ReadyScramble(TM)

…okay fine it’s not actually trademarked.

one day recently, having run out of tofu to do scrambles, i started thinking about yellow split peas. could i use them to make a scrambled egg analogue? would it be vile?

i decided to use yellow split peas to make ‘burmese-style’ tofu, using this recipe, so that i could satisfy my curiosity.

the resulting scramble was AMAZING.

my super über-patented ReadyScramble(TM) eggy yellow split peas make a much softer scramble than normal tofu – a bit like polenta crossed with fried mushy peas (but delicious i promise!). their star quality comes from their ability to hold flavours like added vegan cheese, the way they mimic softer scrambled eggs, how you can fry them in slices to make vegg mcmuffins, and of course the fact that it’s ridiculously cheap to make – 1 1/4 cups of peas turns into twice the soybean curd you’d buy in the shops, for like one fifth of the price.

see the difference in size? ridiculous.

so i’m going to give you my mods on the aforementioned burmese-style tofu recipe, and then you can make ReadyScramble(TM) yourself! my prowess as a cook evidently isn’t matched by similar business acumen as i’m giving away my patented recipe for free :-p

ReadyScramble(TM)
ingredients
3 cups water
1 1/4 cup yellow split peas, soaked in hot water overnight, drained, and rinsed
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion granules
1/2 to 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup margarine
1/3 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

method
if you forgot to soak your peas overnight, have no fear! just pour boiling water over them, let sit for a couple of hours, drain, then pour more boiling water over and let sit for a couple more hours. if you’re really pressed for time you could try boiling them on the hob for 10 minutes then leaving for an hour. anyways!

put your soaked, drained, rinsed peas into a blender or food processor along with all the spices, nutritional yeast, margarine, and 1/2 cup of water. blend until the peas start to come together into a smooth paste. scrape down the sides of your processor, add another 1/2 cup of water, and blend until smooth.

have a large container, or a couple of smaller ones, ready to use. i oiled mine but that’s not strictly necessary. bring the remaining two cups of water to boil in a large pot. stir in the paste and whisk over high heat nonstop for 8 minutes. an electric whist REALLY helps here, because the mixture will get thick and your arms will get tired. keep an analogue whisk to hand though as my electric one crapped out halfway through :-/

when the 8 minutes is up, whisk in the shredded cheese if using. pour the mixture into its container(s) and let cool for at least an hour.

all you need to do now for a delicious eggy scramble, is crumble a slice into 1 Tbsp hot oil in a frying pan, and let fry on high for a few minutes. put it on toast, muffins, in burritos, in breakfast toasties…now i’m hungry again…maybe time for another scramble……

i made a fancy thing!! polenta provençal 

sorry for the shitty, multiple-filtered picture. i was going to take a picture immediately upon plating, but i just *had* to have a bite. then, halfway into eating it, i remembered to take a picture. 

so what goes into polenta provençal, i can hear you ask. WELL.

this is a great meal because it looks très fancy but you can prepare all the different components in advance and combine them all together for a super-quick showstopper of a meal.

first thing’s first! go make a whole bunch of the ppk’s chickpea cutlets. you can freeze them before the frying stage too so they’re ready to whip out and cook at a moment’s notice. one of these will sit on top of your polenta, swimming in provençal sauce. 

so i’ll go ahead and write up my polenta and sauce recipes below, for your delectation. 

cheesy polenta
ingredients
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups vegetable stock (can use a combination of stock and plant milk for a creamier flavour)
2Tbsp margarine
1tsp garlic granules
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 head’s worth of boiled cauliflower florets, coarsely mashed (optional)
grated vegan cheese to taste (optional)

method
look, i make polenta very simply. some people recommend whisking in the cornmeal after bringing the stock to boil – fuck that. put your cornmeal and cauliflower (if using) into a large pan, and pour the liquid over slowly while stirring. if you stir with a fork it helps prevent and break up lumps.

THEN bring your pan to a boil over high heat. add the garlic granules and pepper. you’re going to want to stir this fairly frequently. 

after you’ve brought it to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer (else it’ll start spitting at you). keep stirring frequently. you’ll notice it thickening up nicely. when it’s at pudding consistency, take it off heat and add the margarine, nooch, and cheese. stir well and ladle it out immediately – it will solidify more as it cools!

if you’re making this in advance and it goes very solid in the fridge, you have a couple options. you can either bake or fry it which is delicious, or if you want it more liquid you can whisk in boiled water in a pan and bring it back to boil.

provençal sauce
ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced into small cubes
2 sticks celery, de-stringed and chopped finely
2Tbsp capers with brine
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced (omit if on a low-potassium diet)
oil or margarine for frying

method
heat the oil or margarine in a skillet over low heat. add the onion, carrot, and celery, stirring to coat in oil. this is a pretty low-maintenance pan right now – just make sure the mirepoix is spread out evenly and leave it for awhile to soften, stirring occasionally. 

you can wait until the onions are translucent and the carrots soft, or you can even leave for longer until the mixture is golden-brown and caramelised. in any case when cooked to your liking add the capers, brine, and tomato if using, and allow to simmer for a bit longer to let the flavours meld. can be used straightaway or refridgerated/frozen.

fad food: tofu scramble

does anyone else ever get into a rut, where all they want to eat is the last thing they ate? that is basically my life.

lately i’ve been making the fam breakfast burritos, because come on. while they’ve ranged from basic to fancy, they all have one common denominator: scrambled tofu. my obsession has been reignited (even as my eldest has decided he hates burritos).

so i’m going to share my basic, bare-bones scrambled tofu recipe, as i’ve just eaten it for my second meal of the day.

