Monthly Archives: February 2014

It’s wedding eve…

I know, I’ve been woefully bad at posting the last few weeks. Guys – wedding planning is hard work!

But most of the work is thankfully done now as the wedding is tomorrow. Eeek!

I’m going to be AWOL from the blog for a couple of weeks longer, as Dave and I are jetting off to Japan for our dream honeymoon. But I promise I’ll set up a proper posting schedule when I get back – is it sad that I’m looking forward to getting back to mealplanning?? – and I’ll make sure to share a pic or two of the big day for you too ūüôā

Lots of love and I can’t wait to get back to blogging in a couple of weeks!


Szechuan-style noodles with crumbled tofu and vegetables

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Ah, “crumbled tofu” – giving a food creation a name makes it sound so intentional. ¬†Basically I bought a different brand of tofu which was cheaper and it was impossible to cut and just crumbled up. ¬†I didn’t want to waste it so I fried it anyway and to my surprise, it was really nice. ¬†All the little tofu crumbs went really crispy and I sold it to Dave as “tofu mince” ūüėČ .

The stir-fry itself was an attempt to recreate something that Dave used to cook all the time after we got back from our trip to China a few years ago (which in turn were an attempt to recreate something he ate there). ¬†He absolutely loves Szechuan peppercorns and spicy stir-fry dishes made with the fiery little dried chillies we bought at the Chines supermarket (we bought a massive pack literally years ago and have never needed to buy more as it lasts so long, don’t know where you get them from if you don’t have a Chinese supermarket). ¬†The ones he used to make were veggie for me, with some pork belly added on top for him and his brother. ¬†The veg and noodle base was spicy enough, but he used to add loads of chilli to the pork belly so that their version was almost inedible.

With this in mind, I set out to create something really spicy, but I maybe succeeded too well – I could only eat it with the aid of two glasses of milk (but hey, extra protein for this veggie meal) and Dave, whose taste buds have come alive after quitting smoking a few weeks ago, actually couldn’t finish it! ¬†So proceed with caution if you don’t like fiery food. ¬†I used two of the little whole dried chillies and next time would only use one. ¬†If you’re using the easier-to-get-hold-of dried chilli flakes, you might need to experiment for a bit to see how much you need; I’d start with a teaspoon and work from there.

I didn’t have many of the ingredients the recipe called for (black bean paste, sesame puree) so I subbed in miso and peanut butter which worked well. ¬†If you don’t have miso you can just leave it out – it adds a nice savoury taste but I wouldn’t buy it specially for this recipe (though I always have miso in because I ‚̧ miso soup and I also do a good honey miso salad dressing).

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Szechuan-style stirfry with crumbled tofu

  • 2 nests of egg noodles
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • big handful spring greens or other greens, finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • handful frozen or tinned sweetcorn (drained if tinned)
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained and pressed under a heavy board for at least 10 minutes (I use a book on top of my plastic chopping board), sliced or crumbled
  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1-2 small whole dried chillies (use two with caution) or substitute for a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp molasses (or sub for honey if you haven’t got any but don’t use quite as much)
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (a small thumb-sized piece grated)
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Cook the noodles as per packet directions (i.e. boil for a few minutes until tender ūüėČ ), drain and set aside.

Crush the Szechuan peppercorns and chillies using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (I toasted mine first but don’t think it made any difference). ¬†Mix with the Chinese 5 spice, molasses or honey, miso, molasses, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, cornflour and soy sauce. ¬†Stir well to combine, taste and adjust if needed (i.e. if it’s not sweet enough, add more honey or a pinch sugar; add more soy sauce if you think it’s not salty enough etc).

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep-sided frying pan or wok to a medium-high heat and chuck in the tofu slices or crumbled up bits and stir fry for a few minutes. ¬†Mine were sort of in slices to start and I think part of the reason it crumbled was I stirred too vigorously – tofu always sticks to the pan for me. ¬†If you want to make it crumbly like mine, break up any bigger lumps of tofu with your wooden spoon and it’s done when it’s all golden. ¬†Remove and season very well with salt and lots of black pepper (tofu is tasteless unless you add lots of flavour to it).

Add the rest of the oil to the wok and bring back up to a medium heat.  Add the vegetables and stir fry for several minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and ginger, stir fry for a further minute, then throw in the noodles, sauce and tofu.  Mix it all together and serve straight away, though I did have the remainder for lunch with half a raw pepper sliced into it and it was surprisingly nice as a cold salad too (and much less spicy for some reason).

Mealplan and spending update 02/02


Hectic week again this week – I do have a couple of recipe posts on the pipeline for this week though. ¬†Only four weeks yesterday to go until our wedding day – I can’t believe it’s so soon!

I’ve tried to keep meals this week fairly easy again to free up some time in the evening, and I’ll also make a big batch of the mince for next week too. ¬†Trying to keep organised without spending too much time cooking.


Sun 02 Рout for dinner with grandparents (Dave got a takeaway, shhh)

Mon 03 Рgoats cheese & spring veg spaghetti with salad

Tues 04 Рmince and tatties

Wed 05 Рsalmon with stir-fried veg and noodles

Thurs 06 Рbean and cheese enchiladas with salad

Fri 08 Рhomemade pizzas with salad

Sat 09 Рbeef stew cooked in the pressure cooker with veg and mash

Lunches Рcarrot, lentil  & ginger soup for me; tuna or ham sandwiches for Dave

Spending Update (£81.77 / £185)

Delivery £5.50

Fruit & veg £7.31
Florette salad leaves £1
Smartprice frozen peas 1kg 98p
Frozen sliced green beans 750g 75p
Smartprice peppers 4pk £1.56
Bananas x7 84p
Smartprice carrots 2kg £1.18
Asparagus 150g £1

Meat & fish £13
Beef mince 750g £3
Smoked gammon joint 2kg £10

Dairy & eggs £6.15
Soft goats cheese 150g £1.50
Cathedral city mature cheddar 350g £2
Mozzarella 68p
Whole milk 4pints £1
Meadow Park whole milke 2ltr 97p

General £9.63
Golden Wonder crisps 16pk £2
Smartprice penne pasta 29p
Smartprice tinned pineapple 33p
Nescafe instant coffee 150g £3
Smartprice chopped tomatoes 31p
Smartprice mayonnaise 40p
Asda cola 4pk x2 £3.30

Household £13.34
Asda wet cat food pouches 12pk x2 £5.30
Asda bin bags 50pk £4.49
Smartprice washing up liquid 40p
Smartprice bio liquid wash £1.60
Smartprice cat litter £1.55