Tofu Tuesday: Doppelgängers

Nomnom the bunny sitting on a tofu plush toy. Mind blown.

Nomnom the bunny sitting on a tofu plush toy. Mind blown.

Every time I see a rabbit that looks like Tofu, something weird happens to my ticker. I want to squeal and cry at the same time. It plays tricks with my heart.

From Wiki “In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger is a paranormal double of a living person.

A doppelgänger is often perceived as a sinister form of bilocation and is regarded by some to be a harbinger of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person’s relative or friend portends illness or danger while seeing one’s own doppelgänger is said to be an omen of death.”

Here is a collection photos I have seen on the internet of Tofu bunny lookalikes.

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Monday Bunday: Bunny Place Card Holders

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Loving these bunny place card holders from BHLDN. Stoneware with magnets to hold cards in place, white with gold feet. $28 for a set of 6.

While you are there, check out their Rabbit Rabbit Cake Topper. A bit steep for $158…which was what we spent on our entire wedding cake with cupcakes!

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Do Something With Eggplant Part 2: Eggplant Misocheese

Eggplant Misocheese recipe by Bunny Eats Design

A couple of years ago I tried to conquer my most loathed vegetable: the eggplant. The slimy fruit of nobody, I never thought I could like it.

I grilled it and paired it with orzo salad and we ate it for dinner one night. The Koala left most of his eggplant on his plate. He wasn’t a fan either. I thought I had cooked it correctly but the evidence was clear. Eggplant 1, Genie 0. Your comments told me that I should give eggplant another chance (at some stage). Let’s call that experiment Part 1.

Two years later, I have a different view on eggplant. Let’s call this Part 2.

A few weeks ago, a group of us dined at Nishiki in Freeman’s Bay. I was delagated the pleasure of ordering for all (one of my favourite pastimes). One of Nishiki’s best dishes is the Bei-naso Misocheese (eggplant miso cheese) and I ordered 3 for the table. $9NZ for half an eggplant may seem steep but if you’ve ever tasted it, you’ll agree that it is divine. Savoury, sweet and covered with melted cheese. My favourite way to eat eggplant.

Eggplant is currently in season and a whole eggplant is $2 to $4NZ. Since The Honesty Box delivered an eggplant, I decided to put on my big girl pants and revisit the eggplant. I had to recreate Bei-naso Misocheese at home. Because I am cutting back on sugar, I used honey but you’re more than welcome to substitute sugar. I studied a bunch of recipes for similar eggplant dishes and came up with this beauty which comes very close to Nishiki’s version. I’ve made this a bunch of times over the last 2 weeks, fine tuning the recipe as I go. You can trust me when I say this is awesome. I thought I didn’t  like eggplant, but I love this.

This recipe can easily adapted for more eggplants. I have used large Western style eggplants, but if you are using the more authentic slender Japanese eggplants, you may shorten your cooking time. Though eggplant seems to be one of those things that benefits from overcooking.

Eggplant Misocheese recipe by Bunny Eats Design

Eggplant Misocheese

(Recreating Nishiki’s Bei-naso Misocheese)

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 cup grated cheese* (an easy melting type)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Miso glaze

  • 2 tablespoons miso (see notes below)
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • ½ tablespoon mirin
  • ½ tablespoon honey**

Preparation

  1. Turn on your oven to 180°C or 355°F.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the miso glaze in a small bowl until smooth.
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  3. Cut the top off the eggplant and cut it in half vertically***. To stop the eggplant halves from wobbling on their round bottoms, carefully cut a thin slice from the roundest part of the back of each piece. This will give the bowl a flat base to rest on.
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  4. On the inside cut side, make diagonal slits about 1 cm deep and 1 inch apart so that the entire cut surface is scored. This will allow the glaze to soak through the top layer.
  5. Lightly brush both sides side with oil and bake scored side up for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and brush both of the scored sides generously with half of the the miso glaze. Return to bake for 15 minutes.
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  7. Remove from oven and brush with the rest of the miso glaze and then top with grated cheese. (If cooking ahead, at this stage you can then cover with a tea-towel and set aside until dinner or refrigerate, otherwise…) Return to bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  8. Serve with rice, salad or other Japanese dishes.

* Omit the cheese for a vegan version
** You can substitute with sugar
*** For a party or a pot luck, you could cut eggplant into 5-6 rounds. Think: chocolate log.

Eggplant Misocheese recipe by Bunny Eats Design

Notes on Miso

Miso is a healthy umami hit. A source of anti-oxidants, vitamin B12, amino acids, beneficial enzymes, protein and tryptophan, miso is also alkalizing, anti-cancer, good for the heart and protects from radiation.

