Thursday, October 17, 2013

Around the world - Stopover 33 - Zimbabwe

African countries have had a low profile during my random virtual travels so far. Madagascar and South Africa are the only destinations I've covered to date so I was pleased when Zimbabwe was the next country drawn. Zimbabwean food is mainly based on traditional recipes although there are also some influences from British and Portuguese cuisines. Most of the Zimbabwean population rely on a handful of staple foods - cornmeal, rice, beans, peanuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, a selection of green leafy vegetables as well as some meat and sardines. 

When I began my hunt for recipes I was drawn to some Zimbabwean sweet potato biscuits/cookies with lemon icing on These biscuits were simple to veganise using dairy-free margarine in place of butter, agave nectar instead of honey and a flax egg. Another minor modification I made was to halve the amount of ground nutmeg as I feared that the full amount may be too strong. I was happy with this decision as the nutmeg seemed to be perfect in this quantity, any more and it would have overwhelmed. The original recipe stated that it made 60 biscuits although they must have been tiny morsels, I used a slightly larger quantity of mixture from my half batch which resulted in 16 small biscuits with a lovely soft interior. Prior to being iced they weren't terribly sweet and after topping them with lemon icing they were perfect. I found them to be very moreish and polished off more than my fair share.

African peanut stews have filled me with fear for many years. Due to allergies with some of my family members, I grew up in a nut-free household and never consumed nuts until my adult years. Although I adore most types of nuts these days, I still find the flavour of peanuts to be quite strong and have never embraced peanut butter. As there was a recipe for a Zimbabwean peanut stew called Huku ne Dovi in my copy of World Vegetarian Classics I figured it was time to be brave and try out this type of meal.

The stew contained chunks of sweet potatoes and carrots, onions, chillies, okra, tinned tomatoes and spinach - some green beans that needed using up were added to the mix as well. I reduced the amount of ground peanuts from 150g to 100g and didn't find the peanut flavour to be overly strong this way. The stew was very flavourful given it didn't contain any spices apart from the chillies and the ground peanuts made it thick and extremely hearty. The leftovers held up well which I happily devoured for a few days in a row afterwards.

The man generally dislikes stews as well as most meals containing sweet potatoes, so to make this meal more enjoyable I whipped up a batch of African baked tofu from Vegan Eats World to have as an accompaniment. The tofu was marinated in orange and lime juice, garlic, ginger, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and a Persian spice mix called Baharat prior to being baked in the oven. We've enjoyed all of the baked tofu dishes I've made from Vegan Eats World and this was another wonderful recipe I would be happy to make again. It packed a decent amount of heat and paired well with the peanut stew.

Zimbabwean sweet potato biscuits/cookies (Adapted from
Makes approximately 16 small biscuits

70g dairy-free margarine
30g sugar
1½ teaspoons ground flaxseed
1½ tablespoons water
zest of ½ a small lemon
40g agave nectar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup grated sweet potato
1¼ cup plain flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon dairy-free margarine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons (or more) water

Preheat oven to 175C.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk the ground flaxseed with water in a small bowl then mix it thoroughly into the butter and sugar. Add the lemon zest, agave nectar and nutmeg and beat well. Fold through the grated sweet potato then add the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Place tablespoons of the mixture onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned, then remove the tray from the oven and allow them to cool down completely.

Mix the icing sugar, dairy-free margarine and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Drizzle in enough water to make a spreadable icing. Top the biscuits with a generous dollop of icing.


Did you know?

There are 16 official languages in Zimbabwe. English is one of the official languages but only 2% of the population is fluent in it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Succotash has reminded me of Sylvester from the Looney Tunes cartoons and his famous catch phrase "Sufferin succotash" ever since I heard of this one pot wonder. This simple dish originated in New England, USA prior to becoming popular in the southern United States and it was also a common meal in the Depression era. Succotash is essentially a meal of corn and lima beans although there are variations aplenty with additions such as tomatoes, capsicums/bell peppers, okra, other types of beans, butter, margarine, lard, bacon, fresh and dried herbs.

