Blog, Summer Food

A Japanese Summer Favourite Coffee Jelly コーヒーゼリー

Perfect for a hot summer day and a bit of Japanese summer nostalgia is chilled coffee jelly with cream. People in Japan like this dessert in the summer. Made with kanten 寒天

Which is a transparent vegan gelatinous algae.

The recipe is super easy so why not try and make this your self by following the simple recipe.

This is what you will need

x3 0.27oz of strong filter coffee I used my coffee scoop if you have one it’s x3 of those . The coffee I used was number 5 strength. You can also use a cafetière if you don’t have a filter. I really wouldn’t use instant coffee.

2 cups of hot water

2 tablespoons of kanten

4 tablespoon of unrefined sugar

You will also need square container ( like a lunch box )

Filter your coffee using the two cup of hot water.

Add the coffee to a pan and add the sugar stir to dissolve.

Then sprinkle the kanten on top of the liquid and turn on the heat without stirring until it begins to boil . After the liquid comes to a boil turn down to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes stirring occasionally until the kanten has dissolved.

Pour the liquid into your mould, you can either make  cubes by pouring into a container and turning out and cutting when set or pouring in to individual glass bowls.

Leave to cool and place in the fridge to set.

I served mine with almond cream.

Blog

Teru Teru Bozu & Tsuyu

The rain is pretty much set to be tipping down all week and I feel like we are experiencing something like the Japanese rainy season at the moment . Japanese rainy season is called Tsuyu and I actually created a special soup a while back inspired by it. Just search Tsuyu to find more information.

Have you heard of Teru Teru Bozu ? It’s a traditional handmade doll which looks like a ghost. Actually it’s a good weather monk, and is hung out side to pray for good weather the next day. Often by children or farmers.

Even though it was rainy I decided to take my umbrella and go out for a walk. There was something quite calming about the sound of the rain hitting my umbrella ( which I had bought in Kyoto a few years ago ). The rain is making all the plants so lush and green . I found some beautiful poppies on my walk but sadly our hydrangea which comes out at this time in Japan do not bloom in the UK until late summer.

Rainy season in Japan is celebrated like most other seasons. You can expect to see big blooms of hydrangea and iris at this time of year. If your in Tokyo around early June why not take a trip to the Horikiri iris garden.

I came home and decided to have some fun with my curry rice and shape the rice into a Teru Teru  Bozu. Served with steamed and roast vegetables it definitely helped to brighten up this rainy day.

 

Blog, Summer Food

Spicy Fried Koya-Dofu

At one glance this may look like taco rice but the meat alternative was actually fried marinated koya – dofu  高野豆腐 frozen tofu . 

First I cut a block of tofu and placed it in water in the freezer . Then after defrosting the tofu I squeezed out the water . When tofu is frozen it takes on a sponge like texture this is koya dofu. It’s great for soups or simmered dishes as it soaks up all the liquid . This time I broke the tofu into chunks and left it to marinade in tamari after I coated the tofu pieces in Hokkaido potato starch and fried them in coconut oil. After draining the pieces of any excess oil with a paper towel I dusted them in paprika and cayenne pepper to give them a spicy flavour 

The meal was made similar to a taco rice so mixed leaves and warm Japanese rice . I scattered over chopped tomato, sweetcorn and diced red and green bell pepper before adding the fried koya-dofu  guacamole and some tortilla chips . 

The koya-dofu pieces were really tasty 

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Hojicha Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are made with hojicha a Japanese tea. The green tea is roasted so it has a slightly earthy aroma so goes well with spices in this cookie recipe.

Put on your oven to warm ( moderate temperature)

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet you may need two if your baking sheets are small.

First use one heaped teaspoon of hojicha tea and steep in one cup of hot water for a few minutes and then drain off the tea leaves so you are left with the liquid. You will need 1/3 of a cup to start and then you will need to add the rest as needed .

In a bowl add 2 cups of chickpea flour ( if you cannot use chickpea flour for health reasons then try soybean flour or buckwheat however this may give the cookies a different flavour )

Then to the flour add 2 teaspoons of baking powder,and two teaspoons of cinnamon and a little Himalayan pink salt .

In another bowl add 1 cup of coconut palm sugar,1/2 cup of coconut oil and the 1/3 cup of hojicha tea.

Mix the wet mixture into the dry half way through mixing add 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips .

