Black Pepper & Maple Syrup Tofu

If you want something sticky with a bit of a kick then this is for you! I had no idea how this way going to turn out being that I was experimenting but its actually really nice. I made enough for my lunch at work tomorrow and I’m already looking forward to eating it so that’s got to be a good sign

Ingredient:

  • Tofu (240g) IMG_5913
  • Flour- a handful
  • Tamari
  • Maple syrup – I used 4 tablespoons
  • Pepper –  A much as you like, I have a grinder and seemed to ground a lot
  • Bell Pepper – I used half a red and half an orange
  • 1 red onion (I always use red onions due to their anti inflammatory benefits)
  • half an avocado (but actually just use a much as you want…you want a whole one-go for it!!)
  • Spring onions – 3-4
  • Couscous – 80g for one portion

Method:

I cut the tofu up into quite small chunks and covered it in flour, I only had plain flower in but you can obviously use starch flour / coconut flour, or another variation if you prefer. I then marinated it with tamari, maple syrup and pepper. Whilst the tofu was marinating I cooked the couscous and chopped up the veg. I then used coconut oil and and put the onion on, after a minute I added the tofu. I let this cook on a low heat for a minute or two.  I then threw in the peppers and the spring onions, added a bit more tamari and covered the pan with a lid whilst stirring every so often. After around 3 minutes its done!

Present it however you like, I put the couscous in a bowl and added half the pan and put the other half in a container ready for work tomorrow ( disclaimer: I have already been in the fridge and eaten a few spoonfuls). I then added the avocado, took some pics and then dove in!

 

 

 

Tamari Tofu

I tried my first tofu today…pretty nice! I kept it simple as I wanted to taste it properly and see what it was like. I’m sure the possibilities are endless and I’m actually really looking forward to experimenting and seeing what I can come up with.

Keeping it simple:

  • Extra firm tofu (the entire block!!)
  • TamariIMG_5895
  • Hot chilli powder
  • 1 leak
  • half an avocado (are you even vegan if you don’t have avocado with every meal?!)
  • half a pepper( I used a orange one)
  • Rice noodles
  • Broccoli ( as much as you so wish)

 

Method: I marinated the tofu in tamari and chilli powder as gave it a good shake. I boiled the broccoli (only for a few minutes though as I wanted it cooked but not soft) and chopped up the leak, pepper and avocado. I them put the tofu on to fry with some coconut oil. It took a while before it had crispy sides so whilst it was frying I put the pepper and leak in a pan with coconut oil with the lid to soften them up and cooked the rice noodles (which takes around 4 minutes). Once the tofu was ready I threw it in with the leak and pepper, added the broccoli and the rice noodles. I added a bit more tamari and stirred it around. That it! I just popped it in a bow and put the avocado on top. It was very tasty and super quick and easy to make. I am now researching the different recipes to make black pepper tofu with cous cous for tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Chilli Fries with the trimmings

 

I fancied something a bit glutinous today, noodles crossed my mind but I’ve already had them a few times this weeks so voted against it. I wanted pizza but couldn’t be bothered to make it so went with chilli fries! Good choice!

I chopped up a sweet potato or two (it was two, I was hungry) boiled them for a bit to soften them up, salt, pepper and chilli flakes and then put the in the oven for around 30 mins at 200.

At the moment I am viewing each main meal as a chance to stuff as much of the “good stuff” in as possible…today was no exception. Whilst the fried were cooking I fried a pepper and a whole red onion in coconut oil (its the only oil  I use these days). Once it was fried I mixed it up with some soft cheese, soya yogurt and a bit of tomato puree – a complete experiment that payed off. I am a massive fan of mayo and this kind of resembled it, with the added chilli and pepper! It would probably work without added the soft cheese and just with the yogurt. Ill try that next time

Next I boiled some broccoli for about 3 minutes and then fried it up. When I was done I put some salt and chilli flakes on it. Whilst this was an experiment too, it was actually really nice. I shall definitely be doing this again.

When the fries were done  covered them i grated cheese and popped back in for the cheese to melt.

I devoured it in about 3 minutes and I am now nursing a rather large food baby! I’ll give it a few minutes and have some freshly popped popcorn and a coffee 🙂 Safe to say I am not moving for the rest of the day. Bliss.

