Leftover Vegetable and Tofu Curry

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This is a great use of leftover Sunday lunch vegetables. We always end up with an interesting mix of depending on what vegetable the kids have decided they don’t like this week.

The key additional ingredients are freezer staples  – peas and spinach. It used to be that I would throw in some diced chicken thighs but now really loving some tofu or some paneer.

Vegetable and Tofu Curry

Serves 2

200g of tofu
500g of leftover vegetables e.g  cauliflower, brocoli,  carrots and potatoes
8 blocks of frozen spinach
4 cups of frozen peas
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 thumb of ginger
1 tbsp of garam masala + 1tsp extra
1 tbsp of turmeric
1 whole green chilli
1tsp of mustards seeds +1/2tsp extra
1tsp of nigella seeds
2 green chillies
2 handfuls of tomatoes (if in season and ripe) or half a tin of chopped tomatoes

1. Fry the spices and seeds in sunflower oil.
2. Add the garlic , ginger and onion until softened
3. Add the tomatoes, spinach and vegetables and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Finally cube the tofu
5. In a separate pan fry the tofu with oil and a teaspoon of garam masala and half a teaspoon of mustard seeds for a couple of minutes, until cooked
6. Serve on top of the vegetable curry mix

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Falafel Baffle and More

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Social Media is often blamed for isolating people. But in my local community it can often be a great way of bringing people together. Our local Facebook page is used to sell and give away items, recommend tradespeople, it’s helped people borrow emergency heaters when their boilers pack-up, helped find temporary dog-walkers, baby-sitters share surplus veg and eggs.

It also means people launching their own business can market them and get a chance to share their skills.

The other night – Tali of Falafel Baffle and More posted she was going to be delivering home-made falafel and pitta bread in the area. Now I am a huge falafel fan, I’ve pretty much  decided it would be my last meal. I am seriously considering buying a deep fat fryer just to be able to make my own as we eat them once a week.

I placed an order for sweet potato falafel and a bag of pitta bread. The falafel and bread arrived at my door,  frozen easy to re-heat in the microwave (or as I like my falafel crunchy – under the gril) perfect for the next night , you can also order cabbage salad , vegetable pickles and hummus.

The falafel were delicious and the pitta bread actually puffed up and could be used as pockets something no store bought falafel has ever managed. Untypically my 6 year old decided to wake up and she loved them too , so that’s another falafel convert, bit annoying though as I will have to share.

Check to see if they are delivering to your area. https://www.facebook.com/falafelbaffleandmore

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Korean Tofu Stew

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Nothing better on a cold wintry day that a massive bowl of stew and this Korean tofu dish definitely hits all the spots.

This was made with home-made kimchi – I’ve been making my own kimchi for a few months now after a cookery course at the lovely Inkyung’s Kitchen . Beware it is fairly addictive and  we are very fortunate to have a cellar to store it in as the smell seems to seep out of the most airtight container.

This stew is usually made with some pork belly in it but I think it worked pretty well without.

Korean Soft Tofu Stew

This makes enough for two hungry people

  • Anchovy and Seaweed stock ( made by simmering 5 dried anchovies and a 2inch piece of kombu in 1.5 pints of water for 30 minutes) and leaving to cool. Then strain out the seaweed and anchovy
  • 400g of soft tofu chopped into 1 cm cubs
  • 2 tbsp of gocuchang chili paste
  • 2tbsp of korean red pepper flakes
  • 2 large spring onions – finely chopped
  •  1 clove of garlic  – finely chopped
  • 2 medium turnips – finely sliced
  • 2 cups of kimchi (recipe below)
  • 2 handfuls of watercress
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer with turnip, onions, garlic , red pepper and chili paste.
  2. Add the kimchi and tofu and simmer for 10 more minutes
  3. Before serving stir in the watercress

 

Kimchi Recipe

  • 1 large chinese cabbage
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 4 tbsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 thumb of ginger
  • 5 spring onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  1. Slice the cabbage and remove the cores.
  2. Chop roughly into two inch long pieces , you don’t want it too small.
  3. Scatter the salt over the cabbage and weight down with a plate. Leave until the cabbage feels softe
  4. Blend together the chilli , pepper flakes , ginger and garlic.
  5. Roughly chop the spring onions.
  6. Wash the cabbage, in a colander  under running water for five minutes
  7. Mix together the chili garlic paste with the cabbage and spring onions
  8. Put the cabbage into a clean sterilised glass jar , and place a disc of greaseproof paper on top push down firmly.
  9. It can be used immediately but it is better to wait a week or so.

 

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Mackerel and Kimchi Big Bowl

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I’ll be honest a month ago when Nick said he was going to be pescatarian for a while I did think –  this won’t last long. This is a man who would literally count the pieces of chorizo on his plate and ask if I thought I had more.

