Vegan Korean Udon Noodles

My husband’s friends are visiting us from American soon. His friend’s wife is Korean, who apparently cooks really well. Not only that, she apparently is really good at presenting her food, which is NOT my strongest points. Koreans are really big on meat and I want to introduce them to my vegan diet with something they are familiar with. So I came up with this recipe as an experiment and it turned out to be pretty scrumptious.

Before I begin, let me introduce you to Gochujang. It is THE ingredient to have if you want to cook delicious korean meals. Gochujang is a korean chilli paste which is very hot, with a fair amount of saltiness.

picture from google images

I hope you like the recipe:

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry mix (vegetables)

1 Pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

10 to 12 cloves of garlic, minced

200-300grams of mushrooms (I used a variety of exotic kinds sold in tesco)

a handful of spring onions chopped into couple of inches long strips

750 gms of Udon Noodles (I used the already cooked kind)

1 1/5 tbsp of Gochujang

2 tbsp of Tamari (or soy sauce)

3 tsp of sesame oil

400 gms of firm tofu

half a cup of water

1 tsp coconut sugar/maple syrup (or regular)

1 tbsp of rapeseed oil

Method: 

First things first, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix gochujang, sesame oil, tamari, water and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Next, prep the tofu. I simply press the tofu in between two chopping board with couple of heavy books on top of the chopping board to drain out excess water. Then cut them into bite sized pieces and simply fry them in very hot oil. The trick is to have the oil very hot, shallow fry it and don’t rush to turn them over. If you are hasty, you will find your tofu stick to the pan. Fry them and set them aside.

Now in a wok, heat some oil. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the stir fry mix. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the noodles along with the sauce. Let the noodles cook and soak up some of the sauce. After about 5 minutes, add the tofu pieces, peppers and the spring onions. Cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the juices are absorbed. Don’t overcook the noodles, even if there’s plenty of sauce. A bit of extra sauce is better than soggy veggies and noodles.

Serve hot and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.

Tips: Sprinkle some crushed seaweed, it will add an earthy flavour and more crunch.

 

Sushi’s Cod and Prawns Stew

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

I take credit for the recipe simply because I made it up as I went along. I put a few things that were sitting in the fridge together and surprised myself. So here you go..

Ingredients:

3 Cod fillet, cut into halves

8 to 10 large king prawns

500 gms of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

1 onion, finely chopped

5 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

few basil leaves, chopped

handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method: 

In a saucepan or pan, heat the oil. Sweat the onions and garlic for couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes melt. Add basil leaves and the seasoning. Throw in the cod, splash of water and cover it with lid for another 10 minutes on low heat. Open the lid, add the prawns and parsley and cook for further 4 minutes until the prawns cooked.

Serve hot with rice and my fennel salad.

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Vegan Fennel Salad

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Like celery, fennel is one of those vegetables that can be a bit of a struggle for some people like me. I struggle with celery, whereas my husband struggles with fennel. We have learnt to juice them in order to get the nutritions out of them but I have to say this fennel salad recipe got everyone raving.

Ingredients:

A small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced

1 pear, thinly sliced

Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

Half of cucumber, thinly sliced

2 satsumas roughly chopped

Handful of chopped parsley

For the dressing:

Salt

Sugar/runny honey

Lemon juice

Method:

Combine all the ingredients together and set aside. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a little bowl (I use jam jars, makes it fun for the kids to shake it) and pour it all over the salad. Now get in there with your hands and give those ingredients a good rub.

I would taste the dressing as you go along, I don’t use fixed measurements because it totally depends on your palette. I like mine sweeter, some others might like it tangier. So help yourself!

I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you like the recipe.

 

 

Romance the Romanesco

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“It is not exactly a cauliflower, nor is it exactly like a broccoli, it is somewhere in the middle”, told the man who was fighting me at our local farmers market to buy the last one left. When I told him, I have never tried one of them before, he very kindly let me buy it.

So here I am, in total admiration of this beautifully green vegetable full of vitamin c and rich in fibre. And here is how I cooked it.

Vegans – avoid dairy, add a bit of soya milk if you really want.

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Ingredients:

1 head of Romanesco, cut into florets and washed

1 medium onions chopped

2 cloves of garlic

few mint leaves

1 knob of butter

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp vegetable bouillon (or stock cube)

Salt to taste

2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

some cheese (optional)

Method:

Heat the pan. Let the butter melt in hot olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Then add the chopped romanesco. Add bouillon, mint leaves salt and pepper. Pour water and cook.

Once the romanesco is cooked, blitz it into a fine puree. Add the cream and cheese and let it all melt.

Serve hot or cold with garlic bread.

Please let me know if you liked the recipe by leaving a comment below.

My Christmas Chocolate Cake with Fruit Peel

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I think I have found this year’s Christmas Cake.

With the festive season just a couple of months away and supermarket’s decorating themselves in Christmas mood, I have obviously been tempted towards thinking about Christmas. One of the toughest things for me to do is deciding which cake is going to be celebrated this year.

At my home, a traditional Christmas fruit cake with Marzipan isn’t enjoyed by all. Infact, it is just my husband who scoffs it all off. So, we have a very nice arrangement, mother – in – law bakes for her children and I bake for mine.