 

Antipasto

I have always been a massive fan as antipasto (“before the meal”) as a main course.  I like having lots of things to pick at I suppose rather than just one thing. Whilst Antipasto traditionally contains cured meat and cheese, I pretty sure you can throw a load of things on to a plate and call it an antipasto dish and with this being a vegan blog I had no choice but to get creative!

I fancied some bread today so I took two of the balls of uncooked dough I have stacked in the freeze, defrosted them (obviously), and cooked them. I cooked some spinach with coconut oil, roasted some red pepper with coconut oil, mashed half an avocado and tries to make hummus by hand. I was interested to see if you can do it and how it would differ from whisked hummus. It was actually pretty easy, I used a potato masher and just, well, mashed them! I added coconut oil, salt and pepper. It wasn’t as smooth as hummus I’ve made in a blender but this was also the first time I haven’t used olive or sunflower oil. In the future I may think about added a spoonful of yogurt if I’m making it by hand to try and make it a bit smoother. However, It tastes the same and that is the main thing.

I used sugar free sweet chilly sauce and some soya soft cheese (which I have actually just noticed has added sugar to it!!! Arghhhhh!)

On the whole this was really yummy and so a success (apart from the blummin’ sugar filled soya cheese!!!). Very annoyed that they have to add sugar to everything!! I walked down the confectionery isle at Tesco today…not one thing I could have…not.one.thing didn’t have added sugar / vegan friendly = not one thing was natural. I went to the free from section and bought some yoyo bears to try, they’re lovely and yes I am aware they are for kids, but whatever. Ok rant over. Here are some lovely pics of today’s lunchtime adventure!

 

 

Pad Thai (Thai stir fry)

For me the thing that makes a Pad Thai a Pad Thai is the tamari, tahini and the ribbon noodles. All the other ingredient are interchangeable ( in my opinion). In the traditional dish there is an egg, which I have forgone and found it tastes just as good without. I have made this a few times with different ingredient, pretty much just whatever I have in the veg box in my fridge. I will probably update this post each time I made a new variation. I honestly don’t think you can go too wrong as long as you have the base ingredient (tamari, tahini, ribbon noodles)

Recipe version 1

  • Half a red onionIMG_5438
  • Half an Avocado
  • Full pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 2x teaspoons of tamari (basically sugar free soy sauce)
  • 5-8 peanuts
  • 80g rice noodles (I use rice noodles as they are sugar free)
  • Handful of spinach

Method: Cook the rice noodles in boiling water (takes IMG_5450around 4 minutes), drain and place to the side. Add some coconut oil to a pan, when warm add a bit of chopped garlic and half the chopped onion. Put in the tamari and then stir in the handful of spinach and chopped pepper (I used a yellow pepper s that was all I had, but there are no rules, I would have used whatever colour I had) and the cut spring onions. After the spinach has ‘wilted’ add the noodles and then stir together with a spoonful of tahini on a low heat. Add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chilli flakes to taste. and some of thechopped peanuts. Once this has all been stirred together, take off the heat. Add to a bowl and top with the avocado and sprinkle the rest of the chopped peanuts on top.

IMG_5445

Side note: When making a Pad Thai or a stir fry I like to chop my spring onions length ways. Whist this make no difference taste wise, it tricks me into I’m back in Thailand and it somehow seems more authentic.

 

Recipe Version 2

  • Big ol’ handful of spinach IMG_5526
  • Half an avocado
  • Beetroot
  • Half a red onion
  • Handful of peanuts
  • 80g Rice ribbon noodles
  • Handful of green beans
  • Tahini (tablespoon)
  • Tahini (teaspoon)
  • 2/3 spring onionsIMG_5534

Method:

Put ribbon noodles and green beans into pan to cook, should take around 4 mins. Add some coconut oil to pan, add garlic (if you want), chopped onion, spinach, spring onions, along with the tamari. Keep on low heat and add the noodles and green beans and stir in the tahini and some of the chopped peanuts. Once heated and stirred, its done!

Add to bowl and this is the point that I like to add the cold ingredient on top, which is usually just what I fancy. In this case its the avocado, beetroot and the rest of the chopped peanuts. Yum! By the time I took this picture I was on my second bowl and have already eaten the one with the beetroot and avocado on top! Oops…must work on portion control!

 

Tahini Chickpea Curry with Couscous (AKA TahPeaCous)

I was planning on having sweet potato nachos and chilli today but on a sweep of my cupboards I discovered I didn’t have any black beans…first world problems. I decided to go rouge and cobble something together. I made a pile of things I like and things I thought would go together.

