6

Shish kebab style tofu

We’ve blogged this method of cooking tofu before, and it’s so ridiculously easy and makes such a great result that I hardly cook it any other way now!

There’s no need to press the tofu with this method, it’s simply sliced, and baked in a little oil in a hot oven for quite a while – about 45 minutes. The result is a crispy and chewy tofu which is wonderful in sandwiches.

And this past weekend I wanted a kebab! We’d picked up some B-Free pitta breads which happily are vegan and gluten free (but you could of course make our great recipe!).

The tofu is cooked in a marinade of fresh mint, cumin seeds and dried ramsons (or fresh garlic) and stuffed into a pitta with a creamy salad of cabbage and carrot, and some fresh tomatoes. And pickled chillies, yay!

The dressing for the salad is basically the same as the one for our creamy tahini roast cauliflower. It’s so good it’s become an absolute favourite! But a simple oil and vinegar dressing would be great too.

 

DSC_0117

Shish style tofu kebab

For the tofu shish
400 g firm tofu (the kind from the refrigerator)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, shredded
1 tbsp dried ramsons, (or 1 clove of fresh garlic, crushed)
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp good oil, I used cold pressed rapeseed oil
For the salad
1 large leaf of sweetheart cabbage, rib removed and finely shredded
1 carrot, grated or shredded
100 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp tahini (softened with a tbsp of hot water if it’s set)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lime juice
To serve
4 – 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pickled chillies
Pitta bread or wraps

 


 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Slice the tofu into 0.5 cm slices. Gently toss it together with the oil, mint, dried ramson, cumin seeds and salt in a bowl. If you’re not ready to cook it straight away it’s fine left to marinate for a few hours.

Arrange the tofu in a roasting tray so it isn’t overlapping. Bake for 30 minutes, and then flip the tofu over. By this point it should have reduced quite a lot in size and be golden on the underside. Bake for a further 15 minutes until it’s crispy and chewy.

While the tofu is cooking make the salad.
Mix together the soy yoghurt, tahini, salt and lime juice and toss with the shredded vegetables.

Serve the delicious tofu stuffed into pittas with the salad, tomatoes and pickled chillies.


 By E.

4

Two easy salads – creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot, and black bean, olive and rocket

This cauliflower salad has become a firm favourite as part of work lunches over the last few weeks. It’s great eaten straight away, but the creaminess really seems to intensify over a couple of days! I’ve given the recipe here to include baby carrots, as I had some pretty little orange and purple ones in, but it works just as well using only cauliflower.

To pair with the creamy salad, the second recipe is brightly flavoured, with olives, rocket and lemon enhancing the black beans. Herbs are welcome in this salad too, I’ve used mint but parsley, coriander or basil would be great too. Even tarragon thinking about it.

The bean salad keeps well in the fridge for 3 days or so, we ate the salads for lunch the day after making them, and then three days later and they were great both times.


makes 4 servings


 

for the creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

400 g cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

200g baby carrots (or use 600 g total of cauliflower)

2 tbsp oil

Salt

2 heaped tbsp. light tahini

30 ml hot water

100 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper

for the black bean, olive and rocket salad

1 400 g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed (240 g drained weight)

75 g green olives

50 g rocket, roughly chopped

Juice of half a lemon

10 g fresh mint, roughly chopped (or use coriander, or parsley or basil)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

In a large roasting tray toss the carrots with the oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and mix, then roast for a further 25 minutes, turning once. There should be some lovely caramelised dark brown bits on the cauliflower and the carrots should be tender. Cool.

In a smallish bowl, add the hot water to the tahini and mix it carefully to combine. The water being hot helps the tahini to soften as it can be quite stiff. Beat in the yoghurt, salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Mix the dressing with the vegetables and coriander.

 

IMG_20170319_170820

Creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

 

For the black bean salad, simply mix all the ingredients together!

 

IMG_20170319_170757

Black bean, olive and rocket salad

 

 

By E.

