Ratatouille Stuffed Aubergine Boats

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Ah ratatouille. One of the few things in French cuisine that I’m actually able to eat. I’m always on a mission to eat healthily during the week so that I can splurge without guilt at the weekend. Sometimes I succeed. Most of the time I fail. Ratatouille is something that I haven’t cooked in years but as it’s just packed with peppers and tomatoes, it makes the perfect healthy option. As I had some aubergines that had been sitting at the bottom of my fridge for a while, I thought I’d try stuffing them with the ratatouille!

INGREDIENTS (4-5 portions)
•Aubergines (depending on how many portions will be served up)
•3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
•1 onion, roughly chopped
•2 cloves of garlic, crushed
•1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
•1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
•1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
•salt and black pepper to season
•1 can of chopped tomatoes
•1 tbsp of tomato purée
•2 tbsps red wine vinegar
•A pinch of sugar
•A handful of chopped fresh basil

Method
1) Pre-heat the oven on 200c.
2) Chop off the head and slice the aubergine lengthways.
3) Brush the aubergines with some oil, add salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and golden.
4) In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in the pan and gently sauté the garlic and onion for 5 minutes. Add the peppers and seasoning and allow to stir fry for 10 minutes.
5) Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and red wine vinegar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes before adding the sugar and basil.
6) Remove the aubergine from the oven and allow to cool slightly before scooping out the flesh. Chop the flesh and stir it through the ratatouille mix.
7) Scoop the ratatouille into the aubergine skins, taking care not to over-stuff.

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8) Place back in the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with on a bed of mixed leaves with some wholegrain rice on the side.

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Tofu Tom

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My boyfriend, Tom, is probably one of the most typically omnivorous people you could meet. Whilst he embraced both my vegetarianism and veganism with open arms, he has always made it clear that he loves all things meaty. Cue me hiding in my room every time he cooks flesh in our open-plan kitchen. However, something took me by surprise at the start of the month and continues to surprise me as we progress through January. Tom succumbed to my semi-serious pleas to take the Veganuary pledge. And not only that, he has managed to stick to it. So far so good.

Veganuary aims to reduce the harm and suffering caused to animals and our environment by encouraging people world wide to go vegan for the month of January. Tom cites his reasons for doing Veganuary as wanting to shift a few pounds and sees it as a sort of experiment. After all, how much difference can being vegan for a month really make?

11 days in and already he is beginning to look a little leaner and claims that he generally feels better within himself. He’s not doing it half-heartedly either. He’s doing everything from scrutinising food packaging in supermarkets to experimenting with ways in which to veganise his favourite dishes. I was hugely impressed when he cooked up this sticky oriental tofu dish and I feel compelled to share the tasty recipe.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 3)
•2-3 tbsps maple syrup
•40ml soy sauce
•75ml rich hoisin sauce
•1 garlic clove, crushed
•1 red chilli, finely sliced
•10g ginger, peeled and chopped
•300g firm tofu, drained and cut into slices
•spring onion to serve

METHOD
1) Pre-heat the oven to 190c. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and marinate the tofu for at least one hour.
2) Place the tofu on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove the tofu from the baking tray and add a little water to the remaining marinade to form more of a sauce.

Sprinkle over the spring onion and serve with rice and pak choi. Normally made with pork, this dish provides the perfect balance of sweet and spice.

I’m confident that Tom will persevere with his veganism right up to the 31st and I look forward to sampling more of his culinary experiments!

http://www.veganuary.com

Greenwich Market

Having lived in London for over 5 years, I was amazed to have only just heard of Greenwich Market. After friends telling me tales of vegan cake stalls, I knew a visit was long overdue.

What amazed me most was the sheer abundance of vegan food available. Not only exclusively vegetarian and vegan stalls but mainstream stalls offering vegan alternatives of their signature dishes. The choices for vegans at Greenwich Market hugely surpasses the likes of Broadway and Borough Markets.

After several laps of the market, I eventually opted for the vegan world food stall, Return to Shashamane.

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For £6, I received a large box filled with a little bit of all the dishes listed in the menu below:

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Delicious, refreshing, filling and healthy, I was a very satisfied customer.

Despite being ridiculously full, there was no way I was going to leave without paying a visit to Ruby’s, a vegan cake stall!

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I sampled one of their salted caramel cupcakes and I can categorically say that this was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted-vegan and non-vegan!

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So if, like me, you’re always on the lookout for new places to sample some vegan delights, look no further than Greenwich Market.

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http://www.greenwichmarketlondon.com