pectin to help set jams and jellies.)
Apples contain A and B vitamins as well as E and K, and some minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium. The antioxidants in apples help prevent diseases, too.

Help us celebrate the apple harvest throughout October by sharing your vegetarian (no eggs please) or vegan apple recipes- linky tool below. Please include a link in your post to this page-archived posts are welcome as long as they are edited to include this link. You can submit as many recipes as you like.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Rhubarb and Custard Icecream with Ginger- vegan

Sorry about the out-of-focus picture; by the time I realised it was like this there was no more icecream left to photograph. Oh well, that means I have to make some more soon.. ;)
This recipe was eating away at me ever since I made the blackberry icecream the other day; I'd had the last of the Summer's rhubarb ready and waiting in the fridge for a week, then finally today I got the crystallised ginger. Unlike the blackberry icecream this one does contain sugar- it's hard to make decent rhubarb and custard without it- but I think maybe xylitol would do nicely instead if you prefer sugar free. If you can't wait for it to freeze, it makes a brilliant chilled dessert anyway. I made about 400ml with this recipe (will make double next time!)

For the rhubarb:
1 cup (packed) chopped rhubarb (1 cup=250ml)
2 rounded tabs soft light brown sugar
For the custard:
400ml (1 can) coconut milk
1 tab custard powder (Bird's is vegan)
2 tabs soft light brown sugar
For even more deliciousness:
1 tab crystallised ginger pieces, cut small
  • In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb and the sugar together very gently until the rhubarb is soft, and mash it into a puree with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
  • Now make the custard, as directed on the tub- mix the custard powder and sugar to a paste with a little of the coconut milk, while gently bringing the rest of the coconut milk to the boil. When it has boiled, whisk it into the paste then return it to the pan, stirring it to prevent scorching, and remove from the heat as soon as it starts to thicken.
  • Stir the rhubarb and the ginger pieces into the custard and leave to cool, then freeze. Remove from freezer and stir from time to time. (Or you could use an icecream maker.)