Fusion stir fry with tofu and brussel sprouts

I love brussel sprouts but when they’re not being served with a turkey (i.e. when they’re being served in my house, as I leave the turkey cooking to the experts) and I’ve already sautéd them up with chestnuts and bacon a few times, I’m looking for something else to do with them. Enter (yet another) Yotam Ottolenghi recipe.

Ingredients part 2

This recipe demonstrates why Ottolenghi is such a king of Fusion cuisine. A spicy chinese stir-fry with brussel sprouts. And it has maple syrup in it too. Brilliant. The tofu is marianted in the maple syrup along with chilli sauce (I used chilli bean sauce as that’s all I had, seemed to do the trick), soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. If you can get the firm tofu from a chinese supermarket which comes in water (like I did), you need to drain and press this first so that it will suck up the marinade.

Ingredients part 1

I even treated myself to including the fresh shitake’s as suggested in the recipe. A treat because I had to go to Fresh and Wild Wholefoods to find them (and so it goes without saying: paid silly money for them). I think you can find them in Sainsbury’s sometimes but that was not an option for me this time.

Middle of stir fry

I used little over half the amount of brussel sprouts recommended as that was all I got in my veg bag (once I’d peeled off the outside leaves which were looking a little worse for wear after waiting a week to be eaten!). I think these proportions were just fine.

End of stir fry

Looks alright doesn’t it?  Tasted absolutely fabulous. We had it with plain white rice.

Jerusalem artichoke and celeriac winter salad, with braised mushroom

Photo of winter salad
Blanched jerusalem artichoke and celeriac with toasted sour dough bread and pomegranate seeds, in a tahini and lemon juice dressing. So GOOD! Antother one of Yotam Ottonlenghi’s fantastic recipes in his The New Vegetarian column for the Guardian, which you can read following this link below.

I’ve been cooking big field mushrooms like this for a long time now, since finding the recipe in Robert Carrier’s Great Dishes of the World cookbook. Its really easy: just saute the mushroom in a little olive oil with some chopped garlic and a sprinkling of marigold powder (veg stock). Then add a good glug of red wine and let that simmer down to a syrupy jus. To serve, add a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped chives and some freshly ground pepper.

The Best Bagels from the Hot Bread Shop

Hummus and Feta bagel with fried onions

I just have to sing the praises of this fantastic north London family bakers, Grodzinski. For a year I lived a short walk from this wonderful bakery’s Stamford Hill branch and I’m not sure I appreciated just how good it was, but now I’m a little further away in Lower Clapton I’ve started to make a point of cycling up there once a week.

My usual shop includes sesame seed bagels, a handful of doughnut balls and a big loaf of granary bread. I only just noticed that it has Hot Bread Shop written on the sign – I’m not quite sure if that is some confused translation of baking or what it means exactly, but it does add to the charm!

Fresh or toasted bagels are probably the best lunch ever, in my mind, and there are just so many different things to do with them. One of the more elaborate ways I like to eat them is toasted, spread with hummus, thin slices of feta cheese, lots of crispy fried onions and a good sprinkling of parsley. You might also throw a slice of tomato into the mix but this idea was quashed when we made them at home this week.
Find your nearest J Grodzinski and Daughters store!

Saffron cauliflower bake

I’ve just made this brilliant cauliflower dish for the second time, and decided its really worth spreading the word about Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe published in the Guardian Weekend earlier this year.

Saffron Cauliflower - finished

One of my favourite things to do with cauliflower, before I discovered this recipe, (and now that I don’t eat dairy, so the obvious and rather delicious Cauliflower Cheese isn’t an option) was to saute it along with onions and green chilli, cumin seeds, freshly ground coriander and cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon juice to finish (Madhur Jaffrey provided the initial inspiration for this dish).

Ottonlenghi’s saffron cauliflower bake, which includes red onion, green olives, cumin seeds and sultanas, is a nice variation on the onion, cumin, cauliflower combination. In both cases the cauliflower is cooked just enough to be tender but firm.

Saffron Cauliflower - ingredients

And putting it together is such a pleasure—not just because its so easy—but the raw ingredients look stunning together.

[Edited 4.03.2010 to finally add photos I took of it the next time I made it!]

Beetroot Curry

This recipe is a variation of Rasa’s beetroot curry and it accompanied the huge beetroot we got in our Growing Communities veg box this week. Its something different to do with your beetroot and an unusual vegetable for currying. I’ve made it twice now – it is really delicious, but don’t try cutting any corners with the process; do push the pureed spring onion tops and pistachios through a sieve, and do cut the beetroot into matchsticks; I skipped this the first time round and the texture just wasn’t quite right.

coconut, onion/spices and beetroot prep


  • 500g Beetroot
  • 50g shelled pistaschios
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 fresh chillies
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 100g fresh coconut, grated
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml plain yoghurt


Boil the beetroots until tender and peel them under cold running water, then chop them into thick matchsticks. Toast the pistachios in the oven or on the hob. Crack the cardamom seeds and remove the seeds, discarding the pods. Slice the white ends of the spring onions and chop them finely. Drop the green ends into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds then plunge them into cold water. Chop them carsely and put them into a food processor with the pistachios, cardamom seeds and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and blend, adding a little cold water in a slow stream until you get a thick butsmooth puree. Pass this through a sieve, fine enough to take out any coarse pieces of scallian – into a small pan. Hlave the chillies lengthways, and chop them into slices. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a shallow pan and cook the sping onion white bits, the chillies, ginger, mustard and fennel seeds over a medium heat, stirring for 5 minutes, then add the beetroot and coconut and the pistachio and green onions paste, and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and stir in the yoghurt just before you serve.

