Tomato Spaghetti With Smoky Bacon Tofu

If you get this recipe right, it will literally be one of the best things you’ll ever eat. The sauce has been in the making for several years. I use it in all Italian dishes now. The smoky bacon tofu is spot on. It actually tastes like bacon when warm and ham when cold. I destroyed my kitchen in a hurricane of destruction getting the recipe right.

First of all I was just going to do the sauce recipe for you and totally cop out on the bacon by using chorizo.

BeFunky_20150120_125503.jpgI decided against it. I used chilled smoked tofu to make some seriously awesome bacon. 🙂

Ingredients:

2 white onions, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp of chilli paste

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oregano

Half a pack of wholewheat spaghetti

1 block of smoked, chilled tofu

Half a pot of paprika

1 tbsp salt (separate from previous salt.)

1 tbsp yeast extract

Method:

First of all get your pan on for the spaghetti. I am lucky enough to have a spaghetti pan. Fill with water and a dash of salt. Allow water to boil first if you don’t have a spaghetti pan. Otherwise throw it straight in.

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Press the tofu. I’m not fancy. I use a large pot of sesame seeds and a sieve. Leave that pressing whilst you prepare the sauce.

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Get the sauce going now. Fry off the onions, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and oregano mixing frequently and keeping on a low heat.

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(A good tip for chilli is to go to the supermarket late at night and pick up a big bag that has been reduced to 9p. Blend and then pickle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to get a lovely big jar of chilli paste you can spoon into multiple dishes.)

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Get a frying pan on with a good amount of oil in it and your stove should look something similar to this.

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Cut your drained tofu into pieces the size and thickness of your little finger. Pour the paprika and salt onto a chopping board and mix together with your hands. Place your yeast extract as a dollop on the side. One piece at a time, cover the tofu in salt and paprika. Then using your finger, smear yeast extract on both sides. Stick this in the pan and allow to brown for 2 minutes on each large side. Taste it as soon as it’s cool enough to put in your mouth. Does it taste like bacon? If the answer is yes, do the same with the rest. If the answer is no, add more yeast extract each time until the answer is yes. I went through quite a lot of tofu before I got this right. It’s not really an exact science unfortunately. One thing is true though, it bloody well tastes more like bacon than anything I have ever tasted since becoming vegan.

They should come out like this:

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Not pretty I know, but don’t worry. Taste is what this dish is all about.

Drain your pasta and mix in with the sauce straight away. Sprinkle the top with your tofu bacon that you’ve now cut into cubes. (Do not mix the bacon through.)

Serve straight away or eat cold for lunch the next day.

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The sweetness of the sauce should balance the smoky, salty flavour of the bacon.

I hope you enjoy this. I know it’s not the prettiest or the most comprehensive recipe in the world, but do you know what? The best ones never are.

 

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Sweet Potato & Fig Salad

I don’t normally buy figs because they tend to be very expensive. However I walked into my local Morrison’s the other night and found a pack of four figs for 25p on offer. I had no idea what to do with them so I made a seasonal salad. You can adjust the spice in the recipe to your taste. Me? I like it reasonably hot!

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Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes

4 large figs

1 red chilli

250 ml balsamic vinegar

4 spring onions

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

Salt

Pepper

2 teaspoons of oil of choice. (I use rapeseed.)

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1) Get the oven on full whack.

2) Chop the sweet potatoes into wedges and place in a baking tray. Do the same with the figs.

3) Drizzle your oil over the tray mixture and add salt and pepper to season. Place into the oven for 30 minutes.

4) In the meantime stir fry a chopped red chilli and spring onions for a couple of minutes and leave to cool.

5) Now we need to make a balsamic reduction for the dressing. Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small pan and heat until it boils.

6) Add the caster sugar, stir well and leave to cool. the dressing should thicken to a syrup whilst cooling.

7) Remove the sweet potatoes and figs from the oven and mix in with the spring onions and chilli.

8) Serve drizzled with the sweet balsamic reduction.

