miso

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

The week of vegan adventures:

Wednesday: Vegan Cheese Making Workshop ran by lovely Mel Rogers of Mel’s Kindness Kitchen - http://melskindnesskitchen.co.uk/workshops-and-catering/ - Mel strives to create delicious vegan cheese recipes on a budget. We were taught how to make 4 different plant based“cheeses”. My favourite was Me’s creamy tofu cheese, it will become a staple in my kitchen as it can be adapted to so many different flavours . Mel’s cheeses taste miles better than any vegan cheeses I have bought from shops (you know the plastic bag taste…). Mel will be running a cheese workshop at the Bristol Vegfest in May so do go see her if you get a chance.



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Friday: Dr Michael Greger’s talk : Uprooting the UK’s Leading Causes of Death! Definite highlight of the week!!! Indeed I have been a huge fan ever since his discovering his fantastic website www.nutritionfacts.org, I did walk up to him just to call him my hero (think he appreciated it). Dr Greger is one of the biggest advocate of the plant based diet’s health benefits out there. And what more, all his claims are backed by science! His talk was fabulously entertaining and informative, I loved that he tailored it to reflect the health issues here in the UK (the US version of his talk is on the internet) making it very topical. My, soon to be 14, son left very inspired too. We were discussing nutrition and health during the whole car journey back and yes this time he initiated it. I have a photo and signed copy of HOW NOT TO DIE book to remember this day. An amazing experience meeting an amazing man. Start struck I was. If you haven’t already please do buy his book!!!


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My personal proud moment: As I sat down at the auditorium I realised there were leaflets everywhere with my face on it!!! The College of Naturopathic Medicine was the co-organiser of Dr Greger’s talk together with the amazing Viva! (proud to have such an organisation in Bristol). The leaflets were there to advertise the upcoming CNM Open Day event I am part of with my talk on vegan nutrition.

Finally Saturday, a delicious (even not so healthy) hot dog experience at a LD’S Bitchin' Kitchin vegan pop up at the Golden Lion pub. This was an attempt to make the pub owners realise that there is a demand for vegan options that are currently missing from the pub’s menu. We were happy to help the cause :) Hot dogs were delicious, mine was smothered in delicious barbecue beans sprinkled with vegan bacon and gherkins. Yum. I had a taste of my husbands Satan’s Seitan and hiccupped all the way home…Fiery! Perfect for the Punks Vs Mods event the pub was hosting.

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A quick recipe to round up this blog.

GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING
Makes about 5-6 servings, keeps well in the fridge.

3 cups cooked mix grains ( I used mix of quinoa and bulghur)
1 large beetroot
3 medium carrots
1 red onion
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Dressing
2 Tbs sweet white miso
5 Tbs sushi seasoning
1 Tbs soya sauce (tamari)

  • Place the grain in a large bowl.

  • Grate the beetroot and carrot. Add to the grain together with thinly sliced red onions.

  • In a dry pan lightly toast the sunflower seeds till just beginning to colour, add to the salad.

  • To make the dressing just whisk all the ingredients together and pour over the dressing. Mix well.

  • Top with herbs if desired.


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KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI

KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI

Recently my IBS went out of control. I was so happy not to have had a flair up since April and here it was with a vengeance. As if this IBS monster stored its evil energy and unleashed it all at once. For over 2 weeks I was in pain, had no appetite and had whole host of other symptoms. A hot bath was my only relief but you can only stay there for so long...

Thanks to Dr Google I could list a number of diseases I probably had. It was as if the rational and the irrational part of my brain were fighting for the spotlight. I was sure that it was IBS but at the same time I have never felt this bad before. It doesn’t help when people tell you: "WOW you lost weight!" I was getting a bit defensive, exclaiming rather firmly: "NO I DID NOT!"

Finally I went to see my GP. The first thing he said? You lost weight! GRRRR. I hopped on the scales and the result? No, I did not loose weight. We decided to run full blood screen. I think he was doing it for the peace of my mind. We ran antibody for coeliac disease too.

I went gluten free, I just need to take control of something. In the meantime (it takes a week for the blood tests to come back) I started to feel better. Finally (and I celebrated this) I started to feel hungry, my stomach was happily growling again. I feel so much better. Not 100% but so much better.

