Thursday, 19 February 2015

Bring on the Bentos

So lately I've gone on a bit of a bento binge. Watching lots of anime has inspired me to cook more japanese food, and to buy more bento boxes. (My favourite sites are Bentoland and Bento and Co). I recently bought a shikiri compartment bento (pictured below) and an adorable book-shaped one.

So while I haven't cooked anything new this week, I have enjoyed yummy lunches packed with various dishes I made during a day-long cooking frenzy last weekend.

Behold, my delicious lunches:

Peanuts, currants and pumpkin seeds, easy sesame carrot salad, nasu dengaku eggplant, and rice.

Dumplings steaming!

Omelettes are harder than they look...

Imo yokan jelly snack (from Daiso), tofu, currants, potato salad, spinach, tamagoyaki, pumpkin water chestnut wontons, and rice.

New Shikiri bento box!
Pesto risotto with garlic roast zucchini, spinach, tamagoyaki, tofu, potato salad, Bio cheese flowers, and mushroom steamed bun. 

For the buns, I used the sauce from Terry Romero's BBQ seitan buns to cook the mushrooms in, and the simple dough from Jamie Oliver that I featured in the Tofu Dim Sum post.

The dough for these is genius in its simplicity, the only hard part is getting the bloody things closed so they don't leak!

Pumpkin wonton, spinach, tofu, Bio cheese, carrot salad, and sweet potato latkes with apple sauce. I used Isa's regular latke recipe for these, swapping some of the potatoes for sweet potatoes.

Has anyone else ever made bentos? I would love to start up a vegan lunch box photo pool on Facebook. :-)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Kitsune udon

Today I've been feeling under the weather, so I made a simple and comforting kitsune udon soup, inspired by an adorable anime I've been watching. In Gourmet Girl Graffiti, the main character cooks this for her cousin when she has a cold.

It was very warm and filling! Definitely something good to whip up on a weeknight.

Recipe here. I also added some wakame seaweed for extra nutrients.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tofu dim sum with coconut buns

Since Jamie Oliver has started to offer quite a few vegan recipes on his website, I've been getting more interested in him lately. Recently I was browsing his 15 Minute Meals cookbook and came across this recipe, which intrigued me. 
Originally it had chicken, but veganising it was pretty easy,  as every other ingredient was vegan. What I really liked about it though was the genius idea of two-ingredient coconut buns. This reminded me of a great tip someone offered on one of my Facebook food groups for the easiest vegan cake ever: tin of coconut milk, packet of vanilla cake mix, sliced apricots (or other fruit) on top, baked. 
This was super delicious (although it didn't take fifteen minutes of course) and I'll be making the coconut buns again, possibly with a filling next time. 
I've included the modified recipe below. 

For the Coconut Buns
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
2 heaped coconut milk tins (500g) of self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
For the tofu, pickle & garnishes
400g tofu (I used puffed tofu pieces)
140g mixed mushrooms
3 tbsp hoi sin sauce, plus extra to serve
2 limes
200g tenderstem broccoli (I used bok choi and red cabbage instead)
1 cucumber
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
Pickled ginger
1 – 2 fresh red chilies
Pour the coconut milk into a food processor with 2 heaped tins worth of self-raising flour and a good pinch of salt, whiz to a dough, then tip on to a flour dusted work surface. Roll the dough into a sausage shape, cut into 8 even sized pieces, then place each one into a double-layered muffin case, and squeeze those into one layer of the steamer. Pour 5 cm of boiling water into a large wok or on top of a medium saucepan. Put the basket of buns on top with the lid on and leave to steam until firm. 
Toss the tofu in a bowl with the roughly torn mushrooms, hoi sin sauce, juice of ½ lime and a pinch of salt. Mix with your hands.
Tip the tofu and mushroom mixture into the second steamer basket along with the trimmed broccoli and pop underneath the tray of buns for 5 minutes until cooked through. (I cooked the tofu and vegies in a wok as I don't have two steamers)
Peel the cucumber into ribbons (I used a vegetable peeler), toss into a bowl with the soy sauce, vinegar and a few torn coriander leaves, then with clean hands squeeze and scrunch everything together to make a pickle.
Toast the sesame seeds in the frying pan on a low heat until golden, then tip into a little bowl, cut the remaining 1 ½ limes into wedges, and serve with the pickled ginger and extra hoi sin sauce in little bowls.
Serve the buns and tofu scattered with the remaining coriander leaves and finely sliced chilli.
Serves 4

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Food pics!

And just for funsies, I thought I'd post some random pics of other things I've made and eaten recently, including baba ghanoush, pumpkin spring onion pancakes, and mejadra (lentil rice dish with fried onions and cucumber coyo sauce, also from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem)  made by my friends for a dinner party last week. Yummm. 

Chermoula aubergine

My last aubergine post for a while, I promise! I've just been excited that the footscray market has them super cheap.

Today I made Chermoula aubergine with bulgher and yoghurt, from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem.

I used a spice mix from my favourite Middle Eastern market, Oasis Bakery. It's a little way away from where I live, but whenever my friends and I head down that way, we always stop there for falafel wraps and yummy Lebanese donuts. They stock an amazingly diverse range of spices, each of which have funny little stories printed on the lid. :-)

The Chermoula mix (which contains paprika, cayenne, black peppercorns, among other things) had instructions on the pack to blend it with some onion, fresh mint and coriander, and garlic. I also added some chopped preserved lemon, and oil, as per Ottolenghi's recipe. This mix was spread on the aubergine halves and then they were baked for about 40 minutes.

The bulgher was really easy, I've never made it before but it turns out to be a lot like couscous: just pour a cup of boiling water over a cup of the grain and let it sit to absorb. Then I added some currants instead of sultanas because that's what I had on hand, flaked almonds, some more fresh herbs, spring onion, lemon juice, and salt. The recipe also calls for chopped green olives but unfortunately I'd run out. It was still tasty though. I served the aubergine and bulgher with some plain coyo coconut yoghurt.

Overall, the Chermoula was maybe slightly too spicy for me, next time I think I'll use less of it in the blended mixture, or make my own spice mix with less cayenne.