No-Bake Chocolate Tofu Pie

I can imagine most people putting this recipe on the shelf after realising this dessert contains tofu. Ahh tofu, that misunderstood ingredient that seems to be only truly loved by vegans (and Orientals). It does have an acquired taste but it’s not that bad. In this pudding, however, it is completely transformed and if you serve it as a regular chocolate pie, people will be none the wise. In fact, I served this pie to a Cuban friend who despises anything soy-related (as in his native country dairy products were out of reach and were replaced by soy alternatives, you can understand his anger) and he enjoyed it, although he didn’t look too thrilled when he found out the secret ingredient…

The chocolate tofu part is apt for many different diets such as lactose-free, gluten-free and vegan. The case however can be easily adapted to suit your different requirements. Use whichever biscuit suits your diet and bind with water instead of using butter. You can even have it without any case at all or use a mixture of nuts and dates.

Ingredients

Filling:

2 boxes Silken Firm Tofu (349g each)

350g dark chocolate

1tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp. honey (adjust according to type of chocolate used and personal taste)

Case:

Packet of biscuits, crushed (whichever you prefer or fits into your diet)

Circa 85g. butter, melted (or any other binding agent to suit your diet)

Method

1 Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper, close and leave some of the paper hanging out of the pan to easily remove pie once finished.

2 Make the biscuit base by melting butter and adding to crushed biscuits; pour and press into pan. Use the bottom of a cup to press down and level it. Leave to harden in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3 Melt chocolate using the double boiler method.

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4 Meanwhile, blend the tofu until smooth. Once chocolate has melted add to the tofu and blend till smooth. Add honey and vanilla extract.

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5 Pour chocolate tofu mixture into the pie base and spread evenly. If you like, you can use the back of a spoon to spike the mixture. Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight.

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Chocolate Tofu Pie

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Papas Arrugadas con Mojo (Canarian Wrinkled Potatoes with Mojo Picon Sauce)

These small wrinkled potatoes, characteristic of the Canary Islands, were traditionally made with seawater but nowadays most people add coarse sea salt to the water when boiling. The amount of salt used may seem like I’ve lost my mind but trust me it is completely normal and the the resulting potato will not be overly salty.

They are normally made with a variety of potato called Papa Bonita but as it is next to impossible to find them even on mainland Spain you can substitute for any kind of new potato, just bear in mind that they should be small.

This is my bulk recipe but you can scale it down to how every many potatoes you want.

Ingredients

1kg whole small potatoes, washed

250g coarse sea salt

1 slice of lemon

Mojo Picon sauce

Method

1 Add potatoes, salt and lemon in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are boiled.

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2 Strain and return to the same pot. Return the pot to the flame and shake the pan backwards and forwards. By this process the potatoes should start to become wrinkled and you should see a layer of salt form on the potato skins. When they have wrinkled to your satisfaction, take them off the heat and slather with Mojo Picon sauce.

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Tip: If the potatoes do not wrinkle (especially if you are not using potatoes that are not of the papa bonita variety) it could be because there are too many potatoes in the pan. To solve this issue, make sure that there is enough of a surface area in the pan so that all potatoes can touch the bottom of the pan.

Mojo Picón (Canarian Spicy Mojo Sauce)

This entry is dedicated to Fina. She was my friend’s grandmother and the source of this particular recipe. I have very fond memories of her and even though she wasn’t blood, our families were close. May God rest her soul.

We were lucky that Fina would make us this typical Canarian spicy sauce so we had a good supply of it in the fridge to satisfy our needs. Traditionally, it is eaten with Papas arrugadas (Canarian Wrinkled Potatoes) but it goes with just about anything: meat, fish, vegetables, heck you could even use it as a marinade (light bulb idea)!

There is no right or wrong way to have mojo as each person has different tastes but I’ve always been used to a slightly chunky mojo which has NOT been taken to the brink of turning into a mayonnaise. You can play around with the texture yourself by adding more or less vinegar and olive oil and also in the amount of time you blend the sauce. Don’t forget to taste the sauce as you go along to adjust the seasonings according to your taste.