scrambled tofu
ingredients (for one gluttonous portion)
1/4 packet of tofu, drained
small pinches of the following: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
vegetable oil and/or margarine for frying

***optional extras***
a few dashes of the following: vegan worcester sauce, tabasco
1 chopped vegan sausage or hot dog
2 Tbsp grated vegan cheese

method
heat the oil/margarine in a skillet over medium heat (if your pan gets really hot put it on low-medium). put the block of tofu in the pan whole, then break up into bits with a wooden spatula or spoon. (this is key – it’s hard to get a nice scrambled texture with evenly-cut tofu.)

once the block is broken up to your satisfaction, put in the spices and stir to evenly coat the tofu. now’s the time to add your sauces and sausages too.

fry until most of the water has left the tofu, then turn off the hob. add the nutritional yeast and grated cheese if using, and stir through. serve immediately in a tortilla or bap, or on hot buttered toast.

tofeta or not tofeta (hint: yes)

so i was on facebook, as i often am, trawling through the ‘what fat vegans eat’ group, as i often do. (go join this group now. it will make you hungry.)

anyways i saw this beautiful picture, accompanied by a loose recipe, and became hungry. i am basically on a cheese kick but hate complicated bullshit recipes involving cultures and rejuvelac and bullshit, so this recipe appealed to me straightaway because:

1. i already had all the ingredients to hand.
2. the most complicated thing i had to do was slice tofu.

yesss.

so here we go, a more formal recipe:

tofeta
ingredients
half a block of tofu, cut into 1cm cubes
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp mint
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 to 3 Tbsp lemon juice
enough olive oil to cover

method
really? just chuck it all into an airtight container, shake it around, and leave it in the fridge for a few hours until you want to use it. occasionally take it out, shake it a bit, and look longingly at it.

i kept it marinating for about a day and made greek salad with it.

image

LOOK AT IT.

using up kale

let’s just come right out with it: i don’t really like kale. you will never find me buying kale in a supermarket. kale is basically glorified cabbage, but like twice as expensive.

and yet. it’s always the first thing i use when the veg box comes, because i don’t want to deal with a bunch of rotten leaves at the end of the week.

a few weeks ago the kale was used up at the expense of the baby, who now has loads of frozen cooked kale cubes to add to his dinners. sorry, kid.

but i do have a couple go-to recipes to use up the bloody stuff. one is raw, in case you’re the type that likes to juice cleanse or whatever, and one is cooked and stodgy. there’s also soup, but soup is boring.

ly-ly’s kale salad
ingredients
around 2 cups very finely chopped kale (for the love of god remove the spines first)
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs
one garlic clove, finely minced
quarter of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 4 Tbsp olive oil

method
mix the dressing ingredients in a salad bowl, then add the kale and allow to wilt a bit. add breadcrumbs and serve.

creamy kale gratin
ingredients
2 cups finely chopped kale, spines removed
1 large or a couple smaller potatoes, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes
(bonus extra root veg that needs using up)
1 leek or onion, diced
a few garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 to 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup soya milk
salt to taste (i’d recommend around 1 tsp)
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs, combined with yeast and salt in a food processor

method
melt the margarine over low heat in a large pan. add salt, leek, kale, and garlic, cooking for a minute. then add the potatoes and other veg, stirring and covering.

cook until the potatoes are fork tender, then add the nutmeg and soya milk. remove from heat and add the yeast. you want a creamy sauce – if the yeast makes it too thick add more milk.

pour the mixture into a baking dish, top with the breadcrumbs, and bake at 220C/gas mark 6 until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce is bubbly.

the white sauce grimoire

image

see this?  it’s called a roux, and it is your new best friend.

just by combining flour and margarine over the hob, you now have a magic thickener that enables you to turn a 59p carton of soya milk – or any other non-dairy milk, hell, even water – into a delicious white sauce that even your omni friends will love.

(apologies if you already know what a roux is, my tone is perhaps more condescending than strictly necessary.)

i’m going to give you my recipe for a basic, bare-bones white sauce, and then tell you how i fancy it up.  all measurements are for around 100g of pasta, or enough for two people.

image

oooooh lookie i did a mise-en-place! lol

basic white sauce
ingredients
2 to 3 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flour (can be gluten-free flour if you must)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soya milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t have any to hand, substitute with 1/2 to 1 tsp marmite.  but add more salt to get rid of that bitter aftertaste!)

method
1. melt the margarine over a low-medium heat.  add the salt and flour, and stir until combined into a paste – about one minute.

2. immediately add a splash of the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth.  add the yeast and stir.

3. gradually add the rest of the milk while stirring, until the sauce is smooth and well-mixed.

4. allow to thicken over the heat.  don’t worry if it boils – this is non-dairy milk!  add more milk for a thinner sauce.

5. take off heat.  sauce will thicken upon standing.

image

pictured: fancy chipotle mac

variations
bechamel – add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and possibly a bay leaf while on the heat

pepper sauce – bechamel + 1 to 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

mac’n’cheez – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and 1 tsp cider vinegar

cheddar mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 Tbsp tomato passata (or 1 tsp paste)

chipotle mac – mac’n’cheez + 1 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce such as cholula), and 1 to 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander and a quarter of a lime added when the sauce is off the heat.  i also added avocado and vegan chorizo sausage to mine.

fondue – add 1 tsp garlic granules and 1/4 cup hard cider or beer

hollandaise – add 1/2 to 1 tsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, and either half a lemon’s zest or a quarter of a lemon’s juice

lemon cream – add 1/2 tsp garlic granules and the zest of a whole lemon. smoked paprika is nice with this one too.

that’s what i got today.  stay tuned for why you really need to keep nutritional yeast around at all times!