3

Black eyed bean soup with tahini and greens

So, it’s ages since we’ve published a recipe, shame on us! But we’ve cooked plenty of delicious things over the last few weeks, and we’re getting the recipes written up for those.

But the most recent thing I cooked is this lovely soup. It’s fairly quick, super easy, and very very tasty.

The tahini gives the broth a lovely deep flavour which works particularly well with the smoked paprika, and all the flavours come together to give an extremely satisfying result.

 

dsc_2580.jpg

Black eyed bean soup with tahini and greens

 

Serves 3 – 4

 


120 g black eyed beans

1 heaped tbsp. light tahini

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp smoked paprika

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

150 g mushrooms, chopped

1.1 litres hot water

180 g mixed greens (I used 30 g frozen spinach and 150 g mixed cabbage from a supermarket pack)

2 tbsp tamari (or a pinch of salt)

black pepper

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

 


Rinse the beans and add them to a large saucepan along with the tahini, ginger, smoked paprika, tomatoes, mushrooms and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are just tender. Mine took 30 minutes. Add the greens to the soup and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Season with tamari and black pepper to taste, and stir through the coriander just before serving.

 


By E.

9

Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable that I tend not to think of stuffing it. It always seems like a bit of a cop out, stuffed squash is rather a veggie cliche!
But this time I couldn’t help myself, I had dried wild mushrooms, olives and tahini, and when I saw pomegranate seeds in the supermarket, the seeds of an idea for a great recipe were sown…
It really is delicious, sweet roasted squash with a stuffing full of earthy savoury flavours with the mushrooms, tahini and olives.
And the pomegranate seeds and pea shoots finish it off very nicely!
It slices ever so well too, Alex and I ate it for a couple of days of work lunches, a quarter squash per portion.
And of course, it’s very pretty. That always helps with the anticipation of a good lunch!

img_20160822_125817.jpg

Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

makes 4 servings


for the stuffed squash
1 butternut squash, I forgot to weigh mine but it was about 18 cm long before cooking, and quite wide
2 tsp oil
80 g rice (or 300 g cooked rice)
10 g dried wild mushrooms
100 g fresh mushrooms, diced
50 g green olives, halved
2 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper
for garnish
50 g pea shoots
80 g pomegranate seeds


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibrous bit. Rub each squash half with 1 tsp oil and place cut side up in a roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes, flip over and then cook for a further 15 minutes. The thicker part of the squash should be tender enough to allow a fork to pierce it, but not be completely soft.
While the squash is roasting make the filling.
Cook the rice in about 200 ml water until just soft. There should be a very little liquid left. For this recipe I only lightly rinse the rice, as it’s nice if it’s quite starchy and sticky when cooked, it helps the stuffing hold together.
If you’re leaving the rice a while before stuffing the squash, pop it in the fridge to cool down properly.
When you’re ready mix the dried and fresh mushrooms, tahini and olives with the rice and season well.
Scoop a little of the butternut squash out of the ‘neck’ end and mix that into the rice as well.
Now you should have a good space all along the squash for the stuffing.
Put half of the rice mixture in each squash half and pack it in well. It will make a lovely big mound.
Bake the stuffed squash for 45 minutes if the rice mixture was cold when you put it in, 5 – 10 minutes less if it was warm.
Garnish with the pea shoots and pomegranate to serve.


By E.

0

Leek, tahini and saffron sauce with split peas and roast vegetables

The leek, tahini and saffron sauce is definitely the star here!
Not that the split peas and veg aren’t tasty, but the sauce, savoury from the tahini but with a lovely sweetness from the leeks, and an exotic earthiness from the saffron is gorgeous.
The lemon juice brings all the flavours out beautifully!
The split peas are cooked with sweet potato until very soft, making a sort of mash, then combined with yellow peppers, courgette and cherry tomatoes roasted on a very high heat so they have lovely little charred bits. It makes a great comforting base for the sauce!