The miso I have used is by Urban Hippie and is the only miso made here in New Zealand. It is MSG free, GMO free and naturally gluten free. Miso is often used in place of salt in Japanese cooking, as I have done here. I bought it at Little Bird Organics in Ponsonby. You can find a list of stockists here or buy online.

Unlike some other miso I have tried, this is not salty which makes it nice addition to many dishes. The only gripe I have with this product is that it comes in a bag, while their other products come in a jar or bottle. A jar would be great as a bag is quite impractical. I’m pretty sure no one really uses the whole bag in one go.

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I am no longer scared of eggplant. Eggplant 1, Genie 1. Maybe eggplant also wins this post.

Grave Diagnosis and Diet

The diagnosis

I have Graves’ Disease. It sounds ominous and is characterised by hyperthyroidism. Since being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease a month ago, I’ve been reviewing my eating habits. I’ve lost around 7kg (15lb) due to illness, most of this is muscle so I’ve been super hungry and craving protein like a mofo.

I’m on medication but I feel there is more that I can do than just popping a bunch of pills. I’m not going to get into my other symptoms here (I am a textbook case) but I’m focusing on improving my overall health through diet.

In the last month…

I’ve been focussing on eating whole foods with specific nutritional benefits. I’ve cut out pasta completely and have only had bread a couple of times. I bought a gluten free loaf which a few slices remain. I haven’t eaten much rice or rice noodles but have them once or twice a week. I’ve had 1 coffee since I have been diagnosed and an average of 2 alcoholic beverages a week. I was surprised at myself that I could quit coffee so easily but alcohol I have found, is my weakness. A blessing is that I’m learning to drive and volunteering to be sober driver at every social occasion has made it easier for me not to imbibe.

Moderation

Now, I’m a firm believer in moderation and workable diets. If I hate this diet, I’m not going to stick to it, or worse, I’m gonna binge. So I’m going to start allowing more coffee, 1-2 per week when I really must have it.

Not being able to eat cured meats is cruel. I haven’t had ham or bacon since being diagnosed but plan on enjoying it once or twice a month. I haven’t cut out seafood completely, but there’s a lot of good stuff in seafood too which I think neutralises the “No Iodiene” rule. So I’m researching which seafoods have less iodine or more nutrients and eating them in moderation.

Whole foods

Instead of following a strict Graves’ disease diet, base I’m basing my meals on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats.  I am getting The Honesty Box delivered every week now and with about 10kg of fruit and vege for two of us get through every single week, I always have fresh fruit and vegetables to eat.

IMPORTANT! Please note, I’m not a dietician, doctor or nutritionist. I’m just a home cook with Grave’s Disease. This is based on the research I have done on the disease and writing a plan that I feel I can live with. If any of this sounds off to you, please email me or comment below.

Red russian kale and kale chips

Red russian kale and kale chips

Graves’ Disease Eat More

Enjoy: Vitamin D, Goitrogens, Protein, antioxidants

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cheese
  • Chicken (turkey)
  • Egg whites
  • Fresh water fish
  • Kale
  • Liver
  • Millet
  • Miso
  • Mushrooms (UV treated)
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Raw nuts (brazil, almond)
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Water
  • Yogurt

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Graves’ Disease Eat Less

Avoid: Carbs, Iodine, Gluten

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cured meats
  • Egg yolks
  • Fresh soy
  • Gluten/Wheat (Pasta, Bread)
  • Iodized salt
  • MSG
  • Processed food
  • Seafood
  • Seaweed
  • Shellfish

Our Growing Edge – March 2014 round up

Our Growing Edge March 2014

Our Growing Edge March 2014

Medha from Mimi’s Mommy Blog has just posted the round up for last month’s Our Growing Edge. With 14 great entries this month, it was nice to see the synchronicity of food bloggers around the world. Check out her post here.

Hot Cross Buns with Custard and Cognac

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Bakers Delight is a bakery franchise that started in Melbourne and now has over 700 bakeries in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I was recently invited to sample and review Baker’s Delight Traditional Hot Cross buns and their Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns.

I took this as an oppurtunity to make my very first bread and butter pudding. Of course, The Koala and I also ate some buns warmed with a smear of butter…for research purposes.

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First impressions: The hot cross buns are large. The largest buns I’ve seen in a while. Supermarket buns tend to be smooshed and a bit sad looking. Due to their size, Baker’s Delight buns are robust enough to keep their shape, even with a bit of handling. They are matt (unglazed) and smooth and can be easily recognised as the “traditional” sports a white cross and the “chocolate chip” a dark brown cross.

Baker’s Delight Traditional hot cross buns: Plump sultanas and lightly spiced, these will appeal to those that eat hot cross buns out of tradition.

Baker’s Delight Chocolate Chip hot cross buns: Chocolate chips instead of sultanas will appeal to chocolate lovers.

