Vegan Protein Box

Inspired by the protein salad boxes from Pret A Manger, this is a super healthy vegan version containing:

– Rainbow quinoa cooked in curry miso

– Edamame beans

– Chestnut mushrooms sautéed in olive oil

– Arame seaweed sprinkled with black rice vinegar and sesame oil

– Smoked tofu sautéed nestled on a bed of raw kale 

All popped in the fridge ready for tomorrow. One clear advantage of living below the office!



Oh-be-joyful Platter

Oh-be-joyful is a mountain here in Colorado and I made this delicious platter of greens, tofu and chicken for my friend Betsy before we went hiking with great views of Oh-be-joyful.

The night before, I pressed the tofu. I did it by hand and with a kitchen towel so this was a messy job (see the photos). I have ordered a new tofu press so I’m looking forward to being able to press tofu without crushing it.

My classic Japanese marinade is soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and chilli. I marinaded the pressed/crushed tofu in the marinade in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, I popped the tofu into a medium hot oven. I sprinkled Chinese five spice powder onto chicken pieces and fried them in olive oil. Once it was partly-cooked, the skillet went into the oven with the tofu.

Chard, kale, green pepper and broccoli were sautéed in olive oil separately then I added a little butter to the chard and kale.

I put the broccoli and green pepper in the centre of a platter and sprinkled on some sunflower seeds on. I put the kale and chard around the outside and put the chicken and pieces on the top.

It was so simple but looked great all laid out on a glass platter. I’ll definitely do this again. And chicken and baked tofu was a surprisingly good combination.

I had the leftovers warm with avocado on top.

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Creamy Kale Salad

Inspired by my friend Lauren who told me that she gets through “six bunches of kale a week”, I prepared a spicy, creamy kale salad, topped with sunflower seeds.

– Trim the stems off the kale and wash the leafy parts
– Mix some chilli paste, e.g. sambal oelek with sour cream and a good pinch of salt
– Drain the kale leaves and mix with the sour cream
– Leave for 30-60 minutes to soften
– Top with toasted sunflower seeds

I added some cold chicken too.

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Burned Kale Is Disgusting!

Ah, kale chips… that health food urban legend.  Apparently, they taste as good as potato chips.  I’ve been talking about giving them a try for a couple of years now.  With my fresh haul of kale from the CSA farm (see previous post), I decided today was the day.

Inspired by the fabulous oh she glows post on flawless kale chips but determined to mess about with it in my own way, as ever, I washed the leaves, stripped off the stems, tore them into big pieces then played around with different oils and seasonings.  Orange oil, chilli oil, seaweed salt, gomasio (Japanese sesame salt)…  I sprinkled, rubbed and massaged those lovely green leaves then popped them in the oven at 150C (300F).

What I didn’t do was set a timer.  Making kale chips and working on the laptop in parallel, combined with just generally being a bit of a slapdash cook, resulted in one tray of burned kale chips, one tray with half-burned kale chips and two trays of almost burned kale chips.  They don’t even look burned but once they are at all coloured… yeuck, bleurgh, please don’t make me eat them.

Chilli oil made blow your head off spicy chips.  The orange oil and sesame salt wasn’t a bad combo.

Try again another time?  It seems like a waste of lovely kale but maybe I will.

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Takes Off In Europe

I feel so lucky to be a member of a community farm near Leuven in Belgium.  De Wakkere Akker in Herent is my new safe haven.  I don’t get out there every week as my travel schedule at the moment is crazy but when I walk into the field, I already feel the stresses and strains of city life melt away.  I like it so much that when I first joined, I actually thought about moving out of the city and nearer the farm!

As a great lover of greens, the autumn/winter season excites me possibly more than your average veg eater.  Kale, rainbow chard and cabbages are all the rage right now.  And I’m yet to understand the allure of Brussels sprouts but I’ll get there.

Belgian friends, there is a waiting list from April so contact Jonas at De Wakkere Akker if you’re interested.

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Slow Cooker Surprise: Potato Bake

Arriving home after the summer with no fresh food and a freezer full of unidentified bags and boxes, I decided to get creative with the slow cooker. Apart from a bag of sad-looking potatoes, everything came from the freezer. It was all defrosted before cooking to ensure that the internal temperature in the slow cooker was high enough.

I layered up slices of raw potato, lentils, black beans, parsley, raclette, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and poured over chicken stock and (accidentally – I thought it was stock) some white wine. Seasoned simply with mixed pepper and cooked on high for five hours or so, this made a great potato and lentil bake.

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