This year I wanted a chocolate cake with a hint of fruitiness in it. Something chunky, soft in the middle and not sickly sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 250g sugar (I used fine granulated for texture)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 70g self raising plain flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 200g mixed fruit peel (lemon and orange mostly)

Method:

Preheat the oven on Gas Mark 5.

Melt the chocolate with a spoonful of butter in the microwave. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar. Then whisk the eggs into the mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the butter, sugar, eggs are all blended in properly with the flour. Stir in the chocolate gently and add the mixed fruit peel (I used the Asda fruit peel for £74p, soaked in sugar syrup which brings the hint of marmalade like flavour but less bitter).

Once the batter is ready, line the baking tin with greaseproof paper or greaseproof it with some butter which is what I did. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. Check after 30 minutes with the skewer. If it comes out clear, cook some more. I turned it off when it was slightly gooey in the middle, but not raw! That way it acquires the texture of a brownie. Rich and gooey in the middle and crusty on the top. A dollop of frozen yogurt or clotted cream – YUMMMMMM!!!

Please let me know if you like the recipe and leave your comments below.

 

 

 

Bharli Vangi / Stuffed Aubergine/Eggplant

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Yet another Aubergine recipe (they are my favourite!)

This is a very comforting Maharastrian recipe from the state of Maharashtra where I was born and raised!

The benefit of being raised in Mumbai is that you are exposed to a lot of different authentic Indian cuisine and if in Mumbai, you cannot escape from Maharastrian cooking!

Traditionally, you will be using baby aubergines and slit them in the middle, and fill them up with the stuffing; and use the leftover stuffing in the gravy. But because I couldn’t get hold of baby aubergines, I had to make use of the normal ones. And that meant chopping them into cubes and simply making the curry, rather than stuffing them. By all means carry on with the stuffing if you get hold of baby aubergines…

Ingredients:

For the masala:

1 Onion

4-5 Garlic cloves

1 inch Ginger

2tbsp Coriander Seeds

1tbsp Sesame seeds

1tsp Cumin Seeds

4-5 heap full of Decicated Coconut (Traditionally, dried coconut)

3 tbsp of Peanuts (Main ingredient)

For the Gravy:

Oil

1tsp Mustard Seeds

3-4 Curry leaves

2tsp Asafoetida (found in any Indian grocery shops, also called hing)

2 Tomatoes (chopped)

1tsp Turmeric

1tsp Chilli powder

1tsp Coriander powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Lemon

1 Aubergine

Handful of Green Beans (Optional)

Coriander to Garnish

Method:

Roast all the masala in a hot pan until golden brown and grind it coarsely. Set a portion aside for the stuffing and carry on grinding the rest into a fine paste.

If you are using baby aubergine, at this stage you’d want to slit the whole aubergine in the middle and stuff the masala, then gently fry them in hot oil, until it goes soft from the outside.

In a separate pan, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds, let it crackle. Add curry leaves, asafoetida and the rest of the paste. Fry until it loses oil at the edges, then add turmeric, chilli and coriander powder. Add the aubergine (stuffed or diced), tomatoes and a little bit of water (Add more water if it dries up before the vegetables are cooked). Add salt, pepper and half a tsp of sugar (optional). Once the aubergines are nearly cooked add green beans and lemon juice. Let it simmer gently until everything is cooked and the gravy is reduced.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

Best served with rice or chapatis.

Let me know if you try this recipe at home or any variations!

 

 

 

Hot Cross Buns & Chess Anyone?

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We have been having quite a relaxing Easter break at my soon to be mother -in-law’s house in Stourbridge near Birmingham. Dogs are running around in her big garden, kids are climbing trees and are being read to, I am cooking for everyone and Ed is enjoying some time out to read. It is all very nice and cosy, although we are missing out on the sunshine here. But the fireplace is keeping us warm and the smell of my future mother-in-law’s hot cross buns are making us hungry…

So here is the recipe for her delicious, glossy and homely hot cross buns:

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Ingredients:

Dry:

3 cups white spelt flour

1 cup brown spelt flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground cloves

a handful of raisins

Wet:

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tbsp of butter

1 tsp yeast

Syrup:

2 tbsp brown sugar

sprinkle of water

a knob of butter

For the crosses:

2 tbsp White flour

1 tbsp Butter

Water

 

Method:

Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Warm milk in a pan to blood heat. Add sugar, butter and yeast. Let it ferment for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add beaten eggs.

Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and knead. Leave it to rise in a warm place.

After 30 minutes:

Pre-heat the oven on 200 – 250 degrees. Place a tray of water at the bottom of the oven to make a steamy atmosphere.

Knead the flour lightly. Shape them into buns and place them on a greased baking tray. Brush them all with a mixture of egg york and milk.

Make the pastry for the crosses, cut them lengthwise and stick them on top of the buns. Allow them to rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

Once risen, put the buns in to the oven to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool the buns and make the syrup by putting all the ingredients into the pan.

Once ready, dip the top side of the bun into the syrup and let it sit and cool down.

Enjoy with a cup of tea, dollop of butter and cream/jam.

Happy Easter!