Friday, February 27, 2009

The Stag

Weird Victoria pub, good friend leaving for Middle Eaast

Late late night.

No sausage this morning.

It hurts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Got home late - needed something quick and hot and that would feed the Vegan.

Indian, South East Asian and Chinese vegan food can be good as long as its hot.

We've always got a block of tofu in the fridge and a massive bag of Szechuan peppercorns in the cupboard and the rest anyone who cooks Chinese food regularly should have.

This version is hot but no long term burn. Upweight the chilies if you want it hotter. I used a mix of dried and fresh because it's what I had to hand, and I prefer it that way, but one or the other will do.

Tip: Dry roast your peppercorns in a frying pan and grind them to a fine powder. It can be a bit gritty otherwise.

Serves 2-3 depending on hunger and side vegtables etc.

Some salad leaves with lemon juice or some steamed greens, pak choi is good. Plus lots of steamed basmati rice.

Recipe: Ma Po Tofu


1 block tofu (firm is easier)
150 - 250g of Quorn or Soya mince
3 dessertspoons spicy bean paste
1large scotch bonnet chilli shrerdded or 1-2 birdseye chillies finely chopped
Couple of dried chilles broken up
1 dessertspoon cooking oil
3 dessertspoons chili oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (roasted and ground to powder)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fermented black beans (these last forever in the fridge, but soak / rinse them before use as they tend to be very salty)
3 large spring onions chopped into 2-3cm chunks
3 gloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 mug of water


First roast your peppercorns in a medium size dry frying pan (big enough to put the tofu in later) then grind in a pestle and mortar.

Cut the tofu into chunks put gently in the frying pan and and simmmer  for 5-10 minutes. This firms it up a bit. Drain the water from the tofu.

Heat up a wok and pour in the cooking oil and chili oil. Add the chopped garlic, quorn or soya mince, spicy bean paste and stir-fry for a few minutes until the mince is mostly cooked.

Then add the fresh and dry chillies, soy sauce, drained black beans and stir-fry for a minute or so. Add in the tofu and the water, be careful when stirring through as the tofu can break easily. It's not the end of the world, but you want some big chunks left at the end.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 3-5 mins or until the sauce thickens. Add in the roasted Szechuan peppercorn powder and chopped spring onions.

Gently stir and serve with rice - or noodles if you want.

(With thanks to where the above is adapted from)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some things are worth avoiding.

Free range chickens seek shade in their simple...Image via Wikipedia


Don't go till it's free range.

This is one of their suppliers. Now the situation may have changed since these pictures were taken, but this is a company that is incredibly hard to find information about.

I wonder why.

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