Posts Tagged With: quick

Quick Tempeh Stir Fry with Buckwheat Noodles, Rainbow Chard and Goji Berries (Gluten Free)

Autumn in a bowl (if you live in the Beach House that is!)

Autumn in a bowl (if you live in the Beach House that is!)

IT’S TIME THE WORLD TRIED TEMPEH!

Here’s a mid-belter to get the taste buds zinging, full of the things we need with winter just around the bend.  When the nights draw in (our clocks have just gone back in the UK which means it gets dark at around 4-5pm already!) we naturally turn to comfort foods rich in carbs to put some padding on for winter.  Stir fries are the ideal way of avoiding really heavy, stodgy grub at this time of year and because the ingredients are cooked quickly, at high heat, they retain more of their health giving properties.  The winter wok is a star and our bodies need a decent kick start to get us through this physically arduous time of year.

Stir fries are always and intense affair, its at the exciting, adrenaline rich end of the cooking spectrum.  You need to be organised, with a very hot pan and trusty spatula at the ready.  If you turn around to grab something, things can go horribly wrong!  This one it ever-so easy to get together and wok, with the pleasing addition of a few superfood-stylee trimmings.  Trust me, the name of this dish sounds far more complex than the cooking.

WHAT’S TEMPEH AND WHY?

Tempeh is so easy to prepare, highly fuss-free and packed with all the protein a vegan needs to sparkle.  Soya is best kept wholebean and the thing I love about tempeh is you can actually see the beans (see below).  Tempeh originated from the Indonesia area and is eaten extensively as a meat substitute, although it is surely appreciated for just being highly tasty (I prefer this approach).  It is whole soya beans, packed together and partly fermented which leads to the health benfits of soya being accentuated.  Our body can utilise its goodness more directly.

Tempeh is now relatively easy to track down in the UK and you can of course find it on line.  I like to eat it regularly, normally as an alternative to tofu.  It always seems like a treat when the tempeh is cracked open. You can buy it frozen in long logs in some Oriental shops/ supermarkets.  The tempeh we use here was in ‘log’ form.  You can steam this tempeh for 10 minutes to revitalise it before cooking.  Frozen tempeh is alot drier than jarred tempeh (which is suspended in brine) so it will absorb much more marinade.   Like most of these vegan, pulse based curd-like creations, it does need a nice, slow marinade to impart wonderful flavours.  Tempeh and tofu are really just ridiculously nutritious launch pads for high charged flavour rockets!!!!  I’ve gone for a straightforward marinade here and 30 minutes should do the trick, marinade wise, on a busy week night, although a couple of hours would be quite awesome.

Tempeh chunks mid marinade

Tempeh chunks mid marinade

Soba noodles are well up there in my noodle league.  They have a firm texture and loads of nutritional perks.  Just check the quantity of buckwheat to wheat if you’re keeping things low gluten.  Pure buckwheat noodles are available, but ‘soba’ noodles are normally a mix.

AUTUMNAL ANTI-OXIDANT FIX

Are we all familiar with goji berries?  They seem to have been a superfood for at least 3000 years now, originating somewhere in ancient China and always very highly regarded for their potent nutritional properties.  Goji’s are the ideal autumn/ winter defence blanket for all kinds of cold/ flu invasions.  Highly charged with anti-oxidants and happy chemicals, a handful of goji’s a day, keeps the snotty, coughy zombie man at bay.  You can pick them up all over the place now and they are the perfect winter salad/ stew ‘sprinkle’ of choice.  If you’re in the UK, try a rosehip as a more local substitute.  They have very similar properties, but would have looked a little incongruous on a highly Oriental style stir fry!

We also have peppers in the mix, which are very (very), very high in vitamin C.  One of the best sources in the vegetal world in fact.  Then we have our friend rainbow chard which is a green and we all know what they do.  Anything green and leafy is our bodies best friend, packed with vitamins and minerals (for more chard -based info – See the ‘Foodie Fact’ below).

If you are looking from serious detox properties from this wok wonder, I’d recommend taking it easier on the shoyu and mirin due to sodium and sugar (respectively) contents.  Our kidneys and liver are never happy to see high levels of salt and sweetness.

 

A WORD ON COOKING CHARD 

Chard contains some funky acids (oxalic acids), whilst not harmful, it is best to avoid them.  Our bodies can absorb the goodness of chard easier when the acids are out of the way.  The best way to do this it to steam or boil them for a few minutes.  Do not use this cooking liquid for soups or stocks.

