Thursday, January 31, 2008


Well Vegan: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions calls it Crispy, stuffed peppaew peppers .

I don't know what a peppadew is, and the grocery store certainly didn't have any. They are smaller and the recipe calls for 8. I used a variety of larger peppers that included jalapeño, poblano and a mild banana pepper.

You can also easily play with the filling ingredients.

If you do not have plain yogurt on hand, slowly add your milk so the batter isn't runny (like mine was!).

Prep: 15 min
Cooking: 20 min
serves: 2

8 tsp vegan cream cheese
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
8 peppadew peppers, tops removed and seeded
1/2 C strong white flour
1/2 C (125 ml) rice or soy milk
1 Tbsp vegan yogurt
1 tsp arrowroot
1 tsp vegan bouillon powder
1 tsp finely grated lime rind
1 Tbsp coconut oil
sesame seeds for sprinkling

1.Oil a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350F (180C)

2. Place cream cheese, garlic an parsley in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Put a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each pepper.

3. Place flour, milk, yogurt, arrowroot, bouillon powder and lime rind in a small bowl or jug and mix well to make a stiff batter.

4. Dip each stuffed pepper into the batter to coat the outside, then place on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Sprinkle the peppers with the oil and sesame seeds, then bake for about 7 minutes. Baste, then return to the oven for a further 7-10 minutes, until crisp.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mapo Dofu/ Mabo Tofu

This is the best I've ever had! And smells divine!
This dish is popular in China and Japan. Spicy and warm with the smoothness of tofu.

1 box silken-firm tofu
1/2 C beef-style crumbles (or TVP bits, slightly moistened)
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 chili pepper, minced (or 3 Tbsp mild chili powder)
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce + 1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/2C water

green onions for garnish

If you don't have silken, a regular tub of tofu is fine. Also reg oil is fine too, still yummy! Exactness is just for optimum results! Honestly, it's just as good without the crumbles.

1. Carefully wrap tofu in a tea towel or paper towels to soak up the excess liquid. Set aside.

2. Heat oil on medium heat and add garlic, onions and chili pepper. Fry until onions are soft.

***NOTE: To regulate spiciness, use chili powder. Start step #2 with 1 Tbsp of chili powder. Add an additional 1 Tbsp for every step until spiciness is desired.***

3. Cut tofu into about 1 cm squares while waiting (about 48 squares)

4. Add vegetarian "beef" crumbles until it darkens a bit.

5. Add soy sauce and sugar mixture.

6. GENTLY add tofu. Silken tofu is very very delicate. Lightly push everything around to mix.

7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on med-low heat.

8. Add cornstarch and water mixture. Gently stir, it will thicken immediately.

9. Taste, and add chili powder/hot sauce to your liking.

10. If you like, garnish with green onions and serve alone or with a side of rice.


If you are pressed for time or are lazy, you can buy a pre-made Mapo sauce pouch in varying spiciness at any Asian grocer. Usually vegan, but you always double check don't you my beautiful readers? Just add your own tofu and crumbles!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

General Tso's Tofu

Well bite my ass and call me Sally! I had another recipe lined up for today, but last night was such an incredible success, I couldn't wait to share it. I figured out how to make restaurant-style General Tso's Tofu. Ready?

2 C dried bean curd skin/peel
2 C broth (1 bouillon cube = 2 C broth)
1 C cornflour
1 C General Tso's Sauce (recipe)
vegetable oil for frying
1 green onion, chopped (or regular onion)
some dried chili peppers (or slices of red pepper)

This makes 4 good portions.

(notes about ingredients following recipe)


You'll probably serve this with rice, so start it now to make sure it'll be ready

1. Boil 2 C of water and add bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved.

2. Put dried tofu in a bowl. Pour 1 C of broth over to cover tofu. Stir around.

3. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (whenever you don't feel any hard parts). You may need to add more broth as needed.

4. While soaking, chop your green onion/onion and dried chilis/red peppers. Place cornstarch in a tall bowl.

5. Heat 1/4" of oil in frying pan on Med/Med-High heat. Drop an onion chunk in. When it sizzles, it's ready. (BE CAREFUL OF NOT GETTING ANY LIQUID IN THE OIL!)

6. When tofu is ready, drain the excess broth.

7. One at a time, place about 10 soaked tofu bits in the bowl of cornstarch. Gently swirl it around to cover completely. They should look dry. If moisture is coming through, give them another swirl.

