Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Chocolate Brazil Flapjacks

Maybe it's because they both come from Soutth America, but Brazil nuts and chocolate do taste really good together. A long time ago, back in the early 90s, I used to buy flapjacks from a local whole food bakery, Ceres, which were covered in carob and also contained Brazil nuts. They were my favourite treat! This is an updated version, using coconut oil and of course fairtrade 70 % vegan chocolate. Judging by the rate at which they disappeared, they are set to be a favourite treat around here, too.

Gour is my sweetener of choice when it comes to flapjacks. It's raw cane sugar with minimal processing (just that the cane juice has been boiled down to produce a solid lump) which retains  some minerals, and it melts to a perfect texture for sticking the oats together rather than using a syrup. 
500g organic porridge oats
125-150g vegan dark chocolate ( we used a 70% cocoa brand)
250g gour
200g coconut oil
150g Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
  • Melt the oil and gour together. It won't mix completely, so don't worry about that; just make sure you don't overheat it.
  • Press into a shallow, rectangular tin which has been oiled. We use a standard Swiss roll tin.
  • Stir in the oats and Brazil nuts.
  • Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. I used the middle shelf and checked from time to time to make sure they weren't overbrowned.
  • Remove from the oven. While they are still hot break  the chocolate and scatter it evenly over them. The heat from the flapjacks will melt it and all you have to do is gently spread it. 
  • Mark into 16 pieces before it's cooled completely so that it cuts cleanly.
  • Store in an airtight container. Perfect to take to work or school for a snack, or to enjoy at home with a hot drink.

Spring is well and truly here; the first daisies are on the lawn!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Tofu Broccoli Wholewheat Momos

Momos are fun to cook and fun to eat! I first tried these steamed stuffed dumplings in a Tibetan restaurant by the lake in Pushkhar, India, where they were packed with veggies and served floating in broth. Filling and wholesome. 
We don't really cook with white flour, though, so when I created our version of momos I used organic wholemeal flour with the bran sifted out. I decided to go for the Nepali/ Indian version served with chutney, but with a Tibetan filling of tofu, ginger and coriander. I couldn't resist adding broccoli as the tiny florets hold in flavour and moisture so well. They may seem fiddly to make, but once the dough is kneaded, the steamer set up and the filling made, shaping these little parcels of goodness is actually rather enjoyable. You can have your chutney bubbling away as they steam, too. "Shall I make them again?" I asked the family while tentatively studying their faces as they ate (they are used to this by now as we are always trying out new things on them). The answer was a unanimous "Yes!"
As I seem to have nailed momos first time, here's the recipe to make 12-14 momos depending on how thin you can roll them. Three momos seems to make one portion, so you can feed about 4 people with this:

300g (sifted weight) wholemeal flour
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 tabs olive oil
warm water to mix- about 225-250ml.
230g firm tofu
165g broccoli
1 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 dsp grated fresh ginger
1 small red chilli
2 tabs tamari soy sauce
1 tab olive oil
1 1/2 tsps salt
1/2 ts compound hing
1 tab lemon juice
  • Make the dough first, by adding the oil then the water. Knead it for a minute or two. It should be moist but not sticky, and easy to handle. Let it rest in a plastic bag while you get tthe filling together.
  • Dice the tofu small, mince the chilli, grate the ginger and cut the broccoli into really small florets, dicing any stems. the smaller you chop the ingredients, the more evenly they will be distributed throughout your filling.
  • In a wok or karhai heat the oil and add the broccoli and salt. Put the lid on, turn the heat down and steam-fry until nearly completely tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat a little and stir in the tofu.
  • After a couple of minutes Add the coriander, ginger, hing, tamari sauce and chilli. Stir well and cook until tender. Set aside to cool. 
  • Now you are ready to make the momos! Don't worry; that twisty shape is really easy to achieve, and I've added a couple of pictures to help. Use a round cutter/ upturned dish that's about 6" in diameter. Roll the dough onto a floured surface until it's about 2mm thick or less if you can still handle it. Cut a circle and place a small amount of filling in the centre, leaving about 1/2" round the edge. Brush the edge lightly with water and fold into pleats all around, like this:

  • Gather up the pleats in your fingers, press them together at the top and twist:

  • Keep going until you have all the momos ready, or, if your steamer only takes about four like mine does, make four, put them in the steamer and then make another four. Each batch will take about 15 minutes to steam, on a medium heat.
  • You can make whatever dipping chutney you like. Something like the red sauce you get with samosas from the takeaway would be great. I kept mine simple and not hot because of the chilli in the momos. You can find the recipe here.