Fried rice with veges and tofu

This is a tasty fried rice recipe that makes a good base to experiment from. You can use whatever veges and so on you have lying around.

As a bonus, the tofu part is a good basic tofu scramble.

Ingredients (3 servings)

Tofu scramble

  • One 300g block of firm tofu (pressed)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 0.5 tsp black salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Some ground pepper

Fried rice

  • 4.5 tsp canola oil
  • 3 cups cooked basmati brown rice (ideally leftovers)
  • 1.5 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1.5 tsp red curry paste
  • 3 large white mushrooms chopped
  • 1.5 cups chuckwagon corn (frozen corn/onion/capsicum mix)
  • Three splashes soy sauce (low sodium)
  • Spring onions finely chopped for garnish


Tofu scramble

  1. Press the tofu to reduce the moisture content
  2. Crumble tofu into a bowl
  3. Add the other ingredients and mix
  4. Set aside (if you’re making tofu scramble on its own, just fry it and serve)

Fried rice (cook in 3 batches)

  1. Heat wok to medium
  2. Add 1.5 tsp oil
  3. Add 0.5 tsp crushed garlic
  4. Add 0.5 tsp red curry paste
  5. Stir briefly
  6. Add 1 cup rice
  7. Add a third of the mushrooms
  8. Stir for a minute or two
  9. Add a third of the tofu scramble mix
  10. Add 0.5 cups chuckwagon corn
  11. Add a splash of soy sauce
  12. Stir until it all looks cooked
  13. Serve and top with chopped spring onion

My laksa

As Wairarapa continues to fail me in the provision of Malaysian food, I decided it was time to learn how to cook laksa.

The first experiment went well and the second was good enough that I thought I’d record it to help me iterate from there. I’ll be updating it as I get better at it, and I’m open to suggestions.

It’s not “authentic” but it was delicious.

Laksa in the wok

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (canola)
  • 4 seriously heaped tsp Exotic Foods Thai green curry paste
  • 2 heaped tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup capsicum cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup button mushrooms cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp Sambal Extra Pedas chili sauce
  • 1.5 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 400ml coconut milk (200ml to reduce the coconutty)
  • 500gm packet fresh noodles
  • 250gm fried tofu puffs cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 200gm mung bean sprouts
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced (as garnish)
  • 4 tbsp dried fried shallots (as garnish)


  1. Heat up the wok to medium and add the oil
  2. Add the red curry paste and garlic, and simmer it for a minute or two
  3. Add the cauliflower, broccoli and capsicum and cook for couple of minutes
  4. Add the mushrooms and chili sauce and cooking for another minute or two
  5. Add vegetable stock, bring to simmer and cook for another couple of minutes
  6. Add ginger, coconut milk and noodles and return to simmer
  7. Finish off by adding fried tofu puffs, lime juice, bean sprouts, spring onions, making sure tofu puffs are properly submerged.
  8. Serve immediately into noodle bowls and top with spring onions and dried fried shallots

Ginger Kiss Trifle

Last year’s Christmas trifle was a bit disappointing. The sponge wasn’t quite right, it wasn’t moist enough, and no one really liked it that much. I decided that I wasn’t going to bother again.

But then I had an idea – Ginger Kiss Trifle! I’d already made ginger kisses once and liked them, and I thought they’d make a deliciously flavoursome base for the trifle.

This is less of a recipe and more a set of instructions that relies on other recipes. Therefore you won’t find a complete list of ingredients at the start, and it’s all a bit approximate. Oh, and it’s all vegan of course.

It’s hard to take a good picture of trifle and this doesn’t even come close!

The Day Before

Step 1 – Make a double batch of these ginger kiss biscuits from The Vegan Apprentice. (You’ll make the icing the next day.)

Step 2 – Stew a couple of cups of fruit (rhubarb and apple was nice, but next time I’m going to try pear).

Step 3 – Make sure you have a can of coconut cream cooling in the fridge.