Last night, we fancied something like a chow mein style dish, low on sauce and high on noodles.  To make this more of a soup, just add some shoyu/ tamari or miso to the water when cooking your noodles (taste the broth to decide how strong you like it) and serve ladled over the final dish.

The Bits – For 2

200g tempeh (cut into chunks, we like big ones, most people go for small 1 cm by 3cm oblong shapes)

1 tbs sunflower oil

1/2 teas toasted sesame oil

 

Marinade

3 teas shoyu/ tamari or good soya sauce (ie not heavily processed)

2 teas mirin or sake/ cream sherry with a pinch of sugar

1 1/2 teas sesame oil

 

4 large stems rainbow chard (finely sliced) – spinach, kale, savoy cabbage etc..any green leaf is cool

1 bell pepper (diced)

1 medium carrot (cut into thin batons, or sliced)

1/2 inch ginger (finely diced)

1 red chilli (if you like it hot)

 

175-200g buckwheat/ soba noodles

1 handful goji berries (soaked for 30 minutes in water)

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 teas lemon juice

Quick Tempeh Stir Fry with Buckwheat Noodles, Rainbow Chard and Goji Berries

Quick Tempeh Stir Fry with Buckwheat Noodles, Rainbow Chard and Goji Berries

Do It

Marinade the tempeh, pour over the ingredients, cover and leave in a fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

I like to start with the noodles, bring 1 ltr of water to a boil and submerge the noodles whole (try not to break them up).  Stir with a fork to keep the noodles seperated, adding a splash of oil if they start sticking (some brands of noodles will do this, its the high buckwheat content I think).  Cook them for a few minutes (follow what the packet says), drain them (or make a broth – see above) and pop them back into the warm pan.  Shake the noodles gently to make sure they’re all happy and seperated, pop a lid on and set aside.

If you are a highly accomplished wok master you can start stir frying whilst the noodles are on their way.

Warm up a wok/ large frying pan and add  1/2 of the sunflower/ sesame oils, on a medium high heat, add the drained tamari and stif fry for 5 minutes, trying to get your chunks coloured on all sides.  Gently play with them as not to break them up.   Set aside and keep warm.  I put a plate on to of the noodle pan and cover it with another plate, using the heat from the noodles to warm the tempeh!

Steamy wok action

Steamy wok action

During the entire stir frying process, the pan can get too hot and leading to burnt bits.  Sprinkle a little water  into the pan to avoid this, slightly lowering the temperature.  Just a s sprinkle is enough, overdoing it will lead to limp veg. 

Wipe the pan if it needs it and add the rest of the oil, on a high heat, add the carrots and ginger stir fry until softened, roughly a minute, then add the other veggies and keep stir frying until they are wilted, softened and delicious.  Remember we want crunch and vitality with a stir fry, so slightly undercook the veggies (they continue to cook when you are preparing to serve). Add a splash of your marinade ingredients to the pan towards the end of cooking to add a little pizzazz, followed by a little lemon juice to cut through all that salty tamari-style behaviour.

Pour the veggies into the noodle pan and combine them nicely together.

Serve

Pour into warm shallow bowls and top with the tempeh and sprinkles of gojis and sesame seeds.

As an option – mix a little more of the marinade ingredients together and people can season their noodles as they like.

Foodie Fact

Chard is a member of the chenopod family, with beetroot, spinach and surprisingly, quinoa!  It is native to the Mediterranean where it has been honoured for its medicinal properties since ancient times, Aristotle even wrote about it!

Chard is packed with phyto nutrients, in fact there are 13 different types of these beneficial chemicals in chard leaves.  Abnormally high!  They can help the heart and regulate blood sugar levels.  Chard is also high in the betalians, like beetroot, the yellow stems have many more than the red and these wonder nutrients help us with detox, inflammation and are a powerful anti-oxidant.  Chard boasts many health giving properties that aid the nervous system, especially the eyes (bags of vitamin A).  High levels of vitamin K and magnesium mean that chard is also aids strong bones.

Green leafy foliage should make regular appearances on our plates if we are looking for optimum health with minimum fuss/ expense.

Categories: Autumn, Detox, gluten-free, Healing foods, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rainbow Kale and Tofu Sabzi (Beach House Basics)

Rainbow Kale and Tofu Sabzi

“Simple is best.”

