Sticky Miso Aubergine

Sticky Miso Aubergine (Eggplant)

I’m just back from a little holiday in Edinburgh during which I took a bit of a digital detox (I did have 1 post scheduled for while I was away) which I’m sure was good for me, but I am missing blogging and blog-reading after only 5 days away from my computer! I’m beginning to catch up with my reader and thought I’d give you a recipe to keep you going before I fill you in on my time away.

A recent survey on The Kitchn showed aubergine (eggplant) to be the least favourite summer vegetable, something I’m not hugely surprised about, but a shame all the same. I’ve had some pretty bad aubergine dishes in the past until I learnt how to cook it to show it at its best. Roasting is usually the way to go for me: simply seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled in olive oil, the spongy chunks sweeten and soften. I love aubergine in tagines and curries too, where, after a long simmer it seems to soak up whatever tasty sauce you’re using.

Sticky Miso Aubergine (Eggplant)

I wanted to try a different flavour profile this time, and travelled to the Far East for this dish. This is a cross-between Mabo Nasu, a Chinese aubergine stir-fry, and Nasu Dengaku, grilled miso-glazed aubergine. Both sounded good to me, so I combined them! It’s a quick recipe to make as all stir-fries are, and the sweet, salty miso sauce coating it all will, I’m sure, have even vegetable-haters hoovering up a whole plateful.

The seasonings I’ve used are ones I always have in my kitchen, but perhaps they’re not typical in everyone’s pantries… I’ve mentioned the company Clearspring on the blog before and their fantastic line of Japanese seasonings are what I’ve used here. I’m planning a full review of their products but for now will highly recommend these ones if you need to stock up on Asian supplies.

Note: Whichever brand of Mirin you use, something to be aware of is that most nowadays contain either sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives, so try to find one where the rice is naturally fermented and with no additives.

Sticky Miso Aubergine (Eggplant)

Sticky Miso Aubergine

We ate this as a main dish, just alongside some brown rice and stir-fried Chinese greens but it would be a welcome addition to any Asian meal.

1 Medium aubergine, diced large
1t Sesame oil (or another high-heat oil )
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Green pepper, diced large
1 t Sesame oil
1 Clove of garlic, minced
1” Piece of ginger, minced

1/2T Red miso
3/4T Agave nectar
1 1/2T Rice vinegar
1 1/2T Mirin
1 1/2T Tamari
1/2T Arrowroot
Pinch of chili flakes

Toasted sesame seeds to garnish.

Whisk together sauce ingredients  in a small bowl. Set aside.

Warm 1t sesame oil in a pan or wok over med-high heat, stir-fry the aubergine chunks in the oil for approx 10 minutes until fairly soft. Remove from pan to a bowl.

Heat another teaspoon of sesame oil in the pan and stir-fry the onion and pepper until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook, be careful not to let them burn though.

Return aubergine to the pan and pour over the sauce. It should thicken up almost immediately and create a sticky glaze. Continue to stir until all coated and hot.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to serve.

Are you one of the aubergine-haters out there? Perhaps I can change your mind with this dish!
If you’re a fan, how do you like to prepare it?

Summer Rolls (+ Sprouting)

Summer Rolls

(If you follow me on Instagram (@coconutandberries) or on Facebook, you might have had a little sneak preview of these beauties. If not, let’s connect! )

I associate “spring rolls” with the appetizer you find in Chinese restaurants. A greasy, fried pastry of sorts with some indistinguishable vegetable filling. Not something I want to be eating anyway. I know the uncooked, cold rolls are sometimes called “spring rolls” too, but I’m sticking with “summer rolls” for mine so they have none of those connotations.  Besides, they’re so colourful that they’re perfectly summery!

Summer Rolls (Packed with good stuff) + Sprouting

I’m a huge fan of beans and legumes and another way to enjoy them is sprouted! You can sprout almost any seed, legume or grain and eat them raw. They’re incredibly healthy- packed with fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and beneficial enzymes, not to mention they taste delicious. You might be a little intimidated by the process but I promise it’s so easy and you don’t need any fancy equipment. Here’s a great guide, including a video.

