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A few home bakes: Pies, tarts, and brownies

While I'm working full time instead of studying full time, I seem to have more time and mental energy available to cook. I've been taking as much advantage as I can, and trying to make some more creative meals than usual, finding new ingredients, and generally enjoy the summer while it lasts.

I found a new brand of tofu at my local supermarket, Tofoo, and bought a block of the smoked flavour to see what it was like. Turns out it is now my favourite brand of smoked tofu. It's a great big smoky smack in the mouth and I'm a big fan.

It's that good that it doesn't really need pressing first or marinading after: I just added a bit of potato starch to help it crisp up, fried it, and then stuck in a sandwich with tomato and spinach.

Yes, just yes. That stuff is good...

Elsewhere, I've been trying to use up the readymade pastry that's been in my freezer since my mum gave me a bunch at Christmas. And given I was thinking about my mum, it only seemed natural that I should channel her by making some hearty Cockney cooking.

What's more hearty than a big old pie? This one's filled with mince and onions, and served with new potatoes, carrots, and assorted green veg. The only thing missing was a boatload of gravy.

And then I thought I should really use up the second block of pastry in freezer as well. After a distinctly wintery pie, a more summery tart seemed to be in order. This one's got cumin-spiked yoghurt, aubergine slices, spring onion, and chunks of nut cheese on top, and just what I needed.

And summer tarts need summery veg friends, so there's paprika-y roast new potatoes, fried padron peppers, lentils with green beans, and coronation carrots. It was a proper feast. Why does summer seem to be over so quickly?!

I've been obsessed with making eggless fried rice since Green Gourmet Giraffe put the idea in my head a few weeks back. This is basically all I want to eat at the moment: veggies, tofu, rice, enough soy sauce to sink a ship. So good.

I think part of the charm of eggless fried rice is that you can chuck it whatever veggies you like, and it will still turn out beautifully. In this case it's got everything that needed using up in my fridge in it - sugar snap peas, cabbage, carrot, onion, green beans, bit of ginger and garlic, as well as a few chunks of the Tofoo that I hadn't snaffled in a sandwich.

Its simplicity to tastiness ratio is pretty much one for one, so once I'm back and studying, I'm going to eat this every night until I break out in hives at the very sight of it.

And lastly, big news in my kitchen: I've found a recipe using coconut flour that I actually like and would make again!

It's a recipe for brownies from Vegan Richa, which I adapted according to what I had in my kitchen - I swapped out the psyllium husk and cornstarch for potato starch. I also left out the baking powder and baking soda, but that was mainly because I forgot to add them in. I found them on the kitchen counter after I put the brownie in the oven, and kicked myself. I needn't have worried - it was still great.

Due probably to my lazy-arsed substitutions and the fact that there was coconut flour involved, it didn't come out like a brownie, more like chocolate cake and bourbon biscuits had a love affair and this was their beautiful baby.

Testament to how good it was is this picture, which shows the only bit of the tray of brownies that was left after Mr Flicking the Vs attentions over the last week:

Goodbye, coconut flour brownie, you'll be missed.  I look forward to seeing you again soon.

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  1. I am reeeeally into the Tofoo, it is splendid. Also everything else looks so good please come and cook dinners for me :'(

  2. You are definitely making up for lost time - what a great selection of meals. I haven't seen the smoked tofoo so will have to keep an eye out. I tried the plain type and didn't much like it, and tried the flavoured spicy pieces and thought they were ok. Smoked might be where the winning action is at!

  3. Eggless fried rice is the best - I cook lots of rice just so I have leftover rice to make it with. Love the idea of smoked tofu in it - never seen the tofoo so probably not about here unless in some speciality store for an exorbitant price. Your pie looks great - I have some pastry to use up too but mine does not last as long as yours. And good coconut flour recipes seem hard to come by so this brownie seems like a great win.

  4. I am so pleased that you are getting to cook a little more, all these meals looks good. I have tofu and hope to use it over the long weekend. Ah pie, I am looking forward to making soem come the autumn season...and I need to give eggless fried rice a go too. I am impressed with your brownie adaptation and may give it a go as I am looking for ways to use up my coconut flour.

  5. Ooh, coconut flour sounds interesting! I'm trying to work with oat flour, and have yet to get it just right. I've also never used pastry dough, so I've got a lot to learn!

  6. Cor, that mince filled pie sounds blooming wonderful. Also I'm excited that there's new tofu to try when I get back to the UK!

  7. Smoked tofu is the best! My mouth is watering just looking at that beautiful tofu sandwich and all your other dishes! Love Vegan Richa recipes, I've done my share of substitutions to her recipes and they still turn out great. My experience with coconut flour has been the same, so far nothing I'll want to make again. But now I'll have to try that brownie recipe. :-)


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