Traditionally, the spicy element to this sauce is Pimienta Picona Canaria which is a red chilli native to the Canary Islands. It is however extremely hard to track down even on mainland Spain so you can easily substitute it for any red chilli pepper you can get your hands on.

This recipe is enough to fill a good sized jar.

Ingredients

4 heads garlic

6 Tbsp. cumin seeds

4 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

8 Pimienta Picona Canaria (or fresh red chilli)

Pinch saffron

12 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Salt, to taste

Olive oil, as much is needed

4 Tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)

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Method

1 Dry roast cumin seeds and saffron in a frying pan and grind into a powder using a coffee or spice mill.

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2 In a food processor or hand blender blitz the garlic and chilli together. Then add the cumin, saffron, pimenton, salt and a good glug of vinegar. Blitz again.

3 At this point you can start to add the olive oil. Pour in a steady stream of oil while blitzing. Make sure not to over blitz to prevent it from emulsifying and ending up as mayonnaise. Taste and adjust seasonings. At this point you can also play with the consistency you desire; there is no right or wrong way.

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4 In order to thicken up the sauce you can add some breadcrumbs. Blitz one more time to incorporate.

5 Pour into an airtight container or jar and top up with more olive oil. The olive oil acts like a natural seal that prevents oxygen from spoiling the ingredients.

6 Store in the fridge. It keeps for months on end.

NB This sauce is best consumed after it has had time to settle in the fridge for a few hours but if you can’t wait you can also use straight away. 

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Tabbouleh طبولة

This Middle Eastern salad takes on many forms. In the West, we are more than likely to find this salad loaded with bulgur (sometimes, even with couscous! arghh) but it should actually be more about the parsley than the bulgur. In most Middle Eastern recipes, the bulgar tends to be little specks here and there whereas the parsley is bountiful.

In it’s simplest forms it just loads of parsley, a bit of mint, tomatoes, specks of bulgar drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. My version, however, is slightly different but as the saying goes “there is more than one way to skin a cat”.

Ingredients

1-2 handfuls fine bulgur

1 large bunch fresh parsley, chopped

A handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 tomatoes, finely diced

½ cucumber, finely diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 onion, finely diced

2 tsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Salt, to taste

½ lemon, juiced

Olive oil, as desired (I tend to go overboard, like a good Mediterranean…)

Method

1 Make the bulgur by rinsing in cold water a few times and letting it soak for 20 minutes. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

2 Place bulgur in a bowl and add the parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and onion.

3 Season with paprika, cinnamon and salt. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well.

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Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Apparently, this curry was first invented in the Moti Mahal Restaurant in Delhi, India. This version however, was invented in Valencia (Spain), slightly less exotic…

I normally make this curry using leftover Tandoori Roast Chicken but you can of course make it with freshly grilled Tandoori marinaded chicken.

Ingredients

Leftover Tandoori Roast Chicken, cubed

Bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Sauce:

8 ripe tomatoes, grated

1 tsp. cardamom

2 pieces mace

2cm piece fresh ginger, grated

3 green chillies, sliced

4 slices butter

Oil

2 tsp. chilli powder

1 tsp. cardamom powder

2 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

Method

1 Melt half of the butter in oil and then add the cardamom, mace, garlic and grated tomatoes. Cook down for 5-8 minutes and then blend into a smooth sauce.

2 Heat the rest of the butter in a pan and add ginger and green chillies for a few seconds making sure the butter doesn’t burn and then add the tomato sauce. Add chilli powder and salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

3 Add cardamom, kasoori methi, honey and yogurt. Cook for a further 10 mins.

4 Add Tandoori chicken and cook for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

Serve with white rice or jeera rice.

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Tandoori Whole Roast Chicken

If I had a tandoor, I’d use it but I don’t so a western oven will have to do!

