So, an unexpected gift arrived this week in the shape of some pretty squishy strawberries ( 8 punnets) some of which were slightly past their best. “Jam” we said, and began tailing the tiny wee things. We added in some sugar but not too much, the juice of 2 lemons, and gently cooked it down to a pulpy mass. The smell was divine and went right to the top of the house, bringing a smell of summer even if the sky said, no, not yet, but very soon. We sterilized our extra jars and lids by simmering them in a soup pot for 5 minutes. And then we poured, ladled, prodded and tasted. Naturally we left a small sample dish to try and then we had to make scones, because you just do, don’t you. Three guests dropped by for a taste and some added in the whipped cream flavoured with vanilla pod they found in the fridge. The verdict – total deliciousness in both taste and perfume. How can we go back to commerically made jam ever? Go on try your hand at jamming. It will make your summer!
My favourite Tofu dish of all time (and I have tried a few!)
So, yes, Tofu is rather bland, well extraordinarily bland. Yet it is a great source of protein, particularly for vegetarian families or those who have cut back on meat! I only buy organic tofu so I don’t have to worry about the very many chemicals used to grow non-organic soy beans. I have been experimented with this product for quite some times but it was Yotam Ottolenghi’s black pepper Tofu dish (from his book Plenty) which really showed me just how gorgeous soy bean curd can really be. Try it, it will literally blow your socks off with its 8 chillies and 5 tbsps of black peppercorns. Here I am erring on the side of delicate palates but I think this dish has enough oomft to win over a dedicated non-veggie. The secret is ginger and garlic so buy in liberal quantities of each, you won’t regret it.
1 cm chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1 large clove of glaric (or 7-10 small cloves)
finely chopped spring onions
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp sweet Indonesian soy sauce
1 packet (for a family of 3-4) of organic pressed tofu not the silken sort, drained and chopped into small cubes of the same size. You can pat dry if it is particularly wet.
Fry the tofu cubes gently in Rice Bran oil or olive until it is crispy on all sides. Don’t be in a hurry, it may take 5 minutes of gentle frying to achieve this. Drain on kitchen paper and put aside.
In a small blender mince one of those huge cloves of garlic or if you can’t’ get hold of them, 7 small cloves of garlic and the peeled cube of ginger. Add in some water to make it a creamy blend and some whole peppercorns. If your small grinder is like mine, it will do a fairly good job but there may be one or two whole peppercorns left.
In a wok or heavy bottomed frypan fry the garlic blend in some oil. Don’t let it burn but fry very gently for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the different soy sauces and cook slowly for a few minutes. Taste and adjust accordingly. You may like to add more of the soy sauces or some palm sugar. You may like to add in some water to make more of a sauce or some lemon juice if you think it too sweet. Take off heat until you are ready to serve.
Cook some rice, couscous, udon noodles or bulgar to serve with the tofu dish.
To serve, add the tofu to the soy mixture and warm through. Serve on top of noodles and garnish with spring onions, or coriander. It is just as good cold as hot. It has become a firm favourite in our family. Do let me know what you think!