8. Gently place in the oil. Fry each side about 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.

9. Repeat 7 & 8 in small batches until all gone (duh).

10. On your last batch, heat up another frying pan and on low-med sauté your onion and peppers.

11. When veggies are soft, add the fried tofu chunks and sauce. Mix around until sauce is heated.

Serve hot with a side of rice!

*Dried tofu skin is ideal. I bought mine at an Asian grocery store.

You could also rehydrate other types of tofu and have this still work I'm sure.

*Vegetarian chicken bouillon works the best.

*Save your leftover broth for another recipe, or for a base for a small bowl of soup.

*I use IRON CHEF brand General Tso's Sauce. It's got the right kick to it and it doesn't use high fructose corn syrup.

*OIL PRECAUTIONS! Make sure your pan is completely dry before adding oil. Make sure your hands and any freshly rinsed utensils are DRY. One accidental water drop in the oil will cause it pop and splatter! You or someone else could get burned or ruin your favorite shirt! No one needs that.

*It's very easy to half or double this recipe, so do as you please! =)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mild Coconut Curry

From Vegan: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions.

I said I liked this book, and there is more to come!

This is really good. After always hating Thai food, within the past six months I have been slowly coming around to it. Coconut curry doesn't taste like coconut at all! But it gives it such a creamy taste, almost reminiscent of mac & cheeze.

NOTES: I had no Thai ingredients lying around, and in fact, what I made is completely different from the book.
I did NOT use: potatoes, lemon grass, lentils, coconut oil, cumin, green beas, peppers, or corn. I used lime juice from a bottle.
I DID use tofu, onions, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. I used spinach instead of parsley. Goes to show, use what ya got!
I simmered the tofu in the coconut milk while the other ingredients were sizzling. I used a boat load of Yellow Thai Curry powder and salt.

2 med potatoes
1 lemon grass stalk
4 Tbsp Puy lentils
1 T coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
4oz/125g green beans
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped (courgette)
8oz/250g frozen sweet corn
1 (300ml) can of coconut milk
juice of one lime
1 Tbsp chopped parsley (coriander)

1. Put the potatoes, lemon grass and lentils into a medium saucepan and add enough boiling water to just cover the tops of the potatoes. Retuen to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms, turmeric and cumin until the onion is soft. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, and stir well.

3. Remove the lemon grass from the lentil pan, then add the lentil mixture to the onion mixture.

4. Simmer everything for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils are soft, then add the chopped parsley.

5. Serve with brown basmati rice cooked with a few cardamom pods, plus warm naan bread.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Spicy Avocado Toast

The British love things on toast. Beans on toast. Spaghetti hoops on toast. "Fish" fingers on toast. And now (drum roll!) there is avocado on toast! Now you're talking!

From Vegan: Over 90 mouthwatering recipes for all occasions

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp roughly chopped avocado
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped (opt)
2 pinches of nutmeg
2 slices rye bread
4 tsp of hempseed oil or pumpkin seed oil
salt & pepper

1 sm spoonful of chopped parsley or seaweed flakes
2 slices of lime

1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan, then add the avocado, onion, chili and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Fry gently until onion is soft.

2. Lightly toast the rye bread.

3. Drizzle the hempseed oil on to the toast, then spoon the hot avocado mixture on top.

4. Arrange the toast on warm plates, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with the lime slices

EASY right? I took a lot of liberties with this recipe (whole avocado, leftover onion, chili powder, lime juice, etc). But that just proves how versatile and flexible this is! You can't really go wrong when it comes to avocado. Note it made more than what is shown in the picture.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Ronin Returns

Loyal fans! I have survived the cloudy depths of the UK and emerged bearing incredible gifts for your taste buds future glee!

First of all, I possibly bought one of the most awesome cookbooks:

Vegan: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions

Made in association with The Vegan Society, this British food themed book is full of easy, delicious looking meals. I want to eat everything in it (sans beet soup. gross. sorry).

So stay tuned for recipes and pictures from it in the days to come.
I am trying to aim to update this everyday or every-other-day.

And now:

Homemade phyllo parcel filled with mushrooms, leeks, chestnuts, onions, etc. Roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, peas.

Mixed mushroom and ale pie with minty mushy peas an chunky chips. Ginger tofu cheesecake with rhubarb compote. From Mildred's in London. (Go there, all veg, tons of vegan options).

Real Scottish Breakfast. Vegetarian haggis, potato triangles, baked beans & toast, fried mushrooms and baked tomato.

Vegetable curry baked potato with vegetarian haggis samosa.

Plus lots of other homemade stuff. It's all awesome. Go eat it.