Sage advice and I managed to stick with it this time.  This Sabzi is quick, super healthy and a staple at the BHK.  All it takes is a little tofu, a scattering of seasonal veggies and a few sprinkles of fine spices.

Sabzi (pronounced ‘sabji’ or ‘chi’, my Hindi is not great) is a simple vegetable curry in India that is the cornerstone of most Indian meals. Sabzi, rice, chappatis, maybe some pickle and dahi (yoghurt), that is a hearty, balanced feast that can be enjoyed everywhere across India. It fuelled me daily and around 1 billion other folk on the sub continent for that matter.

Travelling in India is such a treat for all the senses, especially the belly sense.  The smell of toasting chappatis and a bubbling sabzi is a truly magical thing.  My best eating experiences in India were sat on the floor, on mats in communal canteens, eating by hand from a metal thali plate or banana leaf, steaming curries and daals served straight out of buckets.

This is a quick and easy Sabzi that I made a little heartier and healthier with the addition of the tofu, a substitute of sorts for paneer.  Make sure you get the firm tofu, it comes in many different textures and the firmer the better for cooking.  Silken tofu has a lower fat content and will just dissolve (but does make amazing tofu ice cream!)

Sabzi in India is prepared with what is growing locally and seasonally, the only way you can eat in most parts of the world, what you eat is where you are and for that reason, one of the wonderful things about travelling the world.  Our choice of veggies here reflects this with some gorgeous local organic tomatoes (plucked from the farms poly-tunnel).  The kale was yanked (lovingly) out of the Beach House garden, it’s actually doing quite well now winter is here!?  I have alot to learn with plants!  We are loving the cavolo nero cabbage that is available at the moment, it’s very dark green which can only be a good thing.  It has a really full texture and strong flavour making it perfect for stews, soups and even smoothies.

Oops!  I’ve managed to delete the rest of the photos from the camera but the dish is such a winner, I thought I’d share it anyway.

Serves four hungry sorts.

The Bits

1/2 block of firm tofu (chopped into cubes), 10 stems of kale (sliced), 6 stems of cabbage (like cavolo nero, long leafed is best, sliced), 1 stem celery (chopped), 1 courgette (cubed), 1 onion (chopped), 2 carrots (cubed), 4 tomatoes, 1 inch cube ginger (finely sliced), 4 cloves garlic (crushed), 2 teas turmeric, 1 teas gram masala, 1 teas chilli powder, 1/2 handful of methi leaves (curry leaves), 1/2 cup water, sea salt.

Do It

Add onion to the pan on a medium heat, get them nice and glassy, then add your ginger, spices and garlic, fry for a further 3 minutes.  Add your courgette, tofu and carrot and fry for 3 minutes, then the methi leaves and the tomatoes and cook this mixture down a little (5 more minutes will do).  The pan should be nice and hot, toss the kale and cabbage in along with the water, it should steam up nicely, put on a low the heat and pop a lid on the pan and leave to gently cook for 10 mins.  Check seasoning and serve piping hot.  This will keep very well overnight and may even be better for a good rest the next day.

Serve

With basmati rice (we used wholegrain) and some dahi (yoghurt), mango pickle if you have can.  If you have time and the skills, make some fresh chapattis.  This type of sabzi would normally be served out of a thali plate, a metal plate with compartments.

We Love It!

Eating Sabzi in Wales is a little like riding an elephant down Caernarfon high street, slightly incongruous yet very satisfying.

Foodie Fact

Tofu was discovered thousands of years ago in Japan, it is basically curdled soya bean milk.  It boasts many health giving properties from a plant based food.  Tofu is a brilliant source of protein and calcium.  Soy protein can lower your chances of getting a dodgy ticker and has also been shown to help during menopause.  Tofu is virtually fat free and contains many anti-oxidants and omega 3 fats.

In the absence of tofu photos, here I am with a cool car.

Categories: Curries, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Quick Green Lentil Stew

This is one for the ‘Beach House Basics’ page; the place to go for simple food, prepared with love (of course!).  Good food does not necessarily mean complex with loads of ingredients and this is one that we make regularly.

Sometimes, when writing this blog, I forget that people just want something easy.  I normally put the more elaborate or special occasion dishes that we make, but really, the everyday food is just as good, just not quite as fancy.