Who doesn’t love a good roast? If you have one every single Sunday it can become a bit boring so to jazz things up it’s good to spice things up a bit. This Tandoori Roast Chicken is always a winner on the table and I’ve never had any complaints; well, except for those in my circle of friends and family who are not partial to spicy food!

Ingredients

1 whole chicken

1 onion, halved

Tandoori paste:

4 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt

3 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

1 Tbsp. hot pimenton

2 tsp. Garam Masala

2 tsp. chilli powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. salt

½ lemon, juice

2 cm fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. oil

Method

1 Mix all the Tandoori paste ingredients together and combine well.

2 Pull back the chicken skin from the breast (do not detach) and make a few slits in the breasts. Snap the thigh bones (do not detach) so that the legs and thighs are exposed (sounds a bit naughty…). Make a few slits in the thighs and drumsticks.

3 Marinate the chicken with the Tandoori paste making sure to massage it into every nook and cranny. Pull the skin back into its original place and cover with more marinade. Insert the onion into the cavity and top up with more marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours.

4 Preheat oven and cover chicken with aluminium foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Check and pour the meat juices into a jug. Remove foil and roast for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the juices run clear as the cooking time may vary depending on your oven and size of the bird.

5 Serve with Jeera Rice or roast potatoes, Raita and Naan bread. Oh and don’t forget to pour the reserved meat juices over the chicken!

Tandoori Chicken

If you are short on time or you “NEED” a quick tandoori fix, you can marinade your favourite chicken part (wings, drumsticks, breast or thighs) for a short amount of time (or no time at all as it’s not absolutely necessary and will still taste good) and cook on the spot. Using smaller parts will also reduce the cooking time immensely and feed your craving.

If I am rushed for time I enjoy making (and eating) these Tandoori wings. Marinade the chicken in the Tandoori paste and cook for circa 30 mins.

Tandoori Wings

Chicken Tikka Masala

Even though Tikka Masala is of Indian-influence it is in fact quintessentially very British; it is even considered one of Britain’s National Dishes! Who said British food was bland? Obviously people who know little about Britain and its diverse multicultural society!

This particular recipe has gone through the mill so many times and after a lot of trial and error I have finally settled on this recipe for my Tikka Masala needs!

I make this curry with chicken marinaded in my version of a Tandoori paste as it gives more depth to the final dish. You can also use this Tandoori paste to make my version of a roast chicken or Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken).

Pimenton (Spanish Smoked Paprika) may not exactly be very traditional in this recipe but I like it because a) it gives that deep red colour without having to use artificial colouring and 2) because it imparts a slight smoky flavour to the meat which mimics the smokiness that you would get from cooking the meat in a tandoor.

Unfortunately, the photo I took of the finished dish does not show it in its full glory as I took the photo after eating the curry and serving it to my guests! All that was left to photograph was basically the dregs! lol

Ingredients

Protein:

2 chicken breasts, diced

2 chicken thighs and drumsticks, deboned and diced

Tandoori paste

4 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt

3 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

1 Tbsp. hot pimenton

2 tsp. Garam Masala

2 tsp. chilli powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. salt

½ lemon, juice

2cm fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. oil

Sauce:

1 onion, diced

2cm fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. Garam Masala

1 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. hot pimenton (or paprika)

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp. sugar

Extras (optional):

Spinach

Oyster mushrooms, sliced

Method

1 Mix all the Tandoori paste ingredients together and use to marinade the chicken. Refrigerate and leave overnight or at least a few hours.

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2 Fry onions until translucent and then add the ginger, garlic, Garam Masala, cumin. Fry for a few minutes and then add the pimenton for a few seconds before adding the marinaded chicken. Mix well and fry until the chicken is no longer translucent.

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3 Add chopped tomatoes, sugar and water. Simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

4 Add spinach and incorporate into the curry and then add the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and serve with Jeera Rice and Cucumber & Mint Raita.

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