It’s pretty fun watching the little tails grow and the sprouts come alive! If you don’t have a garden or are too impatient to grow vegetables, sprouting is perfect for you, as within a couple of days your sprouts will be ready to eat.

You can eat them any way you like- add them to salads, make raw hummus from sprouted chickpeas. Sprouted grains like buckwheat and quinoa are delicious for breakfast too, eaten like cereal with non-dairy milk and fruit.

Lentil Sprouts (Sprouting)

I opted for lentil sprouts this time as I had a nearly-finished bag of green lentils I wanted to use up. They added the perfect crunch and boost of nutrients to my summer rolls.

Fruit, Veggies + Sprouts for Summer Rolls

Mise-en-place is important when making your rolls. It makes life much easier if all your ingredients are ready before you get going. Let your imagination be your guide with your choice of fillings. Fresh herbs are not optional in my opinion though as they really bring these to life. As you can see from the picture below, I changed my mind at the last minute and added some sliced avocado for a nice texture contrast.

Summer Rolls (Packed with good stuff) + Sprouting

The Best Summer Rolls:

3/4C Shredded carrot
3/4 Shredded beetroot
1/4C Fresh coriander (leaves only)
1/2C Lentil sprouts
1/2 Medium mango, thinly sliced
1/2 Small avocado
Rice Paper Wrappers (I got mine from a local Asian store but you should be able to find them in health-food stores and supermarkets too)

Peanut-Ginger Sauce

This is a variation on the sauce I used for my 10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles, but a mini batch, just enough for these rolls.

1T Peanut Butter
1T Non-dairy milk
1/2t Tamari
1/2t Lemon/lime juice
1/2t Agave nectar
1/2t Grated fresh ginger
Dash of cayenne

As mentioned, have all your filling ingredients chopped and prepped.

Fill a large shallow dish with warm water (bath temperature). Dip one rice paper wrapper in the water and leave a few seconds to soften it. Rice paper rolls vary hugely in size and thickness but don’t leave it in there too long. It should still be slightly firm because when you lay it out it will continue to absorb the water on its surface. Lay wrapper carefully on a flat surface, being careful not to get it stuck to itself (It might take a couple of tries before you get the hang of it- they are very delicate).

Layer your fillings down the centre of the rice paper circle, make sure you’ve got a bit of everything in there. Add a little sriracha and a squeeze of lime if you like. Fold the ends over the filling and then tightly roll the sides around to create a parcel.

Repeat until all your fillings are used up.

Whisk together ingredients for sauce and serve alongside rolls for dipping.

(Makes 4 large Rolls/Serves 1)

It’s like a salad in held-held form! These make a great packed lunch as they travel well but don’t keep them in the fridge for more than a few hours as the wrappers tend to harden up.

Summer Rolls (Packed with good stuff) + Sprouting

Have you tried sprouting or making spring/summer rolls before?

What are your favourite sprouts?

10-Minute Raw Peanut Noodles

10-Minute Raw Peanut Noodles

10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles

I’ve been a raw food fan for a while now. I love the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts + seeds in their natural state and especially love how a raw meal makes me feel- nourished and energized! I’ve done a week eating all raw before and even celebrated my 21st birthday at Saf, a fantastic raw restaurant in London.

Despite how much it now, when I first came across raw cuisine I was a little intimidated by all the gourmet recipes I came across that took days to prepare and lots of expensive superfoods I’d never heard of before. But I soon came to realize that raw food doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated to taste good, and in fact sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. I’ve got a few raw recipes on the blog so far, a couple of salads, a smoothie and desserts and wanted to post a super quick everyday recipe that I make variations on frequently.

I have a spiralizer (the Benriner, pictured) that I use to make raw veggie noodles, but a julienne peeler works just as well, or you can even make thick “pappardelle” type noodles with a regular vegetable peeler. Courgette noodles are the classic but I wanted an extra colourful dish this time so I made carrot noodles too and added thinly sliced red pepper and lots of fresh herbs.  Edamame and cashews turned this into a more substantial meal, and finally I coated everything with a slightly spicy peanut sauce, so good I couldn’t resist licking my plate after finishing!

