An incredibly popular dish in Japan, Ramen is a noodle dish served with a rich broth and loaded with a variety of toppings. This version omits the meat, but none of the flavour.
2 tsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
4 dried mushrooms, soaked
1 tsp dried chives
⅛ teaspoon Chinese five spice (optional)
2½ cups stock
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 cup firm tofu, cut into large cubes
2 packs ramen noodles
1½ cups mixed vegetables (we used baby corn, broccoli, mange tout, courgette and shiitake mushrooms)
½ cup carrot, julienned (match sticks)
2 spring onions, julienned
handful of bean shoots
1 chilli, chopped
½ cup hot water
2 tsp sesame oil
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu until crisp. Set aside for later.
Heat the other tsp of oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onion until browning, almost charring. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the soaked mushrooms and five spice and fry for 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain the soup through a sieve, discarding any pieces of onion, ginger and garlic (be sure to crush the onion, ginger and garlic thoroughly in the sieve to ensure they release all their flavour). Keep the mushrooms for later. Pour the soup back into the large saucepan. Add the chives, both soy sauces and the water to the soup.
Bring another saucepan of water to the boil, and cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
At the same time, bring the soup back to the boil. Slice the saved mushrooms and add with the mixed vegetables into the soup. Let the vegetables cook for 5 minutes and then drop the tofu into the soup to warm through.
Drain the noodles and divide between two bowls. Use tongs to remove the vegetables and tofu from the soup and divide evenly. Top the dishes with raw carrot, spring onion, bean shoots and chilli. Pour the soup over the top, drizzle sesame oil and serve.
For a dish that’s big on flavour and filled with veggie protein, try these stuffed courgettes with spicy sauce
If you’re anything like us then at this time of year you’re generally overrun with courgettes. Whether from your own vegetable garden, or a friend’s or neighbours, chances are you’ve got more than a few courgettes on your hands. This hearty recipe is a great way of using them up, as it uses the entirety of the vegetable and is delicious too! We served 2 people with this recipe, although it could easily serve 4 for a smaller meal.
(serves 2-4, depending upon portion size)
2 tsp margarine
1 tsp oil
2 large courgettes
4 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1½ cups chopped tinned tomatoes
½ cup parsley
2½ tbsp lemon juice
1 chilli, chopped
salt and pepper
extra oil for brushing
Cut the courgettes in half length-ways. Carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving four shells. Chop the flesh and set aside. Brush the shells with a little oil, place on a non-stick baking tray, cut side down. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees (170 degrees fan oven, gas mark 5) for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a saucepan and cook the onions for five minutes. Crush 3 of the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped courgette flesh and cook on a low heat until some of the juice from the courgette has evaporated (approximately 15 minutes).
Add the chickpeas, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and then pile into the courgette shells on the baking tray. Bake the stuffed courgettes at 190 degrees (170 degrees fan oven, gas mark 5) for 30-40 minutes.
Whilst the courgettes are cooking, prepare the sauce. Chop the remaining garlic clove and place in a small pan with the oil and the chopped chilli. Fry for 2 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for around 15 minutes, allowing it to reduce.
Once the courgettes are cooked, dress with the sauce and serve with your choice of accompaniments. We opted for green beans and roasted potatoes.
In the last ten years the number of vegans in the UK has grown by 360%. Ask the average vegan their reason for adopting the lifestyle, and the majority of the time the answer will be “for the animals”. This comes despite the evidence that going vegan is great for our health and is hugely beneficial for the environment. It seems compassion for animals is still the number one driving factor for the huge surge in veganism in recent years.
Nowadays there is a wealth of information available online, and thousands of videos on YouTube showing the cruel nature of modern animal agriculture. However, so much of the available footage and statistics are from other countries, mainly the USA, that critics of veganism in the UK are quick to dismiss them. A common argument used against animal activists in the UK is that we treat animals so much better here than in other parts of the world. Many people refuse to believe that farmers in the UK would allow such obscene and cruel practices to take place on their farms, and are able to justify their continued support of the industry by adhering to this narrative.
