Monthly Archives: January 2015

Recipe: Tofu and Brussels Sprouts with Teriyaki Sauce

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I had an American vegetarian friend once, who, on a visit to the UK, was surprised to be offered stir-fried brussels sprouts at a restaurant. It’s a little unusual, but not completely off the wall, sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, after all and stand up to stir frying very well.

I’ve given two recipes for teriyaki sauce here. The authentic version with sake and mirin and the inauthentic version with sherry and sugar. Mirin and sake should be found in most medium-large supermarkets and do taste better, but the sherry version still beats the ready-made stuff.

The combination of sweet, caramelised sauce and slightly bitter greens works well. It would also work well with stronger greens like kale or spring greens. I usually make twice the quantity of teriyaki sauce because I find it addictive and have to save some for another recipe the next day.

Tofu & Sprouts with Teriyaki photo DSCN1755_zpsa6bf858e.jpg

Ingredients
For the Teriyaki sauce:
Either
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sugar

or 
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp sugar

For the rest:
200g tofu, cubed
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
350g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 spring onion, chopped

First make the teriyaki sauce by putting all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes until it is reduced and syrupy.
Set aside.
Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan.
Add the cubed tofu and fry over a medium to high heat until the tofu has browned a little on all sides.
Take out of the pan and keep to one side.
Put the pan back on the heat and add the garlic, ginger and brussels sprouts.
Fry until the sprouts start to take on a little colour.
Reduce the heat to medium and add water until the sprouts are just covered.
Simmer vigorously for 4-5 minutes until the sprouts are just tender and the water has all but disappeared.
Add the tofu back to the pan and turn off the heat.
Pour over the teriyaki sauce and stir until everything is nicely coated.
Serve over rice or noodles garnished with the spring onions.

Serves 2

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Review: The Wilson Cafe

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I make the worst cheese sauce on the planet. No, scrub that – I would make the worst cheese sauce on the planet if only I bothered! I rarely have flour or milk in the house, and I can’t get past the fact that soya, rice or almond milk just doesn’t seem to make very good sauces. The only time this culinary black spot bothers me is when I want macaroni cheese.

My mother made the best macaroni cheese on the planet – a tasty, cheesy sauce with a dash of mustard in that was thick enough to coat the pasta properly and to stay on the fork, and crunchy breadcrumbs coating the top. It was her full-proof method of bribing me to do something: “I’ll make you macaroni cheese on Wednesday night if you give me a lift to a meeting afterwards.” Shazza Cabs was always there like a flash!

There are some fairly decent supermarket ready meals available, but macaroni cheese isn’t one of them – the sauce is always tasteless and too thin. So I end up going without and periodically resolving to have a go at making cheese sauce.

So you’ll excuse my excitement when I spotted ‘Mac ‘n’ cheese’ on the menu at the Wilson Café in Cheltenham. I’m even going to forgive them that glaring Americanism, as it was the best macaroni cheese ever. I dragged a friend there several days later so I could make sure the first time hadn’t been a fluke. It hadn’t. The sauce was perfect, the topping crispy and it came with a stack of bread lightly brushed with garlic. I think I took the glaze off the dish making sure I hadn’t missed a trace of sauce!

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The Wilson Café is a good little find – it’s part of the revamped museum and art gallery in town. The previous café was up lots of stairs and was full once four people were in there. The new one is on the ground floor at the front of the building and has a couple of tables outside. There’s not a huge menu, but what there is seems to be decent quality, and there are always a couple of veggie choices there (even if they’re heavy on eggs, particularly for the breakfast choices). Vegans will struggle, though. The coffee and cakes are yummy as well, and the staff seem friendly. A few people have moaned to me about the slow service there; it’s been fine on the four or five I’ve visited, although the place doesn’t look over-burdened with staff.

I have a nasty feeling the café changes its menu periodically. So I could be OD’ing on macaroni cheese for a while!

The Wilson Café

Clarence Street

Cheltenham

GL50 3JT

Recipe: Stuffed tempeh and black bean roll

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Please welcome our friend Phil Ogden, who has a most cunning recipe which you’ll thank him for when it comes to parties, Christmas, New Year, whatever … The veggies in his family clearly eat very well (this is a man who makes how own tempeh), so we’re going to ask if he’ll adopt us! Now over to Phil …

Here’s the final version, which is a bit different from the recipe I based it on! I had some of the tempeh mix left over so I did it as a burger as a test and was very impressed – the sort of thing where the mouth is still lit up with the flavours a good half hour after eating it! I was so impressed I made a second batch and baked it into sausages to be used in vegetarian sausage rolls, so much nicer than those cardboard cheese and onion ones from the supermarket!

phil's recipe

Ingredients

300ml stuffing of your choice (volume measure ‘cos the weight depends on the stuffing!)

3 tbsp ground linseed

6 tbsp dark soy sauce

500g tempeh

3 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp Montreal Steak spice (mix of onion flakes, garlic granules, black pepper and chilli flakes)

1 level tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

500g cooked black turtle beans (drained weight)

4 medium spring onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, fried until golden and drained

300g grated mature cheddar cheese

Whole golden linseed or raw sesame seeds for garnish

Method

Prepare the stuffing (I used packet sage and onion reinforced with chopped chestnuts and whole cranberry sauce). Form into a log about 20cm long, wrap tightly in cling-film and freeze solid.

Mix ground flax seeds with soy sauce and leave for ten minutes to thicken.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, line a baking tray with foil and lightly oil.

Crumble tempeh into a large bowl, Add paprika, steak spice, salt, and pepper, and mix gently to coat the tempeh. Add the black beans, spring onions, and garlic, and stir well. Add half the linseed/soy mix and stir well, add the remainder and stir again. Add the cheese but this time incorporate by hand, kneading the mixture until firm – squash enough beans to make this happen but don’t damage them more than necessary.

Put some cling-film onto a baking sheet or board and press the mixture down to make a 20cm square.

Top liberally with linseed or sesame, cover with more cling-film then flip the whole thing over using another baking sheet so the seeded side is now on the bottom. Remove the (now) top layer of cling-film.

Unwrap the frozen stuffing log and place in the middle of the square, use the base film to help pull up the tempeh and bean mixture to form a log around the stuffing – if you haven’t frozen the stuffing this will be difficult but it’s very easy if the stuffing is frozen solid.

If the stuffing contains ingredients that need serious cooking you’ll need to let it defrost before cooking; if it’s already been cooked you can go straight away.

Remove all cling-film before cooking and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it’s golden.

It can be served after resting for ten minutes but another option is to let it cool completely, then slice (and freeze) the portions for reheating individually. It’s much more stable when it’s cold as the cheese will be set, cutting it whilst hot is more difficult but it does look spectacular when whole.

Notes: Instead of Montreal spice you could go for asian flavours and use a rice-based stuffing. Spicing the tempeh/bean mix and herbing the stuffing provides a good flavour contrast no matter what you use – spicing (or herbing) both layers differently just gives a confusing flavour profile. The stuffing log could be wrapped in some wilted spinach leaves before rolling for better visual impact.