The accurately named “best tofu dish ever”: Mapo Tofu

I have been having a craving for Mapo Tofu for a few days now and I finally could be bothered attempting to make it for the first time. It’s odd that for a dish I really do quite like, this was my very first time attempting to make it.

Well… I was googling around and found this recipe: I didn’t have fermented black beans, so I left that out. I used the broth from the dried shiitake mushrooms (with a tiny bit of Massel stock added) and did take the option of adding pepper (chilli) flakes.

It was absolutely delicious and really quite simple to make.

The simmering of the tofu (I just used the Woolworths Macro Classic Tofu that you can pick up at any Woolworths store… because I’m often just plain lazy when it comes to acquiring tofu) was something I haven’t done before. It turns out that makes the outside of it more likely to keep its shape, which it rather did. Neat trick!

Did I mention this was delicious? I wish there was more!

Aloo Palak/Spinach with Potatoes

This is the most lazy food blogging ever: I made this and it was yummy. You should make it too: I was a it different to what I usually get when ordering Aloo Palak, and that’s a good thing as variety is the spice of life. I was doubly lazy and microwaved potatoes to speed up cooking time.

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout

Another Vegan beer from Samuel Smith with the nice Vegan symbol on the back and everything. This isn’t a heavy stout, it’s quite lite and consuming more than one pint wouldn’t be taxing at all. The oatmeal part is not overwhelming, providing a subtle flavour more than overpowering the rest of the beer. A quite nice midweek beer.


Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Tadcaster Taddy Porter

I had this one a few days ago. When I was last in Acland Cellars I saw a bunch of Samuel Smith’s beer, and I noticed the small Vegan symbol on the back. Not one to shy away from vegan beer, I bought one of each I could see.

Beer doesn’t have to be explicitly labelled to be vegan, basically what you’re wanting to avoid is isinglass (obtained from dried swim bladders from fish) that is used as a fining agent.

Pro tip: if your beer has a bit of sediment in it (like Coopers does), it’s near 100% likely to be vegan (barring honey or somebody inventing a way to put bacon in beer).

A fining agent will accelerate the settling (clarification) of beer. If you’ve ever bottled your own homebrew, you’ll have noticed that the first 90% of bottles look a lot clearer than the last 10% (here you’re starting to stir up the sediment at the bottom of the brewing vessel). This then settles in the bottle and isn’t a problem – just don’t drink the last half mouthful. This is natural beer – “bottle conditioned”. Mass produced beers (think VB/Carlton/XXXX, not Coopers) are likely to use a fining agent such as isinglass as this enables them to pump out the beer quicker and not have to produce bottles that can withstand the pressure of secondary fermentation.

Pro tip: “bottle conditioned” likely means vegan too.

Basically, being vegan is a great excuse to not drink lots of shit beer.

Anyway, this is the beer I had the other night, and it was quite a pleasant porter. yay!

New York Times Curried Cauliflower Soup

I made the Curried Cauliflower Soup I found on the New York Times website:

Rather delicious I have to say. In the future, I aim to try adding some peas, maybe some parsnip or even carrot.

Damn delicious though.

Chickpea and green bean curry


oil (olive, canola, whatever you like)
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 dried chilli (crushed/chopped) – or more, depending on heat preference and heat of chilli
2 teaspoon chopped ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 good handfulls of green beans, chopped into inch long pieces
1 can chickpeas (drained, washed)
1 can diced tomatoes


Put oil in saucepan, add the mustard seeds
As the mustard seeds start to pop, add the chopped onion
Cook until onion is soft, then add all the spices
Stir and cook for ~30 seconds, until aromatic
Add can tomatoes, chickpeas and beans.
stir and cook until chickpeas are done and beans are a little softer, but still nice and crunchy (you can cook for longer if you like your green beans more well done, but I like a bit of crunch)

This took not much time, and was invented this evening purely because earlier in the day I had felt the need for green beans.


This serves about 2-3 people (depending on how much you eat). For 3ppl, it’s about 215 calories and 9g of protein per serve.