Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Tuesday 24 September 2019

MURDER BY APPOINTMENT ONLY - A Meal for Jayne Meadows Allen

Zelda has been doing some test recipes for the Murder She Wrote project by Jenny at Silverscreen Suppers. 

Jayne Meadows was born a century ago in 1919. 
She had a wide career in film and television. 
She starred in Murder by Appointment Only, part of Season 2, playing the owner of a cosmetics company.  

Jayne Meadows' recipe featured bean curd/ tofu, something, as a vegetarian, I cook with regularly. It turned out, however, not to be vegetarian at all as it featured pork. This meant finding some alternative ingredients. 

I made the dish twice. 

The first time I used vegetarian mince, as minced pork was in the original recipe. As you will see, I wasn't at all happy with the look of the finished dish. The mince was a bit dark. I could have used other veggie alternatives but I wanted to see what it would be like with mince. 

½lb minced pork = 200g quorn mince. I used quorn mince which takes on the flavours of the sauce. 
2 boxes bean curd = 1 pack tofu (396g). Jane Meadows didn’t specify the size of the box, but 1 pack of tofu is a sizeable amount.
2 scallions = 2 spring onions chopped, finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4tbsp soya – not needed
2tsp chilli sauce
½ cup stock = 120ml vegetable stock. Because the quorn will absorb moisture, I added an extra 200ml.
1tbsp cornstarch, dissolved
1tbsp sherry
4tbsp oil – only needed 2tbsp oil.  I used sunflower oil.

Because I was using quorn, I didn’t need to fry any pork first, but I did fry the tofu first to make it crispy. This means that the order of cooking has changed from the original recipe. I have also specified any further preparation needed.

Cut the tofu into four and then slice each quarter into three rectangles.

Heat 2tsp sunflower oil in a pan and fry the tofu until crispy. Turn to ensure even cooking. 

Then remove from oil, set aside to dry.
Fry the garlic in the remaining oil, then add the stock, the quorn mince, and the spring onions.
Thicken slightly with the cornstarch and add the sherry. Stir in the chilli sauce and replace the tofu.
This, to be honest, looked a bit unappealing, mainly because of the mince. Yes, it does soak up the chilli flavour, but it really doesn’t seem necessary. 

I, therefore, decided to make it again without the mince. I also added extra ingredients to add flavour layers.
This is version 2:

1 pack (396g) tofu
2 spring onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small piece ginger, finely grated
1 red chilli, seeds included, finely chopped
2tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
120ml stock
1tbsp sherry
1tbsp red wine vinegar
handful of fresh coriander

Cut the tofu into quarters, then slice each in three. Put the rectangular slices on absorbent paper on a plate. Cover with more paper, another plate and top with tins to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Then, heat the oil and fry the tofu slices on each side. 
Remove and drain.
Then, using the same oil, fry the garlic, chilli, cumin and ginger.
Pour in the stock, sherry and red wine vinegar. Add the spring onions.
Replace the tofu. 
Allow to simmer and thicken slightly.

Here are the two versions, side by side. I know which I prefer!
The second version was much better and I would cook this again. 
Serve in bowls, topped with the coriander and extra spring onions.
Good with noodles.

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