Sunday, 21 June 2015

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Yes, yes another bread recipe.  No, you can never have too many of these in your recipe files.  I really like the whole wheat sourdough from my previous post but this one is especially a treat with the oatmeal.  I haven't tried this bread in a my baking cloche but I am sure it would turn out deliciously.  So far, I have been making this recipe in a baking tin and slicing for sandwiches.  The bread itself is light and bouncy.  Overall it received and A++ rating from the family.

I think if you add a 1/4 cup of molasses, it would make a really nice molasses oatmeal loaf.  If you would like a few seeds, then add a handful of pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds for a seedy version. This one is also a great loaf for the freezer so don't hesitate to double the quantities and make two loaves for a quick grab later.

"'A loaf of bread,'the Walrus said, 'is what we chiefly need:
  Pepper and vinegar besides are very good indeed.'" - Lewis Carroll

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/3 cup of soy milk or any other kind of milk
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup of white bread flour
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsps. sea salt

In a medium sized bowl, mix water, soy milk, honey and sourdough starter.  Next, gently whisk in the white flour and rolled oats.  Finally, add the two cups of whole wheat flour and sea salt; mix with the a wooden spoon until combined.

Turn the sticky dough out onto an unfloured counter and knead with the slap and stretch method for approximately ten minutes.  After kneading, shape the dough to form a ball and return to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap then set aside until the dough has doubled or more; this may take anywhere from six to eight hours.

Once doubled, turn the dough onto a floured counter and shape into a loaf.  Bake at 425F or 220C for 30-35 minutes until the loaf makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.  Makes one medium sized loaf of bread.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Teriyaki Soba Noodles with Crispy-fried Tofu

Okay, I have a secret.  For quite a few years now, I have harbored a secret love for tofu.  I love crispy fried tofu and stir-fried veggies and always choose this on the rare occasion that I get take-away.  My main problem with embracing this tasty fermented product at home is that the family have not exactly been enthusiastic about the object of my affections.  

I began about ten years ago by hiding tofu in our soup.  Silken tofu makes an excellent cream base when you can't eat cream or dairy products so I began blending it up for my soup base with minimal suspicion.  No, there was no absolute revolt when I was discovered but the tofu soup revelation didn't exactly get a clap of hands...more like a stoic tolerance.

I've taken a shot or two at stir-fries with tofu instead of meat and filled a gyoza or two with tofu instead of pork but no-one was as excited as I was about my genius experiments.  Just over a year ago, I decided to change my tactics to convince the family that tofu was a friend.  Tofu pudding pots were my salvation after re-jigging a recipe that I found in my Blender Girl cookbook.  The trick is to not tell your family that they are eating tofu until after they have licked their pudding bowl ~ only then should you tell them that the dessert they just scarfed down is tofu.

Anyway, fast forward to present day and chocolate pudding pots are a regular item for everyone's lunch boxes and now I am ready to take on tofu as a main dish meat alternative.  The husband and kids already love my teriyaki soba noodles tossed with blanched veggies and now I am adding tofu to shake things up a bit.  Don't be is really tasty.

For the teriyaki sauce:
  • 4 Tbsps. Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 3/4 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsps. mirin
  • 3 Tbsps. maple syrup or natural cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsps. sesame oil
Everything else:
  • 2 tsps. sesame seeds
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 bunch of broccolini, chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1 - 270g package of soba noodles
  • 1 - 350g package of firm tofu
  • 3 Tbsps. cornstarch for dusting tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Begin by opening and draining the tofu.  Place tofu on a plate with paper towel on both top and bottom; position a heavy object on it and set aside.  This will get rid of some of the excess liquid in the tofu.

Next in a small frying pan or pot, mix the soy sauce, water, cornstarch, mirin, maple syrup and sesame oil.  Heat on low until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and add the grated ginger to the mixture and stir to combine.  Set this aside and move on to prepping veggies to blanch and then cook the soba noodles according to the package.

Now, remove the paper towel and heavy weight from the drained tofu.  Slice the tofu block into pieces or bite-sized chunks and toss in the 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch.  Heat a small frying pan with oil; I like refined coconut oil.  When the oil is hot, fry tofu on each side making sure it is lightly brown and crispy.  Next add one-quarter of the teriyaki sauce and cook the tofu for about 30 seconds until the sauce has thickened then remove from heat.

Lastly, toss the cooled veggies, soba noodles, green onions, and sesame seeds with the remaining sauce and top with the crispy tofu.  Serves 4.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Vegetable Pakoras

We don't really deep fry foods at our house but this recipe is the exception to the rule.  Pakoras are a little bit indulgent and we often eat them with a vegetarian/vegan meal of chickpea korma or especially with our favourite masoor daal (red lentil curry).

We were first introduced to the humble pakora at our favourite Indian take-away in Vancouver.  We started making our own when I began experiencing more problems with dairy and eating out became more problematic.  I cook them on a night when we want to feel like we have had a special take-away meal without ordering take-away.

If you don't own a deep fryer then cook in a deep heavy-bottomed pot with a few inches of oil.  I cook them outside so the deep fried smell doesn't go through the house.  The pakoras freeze or keep in the fridge well for a gentle reheat later.  Unfortunately, ours never last long enough with my biggest kid eating them cold out of the fridge as a late night snack.  There is never a pakora left the morning after an Indian feast!

  • 1 cup of besan (chickpea) flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. crushed or minced garlic
  • 2 cups of assorted fresh vegetables of your choice such as finely chopped cabbage, corn, green beans, green onion and/or grated carrot
  • rice bran oil for frying

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and then add the water and mix well.  Your batter should resemble thick cake batter.  Add your veggies and stir.  Try to keep the veggies  uniform in size so they will cook evenly.

In a heavy bottom pot, pour your rice bran oil in so it is a few inches high and heat until hot enough for frying.  You can test this by dipping a chopstick or wooden spoon handle in the hot oil and if small but vigorous bubbles form then your oil is ready.

Drop the batter in by the heaping tablespoon and fry until cooked through.  Try not to make the pakoras too large as they will struggle to cook through in the middle.  Place cooked fritters on a plate or tray covered in paper towel.  These freeze well or can be stored in the fridge, reheated or simply eaten cold.  Makes approximately 24 pakoras depending on the size.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Masoor Daal (Red Lentil Curry)

Ahhh, the humble lentil.  What can I say about lentils that most don't already know?  They are not a particularly glamorous food but they are full of fibre, easy on the pocketbook, very quick cooking, and simply put ~ delicious.  

You might think this meatless wonder would be a hard sell for dinner but my husband and children clap their hands with delight when I tell them we are having daal.  Serve this filling meal over a bed of fluffy basmati or a side of cauliflower rice ~ whatever you lean towards, I doubt you will be disappointed. I like this meal with a kick of spice and ~on special occasions~ serve it with a decadent pakora to make it feel like a special take-away treat. 

Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning with a cup less of stock and have it ready for when you come home or cook it up on the stove-top in about 30 minutes.

Masoor daal and basmati rice with veggie pakoras.

  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 4 sprigs of coriander or parsley, chopped
  • 2 bird's-eye chillies or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsps. rice bran oil or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 cup of dried red lentils
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock, water, ~ or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. of salt or to taste
In a medium-sized pot, sauté parsley/ coriander, carrots, celery, and onion in oil for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the chillies, ginger and garlic and cook for another minute then add the vegetable stock, spices, and lentils; bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook for approximately a minimum of 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the curry does not stick.  I like daal thick but runny;  just use less water/stock should you like it thicker.  Garnish with more chopped coriander or parsley. Serves 4-5 depending on portion sizes.