This is what the makers of new documentary film “Land of Hope and Glory” have set out to change. Spurred on by the line “that doesn’t happen in our country“, the team behind the film travelled up and down the UK, working with a number of different groups to bring the reality of British animal agriculture into the limelight. According to the makers of the film: “through Land of Hope and Glory we aim to show the truth behind UK land animal farming by featuring the most up to date investigations as well as never before seen undercover footage, with a total of approximately 100 UK facilities featured throughout the film“.
Land of Hope and Glory tells the story of the 1 billion land animals slaughtered in the UK each year. Following the process involved in rearing, transporting and slaughtering pigs, cows, sheep and poultry, the film paints a bleak picture that conflicts heavily with the rosy image of British farming we are so often offered by the industry itself. What filmmakers Ed Winters and Luna Woods, of Surge Activism, have delivered through this film is a look at the inhumane methods that most people in the UK don’t realise are standard practices in British farming.
Presented in four parts each focused on a different group of animals, the film guides us first through the world of pig farming where we learn about the bodily mutilations carried out on piglets without anaesthetic including teeth clipping and tail docking. The cramped conditions that the vast majority of pigs are kept in in the UK makes for difficult viewing, and the treatment of unwanted or unhealthy piglets and sows shown in the film is deeply distressing.
As the film moves on to cows, we learn of the heartbreaking fact that dairy cows have their calves removed from them just 24-48 hours after birth. This is not something that can be attributed to rare or isolated cases, as this is the case on the majority of dairy farms in the UK and is actually recommended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This is sadly not the worst thing that will happen to the animals during their lives – as the film shows – and for the calves is just the beginning of a short lifetime of misery and abuse.
The awful living conditions and brutal practices shown in this film will no doubt come as a shock to many, especially those who attempt to make more ethical choices by purchasing “humane” animal products. Sadly much of the footage shown throughout this film is taken from farms classed as free-range, organic, high-welfare, red-tractor approved and RSPCA-approved producers. What is most prominently highlighted in the film is the sad truth deliberately hidden from consumers which is that labels such as “free-range” are mostly arbitrary and actually misleading due to the rules applied to them. Most consumers who purchase free range eggs would be horrified to learn that the hens producing them were housed in dark, cramped barns, with virtually no access to the outside world, yet this is so often the case. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that there is no legal definition of “free range pork”, meaning farmers can keep pigs in any of the awful conditions depicted in the film, and still label their product as “free range”.
The film also dispels any myths about sheep and goats being the more fortunate of farm animals due to their generally being free roaming. Just like pigs, cows and chickens, sheep and goats are forced to endure a series of brutal procedures without anaesthetic, and are also subject to a number of terrible and widespread diseases. It is stated in the film, for example, that foot rot is present in 97% of British flocks.
Much of the film focuses on the hugely traumatic experience the animals all must go through on their way to the slaughterhouse. The animals, as young as 4-6 months old in the case of lambs, are transported for huge distances in cramped and overcrowded trucks, with no food or water and often in sweltering heat. Many animals do not even survive the journey to the slaughterhouse. Those that do are subjected to cruel and often ineffective stunning methods prior to slaughter. A statistic that will no doubt stand out to many viewers is that an estimated 1.8 million pigs regain consciousness on the production line each year due to poorly executed stunning techniques – and that this practice is still certified “humane”.
Land of Hope and Glory may be a difficult film to watch, but at its heart it is about educating consumers on where their money goes when they use it to purchase meat, eggs and dairy. It’s also a reminder that cruel farming practices are not something on which countries such as the USA have a monopoly. Modern British farming is not what the industry wants you to believe it is. The “happy cow” is a myth, and “humane meat” is a lie. Coming to terms with the truth behind how meat, eggs and dairy are produced in the UK is the first step towards making more informed, ethical decisions, which is something that we should all aspire to do. As Ed says in the closing chapter of the film: “it is ignorance that allows us to consume and purchase without considering the industries that we are supporting. And therefore, informing ourselves of the horrors our purchases perpetuate is not only a liberation for the animals, but indeed for ourselves as well.”
Based on a family recipe, and traditionally made with pork ribs, this vegan BBQ recipe uses tofu in a way that will convert even tofu’s harshest critics. Great served with chips, rice or salad – this BBQ tofu makes for a truly unique and delicious meal that the whole family can enjoy.
