A while back there was a discussion on a Facebook food bloggers group I belong to about some recipe books to review so I tootled on over to the website and filled in a form. There was a good selection that I could choose from and I chose a vegan recipe book and a cupcake book. Balance in all things, I say. All healthy makes for a dull life with no glimmering highs, and all decadent makes for a short life.
Anyway, I figured they probably didn’t mean for bloggers from the other side of the world to apply and promptly forgot about the aforementioned recipe books. As a food blogger, I always seem to be filling out forms and accumulating passwords to a myriad of websites that help us on our way as well as sidetrack us off our paths. I have six pages of an A5 exercise book filled with usernames and passwords. I used to use the same one for everything until I realised the fallacy of such a shortcut. A hacker gets into one account, they get into everything. Really smart. So now I have a thousand different passwords. I use the same one for all the accounts that don’t matter. Let them spend hours throwing computer programs at those particular accounts to find my password. They will be bitterly disappointed to find nothing of use. It’s like stealing an empty wallet. The disappointment for all the work must be immense. Ha ha!
Now I laugh in the face of the hackers because they will never decipher my complex and unrememberable (is that a word?) passwords. The problem, of course, is that I can’t remember them either and if I am away from my trusty notebook, which, by the way, you hackers, is in an unfindable place, I have a problem. But it is the only way to live a trouble-free online life.
Wow, I sure got off-track! Back to the recipe books I applied for. So a few days ago, they both arrived by post, all bright and glossy. It took them a while to find their way to New Zealand – after all many people from the northern hemisphere think we are joined to Australia – so kudos to the sender.
Last night I took the plunge and cooked one of the vegan recipes. I wrote out my shopping list in the morning as usual and handed it to Adriano – my personal shopper. He looked sideways at the silken tofu part. What did silken have to do with tofu and why was I cooking tofu anyway? Adriano’s bike-riding muscles need meat, lots of red meat. I told him that was his problem, I was the cook not the finder of difficult ingredients. He grizzled a lot but I let my mind wander to greener pastures and he soon moved on.
Come the evening, I investigate the shopping bags and see a lump of white stuff on a little tray covered with glad wrap. Is this silken tofu? I asked. I could see the grizzling was about to recommence so I shrugged and said it would do nicely thank you. Whatever it was, it did the job but I really must Google the difference between silken tofu and the common garden variety.
It got shoved in the food processor and mixed with some pre-cooked wild rice and a few herbs and that was it as far as the tofu was concerned. Couldn’t have been easier so I am now a fan, silken or not.
To cut a very long and meandering story short, this was a surprisingly delicious meal and quite filling so I can give the thumbs up for this particular recipe. I will do some more in due course and then make my pronouncement about whether I recommend this cooking book or not. But it’s looking good.
Oh, in case you are wanting to jump the gun and purchase it, the book is called 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou.
Disclaimer: I am not being paid to say lovely things about this book but I did get it free. They won’t be taking it back if I decide I don’t like it, so my opinions are mine and I am under no coercion to be politely delightful about it.
This is not a low Fodmap recipe.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, bottoms and outer 500g leaves trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup firm or extra-firm silken tofu
- 2 cups cooked mixed wild and brown rice
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup fresh bread crumbs
- canola oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Preheat oven to 200°F/100°C
- Finely slice sprouts about 1⁄16-inch thick. Separate slices into shreds and set aside.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and let pan get hot. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and tip pan to coat.
- Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, 3⁄4 tsp of the salt and mustard and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- In a blender, purée tofu until smooth.
- In a bowl, gently fold together puréed tofu and rice.
- Mix in chives, basil, parsley, black pepper and remaining 1⁄2 tsp of salt.
- Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and, using a tablespoon, drop rice mixture into bread crumbs, patting gently to form a cake.
- Press additional crumbs on top and use a small spatula to transfer cake to a plate lined with waxed paper.
- Repeat with remaining rice mixture.
- Place another skillet over medium-high heat and let pan get hot.
- Add about ¼ inch (0.5cm) of canola oil.
- When oil is hot, place 3 or 4 rice cakes in pan and cook until edges begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Carefully flip cakes and cook until underside is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in a preheated oven.
- Repeat process with remaining rice cakes.
- In the pan with the onions, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat, pushing the onions to the side of the pan.
- Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently, until shreds are bright green and just beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes.
- Arrange 2 to 3 rice cakes on a plate and top each with a little pile of sprouts. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.