Ok so you have recently learned I love the beach, the sand, the surf but one of my all time loves on this here planet is…..
I love food. I always loved to sneak an extra sausage roll onto my plate as a kid, always wanted more sweets than allowed, always have had dreams of devouring that trifle or cake in the fridge, ask my family and they’ll all laugh how I always happen to be eating, as proven by many photos through my childhood. How I am not the size of a house I don’t know. Ahh yes, I remember, I have learnt to resist the temptations these days. I have found the more naughty cakes and chocolates I eat the more I want, so now I treat myself occasionally.
Anyway, regarding my favouritest thing, food, I have always been a firm believer in what you should eat, should be natural. We are after all animals of this planet and have been given plenty of food sources and have developed many ways of food production.
So this to me means I can eat anything so long as its not processed in a factory, it should be natural so fruit, veg, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, berries, dairy etc and a balance of everything is ok, not too much of one thing and not too much of another.
However, having blogged about the Kuvings juicer, I read more on the website about food nutrition and read that most meat is farmed to such a degree now there is hardly any nutrition left and they actually contain nasty things which we really shouldn’t be eating. I had watched Jamie Olivers Food Revolution about inedible bits of animals being processed into food for kids, chickens being fattened up with man made food in sheds with no room to move causing muscle to waste away and for the chicken to not be able to use their legs. BUT I had not read until now that a cow is not really a cow anymore. What’s the point of eating it if it doesn’t give you the goodness your body needs? Which is why we eat food, for fuel.
Now I am not an expert, this is just how I feel, if you google reasons to be a vegetarian a whole heap of reasons come up and a whole lot of stuff about meat and meat production being bad too. It’s more about not being right or wrong, its about how you feel about stuff.
So I have decided not to eat meat and have so far almost made a whole month. The smell of sausages cooking in the park is pretty mouth watering. I think I will eat meat for special occasions but it will have to be grass fed from the local butcher. I will eat local sustainable fish frequently, but for the most part I think I’m going to be a veggie for a long time. I think I’m loosing weight as a result too, things which have been tight on me are now loose, so thats a good side effect. I’ve been enjoying cooking different things and so far have been really enjoying eating different things. I’ll post recipes from time to time, I really do love cooking so why not share the love.
A vegetarian dish I used to have years ago was one I ordered from a Chinese take away in Nottingham when I was at University there. I lived with Leslie who was a vegetarian and often ordered the £3.60 dish from our local on those late evening after a day at uni and work at the bar. It was quite a dish and once you had had that, we never chose anything else, like Miranda in ‘Sex & the city’ when the lady she orders her Chinese from repeats the order back to her because she orders the same thing every time.
Anyway, the tofu was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, the aubergine tasted rich and velvety and the sauce hot and spicy. I have never found it anywhere else since, so I have tried on several occasions to re-create it, however the aubergine was always undercooked and the tofu was always bland. This recipe is the closest and when I’m eating it really does take me back to those cold nights us four girls spent in that house around the telly with copious amounts of red wine and the smell of knitted wool samples drying near the radiators, ahhh those were the days.
Here is my Szechuan aubergine and tofu recipe.
- 1 Aubergine (eggplant) slice into 2cm slices, then cut into rough chunks
- 1 pack of tofu (bean curd)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced or finely grated
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (thin)
- 2 tsp Szechuan pepper corns
- 2 tbsp chinese cooking wine or sherry
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp chilli paste
- 2tbsp oil, canola oil or your preference
- 1 cup of jasmine rice
- 2 spring onions (scallions) cleaned and chopped
1. First lay the aubergine chunks on a plate and sprinkle with salt and leave to one side half an hour or so until liquid starts to bubble out.
2. Take tofu out of packaging, drain, wrap in kitchen paper or tea towel, place on a plate and put a couple of heavy books on top. This presses out the water which makes it much better to fry. Leave for 20 minutes or so.
3. Place the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry pan and gently warm through for a minute or until fragrant, keep the pan moving so they don’t catch.
4. Tip the corns out into a pestle and grind so it looks like ground peppercorns.
5. Remove the tofu from the wrapping and cut into cubes, about 1 inch.
6. Using a very hot and DRY pan, fry the tofu on each side until golden brown, remove and leave to one side.
7. This is probably a good time to put your rice on to cook while you finish off the rest. I just boil mine, nothing fancy, just don’t over do it, rinse after cooking, place colander full of rice back over warm pan & hob with a lid on to let steam and make rice nice and fluffy.
8. Using a very hot pan and a sprinkle of oil, fry the aubergine pieces until golden on each side and soft., then set aside on another plate.
9. If the pan is dry, add some more oil and fry the onions until lightly golden, adding the ginger and garlic at the end, and fry for another minute.
10. Add the aubergine, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, chilli paste, sugar, cornflour mixture, Szechuan pepper, and gently stir to combine. When combined add the tofu and stir gently as you don’t want the tofu to break up.
11. When warm through, serve with the rice and a sprinkle of spring onions on top and a glass of ice cold beer.