1 tbsp oil
400g firm tofu, sliced into different shapes and thicknesses to give a variation of textures.
3½ tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and ground black pepper (not cracked)
1 tsp margarine (or oil if you don’t have margarine)
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetarian Worcester sauce.
1 tbsp malt vinegar
⅓ cup tomato ketchup
⅓ cup water
Mix the mustard powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and 1½ tbsp of the sugar in a bowl. Coat the tofu in the powder, and place in a non-stick baking tray. Drizzle the oil over the tofu, cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (180 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6) for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a saucepan and fry the onion on a low heat for around 10 minutes or until translucent.
Mix the rest of the sugar with the lemon juice, Worcester sauce, vinegar, ketchup and water in a bowl. Pour the mixture onto the onions in the saucepan. Bring it to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the tofu from the oven and uncover. Turn the tofu and add any leftover powder mixture if you have any. Turn the oven up to 240 degrees (220 degrees fan oven, gas mark 9) and return the tofu to the oven, uncovered, and cook for a further 30 minutes. Check occasionally.
After the 30 minutes is up, remove the tofu from the oven. Turn the oven back down to 200 degrees (180 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6). Pour the bbq sauce over the tofu, making sure it is evenly covered. Cook in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Once the tofu is done, serve with your choice of sides. We opted for home-made chips, vegan coleslaw and corn on the cob.
A popular dish in Japan, and for good reason! This simple, healthy noodle dish makes for an easy weeknight dinner.
Originating in Southern Japan, Yaki Udon is a noodle dish originally created after World War II, when food was scarce. Today it is a favourite in Japanese eateries, and is especially popular as a late night snack in Japan’s “eating pubs”. The dish can be made with a variety of ingredients and is often vegetarian/vegan. This version uses shiitake mushrooms, tofu and broccoli, and should serve 2-3 people.
Ingredients (for the greens and tofu):
2 tsp oil
1½ cups broccoli, broken into small florets
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced fairly thickly
1 cup firm tofu, chopped into 2 inch by ½ inch pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp chilli flakes
water (approximately ⅛ – ¼ cup)
Method (for the greens and tofu)
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a wok on a low heat. Fry the tofu until crispy. Once cooked, remove the tofu and place to one side.
Add the other tsp of oil to the wok, turn the heat up a little and add the garlic, broccoli and mushrooms. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the water and chilli flakes and cook on a lower heat for 3-5 minutes, until the water is nearly gone and the vegetables are tender.
Add the tofu into the wok, along with the soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir fry until the tofu is heated through. Remove the cooked contents from the wok, place to one side and keep warm.
Ingredients (for the vegetable udon):
½ tbsp oil
300g (approximately) stir fry vegetable mix
200g udon noodles (fresh not dried)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
black sesame seeds (amount optional)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tbsp light soy sauce
½ tbsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
¼ tsp brown sugar
Mix the dark and light soy sauce with the rice vinegar, stir fry sauce and sugar.
Heat the oil in a wok. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute.
Add the other vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the noodles, stir to combine with the vegetables and then add the sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes on a low heat until it’s all coated in sauce and cooked through. Serve with the tofu and greens on top, and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.
An incredibly quick and easy recipe, this roasted vegetable tart will have your friends queuing up for more!
This dish really couldn’t be any easier, and is especially great if you’re in a rush but want to impress. Loaded with delicious roasted vegetables, this tart is a great summery offering that everyone will enjoy.
1 tbsp oil
5 cups assorted vegetables for roasting, cut into small chunks (we used onions, squash, courgette, peppers, mushrooms and beetroot).
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 handful cherry tomatoes
1 jar caramelised onion chutney (you won’t need it all).
ready-made puff pastry (enough to make a 10″ x 14″ tart)
Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan oven, gas mark 7). Place the chopped vegetables and the garlic in a roasting tin and coat with the oil. Roast for 10 minutes, remove the garlic and return the vegetables to the oven for 10 minutes – make sure you stir every 5 minutes to prevent the vegetables from burning. Once cooked, remove the vegetables from the oven.