With some freshly harvested broad beans (also known as fava beans) from the garden begging to be used and corn and okra in the fridge I decided to make a version of succotash. I didn't follow a particular recipe, instead my broad beans, corn, okra and tomatoes were plonked into a pot and stirred every so often. It had been a long day labouring in the garden and we were tired and hungry so I didn't bother with double peeling the broad beans to save on time. Finely chopped basil and parsley along with margarine and seasonings were stirred through in the final minute before serving.

We really enjoyed the succotash and I was particularly fond of the addition of basil in my version. I could envisage this becoming a semi-regular side dish over the summer months when corn is at the height of it's season. It was a perfect accompaniment for our extra spicy buffalo tofu and oven baked potato wedges. The leftovers were just as lovely when eaten cold the next day which leads me to believe that it would also work well as a salad.


4 small corn cobs
1 1/2 cups broad/fava beans (or use fresh lima beans)
100g okra pods, sliced into 3cm pieces (optional)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
12 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground cracked black pepper, to taste

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and place into a medium-large saucepan with the broad beans, okra and tomatoes. Simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender. Stir through the margarine, basil and parsley then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan MoFo - Day 30 - Vegan MoFo Wrap up

As much as I love Vegan MoFo, I'm quite relieved it's the final day! Given I haven't been finding as much time for blogging this year, it's been a struggle to keep up with the pace and it really wasn't a wise idea to make a personal commitment to posting daily. Amongst the chaos, it has been yet another enjoyable MoFo following fun themes, connecting with new bloggers and drooling over many wonderful food posts.

I've always followed a theme during Vegan MoFo although this was my first time writing daily theme based posts rather than a single month focussed theme. The best part about these posts was managing to accomplish a few personal goals via some of these daily themes - learning to appreciate tempeh in new ways, clearing out old ingredients from the pantry, cooking bookmarked recipes from past and present Vegan MoFo, baking new sweets and continuing my virtual around the world travels.

Once again my bookmarked recipes have grown considerably and rather than post the full list I've accumulated, here is a condensed version of some of the recipes I'm keen on trying.

Spreads and snacks

Fermented garlic cashew cheese - Veganosaurus
Broad bean pate - Self Sufficient Cafe
Tofu nuggets from a Vegan Dollar Menu - KZ Cakes 
Chickpea nuggets - Vegans Eat Yummy Food Too

Soups, salads and wraps

Mulligatawny soup - Flicking the Vs
Corn chowder with edamame and tofu bacon - Green Gourmet Giraffe
Chipotle tofu tortilla salad -  The Cookbook Aficionado
Injera wraps stuffed with Kik Alicha - A vegan obsession
Spanish rice, buffalo tempeh, kale, bell pepper wraps - Vegan Richa

Main meals

Stewed okra and tempeh - Laughfrodisiac
Chiles en Nogada - Eating Appalachia
Baked eggplant rollantini - Veg-am
Creamy mushroom and eggplant studel - Luminous Vegans

Sweet things

Apple pie pancakes - Cupcake Kitteh
Chocolate chip double doozies - Cadry's Kitchen
Croissants - Culinary Interpretations

I had intended to write more summary posts throughout the month but ended up needing a breather every so often. In these summaries I was planning on sharing some videos of our clever little pup Ollie for all the dog lovers out there. The below video is my favourite which was taken earlier this year whilst on holidays in Perth. The house we rented came with the added bonus of a pool which Ollie enjoyed swimming in every single day. He even learnt how to boogie board...

Thanks everyone for reading along, posting a comment, linking back to a post or bookmarking a recipe throughout the month. Hope you enjoyed the Vegan MoFo too, I'm heading off to catch up on the last of the posts now!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 27 - Free Fridays - Faking it hot dogs

Last week's Free Friday was a big fat F for a failure to post. I had so many posts planned for Free Fridays although I just didn't have the energy to write one up last week. Fried Friday and Foraging Friday were some of the other ideas I had in store for Fridays but as this is my final Friday post for Vegan MoFo I've chosen to write about Faking it Friday.