Carry on mixing and start to add gradually the remaining tea until you get a nice dough but not too wet. Form into a ball and place in the freezer for about 5 mins so it’s easy to work with.

Take your dough out of the freezer and scoop heaped tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls . Place the balls on your baking sheet give them some space between and flatten each one with the palm of your hand ( don’t flatten to thin as you want a nice fudge type cookie ).

Do this until all your dough has been used up and place in the oven for 15-20 min.

Leave your cookies to cool. They last well in an airtight container for up to a week or you can freeze some of them.

They are a soft type cookie and are not all that crunchy but are also perfect for making ice cream cookie sandwiches.

If you want why not try chai tea or rooibos tea as an alternative to the hojicha. You could add nuts like pecan instead of chocolate chips.

Enjoy maybe with a nice coffee as a snack .

 

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Yuzu Citrus Granola Energy Balls

I love whipping up a batch of these energy balls for a healthy snack I can grab on the go or just sit and chill with one with a tea.

I like to add Japanese Yuzu citrus to these it gives them a refreshing flavour. I finished them off by rolling them in granola for extra crunch but you could just as easily roll them in chopped nuts or coconut or rolled in matcha or kinako giving them even more of a Japanese taste .

You will need a food processor add to this 100g of ground almond flour + two more tablespoons , to this add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and a cup of raw cacao powder, give it a pulse to blend then add two tablespoons of Yuzu citrus and set your blender working and start to drop in pitted medjool  dates . I normally get organic ones in a 200g box. The dates are your sweetener. Keep blending until all your dates are in . Your dough should press together . If it’s too dry add a little more Yuzu juice to wet add a little more almond flour. Pick up heaped tablespoons of the mixture and roll them in your hands into a ball . Then roll them in your chosen topping. Store in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container. Enjoy !

Blog

Article about me in Neo Magazine

This month I have a feature in Neo Magazine . A magazine in the UK for all things Japanese . You can buy it in the UK at WH Smith’s or a digital copy can be purchased on line from www. pocket mags.com . I was interviewed by Emily Lovell and she asked me questions about how I developed my passion for Japanese food and recommendations for places to eat vegan food in Japan .

I hope you will find the article interesting. Thanks again to the editor Gemma and Emily for the feature.

 

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Vegan Leather Bag

 


My New Vegan @gastonluga rucksack is perfect for me when I take it on my travels to Japan . I need something that’s easy to carry but I can put all the things in that I collect while I’m wondering around super markets picking up food for new vegan recipe creations or walking round craft or flea markets where you never know what you might find as your next souvenir or gift. Plus I still have room for essentials like my travel mug and fan in the summer.


I have teamed up with Gaston Luga  in Stockholm to offer you a unique offer code so you can purchase your very own vegan leather bag. All you have to do is simply visit
www.gastonluga.com or use the link at the bottom of the page
and after you have decided which of the lovely bags to choose from just type in tokyopony15 to give you 15% discount on your purchase.
Where will your next travel adventure be ?

 

Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Yuzu & Black Pepper Tofu With A Crispy Coating

This is a really simple way to jazz up some pieces of tofu. In a bowl add two tablespoons of rice flour then add two tablespoons of Yuzu juice. Then add some fresh cracked black pepper and stir. Add enough water to make a thick consistency.

Take your pieces of chosen tofu that have had the water pressed out and dip the tofu in the mixture. In another bowl add some nutritional yeast flakes and roll your tofu in them after you have dipped your tofu in the Yuzu mixture. Bake in a moderate oven until golden.

Blog, Spring Food

Pickled Myoga Ginger & Jackfruit Avocado

On my last trip to Japan I was lucky enough to find some fresh Myoga ginger. It’s not something I have ever seen back home so I bought some. I decided to pickle it by slicing it and blanching in boiling water then adding it to a jar with brown rice vinegar and a few pieces of Yuzu peel. Five month later I decided to open the jar and use some.

Myoga is from the ginger family but the part eaten is actually the edible flower bud  and shoots of the plant and not the root. First you will need to prepare your jackfruit. I used tinned jackfruit and after simmering it in boiling water and draining it  I pulled apart the jackfruit into shreds discarding any seeds . You only need to use around a quarter of the tinned jackfruit so you can use the rest for something else like in a curry or with a bbq sauce for instance. Add your jackfruit to a bowl about two tablespoons full then to this add half a sliced bud of pickled Myoga and a half teaspoon of the pickling vinegar it was in, a tablespoon of vegan kewpie mayonnaise, some sliced cucumber and a half teaspoon of wasabi powder. Give it all a good mix. Half an avocado and take out the stone. Add the jackfruit filling on top of the avocado. This makes a really nice refreshing starter to a meal. If you live in the UK you may not be able to get myoga ginger. You could maybe substitute with pickled red onion and use a vegan mayonnaise.

