Food, for me, is largely about the giving and receiving of pleasure, but we are, rightly, increasingly reminded that its fundamental role is to sustain us. As we learn about the damage ultra-processed foods wreak on our health (and the planet’s), we are also learning about “beneficial” foods to eat. And so to fermentation, an ancient preservation method that happens to be brilliant at stimulating and feeding our good gut bacteria. Chocolate, cheese, wine, kimchi, vinegars, coffee … it’s a happy coincidence, then, that their slowly developed flavours taste quite so good.
Kimchi and silken tofu noodles with roast brussels sprouts
The soy-soaked sprouts give a delicious meatiness to the light, silken tofu, which in turn melts in the mouth.
Prep 15 minCook 30 minServes 4
3 tbsp rapeseed oil500g brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, halved1 thumb ginger (about 20g), peeled and roughly chopped2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped1½ tbsp miso150g kimchi2 tbsp soy sauce1 tsp sherry vinegar170g soba noodles1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped2-3 tbsp mirin290g silken tofu, drained and cubedChilli oil, to serve
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put half the oil in an ovenproof dish, set it over a medium-high heat and fry the sprouts for a minute or two. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until just tender.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz the ginger, garlic, miso, kimchi, soy and vinegar to a rough puree. Cook the noodles as per the packet instructions, then rinse under cold water for a minute.