Exhibit A:

IMG_5368

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 can of chickpeas (in water not salt)
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 80g of uncooked couscous
  • 1 red onion
  • I pepper (any colour, they all taste good to me)
  • Massive handful of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini (I love all nut butters and although this is ground sesame seeds it tastes like peanut butter to me)
  • Cumin (To taste)
  • Chilli flakes (optional, to taste)
  • Half an avacado
  • Spring onions (as many as you want, I used two, chopped them up and mixed them in with a mashed up avocado)

The secret to not crying when you are cutting an onion is not to get emotionally attached #lifehackIMG_5369

 

 

 

IMG_5372

Into the pan goes the can of chopped tomatoes, the chopped onion, the spinach, the chopped pepper, the can of chickpeas, the tahini, cumin and chilli seeds. I cooked it on a low heat…It took around 10 minutes. I popped half in the fridge fr tomorrow and put the rest on top of of the cooked couscous, with a coupe of spoonfuls of yogurt and topped it with the mashed avocado and ping onions! Done!

 

 

I am really happy with the dish, not only because it was so nice but because it is packed with ingredient that is now working away in my body giving it so many good things! It is working FOR my body and not against it. I have been doing this for over a month now (with around 2 real sugary cheat meals thrown in there) and I feel good, I have always been active and eaten my greens but stepping things up a notch has really made a difference. I feel good, inside, I feel energetic, I feel awake, I don’t get the mid morning or mid afternoon slump, I feel sharp and my goodness it feels good!

 

Midnight Munchies (by midnight I mean, morning, noon and night)

Breaking the evening sweet treat routine, usually some sort of cake or chocolate biscuit, was a worry for me. If anything was going to break me, I thought that it would be this. I would happily munch my way through a chocolate orange, some giant chocolate buttons or a piece of carrot cake. Seriously what do people eat as a treat of they’re not eating chocolate or cake?

At first I indulge on dates, porridge covered in honey, banana milkshakes etc. Now whilst all this was added sugar free I was starting to notice I had no concept of when to stop and  also dates are not cheap!

So I after some thought ( no thought, just googling) I decided to give popcorn a whirl. I cant remember when I last ate home popped popcorn, I would usually get toffee coated popcorn for a movie night or to take to the cinema. As this is now off limits

IMG_5331

I had no choice but to go caveman. Took me a while to find it in the supermarket but once sourced I got to it. The instructions tell you to put oil in the pan first but this isn’t true, (in fact it can remove many of the benefits if you do add it, apparently) you can just add the kernels straight into a heated pan and cover with a lid, turn the heat down though otherwise it’ll burn. I think that one of the best things about home popped popcorn is that your house smells delicious and the “popping” becomes one of the most welcome sounds you can hear. After its popped add whatever you like, I either add salt or stir a teaspoon of honey into it. (Please note the picture my hand posed for, I have about 20 more on my phone with my hand at various stages of hovering over the bowl, to help create the anticipation / excitement of a good old bowl of hand popped popcorn!..did I over think it…100% I did) 

Right, real talk, despite the fact that its delicious there are many benefits to eating popcorn

  • Its anti-inflammatory! Woohoo!!
  • Contains a large amount of antioxidant capacity, which help prevent cancer and prevent ageing,
  • Its full of protein. Apparently ounce for ounce more than spinach or eggs. (surprising if true!)
  • Low fat. As long as you don’t cook it in oil, and cover in sugar or butter. Yes I sometimes add honey but only around a teaspoon so I think I’ll pass (hope so!).
  • Its a wholegrain, so lots of fibre so will improve / is good for your digestion
  • May seem obvious but its gluten free
  • Cheap! I usually have around 50g (pre popped) a time and there is 500g in my bag, at £2 a bag that’s 20p a serving. You cant even buy a Freddo for 20p these days!

Keeping it “good for you”:

  • Don’t add oils or lots of sugar / butter to it,
  • Check its organic (mine doesn’t say it is so I am assuming that means its not,
    I will look for organic when I restock. Also stay away from microwave popcorn too as there are chemical in the packaging which you can do without.

Disclaimer: I have gathered the above information by searching the web and cross referencing health claims. Obviously I haven’t tested popcorn myself in a lab or conducted my own research / trials so I cannot be 100% sure all of this is true (especially as I am beginning to think that everything we are told is just a conspiracy theory). I hope they are though!