Peel and chop the roasted garlic.
Roll out the pastry to the correct size and lay on a baking tray. Spread the chutney evenly and not too thickly over the pastry, leaving a 1cm border. Scatter the garlic over the chutney, followed by the roasted vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them evenly amongst the roasted vegetables.
Cook the tart according to the pastry instructions; usually around 20 minutes at 200 degrees (180 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6).
Once cooked, serve with your choice of side dishes. We opted for rosemary roast potatoes and green beans.
A rich and hearty dish with loads of character – this Middle Eastern recipe is a must-try.
Moussaka Bi Zeit is a vegetarian dish with Lebanese and Syrian origins. Unlike Greek Moussaka it is made without potatoes. Cheese also doesn’t feature in Moussaka Bi Zeit, so it’s 100% vegan too.
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 aubergine, sliced and salted
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
2 large tomatoes, sliced thinly
½ cup water
salt and pepper
Thoroughly rinse the salt from the aubergine, and dry the aubergine on paper towel. In a large frying pan, heat 1½ tbsp of the oil and fry the aubergine until each side is lightly browned. Alternatively, lay the slices on a baking tray, brush with oil and grill them, turning and re-oiling half way through cooking (this uses a little less oil). Place the cooked aubergine slices on paper towel to absorb any oil left over from cooking.
Add ½ tbsp of oil to a flame proof casserole dish and fry the onion for 5 to 10 minutes, on a low heat. Once the onion is slightly browning, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next add the aubergine and the rosemary. Allow to fry for around 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper as required. Smooth the top of the mixture and arrange the sliced tomatoes neatly on the top to cover the surface. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (180 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6) for 50 minutes. The tomatoes should be browning and starting to curl slightly by the time the dish is cooked.
Serve with rice or bulgur wheat and a green vegetable of your choice.
Okay, so maybe that title sounds a little harsh. But let me take you through the weird and not very wonderful array of dishes found in the 1935 edition of “Everybody’s Vegetarian Cookbook”. You’ll see what I mean.
The book was given to me by a friend a good few years ago, and has been sat on my bookshelf gathering dust until fairly recently. Lacking inspiration for dinner ideas, my thoughts turned to this elderly little book and the secret recipe gems it might hold.
How wrong I was.
The following is an excerpt from the beginning of the book offering suggestions for a dinner for 4:
“Your hors d’oeuvres! – Why not try this one? It is quite uncommon: Peel two bananas, two apples (core the latter); cut them into small pieces; cut up the heart of a head of celery; shell and chop up four Brazil nuts. Mix all together, add 1 dessertspoonful of grated carrot. Then pour sufficient mayonnaise sauce to cover the ingredients. Garnish with a few olives.”
Now most of that sounds like a Waldorf salad. Apple, celery, nuts and mayo. Standard stuff, right? So let’s throw some bananas in the mix just to liven things up. Uncommon is possibly an understatement here, and I wonder about those poor souls invited to the party where that particular menu was served.
The comedic value of this book far outweighs its usefulness. There are way too many dreadful recipes in here so unfortunately I cant list them all. The next example, however, is probably the grimmest one I’ve found so far, nestled among such delights as cold macaroni custard (yes, apparently pasta and sweet custard is a thing) and milk and cabbage (lord help us). But no, the winner for crappiest recipe goes to the innocuous-sounding cucumber sauce:
1 small onion
1 tbsp brown flour
Half pint hot water
Melt the margarine. Peel and cut the cucumber into slices, remove the seeds; cut the onion quite small; add both to the melted margarine; fry until a good colour. Make a paste of the flour and water; add to the cucumber and margarine. Stir well until it thickens.
Now what the hell would you serve that with? Hot or cold? No salt and pepper? Feel free to go throw up in the corner.
I have to say, I am very relieved to be vegan now rather than in the 1930s. These beastly recipes leave a lot to be desired and I can imagine many guests over the years leaving dinner parties feeling disillusioned and hungry. The book sells vegetarianism as a healthy diet, but the rotten recipes and dreadful cooking tips are seriously lacking to any self respecting veggie. It’s no wonder that there weren’t many of us if that’s all there was on offer.
