one girl’s perspective on life, neopaganism, veganism, politics, books, films, and… stuff.

Posts tagged ‘vegetarian cooking’

How-To Guide: Preparing Tofu

I’m working on expanding my blog again, as it had largely descended into collections of photographs and little else. Hence the more diverse and wordy posts!

Today I’m going to show you, step by step, how to prepare tofu for maximum flavour and texture. A lot of people have had bad experiences with watery, gross tofu, because success largely rests on preparatory steps that most people don’t know about. Here they are:

What you will need:

  • Tofu – generally, you want to use firm/extra firm tofu. Silken tofu is mostly used for baking and making desserts. Recipes will generally specify what type you need: this tutorial looks at how to prepare firm tofu.
  • Paper towels, at least 4 sheets (I always recommend 100% recycled)
  • Two plates (smaller is generally easier, but use what you have)
  • A handtowel or other rag for absorbing any excess liquid
  • Something heavy and regular shaped for pressing; the Oxford English Dictionary works a treat (I used a box of breadmix for this example)

Preparing tofu 1

1. Put down a towel on the bench to catch stray water (I used a dirty tea towel then throw it in the wash). Lay down two sheets of paper towel on the bottom plate.

Preparing tofu 2

2. Remove tofu from package, drain thoroughly, and place on the paper towel covered plate.

Preparing tofu 3

3. Place two more paper towels over the top of the tofu.

Preparing tofu 4

4. Place the second plate on top, making sure it’s centred.

Preparing tofu 5

5. Place the heavy object on top of the top plate, making sure the stack is stable.

Preparing tofu 6
(Sorry about the blurry picture!)

6. Leave the tofu to press for up to 4 hours, then slice it as desired. And don’t forget that paper towels are recyclable!

If you’re making a stir fry or something similar I highly recommend putting the drained and diced tofu in a container and covering it with the sauce you’re going to use. Leave it to marinate for up to 48 hrs, and the tofu will absorb more of the sauce, now that the water has been squeezed out!

Any comments or questions? Was this helpful or the same old same old?

Super-Easy Vegan Pasta Bolognaise

Two-Pot Super-Easy Pasta Bolognaise (with extra veggies)

This is a continuation of my praise of the mighty rice cooker. Once again proving its versatility, it can be used to make a delicious TVP-bolognaise with a few extra servings of vegetables in there. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly long ingredients list; it’s mostly touches of common seasonings.


  • Rice cooker
  • Medium sized saucepan
  • Strainer


  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP; available in the health food section at Woolworths or Coles, or at any decent health food shop)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 jar vegan tomato pasta sauce
  • 2 cups pasta of your choice (gluten free is fine)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, diced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil or vegan ‘butter’ (I use Nuttlex)
  • 5 tsps ‘beef’ stock (Massell’s do a good one)
  • 2-3 tsps mixed herbs (or to taste)
  • 1-2 tsps minced garlic
  • 2-3 drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos to taste (optional)
  • 2-3 tsps porcini powder (optional)


  1. Add the diced mushroom and broccoli, oil and Bragg’s to the rice cooker. Mix well and set rice cooker to “cook”.
  2. In the saucepan, add the TVP, water and 3-4 tsps of ‘beef’ stock, and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it’s absorbed most/all of the water.
  3. Once the TVP is cooked, strain it and press out the majority of the moisture (reserve the stock for later use if you wish).
  4. Add the TVP, jar of tomato sauce, 1-2 tsps ‘beef’ stock, mixed herbs, minced garlic, porcini powder and liquid smoke to the vegetables in the rice cooker. Mix thoroughly and leave on “cook”.
  5. Rinse the saucepan, and fill ¾ full with water. Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil on high. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then strain.
  6. Pour pasta into a bowl, add a few heaping tablespoons of the sauce on it, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

Note: if you want to get a really thick sauce, leave the rice cooker on “cook” for longer, or while you eat, with the lid off.

Food pr0n: Avocado sushi platter

A very basic avocado sushi platter, but it was delicious! I think I’ve found the secret to perfectly delicious sushi rice (in a rice cooker), using the following formula;

1 part sushi rice + 1 part water + 1 part rice vinegar/rice wine/mirin mixture* + 1/4 part agave nectar

* or pre-made sushi seasoning; Kikoman do a good vegan one.

In real terms, I find that I can make maki rolls from four sheets of nori using the following quantities/proportions;

1 cup sushi rice + 1 cup water + 1 cup seasoning + 2 tbsps agave nectar

Simple, yet very delicious!

Vegan Bento #43

This was basically a snack bento, as I was going out to lunch/dinner with a friend!

Purple box: vegetable ‘fries’ (they’re these baked Japanese veggie crisp things).

Yellow box: snow pea crisps, black sesame rice crackers.

Red box: garlic-flavoured dry-roasted chickpeas.

Blue box: a Leda chocolate-chip cookie and a Clif protein bar broken in half.

Vegan Bento #42

Top tier (L): leftover punjab eggplant curry with sultana details.

Bottom tier (R): garlic dry-roasted peas, dry-roasted corn, Leda apple-cinnamon bar, apricot delight, raw cashews and a sweet. There were also black-sesame rice crackers underneath!

Vegan Bento #41

Never fear, fellow vegan bento-bloggers, I haven’t disappeared – I just couldn’t find the cable to charge my camera!

Green box: snow peas and snow pea crisps (with panda decorations. Panda panda panda!)
Red box: Leda apple + cinnamon snack bar, apricot delight, raw cashews, a Leda chocolate chip cookie, and a sweet.
Blue box: black sesame rice crackers, vegan jerky.

And look what I found in Chinatown the other week!

Domo-kuuuuuuuuuuun! 😀

Vegan Bento #40

Top tier: nori rice crackers, dry-roasted corn, strawberry mochi & a boiled sweet, snow-pea crackers.

Bottom tier: shiitake mushroom, brown rice and shoyu dumplings (new discovery at the Asian grocer’s around the corner, they’re awesome!), edamame, shoyu in a bunny sauce bottle.

Also, I promise to soon resume posting things on here that aren’t just pictures of my lunch – I haven’t abandoned the blog, RL has just gotten in the way a lot. Stay tuned!

Vegan Bento #39

Top tier L-R: museli bar (underneath), sultanas (green cup), chocolate-coated cranberries, dried fruit mix (orange cup), raw cashews. Divided by a pressed/dried fruit bar. Sesame rice crackers (underneath), dry-roasted green peas, dry-roasted corn (yellow and blue cups), nori rice crackers.

Bottom tier: home made nut loaf and grilled zuccini, both courtesy of my lovely friend Shannon. I took the picture before I added the deliiiiiiiiiiiiiicious mushroom gravy. Nom nom nom.

Vegan Bento #38

Top tier: brocolli and portabello mushroom stir-fry with shiitake shoyu and udon noodles.

Bottom tier L-R: apple & cinnamon Leda bar, sultanas, dry-roasted corn, dried fruit bar with a boiled sweet on top, nori rice crackers.

Vegan Bento #37

Top tier (left): leftover soy meat and chickpea curry.

Bottom tier (right): pepitas and pumpkin seeds, home-made dried fruit mix (blue star cups), dry-roasted peas (orange cup), nori-covered rice crackers.

This is the adorable panda bento I received for Christmas. So cute!

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