Step 4 – Make this caramel sauce from Jessica in the Kitchen and put it in the fridge to thicken.

On the day

Step 1 – Make the icing from the ginger kiss recipe – make sure it’s not too thick.

Step 2 – Put the first third of the ginger kiss biscuits down. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of brandy.

Step 3 – Spread the first half of the stewed fruit.

Step 4 – Pour/spoon on half of the caramel sauce.

Step 5 – Another layer of ginger biscuits with two more tablespoons of brandy.

Step 6 – Spread/spoon over the icing.

Step 7 – Another layer of stewed fruit.

Step 8 – The second half of the caramel sauce.

Step 9 – Last layer of biscuits.

Step 10 – Top with the whipped coconut cream (add a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and one or two tablespoons of brandy).

Step 11 – Put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Step 12 – Just before serving, garnish with chopped crystallised ginger, or chocolate flakes, cherries, or whatever you fancy.

Skillet pizza – potato and leek

My latest challenge has to been to develop a good vegan pizza – without the use of vegan cheese. Obviously it wasn’t going to be cheesy but I wanted it to have a combination of flavours and textures that satisfied my pizza appetite.

At the same time, I also want to document the cast-iron skillet + grill (US: broiler) technique I use to cook pizza these days.

Pizza with roast potatoes and leeks on a chopping board


Makes 3 medium pizzas, serves 3-4.

You will need a cast-iron skillet and a grill (US: broiler).

Cashew sauce

  • 0.5 cup raw cashews
  • 0.25 cup water (approx)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (approx)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Pizza base

  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 180ml warm water
  • 315g strong flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil


  • 3-6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh (or dried) rosemary
  • 2 cups diced roasted potatoes (about 3 good sized potatoes)
  • 1 leek – sliced


The general order of things is:

  1. Much earlier – make pizza dough and leave to rise
  2. Earlier – roast potatoes
  3. Make cashew sauce
  4. Prep other ingredients
  5. Make pizza
  6. Eat pizza

Cashew sauce

  1. Combine ingredients and blend.

The texture should be spreadable, add more extra virgin olive oil if required.

Pizza base

  1. Mix yeast into warm water and leave 10 minutes to develop. It should froth up a bit. If it doesnt, either the water is too hot or the yeast is dead, try again.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well, pour in yeast mixture and olive oil.
  4. Mix to combine.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it’s all the same consistency and springs back when pressed.
  6. Apply a fine coat of olive oil, put back in the bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place until it has risen to at least twice the original size.


Get everything ready first.

  1. Take a third of the dough and roll out to the size of your skillet.
  2. Heat the skillet to medium-hot and the grill to medium.
  3. Put 1 tbsp of extra-light olive oil into the skillet.
  4. Put the rolled out dough into the skillet.
  5. Coat with about 2 tablespoons of the cashew cream and 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (to taste).

Rolled out dough in skillet with cashew cream and tomato paste spread on it

  1. Sprinkle leeks, roast potatoes, rosemary and salt.
  2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top.
  3. Put the skillet under the grill.

Skillet in the grill

  1. Leave under the grill until it looks cooked (some slight blackening is expected).
  2. Return the skillet to the burner and cook until the base is done (it should be nicely browned).
  3. Remove, slice and serve.


Orange chocolate chip muffins

This recipe is a minor variation on this one.

It is surprisingly delicious.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 large muffins)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup of brown sugar
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp of orange zest
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips (compound works fine)

Muffin tin and, ideally, paper muffin cases.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and chocolate chips. Mix it all until well combined.
  3. In another recipient put the orange juice together with the olive oil.
  4. Prepare the muffin tins/cases.
  5. Mix the oil and juice with the dry ingredients only as much as necessary to mix and pour/spoon into the cases.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until colored.

Cabbage hash for burgers

Inspired by this recipe for Vegetables Manchurian, I made a type of cabbage hash that worked very well in a burger.

