Friday 29 July 2016

Tofu burger

vegan, gluten free
Hi friends, followers and friends. We're still talking about BBQing. Who knows how long this glorious weather will last, but before it leaves us lets eat some burgers!
Today we would like give you nice, simple and staple recipe. You can prepare it in advance and when it is BBQ-time you can warm up it on grill for that unique flavour and texture.

2 tablespoon olive oil
200g tofu
¼ cup soya sauce or tamari 
Salt and pepper for taste

Mix all ingredients in food processor. Shape in round burgers aprx 3cm thick. Fry them in oil.

Sauce for burgers:
¼ cup tahini
½ lemon juice
1 tablespoon cumin
1/3 cup water
Salt and pepper

Blend all ingredients in food processor apart water. Slowly adding water still mixing until you will get cream consistence.

Monday 25 July 2016

Vegan snickers

vegan, sugar free
Wow, here is an exciting recipe for everybody who likes sweet snacks. I've found today's treat to be for great after gym or swimming. When you really need energy. 

70g medjool dates
100g mix nuts (we used 50g grounded almonds, 50g hazelnuts)
25g cashew butter
100g dark chocolate min 75%cocoa
30g salted peanuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Mix dates in a food processor until only small bits remain. Add walnuts and mix until thoroughly mixed.

In mean time break chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl add tablespoon coconut oil. Sit over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally.

Prepare square form; simply grab a pastry brush and spread a generous oil in form. Line the cake tin with cling film.

Pour chocolate and coconut oil in to nuts and dates mix. Mix well add peanuts mix again. Pour mixture in to prepare square form.

Immediately put the bars in the refrigerator until firm. If the chocolate you're using has been 'tempered', this shouldn’t take more than five minutes for them to firm up. Otherwise the chocolate will take longer.

Bars can be stored at room temperature for up to one month; if using regular melted chocolate, store the bars in the fridge until ready to eat. Wrap these in some foil and stash them in your gym bag.

Friday 22 July 2016

Chickpea chapter: Burmese Tofu

vegan, gluten free
Firstly, apologies for not posting any Chickpea Chapter recently. I've been adapting to a career change - social care!
This week focusing on Burmese Tofu; exploring a few variations on the recipe from Mary of Mary's Test Kitchen. There is no soya in this recipe, despite the connotations of its name. Only chickpea flour, water and whatever seasoning you choose. Naturally the flavour is savoury and slightly eggy with a softer, creamier texture than firm soy based tofu but has enough structural integrity to be fried, grilled or deep-fried. Today we are going to try 2 simple flavour variations of this

Mary kindly allowed me to share her recipe as the base for my variations. Here is here video of how to make Burmese Tofu.
You will need:
6 cups of water
2 cups of gram flour
Salt or veg. stock

I highly recommend browsing the rest of Mary's website, the amount of delicious vegan and allergen-friendly food is amazing.

Variation 1) Vegan Sea Sticks
Since becoming completely gluten intolerant 5 years ago, I haven't had many opportunities to enjoy the golden bubbly batter found mostly in chip shops. This is my attempt at making it possible for those following gluten-free and Vegan diets. If you don't fall into this niche, hopefully you can still take pleasure from this.

1 pack of Nori sheets (untoasted or toasted)
250g Gram flour
250g Cornflakes
500ml water
black pepper
white pepper (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Enough oil to fill a saucepan 3cm deep

1. Make a batch of plain tofu as Mary brilliantly instructs in the video above
2.Once it has set firm, cut tofu into pieces (somewhere between the size of a fish finger and smart phone)
3. Sieve gram flour then mix with salt, pepper and garlic into the water
4. In separate bowl, crush the cornflakes well; into pepper seed size pieces
5. If your Nori sheets haven't been toasted, toast/dry fry them until they turn an emerald green
6. Double wrap tofu pieces in Nori, then fully dip into the gram flour and water mix 
7. Once fully coated in the batter, roll the tofu in the cornflakes to coat evenly
8. Medium-heat the oil in a saucepan big enough to fit your sea sticks, once the oil is hot enough to brown and crisp a small piece of bread in 30-40 seconds you are ready to gently place the sea sticks in. Don't overcrowd the pan.
9. Ready when a dark-golden brown
10. Sit on a seaside bench and throw any scraps to the seagulls

2) Smokey Burmese Tofu
Very simple to make and versatile - smoked tofu steaks work well in a lot of dishes such as stir-frys or curries.
If you are using the same measurements as Mary does in the video, just add 4 teabags of Lapsang Souchong and 1tsp. of smoked paprika to the water when you add the stock/salt. Leave for 5 minutes so the teabags flavours can infuse, remove the teabags and continue as normal. 

Thank you. I hope you have found this post informative, tasty and useful.  See you next week for another Besan adventure.

P.S. If you'd like to add some extra flavour and outer crisp to the smokey tofu coat the strips in corn flour, finely chopped garlic, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast then shallow fry in a work like so:

Monday 18 July 2016

Eating Out: Pho Bristol

Before a delightful evening of Classical Music at the Colston Hall, we decided to give the new chain restaurant Pho, which boasts a gluten free menu with vegan options a go. 

We weren’t able to book a table however this wasn’t an issue our hostess guided us to our table and we started by ordering fresh juices, each of the four of us opted for different flavours and no-one was disappointed. 

