Recipe: Soup Maker Cauliflower Soup

Vegan cauliflower soup

Despite this soup being the easiest soup in the world to make, it wasn’t the easiest soup to guess in my Guess The Soup game. I didn’t think it would be so difficult; it’s just one vegetable, after all, and a seasonal vegetable at that (I’m assuming it’s seasonal – it came in last week’s veg box, anyway).

Maybe the stock discoloured it. I don’t know what goes into most ready-made stock powder and cubes (I should probably be ashamed of this) but this stock was a home-made one, made from The Gentle Chef’s Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder, which is easy to make and much nicer than anything you’ll find in the shops. Just make a batch up and store it in a jar until you need it.

Recipe: Soup Maker Cauliflower Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These instructions are for a Von Chef Soup Maker. Your settings might be different. If you want to make it on the hob, just simmer all ingredients for about 20 minutes then blend at the end and add the soya milk.
Author:
Cuisine: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp home made or store bought bouillon powder
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 50ml soya milk (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except the soya milk into the soup machine
  2. Set on 'low' for 25 minutes
  3. Add the soya milk at the end for extra creaminess

 

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Cookbook: A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood

You’d have thought I’d had enough of salad after doing the Bodychef diet plan for a week but, being keen to keep up my healthy eating, I took a look at A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood that had been sent to me recently.

A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood
A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood

Harry’s book is divided into seasons, with each recipe stating its calorie count, along with how many of your 5-a-day it contains. Although this isn’t a 100% vegetarian cookbook, most of the recipes containing meat or fish are followed by a note at the bottom giving a suggestion for a vegetarian version. At the back of the book are recipes for glazings, pestos, dressings and vinegars.

Lebanese Fattoush recipe
Lebanese Fattoush recipe

I made the Lebanese Fattoush but left out the pitta bread and instead of using a cos lettuce, I used a bag of Florette salad (Florette also have plenty of salad recipes on their website).

Lebanese Fattoush
Lebanese Fattoush

The sumac (I found it on the ‘ingredients’ shelf in Tesco) gave this salad a wonderful lift, as did the simple suggested dressing of 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Buy A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood at Amazon
Visit Harry’s website at www.harryeastwood.com

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Tofu Escalopes With Salsa

Tofu Escalopes with Salsa

tofu-escalopes-with-salsa

I’ve never been successful cooking with tofu. In fact, the last time I attempted a tofu stir-fry, it ended up in the bin. Restaurants seem to manage to make it so it resembles actual food and not a gungy spongy lump of tasteless splodge but whatever their technique is, it has so far eluded me.

Until now, that is. Recently, I’ve read on various blogs and Facebook pages about people pressing tofu to squeeze all the water out of it. Pressing techniques ranged from using a fancy press to using a plate with something heavy on top. I chose the ‘plate with something heavy on top’ technique.

I placed the tofu (it had been frozen and defrosted first, as freezing also helps to make it firmer) on a plate, placed another plate on top of the tofu and placed two heavy cookbooks on top of this and left it for about an hour. Some water had indeed been squeezed out but, on prodding it, there was a lot of water still in the tofu so I pressed down harder and squeezed more out of it. Even after pressing down and pressing down, the tofu still seemed a bit waterlogged but it was certainly a lot firmer than it had been and I decided it had got to the ‘it’ll do’ stage.

‘It’ll do’ certainly did, as the tofu, once cooked, was the perfect texture and not in the slightest bit gungy or spongy. It was, despite being marinated, a bit bland – next time I’ll coat it in some barbecue sauce or something similar before dredging it in breadcrumbs.

I can’t believe I managed to cook tofu successfully and I’ll definitely be using the pressing method again.  Although I served two per person, they were filling and I reckon one would be enough.

panko-crusted-tofu

Tofu Escalopes with Salsa (makes 6)
(recipe adapted from Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes)

1 block tofu, sliced into 6 slices
2 eggs
75g Japanese panko crumbs
5 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper

Marinade

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

Salsa

100g drained tinned haricot beans
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp bottled jalapeno chillies, drained and chopped
1 handful of coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and season well. Put the tofu in a large, shallow dish, spoon the marinade over and spread over both sides. Leave to marinate, covered, for 1 hour.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the salsa together and leave in the fridge until serving.
  3. Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish and season. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip the tofu slices into the egg and then the crumbs until coated all over, then fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the salsa.
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Tempeh Giardino

tempeh-giardino

So many US recipes specify tempeh, but it’s not easy to find over here. However, the other week when I was buying some vital wheat gluten from Buy Wholefoods Online, I saw they stock jars of it, so thought I’d get some while I was there.

It looked a strange substance, floating in a jar of liquid and I thought it might be soggy like tofu. On fishing it out of the jar, I was pleased it was quite firm.

The taste and texture is a little strange, but not unpleasant. The Meat Eater said it was ‘neither here nor there’.

This recipe is from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and I’m not going to post the recipe exactly as it is in the book as I’ve already used one of her recipes today making the oatmeal peanut butter cookies but the main ingredients were: a jar of tempeh, 2 courgettes, 1 red onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes, 5 cloves of garlic and some basil. I’m sure you can work out what to do with them (i.e. chuck them in a frying pan).

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Red Lentil, Chickpea and Chilli Soup (vegan)

This is the nicest soup I’ve made for ages and more than makes up for the disastrous soup I made last week. Of course, it could be because it’s got chilli in it; chilli improves everything (except avocado. Nothing could improve that. Bleurgh).

The recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website but I didn’t use any coriander or yoghurt and I didn’t leave it as a rough puree – I blitzed it until it was smooth.

There are chickpeas in it, honest.

red-lentil-chickpea-chilli-soup

Red lentil, chickpea and chilli soup (serves 4)

2 tsp cumin seeds
large pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
140g red split lentils
850ml vegetable stock
400g chopped tomatoes
1/2 can chickpeas

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin and chilli flakes for 1 minute, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil and onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender, then add the chickpeas and heat through.
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