Smoked Tofu Salad

I am feeling particularly in the mood for spring after the sunny weather and visiting the Orangerie museum in Paris which houses many of Monet’s famous waterlilies. I was very much looking forward to seeing them after my attempt to reproduce a Monet in an art class. I highly recommend this museum, it’s amazing to see the full sized works of Monet and how what doesn’t look like much detail close up really makes the scene as a whole. I do think that Monet had the right idea just painting his garden everyday though unlike Monet, I hate gardening so I think I would have to get a house next to the sea or just paint cityscapes. Smoked tofu is just the best and this salad from the Hairy Dieters Go Veggie pairs it with orange, avocado, spinach and quinoa.

Serves 4 as lunch or 2 for dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 oranges
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 200g smoked tofu
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Simmer the quinoa in some water until cooked. Drain and set aside.

2.) Peel the oranges and cut out the segments away from the pith.

3.) Slice the oranges up thinly and push the segments and the juice into a large mixing bowl.

4.) Add the spinach to the bowl.

5.) Slice up the spring onions and add these.

6.) Make the dressing by whisking up the mustard, olive oil, juice of 1/2 of the lemon and some salt and pepper.

7.) Peel the avocado and slice this up and add to the bowl.

8.) Add the quinoa. Pour over the dressing and mix everything up. Serve.

Fig, Orange & Mascarpone Cheesecake

I had a few people round to watch The Apprentice so I made this cheesecake that was in ‘Sweet’ by Yotam Ottolenghi which is a really great dessert book, packed with beautiful looking desserts with intriguing flavours. I felt that the cheesecake was worthy of a night spent watching this series of the Apprentice, where they’ve once again outdone themselves in finding the most arrogant people living in the UK. Is it horrible to like watching these people fail? I don’t often eat figs as it’s so hard to get them fresh in this country and this was my first time in trying dried figs which I actually prefer. Whisking the egg whites up makes the cheesecake light. I was too lazy here to put greaseproof paper around the outside of the cake tin but if you do that then it should be a lot neater than mine.

Ingredients

  • 100g digestive biscuits (graham crackers if you live in the US)
  • 80g walnuts
  • 60g butter
  • 250g dried figs
  • 250ml orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 500g mascarpone
  • 250g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1.) Line a 23cm springform tin with baking parchment. If you do around the sides, you need to do 5cm above the rim.

2.) Blitz the digestive biscuits until nearly fine crumbs, then add the walnuts and blitz a little bit more so they have some small chunks.

3.) Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, add the biscuits and nuts and mix everything.

4.) Press the mixture into the tin with a spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

5.) Chop up the figs, discarding the stalks. Add to a small pan with the orange juice and the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes to a thick liquid. Leave to cool. Then take the cinnamon stick out and spread over the base and return to the fridge.

6.) Preheat the oven before you start to make the filling.

7.) In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla.

8.) Zest the orange and add the zest to the filling.

9.) Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the cream cheese. Beat all of this with an electric whisk until smooth.

10.) In another bowl, whisk up the egg whites to stiff peaks.

11.) Fold a third of the egg whites into the cream cheese. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.

12.) Take the springform pan out of the fridge and wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray and pour in the filling.

13.) Bake for 75 – 80 minutes. If you see it going brown, put some foil over the top but not too early as you don’t want the foil to stick as the cake rises.

14.) The cake should have a slight wobble but not look liquidy when done. Take out and leave to cool to room temperature. Wrap in cling film, move to the fridge and leave for at least 4 hours. (It can keep up to 2 days at this point).

15.) Take out the fridge, remove the springform collar, serve in slices.

Cod with Hasselback Potatoes

I keep seeing hasselback potatoes all over Pinterest so I’ve been wanting to make some for a while. Slicing them before baking means you just get this beautiful crunch all the way round the exposed bits. I finally got round to it when I saw a recipe for cod with a dill and orange crumb on the BBC Good Food website served alongside them. The orange zest in the crumb really brightens up the dish and should not be omitted.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cod fillets
  • 50g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 orange
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 10g dill
  • olive oil
  • green veg to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Stick a spoon through the centre of each potato and slice all the way around the spoon

3.) Whack the potatoes in the microwave for about 10 – 12 minutes

4.) Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper

5.) Zest the orange and chop the dill finely. Peel and finely chop a clove of garlic. Mix in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper.

6.) Place the cod fillets onto the baking tray and top with the breadcrumbs. Place the potatoes on the same tray and drizzle with oil and a sprinkle of salt.

7.) Bake for 12 -15 minutes. Prepare your green veg so it’s all ready together.