I tend to consider ‘healthy eating’ to be homemade, fresh food, cooked with real ingredients, not chemicals or additives and using good quality produce. But I guess often when we say ‘healthy’ we mean low fat, or low calorie, or high in nutrients and low in bad fats. I consider most of my food to come under the first description, but the other day my food fell firmly into the later category and I felt distinctly pleased with myself, as it all tasted great as well.
I started the day with a bowl of organic natural yoghurt topped with sliced banana, blueberries and a drizzle of honey, much better than my quickly devoured cornflakes on a weekday morning.
For lunch I created these delightful Japanese style rice paper rolls. There is not getting round it, these are fiddly to make and just as fiddly to eat, but they do taste fantastic. They are bursting with fresh tangy flavours, full of vegetables, but not full of fat (see recipe below).
Rounding it off I did a meal that I cook reasonably regularly – tofu and broccoli in a ginger, garlic and oyster sauce. I used to use fresh tofu and press it between kitchen roll to firm it up enough to fry, but Cauldron has increased the size of its blocks of tofu and made them a bit more watery, which presents me with a problem. So now I use the packs of marinated tofu pieces, also by Cauldron, which is the perfect quantity for two people.
Makes six rice paper rolls:
6 rice paper sheets
1 large carrot, peeled
¼ of a cucumber
¾ spring onions, shredded
small handful of fresh coriander, ripped up
small handful of fresh mint, ripped up
Some cold cooked chicken, shredded, or alternatively some cooked prawns (or keep it vegetarian)
1tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Mix some shop bought sweet chilli sauce with a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of fish sauce.
Get all your filling ingredients ready. Peel thin slices of carrot using your veg peeler or slice very finely, slice cucumber and spring onions finely. Stir all the marinade ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Place all the filling ingredients in a bowl with the marinade and toss round so it is all covered. (at this point you could also add a sliced chilli or some cashew or peanuts).
Get a large bowl and fill about a quarter of the way up with warm water. One at a time soak the rice paper sheets in the water for 10-15 seconds, bring out and place on a clean T-towel to dry them a little and make them a bit sticky. Place a small amount of filling in the centre, fold in the edges and roll up as best you can. Continue until all of the rolls are made and serve on a plate with the sweet chilli dipping sauce. This would make a lovely starter as well as a lunch.
Tofu and broccoli in ginger, garlic and oyster sauce
This is an adaptation of a recipe by Sydney-based chef and author Ross Dobson, who has had a lot of really good books out, including a vegetarian one. I’m not sure which book this recipe came from but he did a great one called 3 Ways with….Stale bread! And 99 other ingredients you’ll find in your pantry fridge or freezer.
I’ve adapted this to serve two adults and added broccoli to the mix, although on other occasions I’ve used chopped mini corn and green beans instead. Here I’ve serve it with plan rice, but it’s very delicious with homemade egg-fried rice.
1 x 160g pack of marinated tofu pieces.
4 spring onions, sliced
1 x small head of broccoli cut into florets
4-6 thin slices of ginger
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2tbsp oyster sauce
250ml chicken stock
2tsp cornflour mixed with a splash of waterFry your tofu pieces in a little sunflower oil for 4-5 minutes until crispy on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the ginger and garlic slices, the stock and oyster sauce to the pan, bring to the boil, add the broccoli and put a lid on it. Allow to steam for 5 minutes until the broccoli is cooked but still retains some bite.
Stir in the cornflour then add the tofu pieces. Tip in the spring onions, replace the lid and heat through for 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.