Basic Baked Tofu

This method will take the blandness off your tofu, yet make it just neutral enough to use in pretty much every dish you want to add tofu to.

It also gives tofu a great, chewy texture.

Ingredients

450 g of firm/extra firm tofu (I use Singh Tahoe brand), sliced into three slabs lengthwise

1/1.5 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp Chinese rice wine

1 tbsp sriracha sauce

Method

– Press the slabs of tofu by placing them between sheets of kitchen towel and putting weight on them. I use two chopping boards and a heavy, cast-iron pan to weigh it all down. Let stand for an hour.

– Dice the tofu. I cut every slab into three slices, then chop those into six pieces. Anyway, just think bite size.

– Mix the wet ingredients in a shallow container with a lid. Add the tofu and mix again. The sauce needs to *just* cover the tofu. Put on the lid.

– Let stand for at least an hour, carefully shaking the container or turning it over to coat the tofu once or twice. Marinating the tofu longer won’t hurt (at all). The tofu will absorb all the moisture.

– Preheat the oven to 200 C, line a baking tray with baking parchment.

– Bake the tofu for 30/40 minutes, turning it every 10 minutes or so (no need to be overly precise, just give the cubes a quick flip with a flat spatula).

– Bake until it looks firm and slightly charred.

– Take the tray out of the oven and let the tofu cool. It will firm up even more as it cools.

– Either use it in a dish straight away or store it in the fridge or freezer to use later.

Chocolate and Walnut Banana Bread

When life hands you close-to-black bananas (or when you clearly haven’t been eating your fruit), make banana bread.

Wet ingredients

3 overripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla essence

75 ml flavourless oil (I use rice bran oil)

60 g almond butter

60 g coconut sugar

3 tbsp plant milk

Dry ingredients

110 g plain flour

90 g wholemeal flour

25 g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

generous pinch of salt

70 g walnuts, roughly chopped

100 g dark chocolate (check if vegan), chopped

Preparation

– Preheat oven to 180 C.

– Cover a regular-sized loaf cake tin with baking parchment (if you’re lazy like me, just ball up the parchment and unscrunch it, then use it to cover the tin).

– Put peeled bananas in a wide bowl and mash them up.

– Add all ingredients under ‘wet ingredients’ and mix well.

– Put everything listed under ‘dry ingredients’ in another mixing bowl. Mix very well.

– Add wet to dry ingredients and mix until combined.

– Put the batter in the prepared baking tin, smoothing the top.

– Bake for 40/45 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

– Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out on a cooling rack.

Okey Dokey Artichokey Sauce with Mushrooms and Pasta

Not a looker, but this vegetable sauce has kick and flavour. Serve like this, with any vegetable, chickpeas or lentils and pasta, or as a dip.

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red chilli pepper, seeds left in, chopped

390 g tin (240 g drained weight) artichoke hearts in brine, drained, each artichoke heart squeezed well

125 ml plant milk

125 ml vegetable stock

1/4 cup (15 g) nutritional yeast

Salt, to taste

150 g vegan dried pasta (like spaghetti)

500 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

Preparation

-Heat small glug of olive oil in a small skillet

-Sauté onion until soft and starting to brown

-Add garlic and chilli and sauté for another 2/3 minutes. Take off the heat and put aside.

-Blitz the contents of the pan together with the artichoke hearts, plant milk, stock, nutritional yeast and salt, using a food processor or (stick) blender.

-Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.

-Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in a large skillet in a bit of olive oil.

-When the mushrooms are almost cooked to your liking, add the artichoke sauce to the mushrooms and heat through until piping hot. Taste and add salt if necessary.

-Serve the artichoke and mushroom sauce with the pasta.

Pumpkin and Peanut Risotto with a Kick (Instant Pot)

Pumpkin is nice but bland. It needs jazzing up. So that’s what I did.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 heaped tbsp red curry paste (check if it’s vegan)

1 tbsp tomato purée

145 g risotto rice

Generous glug saké or white wine

350 g pumpkin, peeled and finely cubed (peeled weight)

400 ml vegetable stock

Soy sauce, to taste

Lime juice, to taste

40 g dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Small bunch coriander, chopped

Preparation

-Heat up Instant Pot (IP) without oil.

-Add oil to pot and let heat up.

-Add onion and sauté for a few minutes.

-Stir in garlic, sauté for a minute.

-Put in curry paste and tomato purée and fry, stirring, for a few minutes.

-Add rice, stir to coat, then add saké or wine.

-Sauté for a minute or two to let alcohol evaporate.

-Hit ‘Cancel’ on IP, then add pumpkin and stock.

-Clamp on lid, cook (High Pressure) for 5 minutes, then do a Quick Release.

-Let risotto stand, lid off, for a few minutes. It will get less wet.

-Add lime juice and soy sauce to taste (you’ll be adding salty peanuts, so go easy on the soy sauce).

-Sprinkle over coriander and peanuts.