We ordered Gỏi Cuốn - rice paper rolls with a creamy peanut sauce to start which was very more-ish, and would be an ideal light bite option if you weren’t overly hungry.

For our main course we had Bun Noodles - rice noodles (my partner had veggie rolls, I had tofu and mushroom) with fresh herbs and veggies with a delicious rich sauce. These are incredibly generous portions and neither of us managed to get to the bottom of our bowls! We had a side order of Lotus salad with green beans and sesame seeds. Our friends tried the noodle soup, and the curry (which was quite spicy). Everyone really enjoyed their meals, and we would happily go again. One thing to bear in mind is the size of the portions, and if you are short on time make sure you arrive early because the restaurant can get very busy. 

The staff were knowledgable about vegan dishes, and other allergy queries and in general we were pretty impressed. It was an ideal option the centre of Bristol, and if you have a craving for excellent Vietnamese cuisine this is the place for you! 

Monday 11 July 2016

Summer Barbecue Vegetable Skewers with marinade

vegan, gluten free, BBQ
1 courgette
1 pineapple 
a big handful of button mushrooms
1 large Romano Pepper
rosemary branches (or wooden skewers if you don't have these) 

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
a handful of chopped fresh coriander
a handful of chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon agave syrup
salt and pepper to taste 

Home made tomato ketchup:
For recipe click here

If you happen to have a Rosemary plant, go and break off a few branches the ones you can see here are dried, but fresh branches are better. Then trim your branches so there are no bumps in your skewers.

Cut up your vegetables into equal sizes. 

Push your vegetables onto your new skewers, I decided to make a pattern with mine but you can put them on in any order you like. 

When the Barbecue Vegetables are ready, add it to the marinade, make sure the are completely coated. Leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Barbecue your vegetables on a barbecue until the courgette is soft (this takes the longest) and serve with whatever you wish, we had veggie burgers, quinoa salad, crisps, houmous and leftover bean casserole with ours.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Book review: Riverford Companion - Autumn & Winter

This is a very exciting book. Guy Watson and his team of chefs have created a lovely cookbook that shows you how to create wholesome and delicious dishes using local, seasonal vegetables. There are two volumes of the Riverford Companion series; one for autumn and winter (which I am reviewing today) and a second for spring and summer. I am aware it is now spring, but the meals in the winter edition are delicious, the current rainy weather still permits a heartwarming dish and at the time of writing this I am receiving just the last of the winter harvest in my veg box.

The team were perceptive whilst designing the book; having a chapter dedicated to each vegetable makes understanding the flavour and potential of them accessible. This layout is innovative and more appropriate for the task of "taming your vegetables". The book gets its name from its intended purpose as a "companion" to a veg box; to enlighten customers and prevent them from feeling lost, confused and sad upon receiving, for example, a bag of Jerusalem Artichokes (make soup!) or Salsify (sautée!). I agree completely with this title.  

Using this book was very fun, educational and interesting. I do not regularly cook many British vegetables as vegan cooking hasn't adapted to incorporate them frequently. The Riverford Companion, however opened a lot of doors for me, though book is omnivorous, there are vegan dishes (vegetarian too). Also at the beginning of each chapter is an introduction that explains fundamental preparatory and cooking guidelines for the vegetable along with what other food said vegetable works well with. This feature makes it easy to use include new vegetables in dishes I am already comfortable with, for example using sliced parsnip in a curry as they recommend pairing parsnip with cumin, coriander and turmeric.


I tried a few recipes from the book, all the meals were successful, without confusion and with a wholesome, satisfying and quality taste, which seems to be their style running throughout the dishes. My favourite was the Squash and Black bean chilli, it had a lovely mix of flavours and just the right amount of heat. The roasted Beetroot, Carrot, lentil and cumin seed salad comes in second, a dish I foresee being a regular in the work lunchbox. 

One of the best cookbooks I have used.  It is honest, accurate, enthusiastic and full of brilliant content. Although a picture of every dish would be nice. The Riverford Companion reconnects us with our local environment by teaching how to use seasonal food grown in our surroundings. They seem to be starting a revival of the British cuisine, unfortunately I don't know many who regularly include jerusalem artichoke, dandelion leaves, fennel, squash, pumpkin, cabbage in their daily diet. Yet these are all things which grow around us. And as the book illustrates, it can definitely be delicious and nourishing.

To buy this book click here
Price £12.99

Friday 8 July 2016

Vegan and Gluten free 'Chicken' Nuggets!!

vegan, gluten free
Vegan and gluten free chicken nuggets.
This is a very easy recipe for vegan "chicken" nuggets. It has two main ingredients and seasonings. You will love to do this recipe for any occasion, it's easy, quick, cheap, and gluten free! Enjoy!

250g oyster mushrooms
1 large cauliflower
500ml oil for frying

For batter:
250g chickpea flour
250g gluten free cornflakes
Aprx 500ml water.


Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no more than 5 cm across in any direction.
For the batter, mix all ingredients. Slowly whisk in 500 ml water whisk to combine and get rid of any lumps.

Heat about 10 cm depth of oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to turn a cube of white bread light golden brown in 30 – 40 second.

Prepare two bolls. One for gram flour, second for cornflakes. Coat cauliflower and mushrooms with the gram flour and dust with a little cornflakes.
Start frying the "chicken", a few nuggets at a time. Fry for about 4 minutes, until crisps and golden brown on the base, then turn over and cook for another minute or two.