I was vegetarian for 10 years between 13 and 23, so I get it and know how to cook plenty of veggie food. True the eldest kid and I have sneaked out for fancy burgers.  But I have enjoyed the challenge and it’s got me away from some of my go-to – chuck some chicken in a pile of vegetable recipes. Tonight’s dinner was delicious, griled mackerel, cooked wholemeal bulgar wheat, cucumber , pickled turnip and  home-made Kimchi ,  sprinked with Korean Pepper , seaweed and sesame seeds

Love these big bowls

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BUN Mii Vietnamese Cafe – Nottingham

 

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I was reading this article about how actually open-plan offices don’t really work and negatively effect individuals well-being and productivity. Other research has suggested we should be working from coffee shops
I heartily agree. After years of open-plan office work, I mostly work from home now and it’s heaven. There are no office politics, no requests to show people how the photocopier works/ re-format their word document . No just asking my opinion when I am right in the middle of something.
But as the social isolation can get a bit much I do like to have the odd morning working in a coffee shop. I always thought it would be distracting but actually in the noise and hub-bub of a cafe I can manage to tune everything out largely as it doesn’t have any relevance or interest me.

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Today I worked and had lunch in the lovely Bun Mii Café it looks small from the outside but inside there is large back room with plenty of open tables.
If you need something to fuel a working frenzy Vietnamese Coffee is just the ticket, made with coffee and condensed milk, it’s like rocket fuel. For a more mellow approach they also have 31 different types of tea.

 

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It’s a simple menu , Pho (Vietnamese Soup) , Noodle Bowls  and summer rolls another of my favourites, but the main attraction for me are the Banh Mi, a, crispy baguette with served with a filling of pork/chicken/vegatables , pickled vegetables , crispy vegetables and a spicy dressing.
This is no soggy or chewy baguette, oval shaped and locally baked.  It’’s light and crispy bread, packed with flavour, for less than the price of a soggy Subway sandwich.

I’ll definitely be back to try the Pho

 

 

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Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Just as I attempting to do Dry January. Nick has decided to have a few weeks off meat (but including fish). It’s coninciding with my attempts to get into using Instagram.

Pad Thai is a dish I love and it’s pretty Instagram friendly, but I have never mastered cooking it myself. However I am nothing if not determined and this dish is pretty close to something from a restaurant – though  I probably need to get more liberal with the sugar and oil.

Pad Thai

Serves Two

1 large carrot finely grated
2 handfuls of cabbage finely shredded
1/2 red onion finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
2 handfuls of fresh breansprouts
1 tbsp of dried shrimp
2 handfuls of dried rice noodles
2 tsp of tamarind
1 tsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of korean chili pepper
2 eggs

To serve.

Fresh coriander leaves
2 tbsp of peanuts , toasted and crushed
1/2 lime

  1. Simmer the rice noodles in boilin water with the shrimp.
  2. Fry together the vegetables (carrot, cabbage, onion and garlic) in sunflower oil until softened.
  3. Mix together the sugar, fish sauce , tamarind and pepper.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked add the eggs and stir to cook quickly
  5. Once the egg is cooked, add the noodles and beansprouts.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes, add the mixed sauce and cook for one more minute
  7. Serve with a scattering of coriander leaves, peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice.
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Korean Pop-Up Fundraising for Children’s Bereavement Centre

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I am lucky to live in a wonderful community at this time of year our local online bulletin board is full of people raising money , gathering food for the foodbank.

The lovely Inkyung who runs regular Korean cookery classes and pop-up takeaways has  also stepped up recently saying she wanted to raise money for bereaved families for whom this time of year can be particularly difficult.

Despite having two small children and running her own business she has in a a few short weeks galvanised the community with donations of time and ingredients and will be hosting a a pop-up Korean Food Stall from 12pm til 2pm as well as 5-7.30pm at 78 Holme Road West Bridgford NG2 5AD.

All funds raised will be donated to the Childrens Bereavement Centre  a uniquely special centre, where children, young people and their families from Nottinghamshire who are affected by terminal illness, death or parental separation, can access the support and guidance they need.

Many busy Mums and Dads are giving up their time over the next few weeks (I’ll be there on the 12th of December 2017) to make up the frozen mandu (Korean dumplings) – either pork or vegetarian , that are for sale on the day to takeaway.  These are just £10 for 15 these are perfect New Years Eve/Christmas eve snacks. She’s even put together a video of how to cook them.

Pre-ordering of food on the day is essential via text to Inkyung on 07852186279 of via her Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/inkyungkitchen/

Pop-Up Menu

Korean style burger £5
lotus root chips £2
popcorn chicken with a sweet and tangy sauce £5
vegetarian mandu (which is a Korean dumpling) with a spicy sauce £5

Further details can be found on her website Inkyung’s Kitchen https://www.facebook.com/inkyungkitchen/

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Nottingham Coffee Club

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This month one of the independent cafe’s Spoke and Co in our neighbourhood. closed. A real community hub and conveiniently opposite the school for a post-school run coffee hit / mega-breakfast.