Rasa is a vegetarian South Indian restaurant on Stoke Newington Church street, Hackney, London N16


Kale So we got Kale in our veg bag again this week! What a funky vegetable! So CURLY!!! I really had no awareness of this vegetable before living with Martha who regulary fed her tortoises with Kale. This sturdy squeeky green thing is really something to touch and behold. And eat of course. This weekend I found this wicked Japanese dish to put the Kale in, on a very nice food blog called Simply Recipes – one of the better examples of food blogs, though the design is deceiving, cos it feels like a communal blog but its actually just one person/family bloggin. Anyhow, here is the recipe link, give this a shot!
Kale with Seaweed, Sesame and Ginger Recipe

Gado Gado – salad with peanut sauce recipe

Now that I get my local Growing Communities ‘veg box’ (it actually comes in a plastic bag – more on that in another post…) every week, I panic when the occasion arises that I’m seeing my parents: because I can never leave them without a full bag of produce from their own allotment in West London – and how will I get through all these fresh vegetables before next week’s veg supplement?! So these visits are always followed by days rich with numerous nutritious dishes!

Photo of Bumbu Sate package One dish that often comes to mind at a certain time of year, due to the green beans, spinach, and the usual carrots and potatoes that I receive, is Gado Gado. This is an Indonesian staple introduced to me by Rebecca during her residency in Jakarta – she sent me a package of hard, brown ‘stuff’, labeled “Bumbu Sate” (Satay sauce) so I dutifully looked this up online and followed the Sri Owen’s instructions I found on the Global Gourmet site . It is essentially a satay sauce to be served on a salad of cold vegetables: green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, spinach, potatoes and topped with hard boiled egg and tofu and sprinkled with crispy fried onions (these are not to be neglected!)

Now the time and ingredients were right for this dish to be concocted – but I had to make the sauce from scratch – and none of the recipes online could agree! I followed the vague ideas set down in to the one above and this Mediterrasion.com and then adjusted to taste. What I list below is roughly what I think I put in when I thought about it afterwards.

What you want a sweet (brown sugar) and salty (soy), garlicy, rich peanut sauce (freshly ground would be even better than my use of wholenut peanut butter) with a hint of coconut, medium hot with red chilli and thinned down with veg water and sparked off at the end with a good glug of lime juice. See a photo of my homemade version

Crush to a paste:
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp red chilli flakes (or more fresh)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Prepare/mix together:
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
4 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3/4 block coconut cream (or 1/2 tin coconut milk?)
1/4 tsp chilli powder

Have ready:
6-8 tbsp whole peanut butter
1.5 – 2 cups water (the same that you blanched the vegetables in)
3/4 – 1 juice of lime
(3 tbsp sambal pecel *)

Heat some peanut oil and saute the crushed garlic and chilli paste in it for a minute. Stir the mixture into this, and then add the peanut butter and the water. Cook for 15 mins. Add the lime juice just before serving, when the sauce is creamy.

Pour over a bowl/plate full of yummy crispy vegetables!

(* I found some Sambal Pecel sauce in my cupboard that I also got sent from Indonesia – this is a hotter satay sauce that i find needs to be thinned out considerably with coconut milk – but I do think a small amount added to the Bumbu sauce above adds to the flavour)

Sigara Boregi

photo described belowThis recipe was given to me by Sibel, a friend of Rebecca’s from Brighton. The name of these turkish pastries means cigarette borek(wrap). Ideally you will need some turkish filo pastry called “yufka”. Available in most turk or greek shops. If not regular filo will do the job. You will also need feta cheese and parsley for filling.

Mix these together. Cut the yufka in 15cm (6″) triangles (the stuff i bought was already triangular). The yufka is usually round so cut it like you would slicing pizza! Put 2 teaspoons of filling on the wider side of triangle, fold 1″ on each side of filling, and roll them up to cigar looking shapes. These will then be fried in a pan with veg oil. When they are golden brown, they are crispy and ready. Very filling snack. Melt in the mouth cheese! Good luck and Afiyet olsun (bon appetit in turkish).

Sigara Boregi - homemadeOne note since i tried this: don’t be tempted to put more than a scant 2 tsp of the feta parsely mix in the rolls, as it will ooze out the sides and get very messy!

Orange and red onion salad with cumin

This recipe is taken from Spanish food and cooking by Pepita Aris – a fantastic recipe book Magdalena gave me with lots of information about Spanish cuisine and seductive photography!

(serves six)


6 oranges
2 red onions
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coarsley ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 tbsp olive oil
to garnish:
fresh mint sprigs
black olives

It is important to let the salad stand before serving. This allows the flavours to develop and the pungent taste of the onion to soften slightly.


Using a sharp knife, slice the oranges thinly, working over a bowl to catch any juice. Then, holding each orange slice in turn over the bowl, cut round the middle fleshy section with scissors to remove the peel and pith. Reserve the juice. Slice the two red onions thinly and separate the rings.

Arrange the orange and onion slices in layers in a shallow dish, sprinkling each layer with cumin seeds, pepper, mint, live oil and salt. Pour in the reserved orange juice. Leave to marinate in a cool place for about 2 hours. Just before serving, scatter with the mint sprigs and black olives.