Monday, 8 June 2015

Summer Stew with Braised Tofu, Pearl Barley, Lentils, and Vegetables

Simple and tasty, even if I do say so myself! 


Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 teaspoon/few sprays of olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6/7 chantenay carrots, cut into quarters lengthways
  • 1 can of braised tofu, broken into small pieces keeping the juices from the can
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of sundried tomato paste/puree
  • 1 x teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 x teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 x 400g can of cooked lentils
  • 100g dried pearl barley
  • 100g of broad beans
  • 100g of sugar snap peas
  • Water
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Recipe 

  1. Spritz a large flat-bottomed pan with oil and add the onions
  2. Once the onions have softened, add the garlic and chilli, add a splash of water if needs be to keep the ingredients from burning
  3. Once the chilli and garlic have begun to soften, add the carrots and braised tofu along with the juices 
  4. Add the tomato puree, herbs, bay leaf, and crumble in the stock cube
  5. Mix everything together well, then cover with water
  6. Add the lentils, broad beans, and pearl barley, and top up the water before bringing to the boil
  7. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water if needed - you're looking for a medium consistency, not too watery but not too thick
  8. Add the sugar snap peas, then simmer for another 10 minutes
  9. Check the pearl barley is cooked properly, adding salt and pepper if required 
  10. Take out the bay leaf and serve on its own or with some crusty bread


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Blueberry and Vanilla Nice Cream

This easy to make treat makes a great breakfast or dessert.



Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 125g blueberries (frozen the night before)
  • 2 medium bananas (peeled, cut up, and frozen the night before)
  • Half a 500ml pot of Alpro vanilla yoghurt
Recipe
  1. Remove the berries and bananas from the freezer & pop into a food processor, keeping a few berries back to garnish with if you so wish.
  2. Add the yoghurt and blend until smooth.
  3. You may need to break some of the harder pieces of banana up with a fork halfway through.
  4. Serve and enjoy!   

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Popcorn Tofu

Coated in couscous and baked in the oven, these crispy little bites are rather moreish!

Ingredients (for 200g block of tofu, increase ingredients accordingly for a larger blocks)

  • 200g block of firm tub tofu (ideally frozen then defrosted before use)
  • 125 of couscous 
  • 1 tablespoon of tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seed powder or other egg replacer such as ground flax
  • Water
  • Spray oil 
Recipe
  1. Place the couscous in a pan then cover with boiled water, leave to soak in, fluff with a fork then set to one side 
  2. Press the tofu between two chopping boards to remove as much moisture as possible, then cut into cubes
  3. Place the couscous in a mixing bowl, then add the herbs, spices, and seasonings and mix together 
  4. Meanwhile, set the oven to 180c and spritz a baking tray with oil  
  5. In a separate dish, add the chia powder/egg replacer to 7-10 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly - you want a thinly gloopy consistency so add a little more water if needed
  6. Dip each piece of tofu in the egg replacer, then coat in couscous
  7. If needs be, shape and press the couscous mixture around the tofu, until evenly coated
  8. Place onto non-stick or oiled baking tray then do the same with the rest
  9. Once all the pieces are on the baking tray, spritz with a little more oil then bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees C, or until golden and crispy
  10. Serve with the dip of your choice - my choice was buffalo sauce

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Summer Super Bowl with Walnut & Balsamic Vinaigrette

So I've been experimenting with the goodies I got from Indigo Herbs and it turns out the Walnut Butter in particular lends itself really well to dressing all kinds of dishes.  This dish is just perfect for summer, it's light enough for the warmer weather but packed with plenty of nutrients and protein to fill you up nicely.  Before you ask, I'm going to go with the view that technically, it's not a salad (shhh, you!) as most of the ingredients are cooked (I said shhh!).  It's versatile too, and works very well on its own or as an accompaniment.


Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 100g of giant couscous 
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 200g of shelled edamame (soya beans)
  • 200g of fine green beans, trimmed & cut into thirds
  • 200g of mange tout
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 400g tin of lentils 
  • 50g of pomegranate seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of walnut butter
  • 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Recipe
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Spritz the sliced pepper in oil (optional) and pop in the oven for 10 minutes
  3. Place the couscous in a pan, covered with cold water, bring to the boil then simmer for 8 minutes
  4. Bring a pan of generously salted water to the boil 
  5. Blanch the green beans, mange tout, and edamame for 6 minutes
  6. Peel & grate the carrots
  7. Rinse the couscous and greens in cold water, then drain
  8. Place the grated carrots, greens, lentils, chickpeas, and couscous in a large bowl together, and mix well
  9. In a separate dish, mix the walnut butter, balsamic vinegar, and thyme together to make a vinaigrette 
  10. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the vegetables & couscous and mix again
  11. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds, red peppers, garlic granules, salt, and pepper over the top
  12. Serve with your preferred accompaniments, & enjoy! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Goodies from Indigo Herbs


How exciting, the lovely people at Indigo Herbs sent me some goodies to play with from their new high protein vegan product range. I'm looking forward to experimenting with them and sharing some of the recipes I make.  They've sent me:
I feel some smoothies and mountains of houmous coming on!  



Saturday, 25 April 2015

Crispy Penne Pasta

Crisps?  Good!  Pasta?  Good!  Crispy pasta?  Goooood!  I used my Actifry air fryer to make these but I expect you can do as good a job baking them in the oven.  


Ingredients 

  • 200g durum wheat pasta
  • Spray oil (I used Fry Light olive oil) 
  • Seasonings of your choice.  I used the following:
    • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon of tomato powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic granules
    • 1/4 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
Recipe

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil
  2. Add the pasta and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes 
  3. Drain the pasta, and allow to cool so it's as dry as possible before the next step
  4. Spritz with oil and turn over to ensure completely covered
  5. Pop in your air fryer or oven for 15-20 minutes, or until completely crispy
  6. Once cooked, remove from the fryer or oven, mix in your seasonings and scoff!  
If you try them in the oven, let me know and feel free to pop cooking time in the comments. :) 


Friday, 13 March 2015

Buffalo Cauliflower

My mouth is always on fire after eating these, although you can tone the spice down according to your preferred taste.  You can also serve with vegan ranch to cool it down.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets, then washed and drained
  • 50g of gram flour (also known as chickpea/besam flour) 
  • 100ml of water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • Bottle of hot sauce (I used Frank's) 
  • 1 tablespoon of dairy-free spread
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup/agave nectar


Recipe
  1. Pre-heat the oven on to 180 degrees C
  2. Place the flour and dry seasonings in a bowl and mix well
  3. Gradually add the water, stirring as you go, until the mixture becomes a fairly thick batter
  4. For some extra spice, add a splash of hot sauce into the mix 
  5. Add the cauliflower pieces, and make sure they're all evenly coated
  6. Place the cauliflower onto a non-stick baking tray, or use grease-proof paper if you wish
  7. Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until baked 
  8. In the meantime, drop around 5-6 tablespoons of hot sauce with the dairy-free spread and maple syrup into a pan onto a gentle heat
  9. Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed, pour into a dip pot and set to one side
  10. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and serve with a nice cool drink!  

Notes

  • If you prefer, you can sub the cauliflower with firm tofu pieces

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Vegan Goodies from Naturally Free

I had the opportunity to trial the new Naturally Free vegan section recently and was really pleased with the range of products I got from them.  They stock a wide range of vegan health foods but they also have a decent selection of treats too.  Here are a few of the items I got in my stash!
These were my absolute favourite - Hale & Hearty Date & Chocolate Flapjacks - £2.75
Fabulous Freedom Factory Dairy-Free Chocolate Covered Raisins - £2.00 
Fabulous Fudge Factory Dairy Free Fudge - £2.75

