Baked tofu and bean balls

These balls are ideal for either Loinfruits or as party finger food. They bake to a lovely dark golden colour. To ensure that they were easy to remove from the tray once cooked The VegHead cooked a batch in a large muffin (or “cup cake”) tray – and used a load of the happy little paper cup cake whats-its. The Loinfruit saw the uncooked balls sitting in the gaily coloured trays before they went into the oven and there was a near riot in the kitchen ….

“Look! It’s cakes for dinner!” , said The Loinfruit
“Oh no it is!”, said the Nasty Ogre, cruelly crushing their happiness *

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of medium tofu
  • 1 cup of giant Baked Beans
  • 2 slices of bread, finely crumbed
  • 1/3 cup of cashews, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari
  • pepper to taste

To do:

  • Mash everything together to an even mixture
  • If too wet, crumb another slice of bread and mix through thoroughly
  • Form into firm balls of approximately 5cm diameter, place into prepared paper cups
  • Bake in a hot oven for 35 minutes

(*) “The Nasty Ogre” is a.k.a. “The VegHead”

Broad bean and lemon tagine

Very simple, lightly spiced. Is this Moroccan? It is cooked in a tagine and it does use preserved lemon, which are two hallmarks of Moroccan cooking. However the thyme is generally thought of as more Mediterranean than North African. The herb is however widely used across the region and in as comfortable in Middle Eastern cuisines as Italian and Greek. Who knows. Quit asking difficult questions and just eat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of shelled broad beans (*)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • a few thin slices of red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of light miso
  • 1 small preserved lemon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each of fresh thymes leaves, and fresh lemon thyme leaves. Chopped.
  • black pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • water

To do:

  • If using frozen broad beans, bring them to a rolling boil for a few minutes first in small saucepan. Doing so will reduce your cooking time for the tagine in the oven by up to 45 minutes compared to what it would have been had you put the frozen beans straight into the tagine! Use the boiled water as stock in the tagine.
  • Thoroughly mix everything, making sure the miso is dissolved evenly
  • Add enough of the water to cover the beans
  • Bake at inferno setting in a preheated oven for around 45 minutes (or about 90 minutes if you didn’t thaw your frozen broad beans!)

* Broad beans are one of the few vegetables The VegHeads keeps in the house “snap frozen”. The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed adore fresh broad beans when they are in season and we will happily shell them and then individually peel them – there’s nothing like fresh broad beans lightly steamed or quickly blanched. However The VegHead once weighed all the discarded shells etc and confirmed the suspicion that when you buy fresh broad beans by weight you are paying for one third edible beans, and two thirds compost feed. And they’re not cheap to begin with. So any other dish we cook using broad beans (which generally means a tagine) we use organic, snap frozen broad beans instead.

Shittake Mushroom dip

You have to take a break from hommous every now and then don’t you? Though the Bamix eventually gets a little itchy for some blending.

What’s in the fridge?

What’s in the fridge?

Hmm….some nice shittake mushrooms, and a bag of fruity brown gilled mushrooms too…

Mushroom dip….yumm….

The following is how The VegHead would make it next time, as the first time it ended up a little sloppier than the ideal consistency.

Need to find in your fridge:

  • 4 to 6 large shittake mushrooms, chopped
  • an equal amount of open gilled “standard” mushrooms, chopped
  • an equal amount of pine nuts (by volume), fairly finely crushed
  • 2 thin slices of red onion
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon of dark sesame oil
  • teaspoon of mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tamari
  • tablespoon of tahini
  • ground pepper

きのこののり作成方式 (*)

  • Lightly sauté the shittake mushrooms together with the garlic, onion and pepper in a little olive oil
  • Blend the cooked shittake mushrooms etc together with the raw mushrooms.
  • Add the nuts, and the sesame oil, mirin, tamari and tahini. Continue blending to a smooth paste

Store in a covered container in the fridge, lightly drizzled with a little more olive oil. Try to finish it within 3 days of making.

* Roughly translates as “The method of making mushroom paste”

Roast butter bean and celeriac

The cumin/pepper/ginger sauce used in this is originally from a “Marinated tofu” recipe from some or another commercial cookbook that populates our shelves. It has become a widely used marinade for beans, broad beans, tofu, cauliflower and lots more. Its just one of those sauces that “works”.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of cooked butter beans
  • half a celeriac, peeled and cubed to approximately 2cm cubes
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper (this will make it fairly spicy)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cm of ginger root, grated
  • a generous splash each of tamari, olive oil, mirin, and toasted sesame oil

To make:

  • Mix everything together in a bowl
  • Pour mixture into a lidded baking dish (take the lid off before pouring)
  • Just cover with water
  • Bake at inferno for 45 minutes

Served with a large bag of baby spinach leaves, lightly stir fried with chopped mushrooms, and a light sprinkly of (vegan) Worcestershire sauce.

So THATS what you do with a Celeriac

In this age of political correctness, it is unacceptable on the whole to use the word “ugly”. We’re meant to dress things up and pretend we live in some sort of Disney version of the world where we’re all happy shiny people, living happy shiny lives and there’s never anything truly offensive.