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)

  • 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup green beans, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk
  • Cooking oil



  1. Mix all ingredients (except for oil) in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in pan
  3. Add mixture to pan and press out for even coverage
  4. Cook for a while
  5. Section into quarters and flip
  6. Serve straight into burger buns with the usual accoutrements

The Really Simple Vege Chilli

This is a really simple vegetarian chilli that we make quite a bit. It is tasty with nachos, on rice, with baked potatoes, etc, etc.

It also freezes really well so we always have a few bags in the freezer ready for “Oh dear, what shall I cook?” dinners.

Think of this as a base and, if you follow these rough proportions, you can make all sorts of changes. Switch out one or more cans of kidney beans for black beans, add mushrooms or capsicum alongside the onions, do your own spicing, etc, etc.


  • Tablespoon of frying oil (canola, light olive oil, etc)
  • 2 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cans kidney beans in brine (drained)
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 packet el paso chilli spice mix
  • 250gm frozen chuckwagon corn (mix of corn, peas, capsicum, etc)

I often double or triple this in a large stockpot.


  1. Chop the onions and fry at medium heat until somewhat cooked/translucent.
  2. Drain the kidney beans and add.
  3. Add the tomatoes (don’t drain them).
  4. Add the spice mix.
  5. Bring to a simmer and keep it that way for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the frozen veges and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Done!


Baked Eggplant Layer

From Healthy Food Guide March 2013.


  • 1-2 eggplants sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 190c. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray/paint with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan and cook onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add tomatoes, pesto, sugar and chilli. Simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce has reduced. Add most of the basil. Season to taste.
  4. Place half of eggplant slices in lightly greased baking dish. Spoon over half of the sauce. Repeat layers.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and serve garnished with remainder of the fresh basil.

Kim Edit: I quite like adding roasted asparagus, roasted mushroom, 2 tablespoons of cut up sundried tomato and 2 tablespoons of marinated artichoke. Yum.

Tabouli, taboule, tabbouleh, tabouleh

This is a straight cut’n’paste of the delicious tabouli recipe from here (well, with half as much pepper). I make it quite a lot and got tired of searching for it each time.

  • 2 cups bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)


  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste



  1. Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.
  2. Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Stir the prepared bulghur, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 8 cups, 12 to 16 servings.


The New Toasted Sandwich

So, as part of setting up our new kitchen I bought a nice combination sandwich press/griller. It makes a good toasted sandwich and I’m very happy with it… but it hasn’t been used as much as I expected because I stumbled upon an even better way to make them using the oven griller.

Tuna Toasted Sandwich

This recipe for a tuna toasted sandwich is an example of the technique. It can easily be modified for any fillings you like although I recommend keeping the tapenade no matter what else you change!

Ingredients (per sandwich)

  • Turkish bread (ideally not the Quality Baker brand – it’s very dense)
  • 1/2 small can of lemon-pepper tuna, drained
  • About 1/2 tbsp tapenade (recommend Genoese brand)
  • About 1tbsp basil pesto (recommend Genoese brand)
  • Half a tomato, thinly sliced
  • Small amount of grated mozzarella cheese
  • Handful of lettuce


1. Turn on your oven’s griller (I think this is the broiler in US-speak)
2. Cut the bread into sandwich sized sections
3. Carefully slice the bread to separate the top and bottom
4. Lightly toast the outer sides of the bread (careful, it doesn’t take long)

5. Spread pesto on bottom piece of bread
6. Spread tapenade on the top piece

Spread that bread
7. Put the tomatoes on the bottom
8. Spread the tuna on top of the tomato
9. Put the cheese on top of the tapenade

10. Place back under the grill (again, it doesn’t take long)
11. Remove from the grill (to assist you with getting it just right, I carefully cooked the one in the picture one a little bit too much)

12. Put the lettuce on
13. Put the sandwich together and eat