I was explaining what a parfait was the other day to Man-thing when he suddenly piped up and said that, considering my background, I wasn’t actually a snob. It was random, but rather sweet. Diplomats don’t actually live glamorous lives, and as a kid there was nothing more boring than attending or hosting endless cocktail parties, making small talk about the South African economy with people in suits. I turned out a bit of a mongrel because I didn’t always pay attention, so it still takes me a few minutes to figure out where the knives and glasses go when setting a proper table, or how to eat certain foods. There’s nothing better IMO than standing over a sink eating a mango like a zombie or licking my fingers clean of ketchup and fries, because it’s the absolute opposite of all that pomp and ridiculousness I was exposed to. I’m sure all those diplomats wanted nothing better than to kick off their shoes after a long day and sit together on a couch eating comfort food and shooting the breeze about interesting topics.
Mess appeals, because it’s very much sensory and feels much more indulgent than sipping delicately on bubbly and wiping the corners of my mouth with a dainty piece of cloth. With that in mind, I’ve been very excited to try out this delightful set of taco shells we found at the amazing grocer on the way to the cat shelter, and it’s taken a lot of self control not to just scarf them down like crackers but to actually take the time to fill them and play around with tastes.
The list of ingredients may sound ridiculously long, but this is just a mish mash of what I have lying around the house. I like getting rid of one batch of ingredients so that I can experiment with others, because isn’t that just bliss?
Ingredients (serves 2 people quite heartily):
- 3 corn taco shells per person (GF)
- 1 cup pumpkin, cubed finely and steamed
- 1 tub/350g firm tofu, drained and pressed dry
- 1 heaped tsp mustard
- 1 TBSP hoisin sauce (check to see whether GF, otherwise make your own if you have time, or replace with another GF salty spread)
- 2 TBSP black bean sauce (again, the brand I use contains gluten – try some GF marmite mixed with 2 TBSP hot water)
- 1 TBSP jam of choice (I used no-sugar-added apricot jam – strawberry would be awesome as well!)
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup beetroot fig hummus
- 1 cup alfalfa/sprouts of choice
- Spices (white pepper, smoked paprika, ginger)
- 1/3 cup pistachios – shell after measuring then crush with mortar and pestle (optional)
- 1/2 cup cauliflower cheese sauce
- Optional: relish (we used the ginger peppadew relish from Woolies -vegan friendly!)
- Optional: 250g zucchini, sliced then baked with fennel seed, hoisin & jam basting for 20 minutes
- Mash your steamed pumpkin and mix with the hoisin sauce and pistachios (if using). Set aside.
- Cut your drained and dried tofu blocks into small 1″ blocks and fry on a medium-heat non-stick pan for 5-6 minutes, tipping them over halfway.
- Add the mustard, jam, black bean sauce, and splash 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar to loosen them up if they get sticky. Splash spices liberally and mash the tofu up with your spatula to make a rough scramble.
- Cook for another 3 or so minutes until nicely golden, then set aside.
- Take your taco shell and smear a strip of beetroot hummus along the bottom. Add a heaped TBSP of the pumpkin mix, followed by 1-2 TBSP of tofu. Sprinkle some liberal pinches of alfalfa or sprouts of choice.
- Pour over some cauliflower cheese sauce and then spoon on a little bit of relish if you like.
Oh yis! This dish is just so protein-laden that I can’t even begin to describe my energy and happiness. SUCH a fun treat and bursting with layers and colour – nom! Also, anything that gives me an excuse to legitimately eat with my hands is win.
Also, we managed to hand over our little foster kitten, Ninja, to his new family today. The lady was so nice and obviously cares very deeply for animals and understands their place in a family, so I’m super excited for him – he’s going to be loved as he deserves! ❤