Freedom Confectionary Pink & White Marshmallows - £2.00

Freedom Mini Marshmallows -£2.00

Nakd Berry Delight Bites - £1.99

Whilst Naturally Free is a fairly unknown brand, they're part of the Approved Group who own a number of more established online food stores including Approved Food and Great British Sweets which is always reassuring when deciding who to shop with.  The delivery was very prompt, and well-packaged.  What's also good is that you can choose to go straight to the vegan section of the website so you can just go ahead and fill up your basket with goodies.  Some of the prices aren't the cheapest around, but some are cheaper than other places so it probably balances out overall.  The shipping charges seem reasonable, and the service was great so I would probably shop there again in future.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Chocolate and Date Flapjack

I do love a nice flapjack.  There seem to be two different schools of thought on what makes the perfect one - either with a good crunch to it, or a nice sticky chewy affair.  My personal preference is definitely the latter, and here is my take on just that!


Ingredients

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 250g of dates, finely chopped or whizzed in a food processor
  • 100g bar of dairy-free chocolate, cut/broken into pieces
  • 60g dairy-free spread
  • 3 tablespoons of agave nectar/maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of desiccated coconut
Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and spray a medium-sized rectangular dish with oil 
  2. Put the dairy-free spread and syrup in a pan and heat gentle until melted
  3. Add the dates and desiccated coconut and stir before switching off the heat
  4. Add the oats, and mix thoroughly until the mixture is evenly coated
  5. Add the chocolate, and also the fine dust/crumbs left over from breaking it up
  6. Mix into the mixture, don't worry if it begins to melt, this will help to bind the mixture
  7. Spoon into your dish, and press it down as much as possible with the back of a spoon
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your preferred consistency (longer for crunchier)
  9. Remove from the oven, allow to cool to room temperature
  10. Place in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up enough for cutting
  11. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy!  
Notes
  • For the dish size, I used one that's 18cm x 23cm but sizes can vary slightly.  You may have to adjust cooking times if the overall size is much different as smaller dishes will make a thicker flapjack that may need cooking longer.  
  • If you want to, you can remove the flapjack from the oven about 15 minutes into the cooking time, and carefully turn it out onto a flat baking sheet, so as to cook it more evenly on the underside.  This isn't essential though, and if you do decide to, be very careful as it will still be quite crumbly.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

What's Wrong With Eggs From Backyard Hens?

My friend keeps a few hens in the back garden and they’re really well looked after, surely it can’t hurt to eat those eggs? 

When you first think about it, it may seem like there’s little harm in eating eggs from backyard hens. Most people think that if the eggs haven’t been fertilised, the hens have no need for them so it might even be considered wasteful not to eat them. However, things aren’t quite as straightforward as this and there are several reasons why taking eggs from even the most loved hens is problematic.

 First of all, if the hens were bought, or bred specifically so somebody could keep them for their eggs, then for every female, there will have been an unwanted male. So no matter how kindly we think the people keeping hens treat them, their brothers won’t have gone to a home that cares for them. Instead, they would either have been killed (usually by being thrown into a mincing machine) as soon as they hatched, or sold into the food chain.

But what if they’re rescue hens? Surely by giving them a home in exchange for a few eggs, it’s beneficial for the hens?

There are a few reasons why, even if we keep rescue hens, we should still not take their eggs.

Most modern breeds of laying hen now have been selectively bred to lay many more eggs than they would have done traditionally; and this takes its toll on their bodies. If you think about it, there’s a reason why eggs are regarded as being highly nutritious.  Eggs need to be packed with nutrients in order to give baby chicks everything they need to grow, and this usually comes at a cost to the hen's personal wellbeing.  Given the opportunity, and sometimes a little assistance for hens who’ve been debeaked and are used to having their eggs taken away, most hens will happily eat their own eggs.  Eating their own eggs, this helps to replenish the nutrients they lose each time they lay.   You can see some rescue hens enjoying their own eggs in this video:



Another thing to consider is that it can be quite stressful for hens to have their eggs taken away from them.  It takes quite a lot of work just to lay one egg, and hens can get very distressed when we take them away.  You can read more about this here. 