Hot dogs always used to be a favourite with my fellows yet I was never the biggest fan due to the mysterious nature of the ingredients involved in the meaty varieties. The boys survived without them for many years until Redwood's hot dog style sausages became available and ever since they have become one of our preferred fast food meals to make at home occasionally. I contemplated making my own a while ago and looked up a few recipes for making hot dogs from seitan although I never got around to trying it out. When Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted some MoFo Quicklinks a few weeks ago I was interested that she had included a link for a hot dog recipe on Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan.

I was intrigued about where this adapted recipe had stemmed from and after clicking back on a few links I arrived at the original hot dog recipe on Thrifty Living which was one of the hot dog recipes I had bookmarked many years ago. The version I made was fairly close to the recipe on Thrify Living with some tweaks from other bloggers adaptations and a twist of my own thrown in. My only disappointment was with the sizes of the hot dogs as they didn't quite fill up our rolls, the flavour and texture was very impressive which made up for the sizing issue. I'll post a recipe with my adaptation next time I make them as there is one more minor ingredient tweak I would like to try as well as getting the sizes right.

We enjoyed these hot dogs with vegusto piquant cheese, fried onions, ketchup and american mustard on one occasion and another time they were served up as chilli dogs with a lentil and vegetable chilli base. cheesy sauce, ketchup and american mustard.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 26 - Tidy-up Thursdays - TVP for Caribbean patties and "bacon" bits

TVP has been cluttering my pantry for years and although it may not be the strangest pantry ingredient for a vegan to hoard I've included it in Tidy-up Thursdays as I rarely cook with it these days. By the time I came to the decision that TVP wasn't the most exciting ingredient, I had accumulated a few bags of the stuff which I've slowly been working my way through. The final remaining bag of TVP has a best before of December 2012 which doesn't deter me from using it as I don't believe this stuff can go off anyway. 

A handful of TVP recipes were spotted in my exciting new cookbook Caribbean Vegan and following the success of the first meal sampled from the book, I was very keen to give another recipe a try. I picked out some patties (filled pastries) filled with a spicy TVP mince and used frozen puff pastry sheets rather than the home made pastry in the book to shorten the preparation time. The filling was flavoured with a jerk seasoning, onions, garlic, green capsicum, curry powder, Vegemite (yay for an Aussie ingredient) and habanero chillies. I sampled the filling prior to constructing these patties and it almost blew my head off! I'm not shy about spicy food but this was right up there amongst the hottest meals I've made. We still loved the patties even those our noses were running madly but I'll be a lot more cautious when using habaneros in the future.

Another TVP based recipe which has been on my mind to try for ages is TVP "bacon" bits. I spotted this recipe in Vegan Diner where it is credited to Joni Newman, the recipe is also posted on her blog . The TVP granules are rehydrated with liquid smoke, water, salt and optional food colouring (I used beetroot powder) before being pan fried on a low heat until they are totally dried out. The "bacon" bits are very smoky and not quite salty enough for me so I would probably increase the salt next time and possibly add a touch of sweetener as well. I haven't used the "bacon" bits in a recipe yet but have plans for them in the next couple of days.

That's it for Tidy-up Thursdays! I'm not sure that my overflowing pantry has benefited much from these four posts but it was a fun exercise to find new recipes for a handful of neglected ingredients.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 25 - Worldly Wednesdays - Stopover 32 - Solomon Islands - Sweet potato and parsnip fritters

Sourcing recipes for around the world cooking has proven to be tricky for some countries, the Solomon Islands was one of the more challenging ones. The food from the Solomon Islands has been influenced by the trade of exotic fruit, vegetables and spices from Asia and India as well as it's colonisation by the British. Coconuts, cassava, sweet potato, breadfruit, bananas and taro account for a large portion of the fresh produce intake on the Solomon Islands.

The first recipe I found that was linked to the Solomon Islands was called Kara which is a portion of corned beef smothered in coconut cream surrounded by an outer layer of grated cassava. It is typically wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed. I was keen to give this a try especially as I already had corned beef seitan sitting in the fridge, the only problem was that couldn't find cassava so I continued searching for other recipes.

