Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Main Dishes

Marinaded, fried Tempeh. Served in a spiced paprika pepper and tomato stew. A traditional Egyptian Stew.

Tempeh is one of those ingredients that in the west, you are fairly unlikely to come across until you become a vegan.  It originates from Indonesia.  It’s made by turning whole soya beans into a solid, firm, cake-like slab, using a natural fermentation process involving oligosporus culture.  It doesn’t look so appetising right now, but don’t be put off!  The grey flecks occur naturally as a result of the fermentation process.

tempeh – straight from the packet

So there’s the science bit.

The first thing I need to say is that it can be hard to get hold of.  Far harder than Tofu, which is a shame, because it’s a very useful and versatile ingredient to have in a vegan repertoire. I like it very much.  It has an interesting texture, and is quite robust.  It soaks up flavoursome marinades in the same way as tofu, and can therefore play a part in many different styles of food.

Recently we  came across a small co-operative whole food shop in a tiny village in southern England, and they had some!  So I bought 6 blocks to freeze.

Further to my previous post :Egyptian Mezze, I thought I’d try a simple Egyptian stew that traditionally, is served with poached eggs baked in the stew. (Shakshouka)

I decided to replace the eggs with a slice of marinaded fried tempeh, and I think it was quite delicious, and so I made a blog of it.


The key to cooking tempeh, before you do anything else, is to relax it, in a nice hot bath 🙂

Place the slab of tempeh in a saucepan of water that has been brought to the boil, and then reduce the heat to absolute minimum, so it’s not even simmering, and leave the tempeh in it for 15-2o mins. Remove the tempeh from the pan, and pat dry with kitchen towel.

It is now ready for a marinade.

For this recipe, I sliced the 227gms. slab of tempeh (defrosted if necessary), in half, reserved half in tupperware and refrigerated for future use.  (Must be used within 3 days….mmm…I foresee  a tempeh baken sandwich in the morning ….yes! )

I then sliced the remaining half in half again, and then into four thin slices, by cutting through the middle of the two pieces sideways, as you would cut through a bread roll.  So I ended up with four thin square pieces, and half in reserve.

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbs.olive oil
  • 1tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 2tsps. smoked paprika
  • 3 tsps. ground cumin
  • 4-5 tbs. water
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix everything together and immerse the tempeh slices,cut side down, in the marinade.

Leave for 2-3 hours, or even overnight.


Paprika, Pepper and Tomato stew, a wonderful addition to this Egyptian-Style Mezze. 

egyptian-style mezze

(click image for link)



Serves 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Marinaded, fried Tempeh. Served in a spiced paprika pepper and tomato stew. A traditional Egyptian Stew.”

Macrobiotic Recipes, Soups, Vegan Ingredients

Quinoa, Miso and Arame Seaweed Soup, with Baked Marinaded Tofu and garnished with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Nori

quinoa miso and seaweed soup + baked marinaded tofu

I have to say, that eating seaweed has never been at the top of my personal ‘to do’ list, but I have warmed to it recently.

There are many kinds of seaweed, and if you’re already a connoisseur, you can skip this bit.

If seaweed is new to you, then I would suggest that the two best types of seaweed to begin with could be Arame and Nori.

dried seaweeds – nori and arame

The following recipe includes  both.   Continue reading “Quinoa, Miso and Arame Seaweed Soup, with Baked Marinaded Tofu and garnished with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Nori”

Growing things, Vegan Ingredients

A little onion magic

Not much to offer you – 

just a lotus flower floating

In a small jar of water.  

Ryokan   18thC Zen Poet.


Yesterday I planted onions.

They are undemanding. They want only a well-dug bed, and to be planted the right way up, with the little stalk protruding minutely above the ground.

They will accept whatever winter brings: the frost, the rain, the snow.

Next June and July they will be ready for harvest.

I love onions.  I use them every day.  However bad the day has been, I am revived by the fragrance of frying onions.




All About Beans, Growing things, Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Snacks

A Celebration of The Humble Bean.

Tips on cooking beans, with a simple recipe for bean pate.

You’ve just got to love beans!


It’s autumn here in the UK.  I am lucky enough to have an allotment, and I love it at this time of year, its decked in autumn colour, bathed in hazy sunshine or shrouded in fine mist (or is that rain…?), and still abounding in fruitfulness.  A few days ago, I stripped all the bean pods from the vines.  The pods are slightly damp and bedraggled, and coloured musty shades of brown and yellow.  I brought home a huge bin bag full of them, three different kinds: moonlight runner, scarlet emperor runner and borlotti. They look distinctly unpromising, which is why I am always struck by what I find inside. The pods split open easily, and inside, nestling in a smooth, silky, papery, white sheath, are lines of immaculate, shining, pristine beans.

It seems so improbable.

The task of the next few days is to shuck them into bowls, then leave them in a warmish dry room (but not too near the heat otherwise they will split).  Every time anyone passes, they perform a little ritual, which basically involves shuffling the beans around in the bowls.  It’s quite musical and very therapeutic actually!  To begin with, they sound dull and muffled. As the days go by, the rattle of the beans starts to change, until eventually it sounds like marbles rattling in a glass bowl.  The sound, after a few weeks, becomes absolutely clear and bell-like.

They really are like magic. It’s no wonder that they’re the stuff of fairytales and runes.   Continue reading “A Celebration of The Humble Bean.”