10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles

10-Minute Raw Peanut Noodles:

1 Medium courgette, spiralized
2 Small carrots, spiralized
1/2 Red pepper, sliced thinly
1/3 C Edamame, cooked and cooled
2T Fresh basil, julienned
2T Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2T Toasted Cashews (I actually used some Tamari-roasted Cashews from Clearspring that I had on hand)

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce:

1T Peanut butter
1T Lime juice
1/2T Agave
1/2t Toasted sesame oil
1 Small clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/2t Tamari
A little water to thin (to make as runny as you like it- though bear in mind the vegetables will release water when coated in the sauce so don’t make it too thin!)

Note: Most store-bought peanut butter uses roasted not raw peanuts, so if you’re concerned about the “raw” status of this dish try almond butter instead. The edamame are also cooked so omit for raw and add more nuts instead.

10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles

Prepare dressing first: Simply stir stir all ingredients in a jar or bowl together until completely smooth and add a little water, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary (depending on consistency of your peanut butter), until it reaches your desired consistency. Set aside.

Spiralize your vegetables and chop your herbs. Mix all the ingredients, except the sauce, in a large bowl, you might want to cut some of the noodles if they’re particularly long to make them a little easier to eat (!). Finally drizzle over your sauce and toss to coat everything.

Serves 1

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog hop Raw Foods Thursdays

10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles

Are you a raw food fan? What are your favourite simple and speedy raw recipes?

Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Grilled Asian Tofu

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Asian Grilled Tofu

There are so many food ideas I want to try that inevitably it takes me longer to get to certain things than others. Case in point: Cauliflower “rice” arrived on the scene, at least on my radar, several months ago. It got added to the queue and was only finally made by me a week or so ago. I’ve said this before but if only there were more meals in the day (and time to make them…) so I could get to making all the creative recipes out there , as well as my own recipe ideas, faster!

Cauliflower Rice with Grilled Asian Tofu

Before anyone thinks I’m going on some carb-eliminating diet or something, I better just stop and say that I’m in no way cutting grains from my diet. Rice features in a good many of my meals and I have no problem with it at all- Make mine brown basmati though please Smile.  Sometimes, however, I’m simply in the mood for a more vegetable-centric meal.

To the cauiflower “rice” base I added plenty of other vegetables, including edamame, a favourite of mine, and also a great source of protein, so even without the grilled tofu on top you’ve got a fairly substantial dish. Simply seasoned with lots of ginger and garlic and a couple of splashes of tamari it’s a snap to put together too.

Stir-fry Edamame and Red Pepper

Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Grilled Asian Tofu:

For the Tofu (Optional):
(From Veganomicon)

1/2 400g/8oz Block Tofu, Drained, Pressed and cut into thin slices (I got 4 rectangles)
1/4C Mirin
1 1/2T Tamari
1T Brown rice vinegar
1/2T Sesame oil
1/2t Sriracha chili sauce
1/2” Pc fresh ginger, chopped into large chunks (for flavouring the marinade)
1 Clove garlic, smashed (for flavouring the marinade)

 For the Cauliflower “Rice”

1 Small head cauliflower
1 T Coconut OR Olive OR Sesame (not the toasted kind) oil
2 Lg cloves garlic
1T Minced fresh ginger
1 Red pepper, diced
3/4 C Frozen edamame
1/2 C Corn
2T Tamari
3 Spring/Green Onions, thinly sliced
Fresh coriander, for garnish

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Edamame, Corn, Red Pepper and Spring Onions

If making the tofu, prepare marinade first. Mix all listed ingredients except tofu in a large, shallow dish. Lay slices of tofu in the marinade, spoon over liquid, cover and set to marinade for 30 minutes, flipping tofu halfway through.

While marinating prepare the vegetables. Using a food processor pulse cauliflower florets until a coarse, rice-like (!) texture, or alternatively chop finely. I got 4 cups of rice. Set aside.