Finding a recipe that used accessible ingredients proved to be difficult so I was relieved to finally discover a recipe for sweet potato and parsnip fritters linked to the Solomon Islands. The recipe was almost vegan as it only required one egg to be substituted and it was gluten free as it used rice flour. It was a simple recipe to make although the mixture didn't hold together well when I cooked the first batch of fritters so I added additional rice flour and the next couple of batches turned out much better. The ground cumin, cayenne pepper and curry leaves in the batter gave the fritters a nice amount of heat which were lovely paired with some mango chutney, rice and steamed asparagus.  

Sweet potato and parsnip fritters (Adapted from Veria Living)

250g sweet potato, peeled and grated
250g parsnip, peeled and grated
25 - 30 curry leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup ice cold water
oil, for shallow frying

Place the grated sweet potato and parsnip in a large bowl and add the curry leaves, rice flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and sea salt. Pour in the flaxseed mixture and water and stir well until the ingredients are combined thoroughly.

Heat some oil over medium-high in a deep sided frying pan. Drop small portions of the fritter mixture into the oil and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula, ensuring they have some room to spread out. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown then drain on paper towels. Place the cooked fritters in a warm oven while you are cooking the rest of the batch.


Did you know?

Plum Pudding Island in the Solomon Islands was renamed to Kennedy Island after Lt John F Kennedy, the former US President. During World War II the patrol torpedo boat John F Kennedy and his crew were aboard was rammed by a Japanese destroyer. Two soldiers died in the incident and JFK aided the remaining crew members to this island.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 24 - Tempeh Tuesdays - Tempeh bacon for risotto

As I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about the latest recipes I cooked for MoFo Mondays another day of posting was skipped and now it's time for my last Tempeh Tuesdays post. Tempeh bacon was one of the first tempeh recipes I made years ago, I'm not sure which recipe I used but don't recall the tempeh being pre-steamed and have a clear memory of almost destroying a good frying pan in the process! My first impression of tempeh bacon wasn't a good one and as tofu bacon was already a household favourite I've stuck with it for many years. This felt like the perfect time to revisit tempeh bacon as my other three experiments for Tempeh Tuesdays were successes so I wasn't going to be upset if the last one ended badly.

The same marinade that I use for tofu bacon (which was adapted from a recipe on veggieboards) was whisked up to use in the tempeh bacon although I didn't bother adding water as I wanted the flavours in this marinade to be stronger. I fried the slices in my non-stick grill pan that I use for cooking tofu bacon to give the tempeh slices some nice grill marks.

I've been buying so much asparagus recently as I get terribly excited when it comes into season. When I was trying to think of something more interesting than a BLT (or TLT) sandwich as a partner for tempeh bacon I remembered an asparagus risotto that was a favourite a few years ago and thought that it would be lovely with additional smoky facon flavours. I'm so glad I gave tempeh bacon another try as I really enjoyed it this time and it complimented the risotto perfectly.

Although I still haven't progressed to cooking big chunks of tempeh, this series of posts has definitely achieved it's goal. I've grown a lot more comfortable with cooking tempeh, discovered some new recipes I'll definitely make again and won't be intimidated by tempeh recipes any more!

Tempeh Bacon (Marinade adapted from a recipe on veggieboards)

300g tempeh, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
oil, for frying

Slice tempeh into thin strips then steam the tempeh slices for 15 minutes. Whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, ketchup and liquid smoke together in a dish. Place the steamed tempeh slices in the marinade ensuring they are coated evenly and allow to rest for a minimum of 2 hours.

Heat a frying pan or grill pan over medium heat, add some oil and fry the tempeh slices for a couple of minutes on each side, until slightly crispy and lightly browned.

Asparagus risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, fined diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (325 grams) arborio rice
6 cups vegan chicken stock
2 bunches of asparagus (400 grams), woody ends removed and cut into 2-3cm lengths
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup MimicCreme, cashew cream or tofutti cream cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
tempeh bacon slices

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided pan over medium-high heat and fry the onions for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute then stir through the rice ensuring that the grains are coated evenly with the oil, onions and garlic. Add a few ladles of stock and stir until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding a few ladles of stock every time the stock has been absorbed, stirring often, until the rice is almost tender. This should take 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat.

