Spring Food

Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi sushi and Maze sushi are so quick and easy to make. Chirashi sushi is prepared sushi rice or “sumeshi” with toppings scattered on top. Maze is when you mix in your ingredients.

This particular Chirashi sushi was a citrus version made with blood orange but you could easily use Mikan or grapefruit or even yuzu.

Using some of the juice from the blood orange and mixing it with sugar, salt and brown rice vinegar I used this as my seasoning and mixed this into cooked rice. I topped my sumeshi with scattered lotus root and pieces of blood orange along with blanched shiitake and asparagus and a scatter of toasted sesame seeds.

Chirashi Sushi is one of the tradition dishes eaten for a Hinamatsuri also known as dolls day or girls day.

I am running a giveaway of Ingredients to help you make your own on Instagram so why not enter you have until the 3rd of March 2018 .

Instead of using all the ingredients I used you can just use cooked sushi rice and the sushi seasoning I’m giving away. This will make delicious sushi. Good luck!

 

Blog

Plum Blossom Meal & Subscription Box

Ume plum blossom is starting to bloom now in Japan and marks the start of Hanami or flower viewing. Ume represents good fortune and wards off evil spirits so this is why you can often see it planted at temples and shrines. One festival  which happens every year is at Kitano Tenmangu Shinto Shrine in Kyoto. It is the Ume Matsuri it happens on February the 25th. One of the main attractions of this event is the outdoor tea ceremony. On the grounds are around 2000 Ume trees so well worth a view if your in the area. Sadly I am not so I decided to celebrate the start of spring with a plum blossom inspired meal.

Temari sushi with Ume seasoning and hoso maki sushi.

Purple sweet potato and cauliflower soup.

Pickled red cabbage and hijiki salad with Ume dressing.

Purple broccoli with a beetroot and miso dip.

Umeboshi.

Anko with marzipan flowers.

I also received to day in the post a wonderful subscription box by a company in Japan called Kizuna Box ( you can find them on Instagram for the link ). This also had a plum blossom theme and was filled with lots of lovely items to celebrate the beginning of spring. I particularly liked the chop sticks ( I wonder why )

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Mini Kinako Biscotti

I think I must spend whole days in the kitchen on my days off. There is nothing I like more than creating recipes and to day I ended up making two different cookie recipes this one and the matcha choc chip.

I do love a biscotti and I also love the nutty taste of kinako so I have put them together into this super easy recipe.

These little biscotti are perfect for a mid morning snack with a coffee.

All you need to do to make these is

In one bowl add

1 and cup of oat flour

1/2 cup of kinako

2 teaspoons of baking powder

A good handful of flaked almonds

mix

in another bowl add

1/2 cup of unrefined sugar I used coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter

two tablespoons of water

add the wet mixture to the dry to form a dough.

Tip the dough onto some plastic wrap and form into a log about 1 inch thick . Wrap up the dough and place in the freezer for ten mins to firm up. ( this is when I do the washing up )

Take the dough out the freezer and out of the wrap and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper . Cut your dough log into slices and place in a moderate oven for 10 mins .

After this time take your baking sheet out and let them cool slightly and then tip each slice onto its side and bake again for a further 5 mins.

After this time take them out of the oven and let them cool completely if you don’t they will crumble.

Enjoy

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I have just started a new job on my days off I like to make treats for when I’m working in the week .

I made these yummy choc chip matcha cookies which are perfect as an afternoon snack .

you will need

in one bowl

1 cup oat flour

2/3 cup almond flour ( meal )

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 heaped teaspoon matcha powder

A good handful of vegan chocolate chips

Mix

in another bowl

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter / oil

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1-2 tablespoons of water add 1 to start with

Add wet ingredients to try to form a dough

Tip out onto some plastic wrap and form into a ball and place into the freezer for ten mins to firm up.

Take your dough out the freezer and place on a surface  lined with parchment paper, roll out your dough ( I tend to do this whilst it’s still inside the plastic wrap so nothing sticks ). When your dough is flat cut out your cookies with a cutter and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can keep reusing up your dough until it’s all gone . Put your cookies in the oven for 10 mins . Leave to cool and enjoy.

Blog, Winter Food

Ganmodoki

Ganmodoki or Hiryouzu are tofu fritters or balls with vegetables often found as one of the ingredients for oden Japanese hotpot dish.

They are crispy on the outside and soft inside. They are mostly bound with egg but I’m going to let you into a Japanese secret to help you bind them together.