My blood test came back today. Yes, all came back perfectly healthy. No coeliac disease. Nothing out of place. Actually pretty much 99% of everything tested is slap bang in the middle. Even this doesn’t explain this IBS malarky but I do admit I am happy. Oh yeah and for all the plant based diet doubters,
my iron levels are perfect!!! Now I am going to hit the beast with slippery elm, glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes....and a clean plant based food of course.

My doctor asked me whether I want to treat it or manage it. I want to manage it, no pills please. Impressed I was when he suggested enteric coated peppermint tablets (that's what my lecturer recommended too!). Adding them to the above list. They apparently work as well as the usually prescribed antispasmodics.

So after several weeks of plain unexciting foods (in minute portions) I am excited about foods again. I can add some spice and imagination to my dinners. I was craving beans, lentils and curries, little bit of spice, but knew my stomach couldn’t cope. All good now. I cooked curry on Monday, and kale with chilli and miso today. It is good to be back!

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KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI
Serves 4 as a side dish.

ingredients
350g (12oz) curly kale
1tsp of coconut oil or 3Tbs of water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 Tbs yellow miso (I use live miso)
1 Tbs Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari

method
  1. First pull the kale leaves of the thick stalks, wash and rip into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large wok heat the coconut oil or water, add the garlic and chilli and saute for 1 min.
  3. Next add the kale leaves and saute for couple minutes.
  4. Add 2 Tbs of water, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 min (or as tender as you like it). Add more water if needed but the kale will release moisture.
  5. In a medium bowl mix the miso and braggs. Add in the kale and stir well.
  6. Serve immediately.

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KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

Does the world need another massaged kale salad recipe? Without a doubt!!! One can’t have enough kale. Even my kids have fallen under its spell. They love Brendan Brazier’s sour cream kale chips, but they also love this salad.

Couple weeks ago I invited a friend over for dinner and made this salad to accompany our mains. My friend watch with amusement as my husband, kids and I fought over the last portion. She proclaimed we were a weird family. I take it as a compliment.

We are all aware of the superior nutrition kale possesses, there are countless articles circulating on vegan websites. It is packed with minerals, vitamins, protein and fibre. When you massage, chop or chew kale you release the fantastic isothiocyanates. These are very potent cancer fighters and help your liver in its hard daily task of detoxification. Pair kale up with the other ingredients in my recipe and you have a dinner of champions.

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Now the practical bits. Any white or yellow miso will do great in this recipe (just don’t use brown). I have recently discovered live miso paste in my favorite health food shop chiller. When I opened the lid slight steam (or is it smoke?) seemed to have risen from the jar. The miso was extra zingy and strong, but delicious. If you are a miso virgin you may want to start with the less extravagant version.

Lemon and lime work equally well here. I use whatever is in the fridge. If I have both, I will choose the lime. To make this recipe fully raw, use 1 Tbs of raw agave instead of the 2 Tbs of mirin. I prefer mirin, it had the right amount of sweetness and is a natural partner to miso. They are from the same country after all.

One last note. If you do find you are fighting your loved ones over the last bite, just double the portion. Vegan is about love after all.


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KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO
Serves 4

ingredients
1/2lb (200-250g) kale, stalks removed, shredded
1 heaped Tbs yellow (or white) live miso
juice of 1 lime (or small lemon)
2 Tbs mirin
3 spring onions (scallions)
1 large avocado

method
  1. Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the miso, lime juice and mirin.
  2. Massage the kale and the dressing ingredients together for about 2 minutes. The kale will collapse and the dressing will coat all the kale leaves.
  3. Slice the onions thinly and add into the onions.
  4. Peel the avocado and remove the stone. Cut the avocado flesh bite sized pieces and stir through the leaves.

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UDON NOODLES IN AN ASIAN STYLE BROTH

UDON NOODLES IN AN ASIAN STYLE BROTH

My kids love udon noodles. Every time we go the local Asian supermarket we end up with several packs of fresh ready cooked udon noodles. Together with the wonderful tofu that sits right next to them in the refrigerated counter we have a start to a delicious meal.

Kids like their noodles stir-fired with few veggies, tofu and soya sauce. That’s what they had for lunch today. I fancied something more exciting but restorative at the same time. What could be better than a fragrant Asian style broth with veggies, tofu and noodles. Perfect for rainy day, perfect to counteract any Christmas indulgences.

