I see autumn before I feel it. The leaves in the vineyards turn colour while we’re still basking in temperate days, cardigans draped on our shoulders at midday. My wish for forest foraging of mushrooms usually waits until a chilly morning air creeps into the ranges, quite a distance from our coastal home. In my childhood, mushrooms popped between folds of soil in the paddocks surrounding our valley home after showers of rain. My sister and I donned gumboots to ward off dewy grass and tramped to patches of mushrooms to gently pluck the stems and place in our buckets. At home, Mum carefully tested our prized morsels checking if each one was edible, not poisoned fungi. She sautéed our treasures that we ate with slices of toast.
Unlike many restaurant inspired dishes, this recipe came from a desire to change something I’d eaten at a café that was too heavy in tamari, mushrooms and parsley. I wondered if I could hero the spices in the tofu with the leeks and mushrooms supporting their flavours. Taste preferences are as individual as people are different, so feel free to experiment with the amount of spices and types of herbs used. Scrambled tofu is typically eaten for breakfast or brunch as a vegan substitute for scrambled eggs. This recipe could be eaten thus or made into small tarts for lunch or dinner.
· Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It’s an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous.
· Also, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.
SCRAMBLED TOFU TARTS W LEEKS AND MUSHROOMS
Makes 6 small tarts
Puff pastry, vegan approved like Pepperidge
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chilli (to taste)
1-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper
1 leek, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 mushrooms, finely sliced
400 grams firm tofu
handful flat leaved parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas mark 4. Grease the tart tins with coconut oil. For the tart casings, cut the thawed puff pastry into a square, about 1 centimetre larger than the tart tins. Place the puff pastry in each tart tin and fold the pastry edges inward. Place baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake the tart cases for 20 minutes.
On a medium heat, sauté the leeks in a large fry pan until transparent, add the minced garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft. Add spices and nutritional yeast to a small bowl, stir to combine, add water and mix. Mince the tofu using a fork. Add the tofu to the fry pan and stir until combined. Pour the spice mix over the tofu mixture and stir until well mixed. Adjust the flavours, adding chilli, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste. Heat through if eating as scrambled tofu. Add the chopped parsley and mix well.
Remove the tart cases from the oven after 20 minutes, and lift off the baking paper and beans. Spoon the tofu mixture evenly into the cases and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven when the puff pastry edges are lightly brown. Serve immediately while warm.