First you will need a block of firm tofu mashed with something like a rolling pin or pestle. Then for the secret ingredient. In japan they normally use a Japanese yam but I could not find this in the UK so I used something else that had just as a sticky texture ( taro potato ). As it’s a starch it will help to bind all your ingredients together. Chop off the outer skin and grate three small taro with a Japanese ginger grater.

Add this to your mashed tofu,then add your vegetables. I used grated carrot,chopped green onion,diced shiitake,chopped hijiki and some grated ginger.

See below ( the white in the middle is the taro )

Mix together

Then to a bowl add some starch (I use potato starch from Hokkaido)

Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form into a ball in some plastic wrap then add this to your bowl with the starch and roll it around until covered. Do this until all the mixture has gone.

Heat some oil and a few at a time fry your tofu balls until golden on the outside. And they are done. These balls are sometimes referred to as flying dragons head.

You can then add them to a hot Dashi Stock with sautéed mushrooms like I have done below and serve with rice.

Or as part of a meal below I have added some hot chilli sauce.

I think you will find these quite versatile.

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Kabocha Crust Pizza

This has to be one of my favourite ways to make a pizza base and it’s so super easy,

All you need to do is steam half a kabocha pumpkin or similar ( like a kuri pumpkin) . After the pumpkin is done all you need to do is let it cool slightly so you can handle it and scoop out the flesh into a food processor. To this add a cup of oat flour and a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt then process, keep adding flour until you get a dough. Take your dough out and knead it slightly . To a baking sheet cover with some parchment paper and add a dusting of flour. Put your dough on the sheet and roll out into a pizza shape ( I like to make a crust around the edge. Place this in a moderate oven and half bake for around 15 mins. This recipe also works well with sweet potato.

Take your pizza out and then add your toppings a base of tomato purée tomatoes,slices of already roasted kabocha,vegan cheese,lotus root and a sprinkle of aonori or what ever you wish. Put your pizza back in the oven until baked and crispy.

Enjoy with a nice fresh salad.

Blog

New Year Traditions

2018 is the animal year of the dog. Each year is related to 12 animals if you were born in 1934,1946,1958,1970,1982,1994,2006 and 2018 you are a dog.
I was born in 1970 so my animal is the dog. It is said not to be a lucky year when it is your animal year and to ward off bad luck it is said you should wear red. Lucky numbers are 3,4,9 or a combination like 39 or 49. Lucky flowers are rose and orchid.

A popular thing to do for New Year is to get a daruma doll. The doll comes with no eyes and you paint on one eye with your goal or intention for the year. Back in 2012 I set a goal ( I have yet to paint in the other eye ) My goal was to work in a career with something that had a connection to japan in some way. I hope I get to paint in the other eye.

Kagami mochi is a traditional Japanese decoration consisting of two round mochi .
This one is store bought and has mochi inside. On the 11th of January it is known as Kagami Biraki ( the breaking of the new year mochi ) so I opened mine and this year I made grilled mochi rice cake with thick matcha tea with sweet red beans. 美味しい!
This was a bit different to the zenzai I normally have.

I hope that 2018 isn’t too unlucky for me and that anyone else born in the year of the dog has luck and health ( just remember to wear that red ! )

Blog

Yudofu

Yudofu is hot water tofu. Quick and simple to make often found in Buddhist temples like Ryoanji in Kyoto. The simple kombu dashi brings out the subtle flavour of the tofu. I simmered my tofu in the kombu water that I had steeped for a few hours then simmered gently first for about 20 mins, adding some komatsuna and watercress at the last minute just to wilt it. Served with rice and condiments of grated daikon and ginger,sesame seeds,ponzu sauce,chopped green onion and shichimi togarashi.

 

Blog, Summer Food

Salad Parfait With Miso Dips

Inspired by one of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo Ain Soph Journey (see my restaurant reviews).I made this salad parfait with miso dips.
Just a layer of crunchy raw salad and vegetables in a glass I made two dips for dipping.
The first was an aged miso and peanut dip.
1 teaspoon of aged miso or any dark miso then add 1 teaspoon of smooth peanut butter a dash each of sesame oil and mirin and half a teaspoon of maple syrup. Mix well.
The second was a creamy sweet white miso with brown rice Amazake dip.
1 teaspoon of white miso add to that two teaspoons of brown rice Amazake a teaspoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of mirin.
Mix well.
Perfect as a starter for any meal.