If you can’t find ready cook udon noodles buy them dried and cook according to the package instructions. They tend to come separated into portions, very handy. You can also use other type of noodles; ramen, soba, rice vermicelli... Conveniently any tofu will do for this recipe, if using soft or silken tofu just be careful not to break it up. Maybe best added after the noodles have softened. Feel free to add any other veggies; thinly sliced peppers, mangetout, green beans or mung bean sprouts will work great. To get the best out of the miso paste add it at the last minute, let dissolve into the broth but do not boil.

You can also make just the broth without the noodles and sip it. This is perfect if you have caught any of the wintery colds and infections, maybe add more garlic for even bigger healing punch. You can imagine your colds or infections melting away with every spoonful.

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UDON NOODLES IN AN ASIAN STYLE BROTH
Serves 2-3

ingredients
4 cups of light vegetable stock
1 leek
1 medium carrot
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 large clove of garlic
pinch of red chilli flakes
1/4 of Savoy cabbage
1 Tbs soya sauce
100 g of tofu
2x200g (3oz) pks of ready cook udon noodles
1 Tbs yellow miso paste
2 spring onions (scallions)
fresh coriander (cilantro) to serve

method
  1. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Cut the root and the dark green leaves off the leek. Cut the leek in half widthwise (you should have 2 tubes, about 2-3inches long). Cut the leeks into long thin strips (julienne).
  3. Cut the carrot into julienne (again cut it in half widthwise, than julienne)
  4. Add the carrots and leeks into the stock, simmer.
  5. While the stock is simmering finely julienne or just finely chop the ginger and garlic. Add to the stock.
  6. Finely shred the cabbage and add to the stock.
  7. Add the soya sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Cut the tofu into small dice. Add to the stock.
  9. Next, add your udon noodles and heat until they loosen up and warm through.
  10. Add the miso paste and just let dissolve. Do not boil.
  11. Last add the spring onion.
  12. Serve in large soup bowls garnished with some chopped coriander (cilantro).


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MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

It’s 4th of July and everybody in the US is celebrating. No doubt barbecues and fireworks displays will be fired up. This got me inspired, I had 2 blocks of tofu in my fridge and some kebab skewers in a drawer. Tofu kebabs is the obvious way to marry these two.

Tofu and a kebab skewer don’t not always make a very successful combination. You see them looking perfect in a magazine, buy a block of tofu, cut it up into large dice and try to impale these on a bamboo skewer. And than disaster strikes, the tofu falls apart and you are left with a mess and have to make a stir-fry instead. I have been there before. My solution has been to bake or grill the cubes of tofu without putting them on a skewer.

Now, however, my kebab luck has finally changed. I found the perfect tofu that is easy to put on the bamboo skewers. While grilling them I turn the kebabs over couple of times and they stayed intact. How exciting!!! My superb very extra firm (and organic) tofu comes from my veg box supplier (Riverford). It is made by Dragonfly. I am sure me and Dragonfly tofu will become firm (forgive the pun) friends for years to come.


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MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

I paired my kebabs with quinoa but rice, couscous even Asian noodle salad would be great. Baked sweet potato chips would work very well too. Or just a nice crisp salad. Next time I would thread some vegetables between the tofu cubes, small mushrooms, pepper, shallots, cherry tomatoes would all work really well. Pieces of pineapple would be great too.

If using bamboo skewers do soak them in water to prevent burning.

The quinoa was asking for a herb to be added to it but I thought it would overpower the kebabs.

Serves 3-4

ingredients

tofu kebabs
500g (1lb and 2oz) of very firm tofu (I used 2 packs of dragonfly organic tofu)

marinade:
3 Tbs brown rice miso
3 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs agave syrup (or another sweetener or just omit)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar

lemony quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa
1 tsp olive oil
1 courgette, cut into 1cm dice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 spring onions, cut into half cm slices
1/2 cup of peas, I used frozen
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
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method
  1. Cut the tofu into large cubes, I got 12 from each block of tofu, 24 in total.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.
  3. Place 1/3 of the marinade on the bottom of a dish (I used a baking dish) that will hold all tofu pieces in one layer. Place the tofu pieces on top, pour rest of the marinade over. Cover the dish and let marinate in the fridge for an hour ( or longer).
  4. When ready to cook, thread the tofu on skewers. I used 6 skewers with 4 cubes each for 3 diners, if serving 4 use 8 skewers with 3 pieces of tofu each. (You can thread some veggies between the tofu pieces) Place the kebabs on a baking sheet lined with alluminum foil ready to be placed under the grill (broiler). Pour any remaining marinade over the kebabs.
  5. Cook your quinoa: rinse quinoa under running water, place in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 min, drain.
  6. Half way through the cooking time place the kebabs under your grill and cook 3 min, turn over cook another 3 min, turn over again and give it 2 more minutes. The tofu pieces should start to caramelise on around the edges.
  7. While the quinoa and kebabs are cooking prepare your vegetables.
  8. Heat 1 tsp of olive or rapeseed (canola) oil in a frying pan. Add the courgettes and cook until they start to caramelise.
  9. Add the onion and garlic, for a minute.
  10. Add the peas and cook for a further minute until just heated through.
  11. Tip the quinoa into the vegetables and mix through. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest and juice (to taste).
  12. Serve.
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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

