While I Was Away


It has been a little over a month now since returning to Scotland.  Here is what I have cooked/ate whilst I have been AWOL from Bendi Benri.

Feeling a lot more settled in now I am ready to embark on my new life as a student AGAIN and get back into creating more yum.

Enjoy!

First up, home-coming welcome dinner, beautifully and deliciously prepared by my wonderful mother.  It is very clear to me now that my mum is the source for my desire to cook.  She effortlessly manages to put on amazing wholesome spreads.  What a mum.

Nutty Chocolate Brownies (heaven in your mouth) & Scones with Home made Jam

Victoria Sponge

prawn & avocado cocktail

Home Made Steak Pie

Home Made traditional Scottish Oatcakes

What I forgot to capture was the Ultimate Chocolate cake smothered in Ganache! I am gaining pounds just thinking about it! I swear that cake was to die for! Here’s a link to the recipe.

A flying visit home then back to Edinburgh to meet Izumi and Sofie, friends we met in Japan.  They had never tasted Haggis before, so Andy and I decided to take them to Urban Angel to give it a try.  I love the concept of this Restaurant, stylish and delicious, “using the best local, organic, free-range and fairly traded produce available.”

To follow I visited a three-day foodies festival, filled with freebies of scrumptious organically prepared fresh food from all over the country.  Some healthy and some just down right naughty!  I was in my element.

Salmon and potato pie!

Tiger Prawn Paella

Feeling inspired from my weekend boozing and munching, I bought a nice big bunch of fresh beetroot and put together a yummy beetroot cake smothered in cream cheese icing.  Here’s the recipe I used.  Yep, I AM growing by the day! Twice the size I was a month ago. Oops!

No time to break just yet.  The Edinburgh festival brought my folks and brother up to Edinburgh.  The weekend consisted mainly of indulgence and laughter. Good times!

Below we eat at Amore Dogs another very trendy restaurant serving Italian scrum.

tuna nicoise salad on the side of a grilled sea bass on a bed of baked tomatoes.

Goats Cheese & Sun dried tomato Risotto

Wow what a month.  Loved every minute!

I really miss Japan and crave a lot of the food we ate whilst we lived there, especially Soba noodles, so I treated us to a yummy crispy tofu soba dish.   Satisfying beyond expectation! Go me!

Ingredients; serves 2 if you really have to share.

2 portions of soba noodles

150g Tofu (drained and cut into cubes)

1 small red onion (sliced into half moons)

1 stick of celery

around 12 sugar snap peas (halved)

2 cloves garlic

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 T light soy sauce

1 tsp pure honey

1 T chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon chilli (from the jar or fresh)

2 T olive oil

2 tsp vegetable powdered bullion

2 T corn flour

Directions:

1.  prepare all ingredients

2. evenly coat the tofu in the corn flour

3.  heat up the olive oil in a wok or frying pan then add the tofu.  When coloured a reddish brown remove from the pan and place on some absorbing kitchen paper

4. In the same pan add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent

5. add the all of the other ingredients except the soba and basil and lemon then stir through on a medium heat.

6. In the mean time boil the soba until just tender then rinse quickly under cold water to avoid over cooking.

stir through the noodles, tofu, basil and lemon juice to the vegetable mixture then serve in warm bowls.

To finish, here is yesterdays lunch…

Chilli Squash Soup accompanied with rice crackers topped with cheddar cheese (hello my long-lost naughty friend) and cranberry sauce. yummmm…..

Ingredients; serves 4-6

I small butternut squash

4 sticks of celery

1 yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic

50g low fat soft cheese

2 tsp vegetable bullion

Directions:

1.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent

2.  In the mean time bring a med/large pot of water (2 litre) the boil

3. cut the squash into cubes then allow to boil until tender

4.  when the squash is ready add all other ingredients except the cream cheese, then mix through

5. Turn off the heat then use a hand held blender to pulse the mixture until smooth(ish) stir though the cream cheese then serve in warm bowls

Tofu and Blueberry Scones



Toasted Scone Variation 2


Wow it’s almost March and it has taken me till now to write my first post of the year. Oh dear! However, my lack of posting hasn’t meant lack of cooking. Quite the opposite actually, although I do seem to return to the same dishes over and again. I can’t seem to part with tofu. This ingredient is my partner in crime. I’m just so excited by its versatility and lack of naughtiness. There’s no looking back it’s here to stay and I’m gonna make you love it as much as I do.
From looking back at recipes I have been using, I really need to start pushing the boat a bit more in terms of experimenting with different flavours, methods and styles. That doesn’t mean that I am going to try or even think of attempting more complex recipes or gourmet style. Convenience and nutrition is always going to be key in my collection of recipes. The recipes here will always be easy, always delicious and always healthy. If you are into that too, then perfect!
Just the other day Andy was telling me how much he is bored of his usual egg in the mornings. One a day for almost 2 years straight I’m surprised he hasn’t become allergic to them.
After browsing the Internet for ideas I stumbled upon yogurt scones. They are easy to make and freezable, they are the perfect choice for convenience. But, would they work in the rice cooker? Only one way to find out.
At that time I didn’t have any yogurt in my fridge, Only half a block of tofu a dribble of soy milk and about 60 g cooking marg. Hmmm…blended tofu it is then.
I made one big scone in the cooker, which rose beautifully. The taste test was next and OMG… ridiculous!! Maaaaan this stuff is amazing! Stays moist and fresh in the fridge for a whole week.
We toasted it under the grill to eat plain with green tea, beautiful, not too sweet, just a hint. Sooooo moist and melt in the mouth that you wouldn’t want to ruin it by smothering it with jam or butter. In saying that it would probably taste amazing with a runny poached egg!! 🙂

Toasted Scone Variation 2


Right, here’s the recipe.    I made them twice changing the recipe the second time around.   Both recipes are equally as delicious.
Scone variation 1:(apologies for lack of image for this variation)

  • 1/2 a block of blended firm/silken tofu 150 g (3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups of plain or whole grain sieved flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g marg. /butter at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Directions:

  1. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together with the sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the margarine in pieces then rub into the flour with your fingertips making bread crumbs.
  3. Make a weld in the centre of the bread crumbs and pour in the blended tofu (if you are blending firm tofu, you’ll need to add a little water or soy milk to thin it).
  4. Fold in the tofu with a knife forming a dough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and form into a round.
  6. Pierce a few holes in the dough with your knife and insert the blueberries.
  7. Grease the rice cooker pan and drop in the dough and close the lid.
  8. Set the cooker to 60 min and let the magic happen.
  9. When cooking time is over, cool on a wire rack before cutting and storing in the fridge or freezer.

When your ready to eat it, for best results toast it under the grill to crisp it up a bit. nomnomnom…

Tofu and Blueberry Scones Variation 2:


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60g butter/margarine at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup blended silken/firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • handful of raisins
  • Use the same methods as in variation 1 except with the oat meal, break it down in the blender to more of a powder then mix into the flour.

    This one is my healthier option.  You’ll find it’s a little heavier and dense in comparison to the variation 1 and perhaps a little less bready and more cakey.  Still, it is still worth trying out.   This one will definitely be the one I return to.  Enjoy!

    If you have any other suggestions to improve these, please leave a comment.

    I understand that not everyone owns a rice cooker, but all of my rice cookers can easily be adapted for the more traditional methods.

    For this recipe simply preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Dust a baking sheet with flour and lay out your scone(s).  Cook for 20 – 30 mins