When the rice is almost tender, stir through the asparagus along with some more stock. Continue stirring until the stock has been absorbed then add the nutritional yeast, optional cream and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and serve topped with tempeh bacon slices.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 21 - Sweet Saturdays - Apple-Blueberry Grunts

I'm not sure how everyone else is faring at this stage of the month but honestly Vegan MoFo is starting to wear me down. My intention was to post daily throughout Vegan MoFo, yesterday was the second time in less than a week that I've missed a post. Rather than throwing in the towel I'm aiming to get through the rest of the month with as many posts as I can manage. I'm going to give myself a breather tomorrow and skip Summary Sundays and the following Sunday I'll be posting a round-up of bookmarks from the month.

This week for Sweet Saturdays I actually baked something to please myself which meant it involved fruit and wasn't overly sweet. The main apple eater in our house has always been the young man - the time he spends at home has decreased recently due to a lady friend in his life which resulted in our fruit bowl overflowing with apples. There were a few different recipes I could have used them up in but I turned to Blueberry Grunts in Vegan Yum Yum last night as I've wanted to try it for years and it seemed like an easy recipe to make.

I modified this recipe a bit, obviously I included apples in my version. The sugar that was added to the apples and berries was decreased by a substantial amount and a small amount of sugar and cinnamon was added to the biscuit topping. As the baked apples and berries turned out to be a little too runny, I added a touch of a cornflour paste to thicken them up slightly. The only thing I would do different next time around is to use a slightly larger baking dish, the one I chose was a square 20cm dish and the quantity of biscuit topping was too much for this so I've indicated to use a 24cm dish in the recipe below. Alternatively this could be baked in individual ramekins.  

This dessert was not quite sweet enough for the man but it was perfect for me so if you have a sweet tooth you may wish to increase the amount of sugar. My preference was to enjoy this on it's own although it could also be served with some nut-based cream or a scoop of non-dairy ice-cream.

Apple-Blueberry Grunts (Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum)

Apple-Blueberry base
5 red apples, approx 500g (I used a mixture of pink lady, fuji and royal gala apples)
250g frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with enough water to make a thick paste)

Biscuit topping
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw sugar
3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1 cup soy (or other non-dairy) milk

Preheat oven to 200C.

Peel the apples, cut into quarters and remove the cores, then cut into thin slices. Place the apples, half of the blueberries, water, sugar and cinnamon into a saucepan. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the apples have softened, stirring occasionally. Stir through the remaining blueberries and cornflour paste, allow to cook for a few more minutes, then turn off the heat. Transfer the berry mixture to a 24cm baking dish or spoon into ramekins.

Place the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large mixing bowl then add the dairy-free margarine. Use a fork to cut the fat through the flour then pour in the soy milk and continue mixing until a rough shaggy dough forms. Tear off small portions of the dough with your hands and arrange them on top of the apples and berries.  

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the biscuit topping is slightly browned.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 19 - Tidy-up Thursdays - Mung beans for Hummus

In the past two weeks Tidy-up Thursdays has involved an obscure flour and some old tinned produce which had past it's prime. This week it was time to play with a legume so I selected the most neglected one in my pantry - mung beans. At the moment my pantry is home to 14 different varieties of dried lentils and beans - black beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, brown lentils, black lentils (urad dal), yellow split peas, red lentils, chickpeas, puy lentils, cannellini beans, soy beans, black eyed beans, Egyptian broad beans and mung beans. That's a lot of legumes! Most of them are used fairly regularly but I haven't been game to use mung beans since my fellows took a dislike to everything I made with them.