This stew can be made with puy lentils, which many would class as the best, I feel that green lentils make a good substitute (and are cheaper).  The lemon, chilli and coriander give the stew a lift, making it great for this time of year (its springtime in Britain).

Like so many recipes, this could be used as a side dish, but for me, it deserves to be center stage.  Adding the potatoes means this is a definite main course filler.

The coriander is something we had in the kitchen, but you could use any fresh green leaf herb really and the lemon could always be a lime instead.

This recipe needs dried lentils that need soaking (overnight).  Otherwise this is minimal fuss and maximum munch!

This recipe will be a good dinner for two people, though we normally cook in bulk and dip into it over a few days.

Green Lentil Stew

The Bits 

1 cup of green lentils (soaked overnight) or one tin, 1 clove garlic (finely chopped), 1 great carrot (chopped) , 2 large tomato (chopped), a few new potatoes (sliced), 1/2 teas of chilli flakes, 1 big handful of coriander, juice of half a lemon, a glug of olive oil, 1 pint of good veg stock (as needed).

Do It

Drain soaked lentils (a quick wash for them) and cover with your veg stock (approx 1 inch above lentils) in a saucepan.  Add a little sea salt and bring gently to the boil, then cover and simmer.  Cook as per packet guidelines (30 minutes should do), try one for ‘bite’.

Once lentils are 10 minutes from being cooked, stir them and add your potatoes (it should be looking quite stew-like by now) and cook for 5 minutes, then add your garlic, chilli, carrots and tomatoes, cook for a further 5 minutes.  Then stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and coriander and place a lid on the stew, turning the heat off.  Let the flavours marinade for a few minutes and then serve.

Serve

We normally have it topped with a little olive oil and toasted sunflower seeds, with brown rice and yoghurt.   Just by itself with a fresh green salad is also great.

We Love It!

This is perfect for when you only have a small window of time to work your kitchen magic!

Foodie Fact

These wonder legumes are filled with cholesterol lowering fibre, they also help to maintain your blood sugar levels.  They contain high levels of six important minerals, two vitamin B’s and protein, with hardly any calories.

 

 

Categories: Budget, Dinner, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Recipes, Side Dish, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chilli & Onion Marmalade (Beach House Basics)

Buster smells cooking

I have always loved this gooey, sweet stuff.  I remember years ago, I made my first batch and was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was.   This is the case with so many recipes, you just need to give them a go.  For this reason, we have created the Beach House Basics page (see at the top of the page).

The Beach House Basics will be a page dedicated to simple, cheap and normally quick recipes that we cook regularly.  With just a little time and effort, we can make so many more homemade goodies, to our own taste and not rely on mass produced, factory made fare.

The Beach House Basics page will not include the ‘Foodies Fact’ and ‘Boozie Bit’ section.  It will be straight to the point, that is, great recipes.

We would love you to get involved with the Beach House Kitchen, letting us know your favourite, most simple and rewarding recipes. We’ll pop them on the ‘Basics’ page with a nice link you.

This recipe reflects my taste, hence a little chill and coriander.  The basic recipe, without spices, is great on its own and I normally omit the sugar, the onions being sweet enough.  Onion Marmalade is a great staple relish to have hanging around, always there to add a delicious tangy sweetness to your plate.

Sweaty Onions

The Bits

6 white onions, glug of olive oil, 1 teas chilli flakes, 1 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas black mustard seeds, 1 bay leaf, 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs brown sugar (depending on your sweet tooth), s + p to taste.

Do It

Slice onions finely, heat a large heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil, add onions, and all other ingredients (except the vinegar), gently cook (don’t brown) stirring regularly for roughly 45 minutes.  The onions will gradually brown and go sticky.  Add the vinegar halfway through cooking, taste to check for balance of sweetness with sharpness.  Add more balsamic or sugar if you like.  The flavours will mellow when cooled.  At end, take out bay leaf.

When cooled, put in a nice jam jar or tupperware, ready to be lathered on biscuits or crackers, preferably with a nice lump of potent cheddar.

If you are not planning on using the onion marmalade immediately, wash a Kilner jar or a couple of jam jars, rinse thoroughly, then dry in a warm oven. Stand them upside down on a clean tea towel.

For jam jars, fill them, then cover the marmalade with a disc of waxed paper while still hot, then seal with a dampened disc of clear plastic, secure with an elastic band and screw back on the top.  Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months, then use as required.

Categories: Budget, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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