Now, I know this whole thing has been making a joke of this well-meant little book, and to all intents and purposes, that was the idea. But we must never forget that if it weren’t for the forward thinkers of a bygone era, our diet and way of living could be very different. E.L.B Forster, the author of this book, took the limited ingredients of the time and made the best of them. That’s not to say that we should utilise these recipes, but they should serve as a reminder that once upon a time, being vegetarian or vegan was a far more difficult way of life than it is today. So salutations, little green book, maybe the first of your kind. And lucky us, that we now have the world of ingredients at our fingertips.
Great for enjoying on a summer’s evening, this tofu enchiladas recipe will be a hit with the whole family.
Slow cooked, succulent tofu in a spicy tomato sauce, wrapped and baked in a wholemeal tortilla. Great with a fresh salad, and a perfect dish for a summer dinner party.
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tin tomatoes, divided into ¼ and ¾
350g firm tofu, cut into strips
¾ tbsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
¼ cup water
1 handful of fresh coriander, chopped
jalapenos (as many as you like, we use the ones from a jar)
salt and pepper
2 wholemeal tortilla wraps
Heat 1½ tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Fry the tofu strips, turning throughout cooking, until they are to your liking. If you want them to be crisp on the outside, but spongy on the inside (best for soaking up the sauce) it takes a longer, slower cook.
Whilst tofu is cooking, take 2 of the cloves of garlic and the rest of the oil and fry together in a saucepan for 2 minutes. Add the ground cumin and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the ¾ tin of tomatoes, and salt and pepper as required. (Note: it may help to make the sauce slightly more seasoned than you would usually eat it, as the tofu mix is all unseasoned). Simmer the sauce on a low heat until it reduces (approximately 15 minutes). Then add the chopped coriander and stir through.
Put the other clove of chopped garlic, the ¼ tin of tomatoes and the chilli flakes into a small saucepan with the water, salt and pepper and allow to cook slowly until it is reduced to a thick sauce.
Once the tofu is cooked, add it to the cumin and coriander sauce and stir it in. In the same pan used to fry the tofu, turn up the heat and stir-fry the pepper and onion until slightly browned but still nice and crunchy. Then add to the tofu mixture.
Take the tortilla wraps and place them in a non-stick baking dish. Load the tofu mixture equally into the wraps, roll them closed and turn over so the fold is on the underside. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (180 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6) for approximately 20 minutes. Check them half way through baking to ensure the wraps don’t burn.
Once cooked, top the enchiladas with the tomato, garlic and chilli sauce and jalapenos. Serve with a fresh salad, or your choice of side.
Handy tip: if you want to get additional servings from this recipe (especially quickly, in the event of unexpected guests!) add a tin of black beans to the tofu mixture before loading the wraps.
Forget the sugar-filled jars of sauces. Try this delicious home-made bolognese that’s packed with goodness.
Loaded with lentily protein, this tasty and comforting dish is a new take on a traditional favourite, and is a winner all year round. Combined with our home-made pesto, it’s a dish that can’t be missed.
1½ tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red lentils
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup red wine
2½ cups stock (you may not need it all)
salt and pepper to season
2 cups mixed vegetables for roasting (we used pepper, courgette and squash)
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan with a lid. Fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender.
Add the lentils, stir it briefly and then add the wine. Let it reduce for a few minutes, taking care not to let the lentils stick.
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, basil and 1½ cups of stock. Bring to the boil and simmer the mixture with a lid on for about 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Be sure to check every 5-10 minutes while it is simmering, to ensure the lentils haven’t stuck to the pan. If needed, add the extra stock during this step.
Whilst the bolognese is cooking, prepare the vegetables for roasting. Chop them into bite-size chunks and place on a baking tray with the ½ tbsp of oil. Mix the vegetables around on the tray to coat evenly with oil. Season with salt and pepper and put in a pre-heated oven at 210 degrees (190 degrees fan oven, gas mark 6-7) for around 20 minutes, or until tender.
Once the bolognese and roasted vegetables are cooked, serve with your choice of spaghetti or other pasta.
Why not try our homemade pesto to accompany the dish?
Blend the following ingredients together to get approximately ½ cup of pesto.