Even if some hens don’t wish to eat their own eggs, and don’t appear to be concerned by us taking their eggs, there are still plenty of reasons why we still should not eat them.  One of these reasons is that when we use eggs as food ourselves, we are reinforcing the idea of eggs as food in other people’s minds.  After all, if somebody calls himself or herself a vegan yet eats eggs, it’s going to confuse people and make them think that if a vegan is willing to eat eggs, it must not be a problem to consider eggs as food. 

This is a problem because so long as people think of eggs as food, hens will continue to be exploited.  As chickens are one of the most exploited animals on the face of the earth, we really should be doing everything we can to avoid contributing to that exploitation – whether directly or indirectly.  One of the best ways to help end the exploitation is to show people it’s easy to live without using eggs.  We certainly have no nutritional need for them and there are vegan alternatives to pretty much every kind of egg use you can think of. 

Ok, so it might not be ideal but surely it’s better the hens get rescued and some of their eggs taken than be sent to slaughter?

When it comes to rescuing hens, we should be quite troubled by the idea of doing so just to get eggs from them.  People happily adopt and rescue cats, dogs, and other animals without wanting to get food or labour from them.  So why can’t we extend the same compassion to hens who’ve come from a life of exploitation, without wanting to exploit them further? 

Finally, hens are not able to give us their consent to take their eggs.  When it comes to most moral issues, we generally take the view that where somebody is not able to give their consent, we should assume they have not given it.  This should be no different for animals.  It is not fair to assume consent simply because they are unable to say no to us.  If we use an animal in any way - no matter how kind we believe our treatment of them to be or how mutually 'beneficial' we believe it to be, we are still exploiting them.  This is a problem because every time we exploit an animal or use their bodies for our own benefit, we contribute to their status as property when we should be allowing them to be individuals who exist for their own purposes.   

It’s because humans regard animals as property that humans treat animals the way they do. The only way to change the way animals are treated is to do everything we can to change the idea of animals as property - and one of the strongest ways to do that is to stop regarding animals' bodies and anything that comes from them as food or any other kind of commodity.  I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to stop looking at animals as food/resources but in time you come to wonder how you ever considered them in that way for so long.  As the sharks in Finding Nemo liked to say, ‘friends, not food’! 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Houmous! Houmous! Houmous!

Simple, delicious, and very cheap to make, it's well worth making this vegan staple yourself as you can tweak the recipe to make it exactly how you like it.


Ingredients
  • 400g/1 can of ready cooked chickpeas, washed & drained
  • 2 teaspoons of tahini
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds 
Recipe
  1. Place most of the chickpeas in a bowl (if using a stick blender or masher), or food processor, leaving a few to one side to use as a garnish
  2. Add the tahini, lemon juice, half the olive oil, garlic, coriander, and salt and mix well
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. Have a taste, adding more lemon juice, garlic, and/or salt if needed
  5. Transfer to a serving dish, garnishing with the remaining chickpeas, olive oil, sesame seeds and a sprig of coriander/parsley 
  6. Serve as you wish - personally I love it with falafel in a a homemade bun or wrap  







Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Vegan sausage & bean casserole

It's been a little chilly this last week and this vegan take on a familiar comfort dish is just the tonic.  I've listed the beans I used but you can use any beans you like.


