Sometimes, all I want to eat is the same thing over and over and over again. Right now, it's a simple Szechuan dish that's captured my heart, and is holding my taste buds to ransom.
I would publish a recipe for this, but it's so simple you don't even need to. Chop a red chilli, a big chunk of garlic and two or three cloves of garlic, and fry for a couple of minutes. Grab yourself your favourite block of tofu (pressed if you need to) and chop into chunks and then toss in your pan. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by 1cm or so, then add a hearty squirt of tomato puree and a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce.
It's not my recipe - I half-inched it off someone else. In their version (I think it was reprinted somewhere from the Little Book of Lunch), the tofu's replaced with baked and chopped up aubergine. Either's fab and you should go make it right now. RIGHT NOW, I tells ya.
Other dispatches from my kitchen include one answer to 'what can I make with my sourdough starter when I've had enough of bread?' The answer, as to some many questions in life, is cake.
I made a little gingery cake with sultanas and cherries and lots of wintery spice. There was no recipe out there for such an endeavour, but the end result all turned out rather wonderfully - a really fun bouncy texture that you don't get with a lot of cakes. And the sort of cake that goes amazingly well with cake. I'm really starting to embrace winter and all its flavours. Why do you get so many spiced cakes being traditional for this time of year? Is it because historically sugar and spices were so expensive you only broke them out on feast days?
In other new discoveries, I can finally take my hat to those who managed to persuade me to get cooking some chick pea scrambles (Green Gourmet Giraffe and Coconut and Berries, I'm looking at you). I tried making one a while back, it was grim, I never tried again. UNTIL NOW.
Thanks to all those creative blogging types out there, I was inspired to revisit the gram flour with fantastic results. I found out that making a good scramble needs 1) a good non-stick pan 2) enough patience to let the chick pea flour cook out and lose enough water so it doesn't still taste floury. You probably knew that, I didn't, so I was delighted when mixing up a batter then leaving it well alone for a bit resulted in a glorious scramble.
I've been trying to work out just what I added to the batter in this picture, in some sort of CSI: Vegan Dinner way. I think it's mushrooms and tomatoes, with avocados on top, but you can join me in guessing what's going on.
And updates from the weird world of vegan convenience foods you didn't know existed, I bring you pistachio pudding. (I'm using pudding in the US sense of the word, rather than the UK one).
At a recent foray into my local ethic food market - which stocks everything from Jamaican food to Turkish to Indian to Polish - I discovered a packet of pudding. You just add milk (non-dairy in my case, obviously), heat a bit, then leave to set in the fridge, and you end up with a smooth, creme caramel-textured dish.
As far as I could tell from looking at the ingredients, there was nothing I couldn't make at home if I went out and bought some pistachios, but still, it's good to know when you're too lazy to do just that, fun pudding can still be yours.