Ain Soph often serve something similar with their everything course or heavenly pancake course. If your ever in Tokyo the pancakes are a must try!

Blog, Winter Food

Nanakusa-Gayu

On the 7th of January in japan (jinjitsu) it is custom to make a seven herb rice porridge Nanakusa Gayu 七草粥 to help heal the stomach after the New Year festivities. It is quite common in japan if you have an unwell stomach to eat Okayu rice porridge. The 7th of January is one of the 5 seasonal festivals the porridge is said to prevent illness for the coming year. The herbs used in japan are waterdrop wort,shepherds purse,cudweed,chickweed,nipplewort,turnip and daikon radish. As I live in the UK I have had to substitute for herbs I could find. I used watercress,rocket,mizuna,chive,coriander,daikon radish and parsley a mixture of these. I made a kombu dashi kombu and shiitake soaked in water over night and cooked up already cooked Japanese rice in the dashi with a 1-5 ratio. Simmer for around 30 mins and then mix in your herbs and steam for 10 .Or you can just put the herbs on top and mix them into the warm rice. I like to add some sautéed daikon radish and if you have any left overs miso is nice to add also with some chopped onion and sesame seeds. Wishing everyone good health this 2018 !

Blog

Osechi Ryori Jubako

Although sadly I do not live in japan or have access to some Japanese produce I alway like to try and celebrate the new year Japanese style.
This year I bought myself a jubako layered bento box.
Tiered bento are used as part of the Japanese New Years food and the bento signifies the piling up of prosperity.

There are lots of foods that have meanings and are put in these boxes however some are not vegan. I set out to make as much of a traditional Osechi Ryori as I could using vegan options.
For my bento I made Onishime or simmered vegetables shiitake,snowpeas,taro,daikon,freeze dried tofu ( Kouya Dofu ) and lotus root. The lotus root is very significant as it represents a happy future with out obstacles.

I also made kinpira gobo. Gobo is burdock root and is said to symbolise strength and stability. Kinpira gobo is burdock root and carrot sautéed in toasted sesame oil then simmered down in mirin sugar and tamari.
Also there were Kuro-mame sweet black beans to protect from evil and bring good health.
Along with these were sekihan onigiri rice balls which is traditional at this time.
I also made mini sushi called Hosomaki
A long side my jubako I had a clear Kanto style Ozoni mochi soup.

For dessert I went for tofo Mitarashi Dango ( one of my particular favourites ) warm balls of tofu Dango grilled and covered in a sweet sticky soy sauce.
Other desserts you could try would be zenzai a sweet red bean soup with mochi or strawberry daifuku or Yokan ( bean jelly cake )

I made  Onishime again simmered vegetables and tofu along with Inari Sushi pickles,hiyayakko and a sweet pumpkin dessert.

Blog

Ozoni (New Year ~Japanese Soup)

Part of the Osechi Ryori new year food in japan is Ozoni.
Eaten for breakfast on New Year’s Day ( Oshogatsu ) this is the Kansai style ( western japan ) Kyoto/Osaka which Is a white miso based soup with toasted mochi. I used Saikyo Miso which is a sweet miso paste from Kyoto also I added yuzu peel,daikon,carrot,komatsuna and tofu. This style normally has a round toasted mochi where as Kanto has a square mochi ( I only had round mochi ) .


The other style of Ozoni is the Kanto/Tokyo style ( eastern japan ) this is a clear based soup made with dashi known as Osumashi I added some pretty yaki fu to mine along with the toasted mochi and vegetables . I had this soup as part of my Osechi Ryori with my jubako bento box. Made with kombu shiitake dashi and added tamari and mirin,other ingredients could be chicken,fish cake and other fish and seasonal vegetable according to which area of japan you are from.

Of course mine was totally vegan

There is also Tottori Prefecture soup which is a red bean soup and toasted mochi like zenzai (oshiruko)

Blog

Toshikoshi Soba ( Year End Soba noodles )

On New Year’s Eve ( oh-misoka ) some Japanese people like to eat Toshikoshi Soba. Toshikoshi means end the old year and enter the new year.
A hot bowl of buckwheat noodles eaten to symbolise good luck for the new year a head and it is also said to let go of hardships from the year.
I made a simple kombu dashi with shiitake,mirin and tamari and had this with my buckwheat noodles and topped it with aburaage ( fried tofu ) chopped green onion and yuzu peel.
Minasama shin-nen akemashite ometetou gozaimasu ( happy new year to everyone)

皆様、新年あけましておめでとうございます!