The thought of me blogging about cooking is pretty hilarious when you consider I failed my cookery 'O' level miserably. In fact during the exam the teacher watching me stir a sauce for half an hour couldn't stand it any longer and snatched the spoon out of my hand. Yes you've guessed it, I forgot to put the cornflour in.
I have learned to cook out of necessity. My sons and myself have been vegetarian for nearly 25 years, there wasn't an awful lot of veggie food available at the time so I made it from scratch. I think a lot of people thought I was pretty weird with my homemade lentil lasagna and bean burgers. I came in for a lot of flack from people thinking I was neglecting my children by not giving them meat or fish, and forcing them to be vegetarian. But it was my sons choice and they are both still vegetarian even now after escaping their 'weird' mother.
I always make sure we have protein in our diet (we really don't need as much as people think we do). One way is by using Tofu, what? I hear some of you say. It is made from Soy bean curd and is a good source of protein without the cholesterol. There is silken, smoked, marinated, medium or firm tofu which is the one I use, it comes vacuum packed from most of the local supermarkets. It is very popular in Asian cookery often in stir fries and really easy to use.
Friends often say that they don't know how to cook with it or what to do with it so I thought I would show you a couple of things I use it for and how to prepare it.
It comes vacuum packed so you need to drain it, then wrap in several layers of kitchen paper, and place something heavy on it to press it. I leave it sitting there while I prepare the veg.
Once it has been pressed for at least 10 minutes, you can then cut it into slices, cube it or crumble it according to whatever you are going to cook, for these recipes I cubed it. For the kebabs, I marinated it in some pesto, but use any sauce you want, sweet chilli, bbq, whatever takes your fancy. I put them on the griddle pan, but they would be nice on the bbq, and brushed more sauce on them as they were cooking.
Tofu with onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms
Another easy way I use it is to throw it in with vegetables for roasting. I used to cook some couscous and add it to the roasting pan once everything was cooked and heat through for a few minutes so the couscous would soak up all the flavours. Delicious hot or for my packed lunch the next day. I can't eat couscous anymore so for this evenings meal I added a sweet chilli sauce to the pan for the last few minutes and served with rice.
Tofu with butternut squash, peppers, mushrooms, onions and asparagus
It is also good for 'woman of a certain age', my doctor recently said to me "I don't know if you have ever tried it, but phytoestrogens in tofu may help when you are going through the menopause". "I eat it all the time" says me smugly.
I'm no expert on tofu, (or cooking come to that) so I would recommend you look up some recipes online.