Sunday, 20 January 2019

Warming the cockles...

Weird phrase that but evidently it's a reference to the Latin for the ventricles in the heart which look like snails hence cochlea - at least that's what it says on the internet  anyway!

ermm more card...
Card for no dig gardening
 The weekend has been grey, damp and a bit meh so to stave off the second half of January I-feel-sorry-for-myselfs there's been a far bit of cardboard stash sorting and general tidying around the place with J doing any heavy lifting and popping the hoover round when I'd finished making a mess with the paper shredder! We save big bits of card and boxes to use as mulch for the allotment beds and the small bits and shreddings for lining bean trenches or feeding the compost bins and then there are the egg boxes for chitting seed potatoes in ... Not surprisingly the house was starting to feel a bit overcrowded so now everything is in the storage alley ready for a trip up to the allotment when we next go up. Beans, potatoes and all manner of good things will follow!

Essential egg-boxes for chitting spuds

Of course all this hard-work needs heart-warming food as a reward and this weekend it was J's gorgeous home-made pizza on Saturday - oh the joys of a bread-maker that kneads away while you are doing other stuff - and tofu casserole from the freezer on Sunday. I made the casserole earlier in the week, had a portion for lunch and froze the rest - this meant lunch today was quick to prepare but still really tasty and nutritious. Today we popped a garlic bread in the oven to go with it but it works well with mash, rice or pasta too.

Cockle Warming Casserole
The night before (or an hour if you really have to!!)
Dice 1x 200g packet of firm tofu and coat in a mixture of 2 tbsps tomato purée and 2 tbsps pesto. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

A couple of hours before you want to eat ***see note below
In a medium pan
Sauté 1 chopped onion in about a tablespoon of oil until translucent.
Add in the mushroom and diced parsnips, tofu, mixed herbs, garlic powder, black pepper and a small glug of water to keep from sticking (and avoid adding extra oil). Stir, cover and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
Put empty 1 litre/ 1.5pint casserole dish onto a strong baking tray (just in case of over-spills and to make it easier to take out of the oven).
Pour veg and tofu mixture into casserole and sprinkle 1tbsp of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of thyme and some more black pepper over the mixture.
Top off with sufficient boiling water to cover to just below the surface of the casserole dish. (I usually leave about 1cm).
 Give it a stir, Cover and Cook
***Now comes the how much time do you have decision.
This will be perfectly good cooked for about 30 minutes on a gas mark 4 until bubbling nicely and the parsnips are slightly soft on the fork but if you have time and can give it longer then try gas mark 3 for at least an hour and the flavours will settle in even more.
Delicious fresh from the oven. Even better frozen and reheated a few days later.

Tofu casserole and mash on Tuesday. It went too quickly to photograph today!

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