The Mother-in-Law is on holiday again. Once more, she’s left The Husband and I to
fend for ourselves look after the house.
Given the recent news, our uninterrupted domestic duties now also include booking-in and escorting estate agents around our home. The first and last valuation, which took place a week ago, got me wondering what would become of The Mother-in-Law’s House, and left me a little bereft of the somewhat fantastical life we have created here. And as I write, The Husband is showing another agent around the house.
Stooped over this laptop in our bedroom, I am quietly pretending not to be here whilst struggling to stop myself from channeling my inner-Lady Macbeth, and scuppering the whole damn thing.
My plan thus far involves raiding the children’s dressing-up box and sweeping down the stairs with a strange voice, and even stranger facts about the property. On second thoughts, I’m not so sure my secret solitary coup involving an eye-patch, a plastic wand, some sparkly pink slippers, a tutu, and a bow and arrow will work. It might end in divorce, actually.
I’ll just have to take comfort in dinner.
450g firm tofu
1 tablespoon corn flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Lots of seasonal vegetables (today I used a courgette sliced lengthways, a handful of sliced chestnut mushrooms, a head of broccoli cut into small florets including the stalk, and 1/2 a red onion)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons brown rice miso paste
1 1/2 litres freshly boiled water
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Tamari, ideally)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
To Serve (all optional or anything else that takes your fancy)
1 red chilli, finely sliced
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
Some toasted nori (or other seaweed topping), sliced
Remove the tofu from its packaging and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Put the tofu on a plate covered in more kitchen paper, and place yet some more – yep, you guessed it – kitchen paper on top of it, followed by a weight (like a ceramic bowl and a can of beans!). Basically, you’re trying to drain the tofu of excess liquid so that it gets crispy in the oven. Press down gently and leave this installation on your kitchen table for around 30 minutes.
Now preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with some parchment.
Remove the weight from the tofu and drain away any excess liquid. Cut the tofu into cubes roughly 5cm square, arrange in a single layer on the baking tray, and gently toss in the corn flour (which adds extra crispness) and salt. Try to keep a little space between each square of tofu as this ensures each morsel is golden all the way around.
Bake in the oven for as long as it takes for the tofu to be golden and slightly puffy – this can be anywhere between 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes – tossing every 10 minutes or so. Then set aside.
Prepare the vegetables, including the garlic, and throw into a large saucepan.
Stir the miso paste into the freshly boiled water and then add to the saucepan of vegetables. Bring the pan back to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer and cook the vegetables in the miso stock for around 5 minutes. I like my veg to be tender but retain some bite and their vibrant colours. Remove from the heat.
Now stir in the lime juice, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup.
Serve the vegetables and broth immediately with a generous helping of the baked tofu, and a sprinkling of sliced red chilli, chopped fresh coriander, toasted sesame seeds and sliced toasted nori.