Saturday at last! Saturday brings plenty of time to relax, read and…. COOK! So here’s my pre-easter gift to you. One of my favourite food combinations. My latest lunch craze is risotto salads. I make a lovely big salad but I cook the vegetables and add some quinoa in a bit of a sauce. You could argue that cooking the vegetables stops it being a salad, and you’d probably be right, but it’s still chock a block full of delicious vegetables! Feel free to add more or swap around though. The quinoa adds a bit of crunch as well while the tofu brings plenty of flavour and protein!
I first had quinoa a while ago and found it rather bland. It was simply boiled in water and served on a plate. Rather boring, no more boring than rice, but a bit of a waste of potential. So I made the wise decision of turning to my mum! I told her my bland food disaster and she returned a few minutes later with a pot of stock. We cooked the quinoa up in the stock, instead of water, added a little salt and pepper, some curry spices and a few mushrooms. And VOILA! Like a meal on it’s own, and very far away from the dangerous regions of boredom!
The other half of this recipe was discovered after I purchased an interesting looking, and smelling, bag of black rock salt. Also known as Kala Namak. The first thing I’ll say is don’t go smelling it unless you want to be knocked out. Very pungent in a bad way. But it kept on popping up in recipes so I thought I’d better find some (thank you amazon). It is commonly used to give an “eggy” taste to things due to the salts high sulphur content. Hmm. It also gives it a rotten egg smell! But it resulted in me attempting a tofu “egg”, simply as an experiment. It got the thumbs up from my testers but to be honest, I wouldn’t be the best judge when it comes to egg. However, it did lead me to learning a new technique for cooking tofu. You simply press it then microwave it on high for around 5 – 10 minutes. It gets such an amazing texture as all the water evaporates away. Of course, it does cook differently in this recipe as there is quite a lot of moisture from the marinade but if you cook it for a little longer, it would probably result in the same texture (don’t blame me if it doesn’t though!). The vegetables came in because who can honestly resist aubergine, courgette and mushroom? Kale or spinach would also work well but kale gets eaten within the first 24 hours in our house.
½ block tofu
¼ small courgette
4 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1 clove garlic
½ tsp ground ginger (or a little grated)
2 tsp of seeds ( I use sesame and poppy)
2 – 3 tbsp yeast flakes or enough to cover the tofu
Optional tsp of peanut butter
250mls water mixed with 1tsp vegetable stock
¾ tbsp tomato puree
A little salt and pepper or spices if desired
- Drain and press the tofu with paper towels then cut it width-ways into 1cm thick slices.
- Next, prepare the vegetables. You can cut them however you prefer but I like doing the aubergine into circles then about 3 or 4 sticks. I slice the mushrooms into 4 then the courgette into semi circles.
- Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and ginger (and peanut butter if using).
- Coat the tofu and vegetables in the marinade then leave them to soak for a while.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa before bringing to the boil in the stock. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat, add the mushrooms, tomato puree as well as any spices and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes.
- To cook the tofu and vegetables, spread them on a large plate lined with grease-proof paper (it can stick a little sometimes), then sprinkle the yeast flakes and seeds over the tofu.
- Cook in the microwave on high for 5 – 10 minutes or however long it takes for the tofu to harden and brown a little.
- Once the quinoa has absorbed all the water, turn off the heat and tip in the vegetables and tofu. Stir them in then leave to sit for a little. It should now be ready to eat! Enjoy!
I’ve been writing this in the car on the way home. I have one of my favourite films playing at the same time, I find multitasking can be quite fun sometimes for things that don’t require too much concentration! Films aren’t usually my choice of pastimes (the books are always better, and keep your brain occupied!) but I have a bit of an exception for one particular genre – Horror! Anything else and I get bored quickly. However, it results in me always watching them on my own as no one else wants to scare themselves. My current film is “The house at the end of the street“. It sounds like your cheesy, stereotypical film where they move house, there’s some kind of creepy thing going on down the road and everything works out fine – probably ending with a love story. The only reason I gave it a chance was because its main character was Jennifer Lawrence. She gained me as a fan after making the hunger games the first un-disappointing movie adaptation of a great book, so I had to buy it! wasn’t let down! It plays with the clichéd start but delivers a few heart wrenching jumps before slamming in huge plot twists! I don’t know how to explain in without giving anything away but it’s well worth the watch, don’t bother trying to guess anything though. It isn’t very scary either so I managed to persuade a few people (and a cat) to watch with me.