Recipe: Shredded Sprouts and Tofu

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I love my Abel and Cole Cookbook. It’s full of wholesome, hearty recipes which work with the seasons (and therefore the ingredients in my weekly veg box!) So today, when deciding to use up a bag of organic sprouts languishing in post-Christmas asylum, this book was my go-to guide for some wintery inspiration. Now of course, the wonderful recipe writers at Abel and Cole land aren’t all vegetarian and so I am used to getting creative when not wanting to miss out on a beautiful dish, but this recipe Shredded Brussels and Bacon appeared to challenge us veggies directly:

“If you’re vegetarian and thinking about moving over to the dark side”

The blurb read arrogantly (But with a good enough dollop of tongue-in-cheek honesty, to allow me to refrain from offence) I did feel challenged though. Opening the fridge, I spotted a pack of smoked tofu that really needed using and considered if this would be enough to match the succulence of fried bacon. Perhaps not in texture but paired with the sweet maple syrup I had to hand, I thought I’d give it a go! So often with meat, it’s the sauces, flavourings and texture we in fact crave, not the taste of the plain meat itself. I also had some Indian ghee (clarified butter) to use up, and with its high smoke point (making it incredibly stable in molecular structure when cooking) it would be perfect for browning and adding much lusted-after flavour to the tofu.

Ok so here goes; a simple, healthy and seasonal vegetarian recipe inspired by Abel and Cole’s meaty one; where I switched bacon for smoked tofu, soy sauce for maple and butter for ghee. The original recipe also includes carrots, which I didn’t use – as I didn’t have, but I’d say feel free to experiment with/increase the variety of vegetables to your liking/as the season dictates.

Ingredients:
A small bag of Brussels Sprouts
A 225g packet of smoked tofu, cubed (I find that Clear Spot’s has a very good firmness)
1.5 tbsp of ghee (or a good quality oil)
A good glug of maple syrup
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage (optional)
Brown rice (to serve)
Vegetarian hard cheese, grated (optional)

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1. First get your rice simmering in water and then begin preparing the sprouts. You’ll need to cut a few millimetres off the bottom of each sprout (depending on size of stalk) and remove the outer leaves, before slicing in half and then shredding lengthways, with each slice around 2mm wide.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot and begin to fry the tofu cubes until golden and beginning to crisp on each side. Do this gently, but don’t allow it to stew. I find a medium-high heat, plenty of ghee, with as little stirring as possible the best method here.

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3. Add the shredded sprouts and half the chopped sage. Splash in a good glug of maple syrup, give it all a good stir and then leave it to cook for between 5 and 10 mins. After which, taste and season accordingly, adding more maple syrup if required.

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4. Serve on a mound of rice, with the sprouts having kept a slight bite and sprinkle over the rest of the sage and some vegetarian hard cheese for extra richness and flavour.

This recipe can easily be adapted for vegans, just switch the ghee for a good quality oil (one with a high smoke point like rapeseed would work well here) and omit the cheese or switch for a dusting of nutritional yeast.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, wintery treat, my children aged 7 and 3 cleared their plates and asked for more! An unequivocal Brussels Sprout result in my book!

Happy New Year!

Jaime xx

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#reasonsforbeinghappy Week 2

Wow it’s late. Well actually, it’s fairly early, but it’s been long time since I’ve posted. Too long. I’m sat writing this in the midst of a three week holiday break and having just had the loveliest of Christmases. This term was my final one as an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) and so the blog was put firmly on the back burner whilst I completed the last of my assessments. It’s been a busy year! As we approach New Years Eve, my #reasonsforbeinghappy this week reflect more broadly than they have before, and, look forward happily to the coming year.

Ok so here goes!

Week 2

1. A year of unbelievable highs This was the year I began my job as a fully qualified NQT. It was the year my brother came home from the US and it was the year I married my life partner and father to my children. There have been some pretty heavy lows, a true roller coaster, but 2014 will definitely be one to remember!

2. An Abundant Christmas

Food, family, fun. Not necessarily in that order but all three nonetheless. This Christmas felt special. Newly married, with my long lost brother home, felt more complete than ever. Simple time together, good collective homecooking, walks, chats, reading and sharing. Playing. A great way to end the year!

3. New Year, New Routines
I rarely commit to specific ‘new years resolutions’ as such but always try to begin the year with a general idea of where I’m headed and what I’d like to achieve. Last year was so ‘big’; marriage, committing to vegetarianism, completing my teaching program, that I feel perhaps the smaller things were swallowed up in the chaos. This year for me, I hope, will be one of reflection, presence and stillness. I have been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and feel ready, more than ever to, as Tolle puts it; awaken to my life’s purposes. This 3rd happy point will remind me to let go of society’s (and my own) limiting expectations, approach negative aspects of life with a non-thought-based response and fully embrace the present. I also hope to bring my somewhat scatty yoga and meditation practice into a more positive daily routine, where I am aiming to eat better, rise earlier and read more.

What are your new year #reasonsforbeinghappy? Remember, being happy is our natural state, strip away the collective societal ego and look to the unwavering happiness, love and peace underneath.

Happy New Year! See you in 2015!

Jaime xx

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