AWAM Reviews...Tofutti

A few months ago I had me a big ole flat white coffee. And I had the following conversation with my stomach.

Me: Hey stomach! I know it's been a while, but how good is milk?
Stomach: Oh! Well this is awkward. See, the thing is.... we're not gonna be digesting that anymore.
Me: What are you - you can't just do that.
Stomach: No, I'm...I'm pretty sure I can.
Me: I'm not going to stop having dairy.
Stomach: Well then this is not going to be fun for you.

It wasn't. To add insult to injury, I've always loathed soy milk. It's milk...made from beans. Something has gone terribly wrong there. I don't believe nature intends anything for anyone, but I'm sure the humble soybean never thought: One day I'm going to be milk.

And yet here I am, months later, having finally accepting that I am, in fact, a lactard. And that soy milk is not so bad - I actually prefer it in my coffee these days. I'm slowly dipping my toe in the water of other dairy substitutes, and it is in that spirit that I decided to review the endearingly named cream cheese substitute, Tofutti.

If I was apprehensive of making milk out of beans, I was positively terrified that someone had attempted cheese. I wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't already absentmindedly bought english muffins. You can't have english muffins without cream cheese. It's the law.

Happily, it turns out cream cheese is not too hard to imitate. Although the Tofutti is disconcertingly white, the taste and texture are pleasant enough, and almost exactly the same as cream cheese. Well. Lite cream cheese.

Tofutti doesn't taste anything like real cream cheese in exactly the same way that lite cream cheese doesn't. But that is good enough for this lady's breakfast.

*** (3 stars)

Sunday Night Surprises.

Sometimes, you have one of those nights where you chuck whatever is in your fridge into a saucepan, and something wonderful is born. This was one of those nights. I can't claim most of the credit - the key ingredient in this recipe is the punjabi masala on Show Me the Curry. I made this up a couple of months ago (although I halved the recipe) and I'm discovering that I adore having it in the freezer - it's a fantastic base for a quick meal.

I had some eggplant, red capsicum and cherry tomatoes that were getting a bit old (left over from pizza adventures) and I always have tinned tomatoes and cous cous on hand. Throw in some of your favourite spices, and there you are. I'm not sure you could reasonably call it authentic Indian - it's more like Indian meets Italian - but it was pretty dang tasty either way. So tasty we nommed it before I remembered to take a photo. This post is brought to you by public domain images of eggplant!

A Sort of Eggplant Masala (serves 2)

You will need:

Olive oil
1 small eggplant
1 small red capsicum, finely diced.
1 punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
1 tin of tomatoes
1/2 cup punjabi masala1/2 cup water
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp ground coriander (or a bit more, to taste)
1/2 tbsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp dried chili seeds (or more. I'm a bit of a wimp)
1/2 cup dry cous cous
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp butter (optional, vegan without)
Fried shallots, to serve.

You will need to:

Cut your eggplant into thin strips, about 3cm by 1cm. Toss in olive oil, and lay on a well oiled baking tray. Salt generously. Grill for about 15 minutes on medium high, or until golden brown, but not charred.

Heat a non-stick saucepan or frying pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and dry-fry for a minute or so.

Add the (defrosted) masala, the capsicum, and the cherry tomatoes. Stir together and fry for a further few minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, spices and water. Simmer for about ten minutes, until thickened.

Add the eggplant, and cook together for about five minutes. Adjust the spices and seasoning to taste.

Prepare your cous cous by adding the boiling water, covering, and letting stand for five minutes. Stir through the butter.

And serve with fried shallots. It makes for a rather nice Sunday night.