However there are some pretty ugly things out there, lets face it. Ugly buildings and developments. Ugly abuses of human rights. Ugly truths like climate change. There’s probably even some little part of you that you find ugly about yourself, maybe that small toe you dropped a brick on one day. Maybe that nasty nagging in-grown hair. In the US alone $1900,000,000 was spent last year on cosmetic surgery to change what someone thought was a little bit of ugly.

So lets be honest and admit that in the world there are some ugly things.

Like celeriac.

When the Flying Spaghetti Monster was handing out characteristics the celeriac was all the way at the end of the line for looks. In contrast, think of an Orange. There is a fruit that so epitomises its colour that it is called the colour. Or vice versa perhaps. Then there is the rich, fragrant simplicity of the basil leaf. The endless velvety form of our mushrooms.

And then there’s the celeriac.

Like you, The VegHead has looked at a pile of celeriacs sitting amongst the potatoes, carrots and so on and wondered exactly which planet it transported in from. Just where is Planet Fugly? All the while however you have to admire its pluck. The power of the supermarket is so strong that they can dictate exactly what colour an apple can be, and which shape is suitable for bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes. Its like the celeriac is just sitting there smirking and thinking “Go on…try to regulate me into some lovely package”.

The celeriac is the ugly man in the room of same-same Hollywood blandness, the person so outstandingly out of place with ugliness that you eventually cross the room at the party to go see what the story is. Because there has to be one right?

So The VegHead bought one. Which is different from knowing what to do with it. So to save you the same searching on Google here is what you need to know:

  • they’re good for roasting, boiling and mashing
  • they need to be peeled
  • they’ll smell like dirt before you peel them and have a light celery smell to them once peeled
  • they oxidise very quickly once peeled, so only cut and peel them just before cooking or they’ll blacken
  • lemon apparently slows the blackening
  • they can bitter if not cooked properly. If boiling, place into boiling water not cold water (and brought to the boil) as the latter method makes them bitter
  • most of the nutrients are just under the skin so don’t peel too deeply

So far, The VegHead has only tried it roasted with some spices. It was good. More experimention to come. Leave a comment if you know of any good recipes using celeriac.

And remember; all the freaky people make the beauty of the world.

Potato and bean balls

The Larger Loinfruit polished off nine of these together with a salad for dinner, and had to be dissuaded from stealing a tenth off the plate of the Smaller Loinfruit, who isn’t as keen on them and who would have been happy to foist one off his plate if he could have got away with it.

These balls cook to a lovely light golden colour, however their popularity meant there were none left to pose for the camera so you’ll just have to take The VegHead’s word for it. Perhaps next time the potato paparazzi will be in town.

All well as keeping Larger Loinfruit fed, these are a good grown up party finger food, and can be made and refrigerated ahead of time and placed into the oven 20 minutes before you need them.

When you roll the balls, aim for a bit smaller than a squash ball.

The following makes about 12 balls, depending on how large you make them.

You will need:

  • 1 large potato; peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of cooked butter beans (or haricot)
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground roasted cashews (not salted variety)
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread, finely crumbed
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 fine slice of red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Get all dressed up and go to the Potato and Bean Ball:

  • No black tie required, but roll up your sleaves and make sure someone is around afterward to turn on the tap so you can wash your hands
  • Lightly saute the onion and garlic in olive oil
  • Mash all ingredients together
  • Knead lightly until mixture binds fairly well
  • Form into evenly sized balls
  • Grease a baking tray lightly with olive oil
  • Lightly brush each ball with same oil
  • Bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes

This recipe is courtesy of SheWhoMustBeFed

Quite possibly the perfect hommous

Most of the world’s religions have a central theme of mankind’s continued path toward knowledge and redemption. No less than Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, the Latter-day Saints, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Rastafari movement, various Islamic faiths including Sunni and Shia, Dick Cheney and the rest of the lunatic base of the US Republican Party, Zoroastrians and Buddhists and a few others too subscribe to the idea of End Times. In almost all cases a series of events, some small and seemingly insignificant, and some calamitous and far reaching will herald the end of humanity’s reign on the material planetary plain of existence, while the faithful ascend to a better place where 17 organic, fairly traded, low love-mile virgins await all.

Last week my friends we all jiggled just a little closer to the end. A sign was there to see if your eyes were unclouded by the lurid distractions of supermarket ready-meals. Last week, the perfect hommous was invented.

Remember the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. The BKWSU believe in a 5th age called the Confluence Age, a time of both a total annihilation of humanity by Nuclear weapons, civil war and natural disasters; and revelation of perfect hommous making. Watch out for the next indicator – McDonalds turning into a vegan paradise. Meanwhile, enjoy this dip while awaiting the doors of paradise to be opened.

If you want to recreate this miracle you will need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari
  • 2 teaspoons of thick, sweet balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of mirin
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

To do:

  • Very lightly saute the garlic in a small amount of the oil
  • Bamix everything to a smooth paste