Quite often strange and wonderful foods are packaged with no explanations on how to eat them.
Take aduki beans. Gillian McKeith recommended them on British TV. The nation listened and duly bought them.
But what to do with those aduki beans? I bet you money some are still sitting in the back of people’s cupboards…
The more unusual the food, the more the food makers assume you know what to do with them.
This explains why I was so happy to receive a booklet (in this case free with this Sunday’s the Observer) on interesting ways to cook tofu.
I love the bland, digestible high-protein bean curd. But apart from stir-frying, I never quite know how to eat it.
The booklet from award-winning organic tofu makers, Cauldron, takes its inspiration from Asia where tofu is traditionally used and you are not seen as a weirdo for eating it.
Here’s my Winklerified version of its Rendang paste:
Toast 3 tablespoons of dessicated coconut in a dry, hot frying pan.
Make a paste: Blend (or whizz or pound) the toasted coconut with one cut raw onion, 1 mild fresh chilli, a chunk of raw ginger peeled and chopped, and a teaspoon of turmeric. No liquid needed.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy frying pan and gently fry the paste, stirring until the aroma is released.
Add 250 mls (a bit more than half a can) of coconut milk with 125 mls of water.
Blend a teaspoon of tamarind paste with a tablespoon of water, and add that along with 1 stick of cinnamon (see it floating on left of picture) and 4 star anise (I have had star anise in my cupboard for ages not knowing what to do with it…).
Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the drained tofu pieces and cook gently for another 10 minutes. Stir in greens chopped in strips, such as fresh coriander or spinach or pak choi.
Serve as I did with brown rice and cubes of roasted sweet potato.
I am not known for my presentation skills when it comes to food. By the time I have cooked, I am in no mood for artistry. Hence the joy of eating out.
One of my fave local eating places is a gastropub on Bristol’s Gloucester Road Robin Hood’s Retreat.
The food is locally sourced and heavenly flavoured. I believe the chef is a master.
I had asparagus from the Wye Valley with a Scotch egg with the egg still warm and runny; pea puree and sea trout on a bed of lentils. Dinner for two with 1 glass of wine and two courses, came to about £50.
And all, as you can see, beautifully presented.