Heat a stove-top grill pan lightly brushed with oil for about 3 minutes. Remove tofu from marinade and place on pan. Using tongs gently press tofu into the grill ridges, to get nice dark lines. Cook for 3 minutes on 1 side before lifting, then flip over and cook for another 2 minutes. Move to a chopping board and cut each piece diagonally into 2 triangles.

While tofu is cooking,  heat oil in a wok or large pan until very hot but not smoking,  toss in ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while, until aromatic.
Add red pepper and edamame and continue to cook a further 2 minutes until pepper is beginning to soften, then add corn and cauliflower and mix together well.
After another 2 minutes, drizzle the tamari over and stir through the spring onion (reserving a small amount for garnish). Continue to cook for another minute until everything is heated through, then turn off the heat. It will continue cooking in the hot pan so remove to a serving dish straight away. Sprinkle over reserved spring onions and fresh coriander.

Spoon onto individual plates or bowls and top with a few triangles of the grilled tofu.

Serves 3

Cauliflower Rice with Grilled Asian Tofu

There have been lots of internet food trends which haven’t been hits in my kitchen but I’ll definitely do the cauliflower rice thing again.

Are there any food trends which have stuck with you?

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Ginger Cashew Tempeh with Sugar Snap Peas

Tempeh is unfortunately not too easily found in the UK, even in health food stores. But I’ve fallen in love with the stuff so on a recent order from Goodness Direct (I buy all my raw nuts and seeds, dried beans etc. from here as it’s great value and you can buy in larger quantities than elsewhere) I bought several packages to keep handy in the freezer.

Although tempeh, like tofu, is made from soy beans, it’s quite different. Tempeh is made from whole cooked fermented soy beans whereas tofu is made from coagulated soymilk. Tempeh is generally firmer and chewier and is mildly flavourful on its own, unlike tofu. As tempeh is less processed it’s also considered healthier, with even more protein than tofu (approx 18g per/100g) and high levels of calcium and iron.

If you haven’t tried it yet or aren’t a fan of tofu I’d definitely suggest giving tempeh a go. Both have a place in my kitchen.

Some find the flavour to be a little bitter straight out of the package but steaming it can help. Simply place sliced tempeh in a saucepan and cover with water or vegetable broth. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the tempeh and proceed with marinating, grilling, baking, or however you’re preparing it.

This recipe is a nice introduction to tempeh as it’s not particularly complicated  and the ginger and garlic mean the tempeh flavour doesn’t come through hugely strongly.

If you can get hold of water chestnuts I highly recommend them in this dish, their sweet flavour and crispy texture really worked for me.

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas:

1C Broccoli, broken into florets (don’t throw away the stalks! Just dice them up and throw them in too)
1C Sugar snap peas
1/2T neutral oil + 1/2T Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 225g/8oz pkg Tempeh, cubed [pre-steamed if desired, see note above]
1/4C Cashews
1/2T Minced fresh ginger
2 Cloves garlic
1/4t Chili flakes
1/2 225g/80z Can water chestnuts, sliced thinly
1T Tamari or Bragg’s
1/2T Rice vinegar
1/2-1C Vegetable broth (I use Marigold Vegan Bouillon)
1T Flour (any)
Noodles (pictured are Clearspring Organic Udon), or Rice to serve

Prepare your noodles or rice first as the stir-fry is quick to come together

Steam Broccoli and Sugar Snaps for a few minutes until bright green and tender, set aside in a bowl.

Heat oils in a large pan or wok over medium-high and when hot add tempeh. Toss frequently and when it’s a little brown on all sides add cashews and continue to cook until golden. Add tempeh and cashews to the bowl with your vegetables.

In the same hot wok add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute before adding the remaining ingredients, except for the flour. As it begins to bubble gradually whisk in the flour- it should thicken up the sauce fairly quickly. At this point, if you prefer it a little more saucy add a touch more water, but not too much as you don’t want to dilute the flavours.

Toss in reserved vegetables, tempeh and cashews, mix to coat in sauce and warm through.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Serves 2

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Have you cooked with tempeh before? What do you think?