Saturday, 19 April 2014

Braising with Veggischmooze

Braising was always going to be a challenge for us veggies and of course there have always been the standard braised chicory and lettuce recipes.
But we wanted to give you something with pizzazz – something that would capture your eyes and tempt you to try our dishes.
So our first is our Warm Ruby-Red Wine Braised Salad of Beetroot, Red Onion, and Red Chicory with Feta and Walnuts – a marriage made in heaven and when braised together form a delicious harmony of flavours. Perfect for a cloudy day.
Then our newest passion is Tibetan Food and this gloriously easy
Braised Tofu with Greens (Tse Tofu) in this case Swiss Chard is a huge winner.
Finally Sarah suggested that I share my Paprika Braised Tofu – this is a luscious recipe that I make most weeks and is adored by all the family.

Warm Ruby-Red Wine Braised Salad of Beetroot, Red Onion, and Red Chicory with Feta and Walnuts
It’s a long title but truly demonstrates the complexity of flavours that marry so well and is the perfect antidote to a cloudy day. Enjoy with warm crusty granary bread and good conversation.
  Serves 4 as a side dish or two as a light lunch
2 medium beetroot scrubbed, peeled and sliced into ½ cm rounds
1 large red onion peeled and cut into rings or sliced
230g red chicory trimmed and cut into rings
2 teaspoons olive oil
150 – 200 ml of vegetable stock
50 ml red wine of choice
few fresh thyme leaves pulled off the stalks
½ bunch good watercress cut across to make easier servings
100g feta cheese
50g walnuts

Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and lightly toast by placing in a low oven for 10 minutes. Remove walnuts and leave to cool. Prepare all the vegetables and place in a pan, add the oil and thyme and cook over a medium heat until the onions are slightly coloured and deliciously fragrant. Add the red wine and enough stock to cover. Simmer gently turning from time to time allowing the vegetables to absorb the wonderful flavours. When tender approximately 20 minutes, strain the vegetables from the liquid. Allow to cool slightly then arrange on the watercress. Crumble the feta over the warm vegetables and sprinkle on the walnuts. Enjoy.

 Tibetan Braised Tofu with Greens (Tse Tofu)

This deliciously flavoured dish from Tibet celebrates Swiss chard and Tofu. In order to heighten the flavour we have substituted fresh tofu for smoked tofu and now the flavours zing. Enjoy as a light lunch or supper for 2-3 people. Perfect!

200g Swiss chard
1 bunch fat green salad onions medium chopped
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1- 2 fat cloves garlic finely grated
½ thumb size ginger finely grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 200g packet smoked Tofu drained and cut into 2 cm squares 
100g fresh or frozen green peas
2 separate tablespoons light oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Maybe salt to taste depending on saltiness of soy sauce

Wash the Swiss chard, tear off leaves and chop lovely red stalks. In one pan pour the one tablespoon oil and add the Swiss chard still slightly wet, turning constantly. Add the pepper and salt. Cover the pan and leave to steam for 2 minutes.
In another pan, heat the other tablespoon oil. Add the onions, tofu, ginger and garlic with the paprika. Turn frequently until onions and tofu take on a little colour. Add soy sauce and peas and cover the pan to braise for 2-3 minutes. Season.  
Serve by placing Swiss chard on a serving platter topping with luscious tofu mix and enjoy.

 Oven Braised Paprika Tofu
This recipe is made every week in our home although sometimes we use Dukkah or Ras El Hanout, and is a standard favourite. The paprika-seasoned stock gives a lovely taste to the tofu and the mixture can be cooked until crispy on the top- perfect on brown rice with salads or just for a healthy snack. Try it

Serves 4 with salad or greens and brown rice as an easy tasty meal

Use preferably a 2 litre cast iron or a metal casserole that can cook on top as well as in the oven and allow for braising  

2x 396 gm packets (I use Cauldron) of Tofu drained and cut into cubes                      
3 teaspoons ground paprika
3 teaspoons marigold stock powder
Pinch cayenne if wanted
1 tablespoon olive oil  
300 ml hot water
Mix the marigold powder with the paprika, the cayenne and the hot water. Pour the oil into an over-proof metal casserole and add the tofu chunks and cook over a medium heat. (At this stage you can add crushed garlic, and chopped mushrooms.) Stir well until the tofu just begins to colour approximately 10 minutes. Pour over the paprika/ stock and braise covered with a lid, for approximately 30- 40 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the tofu is tenderly flavourful. If you wish to have a crispy top remove top ten minutes before serving. Can be eaten hot or cold. Delicious.             

Monday, 14 April 2014

Ultimate Roasted Garlic and Coriander Hummus

 Ultimate Roasted Garlic and Coriander Hummus

This fabulous recipe is dedicated to a wonderful husband who grows the most delicious elephant garlic and provides us with the fattest, tastiest bulbs. After roasting these succulent bulbs we whizzed them with fresh coriander and a dash of spices to discover the quickest easiest way to a phenomenal dish. Slather on warm pitta bread, jacket potatoes or in our case hot, oven-roasted field mushrooms. Enjoy xxx        
(We used 50g fresh coriander but we are coriander freaks and it does taste glorious but start with 40g, that may well be sufficient for you)
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 greedy enjoyers!!!
Prepare the oven by heating to 180C, gas mark 4
Have ready either 1 baking sheet or a square of tin- foil able to take a few garlic cloves 
1 whole fat head of garlic or in our case 4 enormous cloves of elephant garlic  
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 x 400g tin of salted chick peas
40g – 50g fresh coriander + a little to decorate 
2 tablespoons tahini
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground paprika with extra to decorate
 Zest 1 whole lemon
Masses of freshly milled salt and pepper to taste
 1 black olive optional for decoration

Clean the garlic, if dirty, by brushing well. If you are using a head of garlic cut across and brush with one of the tablespoons of olive oil. If you are using elephant garlic merely brush with oil and place on a roasting tin or wrap in foil. Bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes or until the garlic is really tender and the luscious contents ooze out. Allow to cool slightly or use gloves, and squeeze the unctuous roasted garlic out of their skins into a processor with the remaining ingredients and wiz until gloriously smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. Turn the mixture into a decorative bowl. Add a little paprika and coriander to adorn with the black olive.  Enjoy dipping with plenty of laughter. Xxxxx