 

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This could be great as a side dish or even a full main course salad.

 

Enjoy!

Cheats Cheesy Pizza

Who doesn’t like cheating at cooking once in a while? Sometimes you’re just too busy to make things from scratch or you just fancy something different right? Well the other day when I was shopping in Morrisons I felt exactly like that and then I found this:

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It was in the fresh pasta section, but I decided to look anyway and low and behold, the damn thing is vegan! Instantly pizza came to mind because it would involve minimal work and I could just throw it in the oven for 15 minutes with a few toppings on top.

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I added aubergine, mushrooms, tomatoes, chilli peppers and fresh cherry tomatoes as well as a whole block of grated Cheezley vegan cheese. After 15 minutes and a few Italian herbs this is what it came out like:

 

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It went down beautifully with some homemade potato wedges and a green salad.

Being vegan can be really easy. If you want to learn more about veganism, check out http://www.vegankit.com

Caramelised onion & barley soup with cheeze croutons.

First let me apologise for there being a two month gap in blog posts. Life at Castle Mouche has been pretty hectic! We gave up our jobs and moved to the other side of the UK and then we adopted a new dog called Darcy who is taking up a lot of our time. I have however been cooking and taking pictures. Unlike a lot of bloggers my pictures aren’t staged. They just are what I happen to be eating and I decide to take pictures. 🙂

Let’s start off on a dish that is easy to make, loaded with calcium and can even be frozen for use later in the week.

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of dried thyme

1 tablespoon sugar

1 pint of vegetable stock

60 g pearl barley

Half a bag of curly kale

Ciabatta bread

Grated vegan cheese. I used Cheezley.

Some sprouted beans for garnish. (Optional.)

 

 

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic, thyme and sugar.
  • Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly and then add the vegetable stock.
  • Add the pearl barley to this mixture and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  • In the mean time slice your ciabatta into croûton sized pieces, sprinkle with your grated vegan cheese and place under a warm grill for about 5 minutes. (Watch them carefully or else they are likely to burn.)
  • Add the kale to the soup and heat for another 3 minutes before serving warm with your croutons.

It’s really that simple! Enjoy as the nights start to get colder! 🙂

 

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Chilli, Ginger & Coconut Japanese Vegetable Broth

Firstly let me just say, that I am really into Japanese style food at the moment. Secondly and I’m just going to put it out there, this is probably one of the best dishes I have ever made. The only thing that could have made this better was if I had used a pestle and mortar instead of a blender to make the broth paste. (Arthur our lovely ginger cat decided he didn’t like it anymore and smashed it on the floor.)

Also ASDA AKA Walmart is totally rubbish for all things Japanese, so I had to make substitutions left right and centre to make this work. It’s ok though because the bearded one absolutely loved it! \M/

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We have six rescue cats by the way so whenever we are taking pictures that are not just purely of food, you’ll see a couple here and there. 😛

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped.
  • 4 large leaves of savoy cabbage, chopped.
  • Lemon grass herbs or paste.
  • 10 black pepper corns.
  • 1 large red onion.
  • 5 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 red chilli pepper.
  • A peeled slice of fresh ginger the length of your little finger.
  • 250ml water.
  • Sea salt to add for your taste.
  • Half a head of fresh broccoli, chopped.
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped.
  • 1 tin of coconut milk.
  • Sugar snap peas, de-podded.

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The method:

  • Get your wok out and place a small amount of oil in it. Turn up the heat and place the chopped red onion and peppercorns in the pan.
  • Stir fry for about 3 minutes and then turn the heat off.
  • In the meantime deseed your red chilli and place it in a food processor with the garlic and ginger. Now add about 100 ml of water and wizz it all up to form a paste. (You may need to pulse blend here depending on how good your blender is. I’m not like other food bloggers. Vitamix has yet to endorse me, but hey if you’re listening guys, I don’t mind. :P)
  • Place your paste into your wok and crank up the heat again for another 3 or 4 minutes to reduce it down a bit.
  • Now it’s time to start adding ingredients one by one, each time stirring and covering in the tasty mixture you just made. I started with the carrots and and worked my way through the rest ending in coconut milk.
  • Make sure you have mixed everything in well.
  • Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes so that the vegetables aren’t entirely raw.
  • Serve with some fresh coriander and chop sticks.

