I try really hard to have a variety of things on the menu, but one meal which has stayed the same for what feels like the last million years is wednesday night pizza. We have good reason for it, we have a maximum of 30 mins between getting the kids to bed & DH going out, and chucking a frozen pizza in the oven and opening a bag of salad is a very easy (and relatively healthy) option.
Needless to say, we have now both got incredibly bored of it. DH has suggested we have omelette every week instead, but I want to find a few different options for us to have to avoid the rut sinking in again.
I started by looking through the the Quick Veggie section of BBC Good Food and saw this recipe for a Japanese Tofu Bowl which I thought was right up our street. The original recipe was for 4 people, so I’ve adapted for the 2 of us (i.e. reduced the liquid, but kept the rest the same) It suggested covering the tofu in cornflour before frying to get that lovely crispy coating, but I really didn’t see the point as surely it would just get soggy in the soup? We didn’t have any chilli oil or coriander to garnish, but survived without them.
Although this claims to be quick to make, you do have to first drain the tofu (I do this by wrapping in a clean tea-towel & putting it under the heavy chopping board for 30 mins or so) & then marinade it (ideally for at least 30 mins), which means it might not be much good if you’re rushing in from work to make it. Despite a few complications (I failed to pre-marinade the tofu, the edaname beans the supermarket sent me were still in their pods, and my noodles weren’t ready cooked) this was still easy to make & very tasty. It’s lightness made it feel like it was very ‘clean’ to eat IYKWIM, but beacuse of the tofu, edaname & noodles it was still substantial enough for our evening meal. I hope to make it againvery soon as I plan to use some of the broad beans from the garden in place of the edaname.
200g firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 8 cubes
sunflower oil, for frying
1 bunch asparagus, base of stalks snapped off, cut diagonally into about 4 pieces
50g fresh or frozen edamame beans
50g frozen peas
small piece ginger, grated
400g pack straight-to-wok udon noodles
coriander leaves, to garnish
chilli oil, to serve
Drain the tofu.
Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin in a shallow bowl. Place the tofu in the marinade and turn to coat. Leave for about 30 mins or more. (If marinading for several hours, pop it in the fridge.)
Boil the kettle
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the tofu (keep the left over marinade). When cooked, drain on kitchen roll, then wrap in clean kitchen roll to keep warm.
While the tofu is cooking, put 500ml of boiled water in a medium saucepan with the reserved marinade and bring to the boil. Add asparagus, edamame beans, peas, ginger and noodles and return to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3-4 mins.
Divide between 2 bowls and put the tofu on top.
Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve drizzled with a little chilli oil.
I was intrigued by how this creamy bean soup could be vegan & was surprised to learn that the creamyness actually comes from ground up cashews! Note: these need soaking for several hours before cooking – don’t forget!
The original recipe used coconut oil, but as I don’t have any I just used olive oil.
Both DH & I liked it, but the kids didn’t – they just ate the butterbeans & demanded more bread!
I thought this soup looked very tasty, and with lentils, chickpeas & quinoa in it, it must be hearty & wholesome!
I missed out the chilli sauce as I was making it for the kids, and DD1 (4.5) can be a bit fussy about anything too spicy, but it was still very tasty. Thankfully, the kids both loved it too, so we’ll definitely be having this one again.
I saw this recipe here on WordPress & thought that the kids would love it. Carrots are one of their favourite vegetables, they love ginger & we have recently discovered their love of coconut milk. What could possibly go wrong?
DD1 (4.5) took one look at the roasted carrots cooling on the chopping board & announced that she didn’t like them….. not a good start!
Thankfully, she didn’t seem to realise that they were in the soup as she & her sister both ate it without complaint. I don’t think it’s their favourite soup, but DH & I thought it was nice. If I make it again, I might pop a handful of lentils in, just to make it a bit more substantial, and I must remember to try roasting the carrots like this the next time I make carrot & corriander soup.
It served 2 adults, 2 small children & we have 1 portion in the freezer for another day.
6 medium carrots, peeled
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large shallot, diced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 litre vegetable stock
230ml coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
Put carrots in an oven-proof dish and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are tender (I turned them over a few times). Remove from oven & put the carrots onto some kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.
In a large saucepan heat 2 tbsp olive oil over a low heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent.
Add garlic and ginger and saute just until golden brown.
Add red pepper flakes, cinnamon, paprika and coriander and stir until spices coat other ingredients.
Add vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer.
Top & tail the carrots, then chop into smallish pieces and add to the saucepan.
Partially cover the soup & simmer for 15-20 minutes.
I seem to be making alot of “orange” soup lately, but we all love Butternut Squash and beans, so this recipe from Vegetarian Dad seemed perfect.
My herb & spice shelf is ridiculously full, so rather than buy a new jar, I googled how to make ras-el-hanout. I have no idea how authentic it was, but it the soup tasted very nice which is all that really matters!
I made this early in the morning & popped it into the slow cooker on low to keep warm while we all went out until lunchtime.
The girls & I loved it (there was none left over for DH to try, but I have tagged this as a “Family Favourite” as I’m sure he will love it if he ever gets the chance to eat it). DD1(4.5) has since requested several times that I make “the soup with the beans in” very soon 🙂
Serves 1 adult & 2 (possibly quite greedy) small children
Update: After several ‘complaints’ of there not being enough beans to go round, I now use two tins of butter beans!
It was quick & easy to make, and everyone loved it. In fact there was only one thing wrong with it, and that was that there wasn’t enough of it! There was only enough for the 4 of us (2 adults, 2 small children), but next time I will definately be doubling up the quantities.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 cup dried red lentils
400ml vegetable stock
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp mild curry paste
1/4 tsp dried corriander
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
In a large pan, over medium heat, saute the garlic, onions, and carrots in the olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, veg stock, water, coconut milk, curry paste, cilantro, sugar, ginger, and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very soft. Allow to cool slightly.
DD1 (4.5) saw this recipe in this month’s VegSoc magazine & asked me to make it. Unfortunately I can’t find a link to this recipe on their site, so you’ll have to make do with my rubbish photo (I forgot to take one until we’d boxed up the leftovers!) but they do have loads of other wonderul recipes on there – well worth a look.
As it was the first time I had made this recipe, I played it safe with the spices and used some mild curry paste. Everyone liked it, and both DH & I agreed that it was a nice level of spiciness, but DD1 did say it was a bit too spicy, so I might reduce it to 3tsp next time.
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled & chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
4 tsp curry paste
150g dried red lentils
1.5 litres low salt stock
2 tsp sugar
20g coconut cream
freshly ground pepper
a splash of soya cream (optional)
fresh corriander leaves, chopped (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pan & saute the onion
add the vegetables & curry paste and cook gently for 5 mins
add the lentils & stir well
add the stock, sugar & coconut cream
Bring to the boil & simmer for 20mins
blend the soup & add seasoning if required
if you want, you could serve this with a splash of soya cream and a garnish of chopped corriander