To be fair I didn't experiment with them broadly enough and only tried them in a handful of Indian curries. Curries are generally hits rather than misses so it was a bit disheartening that I was the only person enjoying these cute little green legumes. The mung beans were relegated out of sight next to the black eyed beans which are my least favourite. A recipe for Mung bean hummus posted on 101 Cookbooks caught my eye a few months back - there are heaps of different hummus recipes around using so many types of legumes but this was the first one I had seen using mung beans.

Mung beans are a lot easier to prepare than chickpeas as they don't require to be pre-soaked and only take around 30 minutes of cooking to soften so this hummus was pretty easy to whip up from scratch. Heidi's version didn't include cumin but I added some to mine and only used around half the amount of tahini as I was almost out of it. I also made a slightly larger quantity as I had cooked up a very big batch of mung beans. 

My fellows were none the wiser when I presented them with this hummus. They could tell that it was different to my standard chickpea hummus yet they had no idea what the secret ingredient was. It did have a slightly earthy flavour although it didn't taste anything like the mung beans we had eaten in the past. The hummus was spread on homemade pita bread along with falafels from Oasis Bakery that had been sitting in the freezer for a while to make falafel wraps. The remainder of the hummus disappeared rapidly mopped up with more pita bread and some baby carrots that had been pulled up from the garden. As this was so successful and I still have lots of cooked mung beans in the fridge I'll be whipping up another batch in the next day or two. Veganosaurus wrote a helpful post about sprouting mung beans a couple of weeks ago which is something I would like to try in the future too.

Mung Bean Hummus (Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

2 cups cooked mung beans
1/4 - 1/2 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (or more) water
olive oil, sliced spring onions and smoked paprika, for garnish

Place the cooked mung beans in a food processor and process on high speed until the beans have broken down into a coarse mixture. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, garlic clove and 1/4 cup of water into the food processor bowl and continue processing. Add 1/4 cup of water (or more) slowly while the food processor is running until the hummus reaches the consistency you are happy with.

Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with olive oil, spring onions and smoked paprika.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 18 - Worldly Wednesdays - Stopover 31 - Bardados Tofish and cou-cou

My next stopover was in Barbados which was another exciting prospect as the small amount of recipes I've made so far from the Caribbean islands have all been wonderful. The food of Barbados has influences from West African, Indian and British cuisines and their national dish is called flying fish and cou-cou. I wanted to attempt this meal more than anything even though it sounded tricky to pull off. Whilst hunting around for inspiration about how to achieve this I discovered that there was already a published recipe called Tofish and cou-cou in Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason. Thankfully I had drawn the four countries that would be appearing during Vegan MoFo prior to the start of September as this gave me enough time to order Taymer's cookbook online.

When the book arrived I flicked straight to the recipe I was interested in and decided that this would be a weekend project as there were several elements involved in making the dish. A couple of Bajan sauces that are integral parts in many of the Caribbean Vegan recipes needed to be prepared first. The rest of the components were a marinade for the tofish, a creole tomato sauce, a sauce to pour over the frying tofu as well as the polenta and okra dish called cou-cou. As I approached the meal in stages it didn't end up being as much work as I envisaged although I'm still glad that I didn't attempt this on a weeknight.

There were a large array of herbs and spices throughout the different elements in this dish but most of these were pantry friendly. Fresh parsley, thyme and basil provided the sauces with flavour along with plenty of onions, garlic, madras curry powder, paprika, ground cloves and black pepper. The only ingredient I had to track down was habanero chillies which are an integral part of Caribbean cooking and one of the hottest varieties in the world. I was able to purchase dried packets of habaneros at USA Foods

We have never been fans of polenta so the cou-cou gave me the most angst as I wasn't sure if we would enjoy it and I also wasn't confident about being able to cook it properly. This turned out a lot nicer than any polenta dish I recall and combined with creole sauce it really was quite delicious. This meal was definitely worth the effort and the leftovers were gobbled up enthusiastically the next day. Although I've only had a quick glance through the cookbook there are plenty of recipes in Caribbean Vegan I'm looking forward to making after Vegan MoFo ends.

Did you know?

The Barbabos cherry contains the highest content of Vitamin C of all the fruits in the world. Eating one cherry a day will give you the full daily requirement of Vitamin C.