Sesame Noodles with Ginger-Soy Braised Tofu and Steamed Broccoli

A Passion For Food…A Passion For Flavor! – Melanie daPonte

Melanie daPonte, Vegan Personal Chef

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Ever Since I found out my beloved Ma Po Tofu at PF Changs contains more than a full day’s worth of  sodium (3450 mg) I’ve been getting creative coming up with quick Asian lunch ideas.

I cook an extra serving or two of spaghetti at dinner time and store it in the fridge for later. That’s the first timesaver. With a few spare minutes in the kitchen I whip up an easy sesame sauce that is delicious over noodles, or just for dipping steamed broccoli. In about 2 micro- minutes I braise up some tofu to add some protein to my lunch. Toss in some steamed veggies and I’ve got a delicious, nutritious meal for lunch or dinner.

Quick Asian Noodle Sauce

Recipe courtesy Jenna Webber (www.eatliverun.com)

     ½ cup Tahini

       ¼ cup Canola oil

       ½ cup Hot water, as needed

       ¼ cup Sugar

       ¼

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Kung Pao Cauliflower

The OM Project.

The OM Project

This recipe by Circus Gardener’s Kitchen is similar to the spicy cauliflower wings I posted up a few weeks back. Treating cauliflower like little bites of chicken, you can season them, bake them, and grill them exactly the same way. Think of this as healthy General Gao’s and stick little tooth picks in them.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets, each about 1½-2 cm
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, seeds in, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 spring onions, sliced, including green parts
50 g unsalted peanuts, dry fried and roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
50 g organic cornflour

for the ma-la cooking oil

125 ml roasted peanut oil (use groundnut oil if not available)
2 star anise
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp dried chillies
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

for the marinade

100 ml organic…

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Radish, Broad Bean and Mint Salad

More healthy goodness from The Circus Gardner’s Kitchen!

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

radish broad bean and mint salad

Supermarkets deploy a considerable amount of science to exert subtle influences over our shopping habits and impulses.

For example, all supermarkets now use planogram software to help with store layout in order to stimulate our purchasing behaviour and increase revenues. Essentially, planograms are used to determine where each product should be placed, not only to make the shelves we pass visually appealing but also to ensure each product is in the optimum place to maximise its sales revenue.

This usually means that more expensive items are placed around eye level. If you think about it, the science seems to work: how often do you find you need to reach up or bend down to pick up a product to put in your basket?

So important is the science behind planograms that some food manufacturers pay for “product placement”, in order to get their products placed in the most advantageous…

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Tuscan style bean and vegetable soup

I always get the tinned version, so I can’t wait to try this!

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

tuscan bean and vegetable soup

When we think of pollinators, we tend to think about bees, but butterflies are another important insect in the cycle of plant life. They pollinate plants whilst searching for plant nectar and, just like bees, their numbers are in alarming decline.

In its report “The State of the UK’s butterflies 2015”, the Butterfly Conservation charity has recorded what it calls “major slumps” in the numbers of common butterfly species.

The decline is most noticeable on farmland, where the numbers of widespread UK butterfly species declined by 58% in the first nine years of this century. Research published in November suggested strong links between this decline and the use by farmers of neonicotinoid pesticides. These pesticides, subject to a temporary ban within the European Union, are also strongly implicated in the alarming decline in our bee populations.

In the midst of this gloomy overall picture there are some positive stories…

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roast chickpea and avocado salad

Love salads, LOVE avocados!

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

roast chickpea and avocado salad

In the past twelve months some 2,000 square miles of the Amazon rainforest has been lost to clearing – equivalent to 50 football pitches every minute.

Although some of these losses are due to illegal logging, much of it has been to meet the demands of the cattle industry.

In 2009 the multinational food giants McDonald’s and Cargill were named and shamed by Greenpeace for their role in the clearance of large areas of Amazonian rainforest, either to graze cattle for burgers or to grow soy beans as feed for cattle destined to end up in burgers.

The current scale of the losses of forest land is unsustainable.

Without the protection of the forest canopies, soils quickly dry out and become vulnerable to wind and rain erosion.

Trees are a vital part of the water cycle, returning moisture from the soil to the atmosphere, which will later return in…

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Persian stuffed squash with tahini sauce and cinnamon onions

Oooh! I do love Persian food!

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

Persian stuffed onion squash

It is traditional at this time of year to consider those less well off than ourselves, and here in the UK there is no more poignant symbol of the divide between the haves and the have-nots than the food bank.

They arose as a charitable and humanitarian response to growing inequality, and were intended to provide an emergency stop gap in times of need, but food banks have since have become an entrenched feature of the dismal landscape of austerity.

So what do we know about those who are using food banks?

Chief architects of the austerity programme, the UK government, do not monitor food bank use (presumably because it would reveal the stark truth about the growing numbers falling through holes in the welfare net).

There are also a number of different organisations running the UK’s food banks, making it difficult to obtain data which provides a reliable overall…

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The Creative Blogger Award

creative-blogger-award

On April 21st, I was nominated for The Creative Blogger Award by House of Heart. I really appreciate this! Thank you. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the original post, so I am guessing that I have to do the following:

Five facts about me

  1. I wear a corset for at least four hours a day. My current and newer corsets are twenty-four inches. I am not sure if I should stop now, or go down further to twenty-two. Perhaps even twenty inches.
  2. I used to play the following musical instruments – piano, drums, guitar trombone and flute. I would also read and write musical transcript.
  3. I can’t stand being in a crowd or small spaces as I’m claustrophobic.
  4. I am thinking about becoming a vegan. Already, I do not eat meat.
  5. At the age of seventeen, I wanted to join the British Army. My mother as my guardian, would not allow it.

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