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Japanese Style Breakfast Iridofu

A Japanese style breakfast 

和風の朝食

Iri-dofu 炒り豆腐,ごはん, みそ汁

Iri  means stir fry and Dofu is tofu . It’s more like a scramble than a fry with minimal oil. Also the tofu pieces are kept a little larger. It’s a delicious healthy meal full of protein and a great meal for breakfast.

Soak two-three dried shiitake over night ( this will also become stock to use in the cooking process ) 

Blanch a block of tofu for a few mins in boiling water then drain and pat dry with a clean towel. Break up your tofu into different size pieces.

Squeeze out the water in your shiitake and slice. Slice thinly carrot and snow peas . Add a little toasted sesame oil to a pan and add your veg and tofu . In a pan add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari,the same in mirin and two tablespoons of mushroom stock and warm through add 1 tsp of sugar and dissolve . Pour this over your tofu and veg and sauté

Serve with miso soup and rice with pickles for a traditional style vegan Japanese breakfast . 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Season Dango

One of the best memories I have in my life is visiting Japan at Sakura season.

If  you have never been lucky enough to witness it,seeing the blossom and the way people in Japan celebrate Hanami is just breathtaking.

I think I miss Japan the most at this time of year.  I always like to celebrate Japanese customs and traditions it helps me feel close to Japan  when I cannot be there.

How about making some tofu dango and sit with these and a bento under the blossoms and if like me you cannot be there just dream you are.

To make these three colour dango which signify purification,health and luck you will need shiratama flour and a carton of silken tofu, I used Clearspring organic tofu.  First drain you tofu and section into three equal pieces and divide into three bowls. Next add colouring to two bowls I used matcha for green and natural beetroot juice for pink. Cream the tofu in each bowl then to each one start to add your shiratama flour. Keep adding until it is a stiff dough ( people say to think of what an ear lope feels like and this is what dango should feel like when you press it ) Heat up a pan of boiling water and drop in your dango balls when they float to the top they are done,scoop them out and drop into iced water. Pat them dry and slide them onto skewers. These are delicious dipped into kinako (soy bean flour ) I actually had green kinako which symbolises the spring green bush warbler bird (uguisu).

Enjoy with a Sakura tea.

Happy Hanami

Blog, Spring Food

Spring Equinox Botamochi

Happy spring equinox !

幸せな春分

The bi-annual days of the vernal equinox (spring equinox) are  upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan .

To celebrate I made Botamochi but this year instead of the traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . I made them with pounded millet. I noticed that when I made my awa-zenzai (see my awa-zenzai post ) that the millet served its self well to making Ohagi. 

I rolled them in kinako and ground black sesame. 

It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time.

In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi.

See some of my other  posts of Ohagi or botamochi for the recipe. 

I also made the more traditional sweet . Which you can get tye recipe for by searching Ohagi or Botamochi.  If you want to make around 6 sweets just half my recipe.

Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Amazake blondies

What’s a blondie? Basically it’s a brownie but with out using cacao powder and is normally made with brown sugar,eggs and flour with a vanilla flavour and either white or dark chocolate chips.
I set out to make a blondie using clearspring brown rice amazake.

They turned out so good that they didn’t last long. Feel free to substitute dark chocolate for white I’m definitely going to be trying it out myself next time.
First in a food processor add
One can of drained cooked chickpeas,
1/2 cup of soy milk or any other you prefer
1/2 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
Half a jar of clear spring brown rice amazake which equates to 190g if you are using your own amazake.
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence / extract
Blend all this until smooth
In a bowl add
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup + x2 tablespoons of gluten-free oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Himalayan pink salt about 1/2 teaspoon
And some chopped chocolate buttons or chocolate chips (I will leave how many up to you.)
Stir to mix
Add the batter ingredients to the dry and mix in gently to combine.
Line a brownie pan with parchment paper and spoon in your mixture. Place in a moderate oven for around 30 mins until the top is golden. Leave to cool completely and then cut into squares.

Oh and just so you know this works just as well warm with ice cream and chocolate sauce as it’s brown counterparts.