A whole week of revision. On Saturday I have my final Biomedicine exam therefore I have been buried in books and lectures, making notes and tables, drawing pictures. By now I can draw a mean neuron!

When I am this busy it would be easy to eat rubbish, but I can’t and don’t want to do that. When it comes to grabbing a sandwich I get bored very quickly. Even I love hummus there are only so many hummus wraps I can eat. Taking a break to make a quick, nutritions and delicious lunch will only enhance one’s study performance. Another break to take dogs out will clear head and refresh the brain for further info intake.

Enough talking here is the recipe before I get back to infectious diseases and other delights...


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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD
This can be served hot straight from the oven or at room temperature. Whatever you do wait till you are ready to eat before you add the spinach. T

serves 2 as a main dish salad, 4 as a starter

700g (about 1 and 1/2lb) butternut squash (it was a half of a large one)
2 medium red onions
1 Tbs of olive oil
1 tin of chickpeas (no salt added)
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 Tbs rice vine vinegar
2 tsp brown rice miso
200 g baby spinach leaves

method
  1. First preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Peel and deseed the butternut squash, cut into larger bite sized pieces.
  3. Peel the onion and cut into chunks (each onion in about 8 pieces)
  4. Put onions, butternut squash and olive oil into a medium size roasting dish, toss together and place in the oven
  5. Roast for 25 min than add the drained chickpeas and roast for 10 more minutes.
  6. In the meantime combine the sambal oelek, vinegar and miso together.
  7. Remove the vegetables and chickpeas from the oven and toss with the dressing. Place on top of spinach leaves and serve.


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AUBERGINE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING

MY NUMBER ONE / AUBERGINE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING

After surrendering to a few mince pies and chocolates over the festive period it is time indeed to get back on track. Not that I couldn’t do with losing a few pounds but the mission is to feel great on the outside and keep the 10 trillion cells inside happy and functioning to their full potential. And yes I want to enjoy the food I eat too, because eating is what many people say I live for.

So here is my first recipe on the Plant Strong Living blog. It could only be an aubergine dish, it is inspired loosely by one I ate at a sushi restaurant in London. I did ask for the recipe but the waiter informed me that the sauce comes from Japan... not a very detailed description. I believe that my version is great, if only judging from the swiftness with which it always seems to disappear.

AUBERGINE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING

For an oil free version, steam the aubergines. This recipes serves 4 if part of a Japanese style meal. On its own 2. For a more substantial meal toss with some cooked cooled soba noodles for a fabulous noodle salad. The chiili pepper can be omitted for a milder version of the dish.

Make sure your aubergines are cooked well, they should be squishy with no give to a fork. Undercooked aubergine is just plain nasty and quite undigestible.

ingredients

2 medium aubergines, cut into 2-3cm cubes
1 tbs of oil (olive or rapeseed)
2 heaped Tbs brown rice miso
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
4 Tbs mirin
1tsp agave nectar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 red chili pepper, sliced (for less heat deseed and finely chopped)
2 Tbs sesame seeds

method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the aubergine in a roasting dish or a baking sheet with edges, large enough to the aubergine pieces in a single layer. Drizzle the oil over the aubergine, using your hands toss the aubergines in the oil until all pieces coated.
  2. Roast the aubergine in the oven for about 25 min till starting to brown and the aubergine pieces are soft and squishy when pressed. Let the aubergine cool down.
  3. For the dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the miso, vinegar, mirin and garlic. If too thick thin it out the dressing with a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Place the aubergine into a bowl and pour dressing over the aubergine, making sure all pieces are well coated.
  5. Next add the spring onions and chile pepper. Toss together.
  6. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and serve.

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