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Spicy Green Bean Noodle Salad

This is kinda like a comfort food and salad all in one and it certainly hits the spot.

I think we should always aim to get the most out of each meal nutrition wise, but I was a bit short on the green stuff. So if you have a fridge or freezer full of greens, get them in there too. I’d recommend mange tout, broccoli or kale.

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Ingredients: 

  • Two large handfuls of green beans. (Mine were frozen.)
  • Half a cucumber, sliced thinly.

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  • 1 white onion, diced.
  • Half a packet of wholewheat spaghetti or rice noodles.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes.
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoons agave nectar.
  • The juice of half a lemon.
  • 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds or crushed peanuts. (I used almonds.)

 

Method:

Get yourself a large mixing bowl. Place the diced onion, chili flakes, soy sauce, rice vinegar, agave nectar, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil and almonds in the bowl and mix together with a fork. Place to one side to allow the flavours to infuse.

Get a large pan of water on the boil and place the spaghetti in to cook for about 10 minutes or whatever the packet instructions recommend.

In the meantime, steam the green beans for about 8 minutes.

Drain both the green beans and spaghetti and place in a large serving dish, mixing together.

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Now add the dressing and mix through thoroughly.

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Now add the cucumber and mix again. (You add the cucumber last so that it doesn’t go soggy.)

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You can then season with whatever herbs you like. I used coriander.

There’s enough for 3 to 4 adults. 🙂

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You can connect with Queer Vegan on social media too.

 

@QVegan

Facebook.com/queervegan

 

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Jerk Tofu With Cucumber “Pesto” Salad

Sunday lunch has never really been traditionally British in the Queer Vegan household. We very rarely sit down to a plate full of roasted stuff covered in gravy and anyway, if we do it’s normally at the Toby Carvery accompanied by a beer. (We’re on quite a strict diet at the moment due to Tough Mudder training so that’s really not going to be happening.)

Today’s Sunday lunch was much more typical of what we would eat and a hell of a lot healthier too. This dish is ram packed with calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C and protein.

Ingredients:

  • Half a cucumber.
  • A large handful of baby leaf spinach.
  • Three cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • One tablespoon of pine nuts.
  • One tablespoon of sesame seeds.
  • One tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
  • One block of tofu, drained. (Place the tofu between two plates for about 30 minutes so that as much water as possible is pressed from the block.)
  • Two tablespoons jerk seasoning.
  • Two tablespoons breadcrumbs.
  • Two tablespoons vegetable oil.

 

Method:

  1. Slice your drained tofu into your preferred shapes. (I like a rectangle shape personally.)
  2. Mix the oil, breadcrumbs and jerk seasoning in a bowl. Then gently cover each piece of tofu with the mixture and place straight into a hot grill pan. (The ones with the ridges that give the tofu a char-grilled look.) Each side will take about five minutes.
  3. In the meantime place the crushed garlic into a large bowl. Grate the cucumber and the spinach either manually (good luck) or use a food processor with the grater attachment. Place these in the bowl also.
  4. Mix around with your hands so that the garlic infuses throughout the salad and then place onto a plate. (This amount should serve two.)
  5. Now sprinkle the pine nuts, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast over the salad and add some dried chili flakes too. (Optional.)
  6. By now the tofu should be cooked. Remove from the hot pan using a spatula and place on top of the salad.
  7. GET THAT YUMMYNESS IN YOUR FACE!

 

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What I Ate Sunday

Today has been a really productive and non-stressful day and for the first time in what seems like forever, the sun was out. I woke up at around 07:15 but didn’t bother to get up until 08:30 due to having lots of snuggles of felines, a large white woof and a beardy man times. I left the bearded one in bed and made an epic smoothie, which subsequently I spoiled him with in bed.