The Verdict: We preferred the Chocolate Chip hot cross buns. The Koala is a chocolate fiend and I am not so fond of sultanas.

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Bread & Butter Pudding

Hot Cross Buns with Custard and Cognac

(adapted from jamieoliver.com)

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 6 hot cross buns, cut in half and smeared with butter
  • butter for buns
  • 1 handful of sultanas soaked in 2 tablespoons Cognac overnight
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • 1-2 cups cream for serving

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C / 325°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring the milk and cream to just before simmering point. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds into the pan.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar until pale, then pour egg and sugar mix into the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of Cognac and mix.
  4. Rub the bottom of a casserole dish with butter, then lay the bottom halves of the hot cross buns in the dish, scattering the sultanas on top. Arrange top halves of the hot cross buns on top and the remainder of the sultanas. Pour the custard mix into the casserole dish and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes.
    Cooks treat: save half a cup of the custard mixture, add a teaspoon of Cognac and enjoy.
  5. Place the dish in a deep roasting tin, half-fill the tin with boiled water and bake for 45 minutes, checking towards the end to make sure it doesn’t burn. The pudding will have a slight crust and be slightly wobbly inside. Dust with icing sugar. Icing sugar can hide a multitude of sins. Serve with thickened cream. The best way I know how to make thickened cream is to pour 1-2 cups of cream into a bowl, then whiz a stick blender through it for about 10 seconds.

 

our-growing-edge-badgeThis post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Dana from I’ve Got Cake is the host for this month’s event. If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join.

sweet-nzI’m also submitting this post to Sweet New Zealand this month. Sweet New Zealand was created by NZ blogger and food personality, Alessandra Zecchini. This month’s host is Marnelli from Sweets & Brains (Marnelli is also a regular at Our Growing Edge).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tofu Tuesday: The Zomato Easter Egg hunt!

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150px-Zomato_LogoIn conjunction with restaurant review website Zomato and Tofu the Easter bunny, we are running an Easter Egg hunt on Zomato with a prize of $100 in restaurant vouchers.

Zomato has a powerful search engine which you can use to search specific ingredients, dishes or even ambience notes.

To enter this competition, visit Zomato.com and have a nosey in the Auckland category. Search for the keywords “boiled egg” and view all the restaurants that have a boiled egg mentioned in their reviews.

Name 4 of these restaurants in the contact form below to be in to win.

Entries close Wednesday 23 April 2014 and winner will be drawn by Zomato, contacted by email and announced here and on social networks.

Terms and conditions

  • 1 entry per person.
  • Only correct entries will be accepted to the draw.
  • This competition is open to Auckland residents only.
  • The winner will receive $100 in restaurant vouchers: $50 Tatsumi, $30 Nickie’s Thai, $20 Mission Bay Cafe.
  • Prizes may not be exchanged for cash and no change will be given.
  • Entries close Wednesday 23 April 2014. Winner will be drawn Thursday 24 April 2014.

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Something Something Fritters

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Fritters are a New Zealand summer icon. Any neighborhood fish and chip shop sells mussel fritters, paua (abalone) fritters, even pineapple fritters. These are usually deep fried, but at home, most kiwis pan fry or bbq (grill) fritters.

I had never tried making a fritter. It was one of those simple iconic New Zealand foods that had somehow escaped me. A few weeks ago, with sweetcorn the cheapest it will ever get, 5 ears for 2 bucks, it was time to fritter.

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Sweetcorn fritters with salsa cream

Makes 4 giant fritters or about 20 to 30 fun size fritters

Recipe adapted from Lifestylefood.com.au

Ingredients for fritters

  • Sweetcorn kernals cut from 2 cobs
  • 1/4 cup sliced spring onion
  • A handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine corn, spring onion, coriander, grated cheese, flour, baking powder, salt, paprika and pepper. Stir to distribute ingredients evenly.
  2. Add beaten eggs and milk and stir to combine.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy cast iron pan (or non-stick frying pan) and swirl pan to coat the cooking surface evenly. Spoon mixture into pan in 1 layer and press lightly with spoon to flatten into fritters. Cook in batches or you could use 2 pans. Fry for 2 minute per side until golden.
  4. Serve with a dollop of salsa cream.

Ingredients for salsa cream

  • 125g sour cream (1 pottle)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 an avocado, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • lemon or lime juice
  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Spoon over fritters or use as dipping sauce.

 

our-growing-edge-badgeThis post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Medha from Mimi’s Mommy Blog is the host for this month’s event. If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join.

Monday Bunday: Too cute

I’ve often been described as cute. Being cute means you can get away with things, though it also means that people expect you to be patient. Well, not anymore! Not with this shirt on. Also available as a cushion or various prints.

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Get them from Human here, here or here.