Ingredients (serves 4 with accompaniments)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 2 large or 4 regular vegan sausages, already cooked, and chopped into pieces (Vegusto or Linda McCartney are my favourites)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 400g/1 tin of pre-cooked butter beans
  • 400g/1 tin of pre-cooked adzuki beans 
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil/stock if you prefer not to use oil
Recipe
  1. Heat the oil or a small amount of the vegetable stock
  2. Add the onion and heat until it begins to go clear
  3. Add the garlic and carrot
  4. Once the garlic begins to cook, add a splash of vegetable stock to ensure the mixture doesn't burn
  5. Mix in the beans, herbs, and tomatoes
  6. Pour in the remainder of the stock, bring to the boil & then reduce the heat to a simmer
  7. Add the sausages, and then cook for a further 20-30 minutes, until all ingredients are cooked through
  8. Before serving, taste a little and add salt & pepper as required
  9. Serve with potatoes and crusty bread!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Sweet & simple slaw!

This sweet and crunchy slaw is a doddle to make and goes nicely with burgers, tacos, and buffalo cauliflower (recipe to come later this week).  


Ingredients (serves 4-6 as an accompaniment)
  • 1/2 red cabbage
  • 1/2 white cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses (I used pomegranate molasses for this one), maple syrup, or agave
  • 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • Black pepper
Recipe
  1. Grate or finely slice the cabbage, rinse well, then drain
  2. Mix the molasses and cider vinegar together
  3. Place the cabbage in a large bowl, and mix in the dressing
  4. Season with pepper to taste
  5. Serve!



Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pasta Arrabbiata

This fiery simple dish has long been one of my favourite ways to eat pasta, ever since my stint managing a pasta restaurant and kitchen when I was younger (than I'd care to remember ;) ).  It's so simple to make and works well as a big bowl all by itself and also as an accompaniment.


Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 chillies, finely chopped 
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar/maple syrup
  • 400g of dried penne or rigatoni pasta
Recipe
  1. In a large flat-bottomed pan, heat the chillies and garlic in a little oil
  2. Cook the chillies and garlic until the garlic begins to go transparent 
  3. Add a splash of water to the pan if necessary to prevent the ingredients from burning
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, pinch of salt, and mix well
  5. Bring almost to the boil, then turn to a low heat to simmer
  6. Boil your pasta according to the instructions for your chosen pasta
  7. Taste the sauce, adding more salt or pepper if needed, keep an eye to ensure it simmers but doesn't boil, add a splash of water if needs be to keep it at the right temperature and consistency
  8. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce and mix well
  9. Have a taste, add some more seasoning if needed
  10. If you like it, mix in a pinch of nutritional yeast before serving
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Simple chickpeas

Have I mentioned before how much I love chickpeas?  Probably.  But I can never say it enough, I love chickpeas!  I fancied some chickpeas as an accompaniment to the tacos we had for dinner last night and so thought I'd share the recipe with you as it's very simple yet delicious!


Ingredients

  • 1 400g can of chickpeas
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 1 tablespoon heaped of red amaranth (alfalfa sprouts or cress would work well too)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 green chilli (optional)


Recipe
  1. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly, then drain & transfer to a bowl
  2. Rinse, dry, and then finely chop the coriander before adding it to the chickpeas
  3. Rinse and dry the red amaranth (or sprouts) then add to the bowl
  4. Add the lemon juice and mix well
  5. If adding the chilli, thinly slice 2-3 pieces and set aside for the garnish
  6. Dice the rest of the chilli and add to the bowl of chickpeas
  7. Mix well, then garnish with the extra chilli pieces and a few more red amaranth leaves
  8. Serve!  

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Vegan Vegetable Gravy

If you need homemade vegetable gravy, this recipe is pretty simple and goes nicely with roasts, pies, mash and other gravy-loving dishes.  