This is a banana, mango, spinach, peanut butter and raw cacao powder smoothie. It tastes like a peanut butter and banana milkshake.

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That did me for the whole morning because it was so filling, however on return from our 6k walk with Bailey Woof I was getting a tad hungry so I made a wholemeal spinach and pasta “cheesy” bake with a cucumber and tomato side salad.

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A little while after this we hit the gym where we lifted some seriously heavy shit. I needed a protein hit after that so when we got home I rustled up some cashew nut cheese on some wholemeal sweet onion crackers.  (I’ll be posting a recipe for this soon.)

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For dinner Mykey made a kale, bean, mushroom, spinach and breaded tofu stir fry which totally hit the spot.

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So there you have it. Simply, tasty and healthy vegan food. 🙂

Super Secret Scrambled Tofu Recipe: The Best You’ll Ever Have!!!!

I think people are a bit lost when it comes to tofu. It’s this white squishy block which doesn’t taste like anything. I saw an episode of Come Dine With Me once and a vegan guy on there served his dinner guests raw tofu and avocado. What the hell was he thinking? YUCK!

The number one rule is flavouring: herbs, spices and marinades are the best but sauces, bread crumbs and oils can also be great too.

On Facebook I’m constantly raving about how amazing Mykey’s scrambled tofu is, so I finally caught him in the act on Sunday morning and took some pictures.

 

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First let’s get these ingredients down:

  • A large handful of fresh baby leaf spinach (frozen is far too watery.)
  • 6 large button mushrooms
  • Tumeric
  • Black salt (not essential but will make the tofu smell and taste more like egg.)
  • Terriyaki sauce
  • 1 pack of chilled firm tofu (not silken)
  • A dash of oil
  • Wholemeal sourdough bread to serve
  • Nutritional yeast

 

Method:

Heat the dash of oil in a frying pan.

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Slice your mushrooms and place into the pan, stirring every minute or so.

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In the meantime, drain your tofu over the sink.

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When the mushrooms have begun to soften, add the tofu by squeezing it through your hands so it crumbles. Break any extra bits up with your mixing spoon.

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Now add about a tablespoon of powdered turmeric, a glug of teriyaki sauce, two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and two pinches of black salt and mix together.

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Add your spinach and mix in until wilted.

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Now you can turn off the heat whilst you wait for you bread to toast.

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Spread generously with vegan butter, add tofu and then get it all in your face, with ketchup.

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Oh and be careful, other’s in your house may want some too! 😛

Sourdough Toast & Home-made Pine Nut Pesto Salsa

I found a magazine stashed away under the sofa called, “Summer Vegetarian” recently. I had a look through and decided that pretty much everything could be veganised or was already vegan. I looked at the first recipe and instantly wanted to make it. It was called, “Ricotta toasts with rocket and pine nut salsa.” I’ve put my Queer hands all over it, veganed the shit out of it and below is the result:

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Ingredients:

* 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped.

* 50g bag of wild rocket.

* 20g of fresh basil.

* A whole small jar of capers, drained.

* Juice of half a fresh lemon.

* 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

*  Half a small bag of pine nuts.

* 1 loaf of sourdough bread.

* Two fresh tomatoes, sliced.

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Method:

Put the garlic, rocket, basil leaves, capers, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and pulse blend until you have a chunky, bright green sauce.

Stir the pine nuts through the sauce and give another quick pulse blend.

Slice your sourdough loaf and toast under the grill or in the toaster.

Spread your pesto salsa on your toast and top with fresh sliced tomatoes. You can also add a dash of balsamic vinegar here for a little extra flavour.

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The original recipe suggests that per serving you’d be looking at 279 calories. Personally I’d guess that it was much less than that because I’ve not used any animal derived ingredients.

This took approximately ten minutes to make and it will use the entire loaf.

I’d serve this as a snack, a starter or a light lunch. It’s full of protein, vitamin C and vitamin E. Enjoy! 🙂