dsc_2113.jpg

Leek, tahini and saffron sauce with split peas and roasted vegetables

makes 4 servings


for the split peas
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm ish cubes (mine was around 500 g unpeeled)
125 g yellow split peas
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1/4 tsp dried thyme
450 ml hot water
for the roasted vegetables
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 courgette, diced
240 g cherry tomatoes
1 tsp oil
salt and pepper
for the sauce
400 g leeks, sliced (I used baby leeks, but one regular leek should do it)

50 ml water
2 tbsp tahini
a small pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp water
juice of half a lemon
a pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
Put the split peas, sweet potato, herbs and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, partially covered, stirring every so often, until lovely and soft. Mine took 40 minutes. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon to break up some of the peas and the sweet potato.
While the peas are cooking roast the veg. Combine all of the ingredients in a large roasting tin, mixing well to distribute the oil over the vegetables. Roast for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables over once.
To make the sauce, microwave the leeks with 50 ml of water until tender. Mine took 4 minutes in total, stirring after every 1 minute burst. Tip the leeks and their steaming water into a food processor, and add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and the saffron with its soaking water. Whizz together until well combined, but still with a little texture.
Mix the roasted vegetables into the split peas, and serve with the sauce rippled through.


By E.

4

Christmas Dessert – Lapsang souchong and persimmon sticky toffee cake with tahini caramel sauce

For the dessert for our Christmas meal we’ve gone for an indulgent moist cake based on the traditional sticky toffee pudding recipe. Rather than use plain tea to soak the dates though, we’ve used beautiful smokey lapsang souchong tea, and added sweet persimmon with their subtle melon-like flavour to the mixture.

Rather like an upside down cake, the tin has a layer of muscovado sugar and persimmon slices added before the batter goes in, so that when the cake is turned out it has a beautiful design of caramelised persimmon on top.

And the caramel sauce is pretty special! We used tahini in it, to add an extra layer of toasty flavour which balances the sweetness.

All in all, it’s a delicious, different end to the festive meal!

wp-1449950364599.jpg

Lapsang souchong and persimmon sticky toffee cake, with tahini caramel sauce

makes 6 – 8 servings


 

for the date, tea and persimmon sauce

2 lapsang souchong tea bags

200 ml hot water

100 g stoneless dates, chopped

1 persimmon, chopped (remove the core if it is woody)

for the cake

225 g gluten free plain flour

225 g dark muscovado sugar

225 g vegan margarine

75 g plain soy yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

A pinch of salt

for the topping

5 thin slices of persimmon, about 2 mm each. Pick the slices with the attractive star shape in the middle, caused by the core.

2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

for the tahini caramel sauce

100 g white sugar

4 tbsp tahini

100 ml soy milk


 

Preheat the oven to fan 180 degrees c and grease a 22 cm cake tin. Line the bottom of the cake tin.

Put the tea bags, water, dates and persimmon in a small saucepan on a medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 -15 minutes, until the persimmon is soft and the dates have broken down and thickened the sauce. Remove the tea bags and set the sauce aside to cool.

Spread the 2 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar over the bottom of the cake tin, and arrange the persimmon slices on top. They should not overlap.

In a large bowl mix together the sugar and margarine until well combined. Add the date, tea and persimmon sauce and mix well, then add the yoghurt and mix again. It will look lumpy at this stage.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and then add to the bowl.

Mix until everything has come together to make a smooth batter.

Pour the batter carefully into the cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake doesn’t wobble when you carefully shake it.

To make the tahini caramel, put the remaining white sugar in a heavy based saucepan on a low heat and cook until it melts and turns lovely deep brown. Don’t stir the sugar, but if it’s melting unevenly swirl it around the pan. Remove from the heat, add the tahini and stir quickly, then add the soy milk mixing all the time. It will bubble up! Mix until the sauce is smooth and glossy.

To serve, turn the cake out onto a decorative plate so that the persimmon slices are on the top, and drizzle with some of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce in a jug to add as you please.


 

By A. and E.