The Compassionate Cook's Diary

by Celia Fenn

Down South here it is winter, and the chilly winds are blowing. I always feel as though I want something filling and warming, but not too heavy. Here are two favorites - The Asian Noodle Bowl and a fragrant Apple Crumble!

Asian Noodle Bowl

I love this combination of soft fried noodles with crunchy fresh veggies and sharp ginger and wasabi.

Asian food is so "fusion" now that this is just a wonderful staisfying bowl of good tastes with an Asian influence, some Korean, some Thai and some Japanese. When I make it for myself, I just toss everything into the bowl and eat. If you make it for a dinner group, you can let each guest top up their own noodle bowl from a selection of fresh and crunchy veggies.


For the Noodles

Packet of Asian Rice Noodles
bunch of fresh Scallions
oil for frying

For the Hot portion

1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 clove garlic chopped
I small onion chopped
Handful dark mushrooms sliced
Tamari/Soy sauce
Onion Powder
(If you don't eat tvp you can use larger brown mushrooms sliced and fried)

For the Crunchy portion

4 or 5 Radishes sliced
Some Pink Pickled Ginger Slices
Wasabi Paste to taste

Prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions. This usually involves soaking the noodles in hot water to soften them before frying. Cut the tops and bottoms from the scallions and then slice them lengthwise.

Soak the TVP in warm water for 20 minutes and then drain in a colander.

Fry the garlic and onions in a Wok or Frying pan, then add the mushrooms and a little salt. Add TVP and season with Tamari Sauce, 2 teaspoons Miso and a little water. Keep adding water as the TVP cooks on low heat. Add onion powder to enhance flavor. Allow to simmer.

Meanwhile, put a little oil in a wok or frying pan and flash fry the scallions. Add the Rice Noodles and a little Tamari sauce and stir until the noodles are warm and coated with a little oil and sauce. Transfer to Noodle Bowl.

Then, when the hot portion is cooked, add to he Noodles, together with slices of Fresh Radish, Pink Ginger and Wasabi.

You can get creative here and also add some fresh baby corn sliced, julienned carrots or red cabbage finely sliced.


Apple Crumble

I live in an area where Apples are grown, so this time of year we have bags of fresh apples available.

I like to cook my own apples for this dish, that way I know they are fresh and not too sugary.

I have made this dish for many years. I used to make it with wheat flour and butter and white sugar. Now I use gluten free flour, vegetable shortning/margarine and organic unrefined brown sugar. It tastes just as good, if not better! I love the lemony flavor with the fresh apples and the plump and juicy raisins. This is good as a dessert with soya cream, or simply as an accompaniment to tea or coffee.

Ingredients: 1 bag fresh apples/1 large can cooking apples
grated rind of one lemon
1/2 cup seedless raisons soaked in water for 30 mins
2 tablespoons unrefined brown sugar
i teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping :

5 tablespoons vegetable shortnening/margarine
110 g gluten free flour
110 g unrefined brown sugra

First peel the apples, then core and quarter. Cook in boiling water with a little unrefined brown sugar until they are soft. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Combone with Lemon Rind, Raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon. Then transfer to a lightly greased Pie dish.

To make the topping first cream the margarine and the sugar together in a bowl. Then add the flour and work the flour into the buuter and sugar with the fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the crumbs over the apple mixture in the pie dish and bake in the oven at 180 until the topping is lightly browned. About 45 minutes.

Serve with Soya Cream for a more traditional Apple Crumble experience!

Food Notes: TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein is made from Soya. It can be bought from Health Food Stores. Some people do not want to eat it because of recent research that suggests that processed soya products are bad for you. I don't eat soya protein as "meat replacement". I think if you just repace meat with the soya version, you are not achieving anything in health terms. But, I do enjoy a little tvp every now and then, as it can be made so tasty with the right flavoring.