Ingredients (serves 4) 
  • Splash of olive oil 
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, agave, or sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons of yeast extract - add according to your preference
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour (if you have an allergy, corn flour, gram flour or your preferred flour for thickening will do)
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine (or you can use 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato paste or puree (or ketchup in a pinch)
  • 900ml of cold water


Recipe

  1. Heat the oil in a large flat-bottomed pan, then add the celery, onion, and carrots
  2. Once the veg has started to soften, add the garlic, turning the heat to medium
  3. Once the garlic is beginning to cook, but before it goes brown, add the maple syrup/sugar and stir, ensuring all ingredients are well coated
  4. Allow to simmer for a minute or so, until the vegetables begin to caramelise 
  5. Add the yeast extract and mix again to ensure even coating 
  6. If at any point you find the pan is browning, add a small splash of water to prevent burning
  7. Add the flour & vegetable bouillon, stir to make sure everything is coated evenly 
  8. Add the wine or balsamic vinegar and mix well
  9. Once the wine/vinegar has heated up, add the water, stirring continually as you do
  10. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly
  11. Stir in the tomato puree
  12. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens and the gravy reduces to your desired consistency 
  13. Once you've achieved your desired consistency and flavour, sieve into a fresh pan and warm just before you serve the remainder of your meal 
Tips
  • If you don't have yeast extract, you can try substituting with nutritional yeast and/or soy sauce
  • For a bit of variety, try adding different herbs, such as sage, or bay leaves 
  • Try adding mushrooms or a little chopped beetroot when you're adding the veg for a slightly more earthy flavour, the beetroot also gives the gravy a lovely deep colour to it
  • If you want to get all the flavour when sieving, feel free to pour a little freshly boiled water over the remaining mixture, then reduce down as needed





Sunday, 4 January 2015

Crispy Salt & Pepper Spiced Tofu

I know tofu can be a little daunting to cook with if you haven't used it before, particularly if you're a new vegan and attempt to treat it like you might have done a nonvegan protein source.  I used to think tofu was an awful food, even as a vegetarian I refused to eat it as I'd had only had one encounter with it and it had been like eating a horrible tasteless blancmange.  Then one evening out my husband persuaded me to try some of the crispy salt & pepper tofu he had ordered and I couldn't believe I had been missing out on it for so long - it was delicious!  

Now I can honestly say tofu is one of my most favourite foods.  So hopefully if you've not had much luck with it so far, or you've been looking for a an introduction to tofu, this will help you make a successful dish.  I've tried to make it as beginner-friendly as possible with step-by-step photos but feel free to post any questions in the comments if you need help or any additional tips! 


Top tofu tip! Before we get started it's probably worth sharing my number 1 favourite tip for tofu - freeze it first then defrost it.  Whilst this means a little more planning, it seems to make a big difference in the firmness, how easy it is to work with, and also the texture of the end result.  It's not the end of the world if you haven't time to freeze it before using but for future reference, I find it works best to keep tofu in the freezer and just take it out to defrost the evening before or the morning of the day I'm going to be using it.   

Ingredients
  • 400g of firm tub tofu (I used Cauldron Original)
  • 1 tsp of Chinese 5-spice (feel free to substitute with your preferred spice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (rice bran is good as it has a high smoke point, olive oil works well too)
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour (if you're gluten or wheat intolerant, you can substitute for your preferred flour or use gram/chickpea flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (optional) 
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • 1 sliced chilli, 1 spring onion, few slices of red onion (optional - for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Your favourite vegan dipping sauce - I love sweet chilli with this dish
Recipe
  1. Unpackage the tofu and drain well, squeezing the excess moisture over the sink before placing in a clean tea cloth 
  2. Wrap the cloth around the tofu and press down on it to remove as much of the moisture as possible - I find placing it between two chopping boards is a good method 
  3. Cut the tofu into cubes - I find slicing it in half into two flat slabs is a good way to start
  4. Place the tofu in a bowl, add the salt, pepper, spices, and soy sauce and mix gently until all pieces are evenly coated
  5. Add the flour and mix again, until evenly coated
  6. Heat the oil in a pan, then carefully add the tofu (you don't want to burn yourself with splashes of hot oil!) 
  7. Fry the tofu, turning occasionally, until golden 
  8. Serve as is with the garnish or dipping sauce or add at the last minute to your favourite stir fry dish
  9. Enjoy!