It brought home how important it is to use your local independent shops that bring so much to the local community and economy.

But as the big chain restaurants have struggled in our main Shopping precinct  – The Victoria Centre –  Independent Nottingham Street Food moved in offering an alternative pop-up residencies for local independents at weekends

Now for a weekday treat –  Nottingham Coffee Club is Open from 8am Monday to Saturday for  200 Degrees Coffee – Roast House  they also stock local independents  Mumma G’s Bakery, Bluebird Tea Co., Doughnotts, The Bakehouse, Ugly Bread Bakery 

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I tried to go a few weeks ago but they had been totally cleared out of supplies by Black Friday weekend shoppers. This time Issy and I popped in as  a reward after the always horredous new shoe buying trip. I needed a hit of caffeine and Issy had definitely earned a hit of sugar in the form of a cinammon danish the size of her head.

The coffee was great, the danish delicious , I was amazed she didn’t go for a massive chocolate  or jam number.

The only thing to note is they don’t take cash so don’t forget your debit/credit card.

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Fishy Rice

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My Dad was a very strange cook. But he did cook – a lot – he made is own pork scratchings in the microwave (Bacon rind full power 20 minutes – try it), fried his own Cod’s Roe, brought live crabs back from our Dorset holidays to boil in a big pan, ate every version of offal and game.  He had us spend beach holidays gathering mussels and woodland walks searching for and gathering fungi And everything he ate was covered in freshly ground black pepper.

Growing up he would make a dish he called – “Fishy Rice”, which I now realise was a version of Nasi goreng -Indonesian stir-fried rice. I never asked for the recipe I know it had smoked mackerel, fish sticks ,rice and that it stank the whole house out when cooking. I know as kids we refused to eat it.

He died when I was 19 . It’s taken me a long time but now that I have kids I think maybe he was quite sensible. Because, if my kids even sense that I am eating, they will demand and devour my food in seconds. By making food that frankly terrified me,  he ensured he got to eat his meal in peace. The only way to prevent my kids eating anything is if it smells “weird” or if I declare it “spicy”. Something  my Dad achieved with every dish.

I know there are those that delight in their kids being gourmets, but honestly while they still feel like olives are a treat why go there! I’d rather enjoy my mussels in peace.

This is my version of Fishy Rice, simmering the dried shrimps with the rice produces a pungent smell almost certain to deter little mouths.

Yet is it so truly moreish. The beansprouts on top give a lovely crunch though you don’t have any don’t worry too much this is a great dish with any leftover vegetables.

Special Fishy Rice

For two people

200g of brown rice
4 tbsp of dried shrimps
200g of pork or chicken mince
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
½ thumb of ginger
2 tbsp of Tean’s Anchovy Chilli ( a dried anchovy and chili paste)
2 spring onions finely chopped
2 medium carrots finely grated
2 handfuls of frozen peas
2 handfuls of finely chopped cabbage
2 eggs beaten
2 handfuls of beansprouts
5 tsp of soy sauce
½ a lime

1. Simmer together the rice and shrimps until cooked and drain
2. Fry the vegetables ( except the beanspout) ssoftened in vengetable oil
3. Add the anchovy chilli paste and the eggs
4. Fry until all mixed well
5. Servve with a handful of breansprouts over the top drizzle of lime and soy sauce

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Ugly Bread Bakery

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No trip to the town centre with my six-year-old is complete without a trip to the Ugly Bread Bakery. A great place at the top of Hockley and now with a second venue on Market Street in Nottingham.

The interior is all exposed wood and pallets. But you can’t help but be drawn in by the piles of freshly baked bread and hunks of focaccia filled with deli meats and cheeses. Ther focaccia and their fab collection of pizza are grilled super-fast in the bread oven so it’s great for a quick meal, before the cinema/theatre. But it’s also definitely worth a linger as it’s fantastic for people watching especially from the first floor balcony.

For those who need their caffeine fix the coffee is excellent too with a tiny custard – filled cannoli.

Ugly Bread also a great range decent number of alcholic and soft drinks including a cabinet filled with juices from Chegworth Valley , if you have never had apple and beetroot juice the pink colour is stunning.

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Now you see it now you don’t this was Em’s first trip a couple of years ago, when she totally demolished a chorizo pizza.  I was slightly hoping to snag a few slices but lesson learned I now order my own pastrami , cheese and chilli foccacia.

Ugly Bread Bakery

http://www.uglybreadbakery.co.uk/

39 Pelham Street (Opposite Sainburys)
21 Market Street (Across from Theatre Royal)

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