This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quick & Tasty Crunchy Garlic and Chilli Broccoli

I mentioned a little while ago that I bought a book called Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me: A Chef's Stories and Recipes from the Land. This is not a review. Yet.

I've actually only made it to the second chapter of this beautiful, carefully crafted book. But despite the fact that I love it I could not go any further reading it. Why? Well... I was just so overwhelmed. I now realise that I know nothing about vegetables. The crappy little green things we get in supermarkets are pale imitations of the real thing.

So, I was reading this wonderful book and I was thinking: "I've got no fricken clue what vegetable he's talking about." And he mentions quite a few.

My solution was to finish chapter one (on green vegetables), put the book down and go out into the markets and at least see some of these vegetables. However...

... no plan runs a smooth course. The fact that I spend all the hours of daylight in the CMS (Centre for Mathematical Sciences) or in the lab (the Cavendish lab!) has hindered my ability to get to any sort of market before it has closed. And, thanks to distance between Cambridge and my beloved equator, there seems to be less and less sunlight in the day. Also, my brain is so fried by the time I get home I've resorted to mashed potato and soy sausages two nights in the last fortnight! (I know, dear readers, times are tough.)

Until a time comes when I no longer sleep, dream and breathe numerical methods of solving partial differential equations and I get to go out into the sun I intend to massage my poor brain with lighter reading (Julie & Julia, in fact: the book that inspired the movie that inspired this blog. And some new recipes... but more of that another time...). I also intend to keep buying the crappy vegetables at Sainsburys (it's open until 11pm!).

I adapted this recipe from my Wild Garlic book for everyone else that doesn't leave their desk until 8pm and needs something quick and tasty but preferably green to go with their soy sausage (that isn't that fresh and was probably ripened by gas in some big shed somewhere and shipped to Sainsburys or Tesco or Woolies or Walmart and then sat in your crisper for a week while you ate choc chip cookies instead of vegetables... yes, those people... those people like me...).

Crunchy Garlic and Chilli Broccoli

1 head of broccoli
2 long red chillis, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/8 cup of walnuts (or cashews)
1tbsp soy sauce
olive oil

Break off the heads of the broccoli and halve any bigger heads so that they are all bite sized. (You can also chop up some of the stalk and include it if you don't want to waste it!)

Heat a pan to medium to hot, without oil, and lightly roast the walnuts making sure you constantly move the pan so that they don't burn. After a minute or two, turn them out onto a clean chopping board, chop them up (carefully, they'll be hot) and put aside.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the oil. The pan should still be fairly hot so chuck a small piece of garlic in to test the oil (it should sizzle slightly) and then if it is hot enough put in the rest of the garlic and the chilli. Quickly fry for a minute and then put in the broccoli. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. You want the broccoli to be bright green and firm. I like mine on the crunchy side. You definitely do not want it to be yellow and soggy (the ones in the photo are a little too yellow).

When it's ready throw in the nuts and soy sauce, stir for 30 seconds and take it off the heat.

Serve immediately.

Fun fact about England: If you call someone a twat here it's really rude! If you sit at your computer and call yourself a twat continuously people think you are a complete nutter!

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