The other day, I knew - knew - that I wanted a bowl of fried kale, red pepper, and carrot with garlic and ginger, topped with salt-and-pepper pan-fried tofu.
It was just what I was craving - a rich irony hit of kale, some smoky sweetness from the red pepper, and a crown of light crisp tofu. I got home and made it from pan to plate in about 15 minutes - it was tasty and speedy, so it went right to the top of my love list!
I was so desperate to shove this down my neck, I had but a few seconds to take a snap on my phone before I wolfed it down. This'll give you the idea:
I don't know about you, but there are days when I just want a bit of food that I can stick in the oven and forget about, and still have a decent meal when it's done. I mean, I love cooking, but sometimes (after a full day at work and then an evening at college studying hard science) it's all a bit much for me.
Luckily, the folk that bring my veg box also sell a load of other stuff like bread, pickles and all that farm shop kind of jazz. I spotted the other day that among their standard offerings, they also sell vegan Cornish pasties. Vegans being the naturally curious type, I thought I'd give it a go.
Behold, the spicy lentil pasty:
I think what I liked most about this was the fact it was huge. And I mean HUGE. It was the size of a toddler's head huge. (Yep, I'm sorry, I'm a simple creature. The only thing that's better than good food is lots of good food.)
The other thing I liked about it was it managed to combine lots of good healthy stuff (lentils, split peas, veggies, and lots of spices) with a whacking great blanket of pastry. I tried to restore the balance with a carrot, beetroot, and pumpkin seed salad. Nothing with salad on the plate can be unhealthy, I'm pretty sure.
Back to the homemade stuff, and I got to try out a new version of an old favourite: brussels sprout tops! Yes, they're exactly what they sound like: brussels sprout tops are the leafy bits of everyone's favourite Christmastime staple. I love a good helping of brussels on my plate, whether it's the 25th of December or not. I'd never tried seen the tops on sale before though, so when I saw bunches being flogged off for almost nothing at the local market, I wanted to give them a go.
So what are brussels sprouts tops actually like? Really nice! They're brussels-y in flavour but nice and robust, sort of like spring greens. I wanted to use them up in something where their strong taste wouldn't be masked, so I fried them off with a bit of soy sauce and some shiitake mushrooms.
The result: I'm still having good thoughts about those brussels sprouts tops. If you see any at your market, I reckon you need to get your wallet out.
And keeping on with the readymade vs homemade theme, here's something that's normally readymade that I mocked up at home:
Yep, all you people that keep mentioning all the fun stuff you find at Trader Joe's have driven me to make edamame hummus. We don't have that chain here, but I remember dropping into one a few times when I was last in the US, and buying up a lot of its edamame hummus. Now, I'm the other side of the Atlantic and I don't have a Trader Joe's near me, and I still need edamame hummus.
Luckily, it didn't take more than a couple of minutes (find stuff, chuck stuff in food processor, process) to make, and the end result was, if not a Trader Joe's level of excellence, then certainly still a good mouthful. I used in it wraps for a few days, and one of my colleagues commented on how good it smelled. Take that Trader Joe's!
And it wouldn't be a Flicking the Vs post if there wasn't a portion of vegan cake to end on, and this post is no exception - behold, a brownie from Cookies and Scream in Camden.
Working out who makes the best vegan cake in London is something that keeps me up at night but after this massive slab of chocolaty wonder, I'm going to have to give the crown to Cookies and Scream. Not only do they do cakes, if you can get yourself down to their stall, you can try out their shakes, bars, and occasionally donuts.
Not pictured: a great big cookie I troughed down before I could take a picture.