Right, well that picture just about takes care of the ingredients list. Which just leaves me to blather on for a little while first, before we get to the bit about how to make this (Hint: use a blender).
Let’s play for a moment a game of word association using the word “Africa”. Rift valley. Origins of mankind (unless you believe in this version). Elephants. Bloody conflict. Colonial invasion. Lions. Despots. Diamonds. Apartheid. Famine.
How are we going, have you said “Roasted capsicum and tomatoes” yet? Thought not. Most people associate the foodstuff of Africa with the picture of horribly starving children and Bob Geldoff fund raising concerts. When the crops aren’t failing, the lands being bombed, or the various ethnic tribes are not being murdered and chased from their lands by religious nutters, invaders, diamond and oil seekers and assorted other examples of human scum this great, wide, wonderful land produces foodstuffs both wonderful and assorted. The legacy of this land to our taste buds is one so great we ought to prostrate ourselves at the feet of every passing native African.
In a very simple way, using ingredients common in the kitchen, you can sample one small slice of this legacy.
- One large red capsicum
- 250g semi sundried tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 small red onion
- 2 large red chillies
- Fresh coriander
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- De-seed and de-stalk the capsicum and lightly brush inside and out with (extra) olive oil. Roast in a medium oven until the skin will fairly easily peel off.
- Blend the roasted capsicum along with everything else until a smooth consistency is achieved.
That’s it. All done bar the eating. Serve as a condiment. Use it as a pasta sauce or spread on a pizza. Smear it on yourself if you’re feeling a little weird and raunchy. Just keep it in the fridge and seal it in the jar with a layer of coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have any of that). Preserved this way it ought to last 2-3 weeks before growing something unpleasant.
A very simple, but not very picturesque meal that The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed enjoy very much is a Mexican “Chilli Con Tofu”. Its best served with some plain (brown) rice, and perhaps some soy yoghurt.
And so it was last week, and in doing so The VegHead allowed a little whimsical spontaneity to enter the kitchen. Thus leading to the simple arrangementt of avocado slices on a flat glass plate to create a bowl, which served to hold the yoghurt. Meanwhile some black olives were skewered with tooth picks – half a dozen to a stick. One for The VegHead and one for SheWhoMustBeFed. The toothpick sticks stopped the olives escaping. Olives generally sit fairly passively in a bowl awaiting their fate, but the flat nature of the serving plate on this occasion gave them adventurous ideas of rolling away. A stick through their gizzards soon put an end to their plans!
And seeing as the chilli is very good to eat, but quite boring to take a picture of, we have a picture of the side dish instead.
For the Chilli Con Tofu you will need:
- 1 cup of cooked kidney beans
- 1 block of soft/medium tofu (meaning a medium grade, but hopefully on the softish side)
- 1 medium tomato – chopped
- 1 small onion – chopped
- 1 green capsicum (a.k.a “green pepper” if you’re from Disneyland) – chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
- 1 fresh chilli (or more or less to taste, or substitute equivalent chilli powder)
- A large blob of tomato paste
- A large blob of dark miso (or a vegetable stock cube)
- A small blob of peanut butter
- 1 generously heaped tablespoon of cumin powder (yes TABLEspoon)
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- olive oil
- Sauté the onion, garlic, chilli and powdered spices in a generous pour of olive oil
- Add the beans. Crumble the tofu in – don’t cube the tofu, mash it which will allow it to soak up more of the flavours. I don’t want to find you using some masher implement here, I want to see you connecting with your food and using your hands. Squeeeeeeze it through your fingers! Stir it all together until the tofu and beans have been thoroughly coated with the spices.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, together with a cup or more of water. It often helps if you pre-dissolve the miso, tomato paste and peanut butter in some boiled water.
- Simmer for 20 minutes.
- If it doesn’t taste “mexicanny” enough – dump in more cumin.