I was just about to start writing this blog on the theme of impulse and spontaneity, but (ironically), I’m changing my plans last minute due to some fab news I want to share; about a minute ago I got an email from the editorial team of a startup artisan food website – caprera.com – saying they want me to be a writer for their online magazine! Not sure if this news tops the excitement of last week’s veg raffle, but it’s a damn close call.
But seriously, I’m excited. It was only in my first blog post a week or so ago that I vented about the difficulties of getting into food journalism and although this is only an unpaid internship, it feels like a massive step in the right direction – or at least a step in some sort of direction. Last year I got into a bad habit of idleness; I said I’d write for the uni magazine, which I didn’t; I said I’d audition for a load of plays and get my foot firmly in the ‘stage’ door as it were (God I’m funny), but I didn’t; I joined the uni rowing team and vowed to become an athlete, and (thank fuck) I didn’t, although I did pay £150 for the membership and now have a pile of brand new rowing all-in-ones and leggings sat in my wardrobe. So this year feels like I’m turning over a new leaf and actually doing things, which feels unbelievably satisfying.
Before I got this news I actually had a relatively sizeable hangover, and so was going to share with you my favourite remedy – noodles and cake. Despite still working my way through the glut of vegetables from the raffle and therefore vowing not to spend any more money on food this week, I spent more money on food. I’m not frugal about food – I’d happily sacrifice a night out and spend the money I saved on vanilla beans and saffron and other overly-expensive non-essentials.
This recipe is loosely based on one found in the Hemsley sisters’ book, The Art of Eating Well, though I’ve added some prawns and marinated tofu amongst other things to make it into 4 meals rather than 3.
The cake was an impulse bake at about 8:30 when I was craving sticky toffee pudding but had none of the ingredients. Instead I made a coconut flour honey cake with swirls of cinnamon – it looks ugly but it tastes like a super-moist cinnamon bun, plus it’s got no refined sugar and the use of coconut flour means the protein content is also quite high (I’m justifying the fact that roughly 1/4 of the cake mix didn’t make it to the tin, I was tempted to just put it in a mug for myself).
I was going to top it with some sort of icing to make it a bit more aesthetically pleasing but the honey makes this cake sweet enough as it is – just don’t pay attention to the look. Take it out the oven, slice it still warm, dollop some yoghurt/creme fraiche/cream on it.
Hot buckwheat, tofu and prawn salad – makes 3/4 servings
However many prawns you want for 4 servings
2 blocks marinated or smoked tofu
1 small red onion
2 spring onions
1/2 red cabbage
1 clove of garlic
1/2 sweetcorn, kernels cut off
1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper
A handful of rocket
Enough buckwheat noodles (I also threw in some black rice noodles for colour/fun, how wild) for 4
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp sweet white miso paste
1 tsp tamari
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 chilli, deseeded (optional)
Coconut oil, for frying
- Crush the garlic, spiralise/juliene/grate the carrot, thinly slice the red cabbage, and slice the spring onions and peppers. Cube the tofu and set aside.
- Cook the noodles until done, and then drain, toss in a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and set aside in a big bowl.
- Put the lemon juice, miso paste, tamari, toasted sesame oil, olive oil and chilli in a jar and shake to combine.
- Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a wok and add the onion and garlic, followed by the carrot, cabbage and sweetcorn. Stir fry on high for about 5 minutes – you want to warm up the veg but not cook it, it’s best when it keeps its crunch.
- Once done, combine with the noodles and add the peppers, spring onions, rocket and herbs.
- Put the wok back on the heat and add more coconut oil. Throw in the prawns and tofu and stir fry until the prawns are cooked and the tofu is slightly crispy. Add this to the bowl along with the dressing, and toss to combine.
- Season and serve.
Coconut flour honey cake with cinnamon swirls
78g coconut flour
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
120ml milk – regular or an alternative like almond milk
2 tbsp cinnamon
4 more tbsp honey
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
50g chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c, grease and line a cake tin.
- Combine the coconut flour, bicarb of soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk and the 225g honey to the mixture and whisk until fully combined – you may need to leave the mixture to stand for a minute to allow the coconut flour to absorb all the liquid.
- Meanwhile, combine the cinnamon, 4 tbsp honey, butter and walnuts.
- Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin. Spoon and swirl the cinnamon mixture into the cake mix.
- Bake for around 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack before taking the cake out the tin and gorging on it.
My first article for Caprera is a guide on artisan breads and where to buy them – I’ll post a link for anyone interested when it goes on the website.