Blog, Spring Food


An onigirazu is a combination of an onigiri and a sandwich basically a rice ball with filling wrapped in nori seaweed. They are great as you can add what ever filling you like and are perfect for the coming Hanami season so you can pack them in a bento for an out door picnic or just to take to work or college as a change from an ordinary sandwich.

This particular one is a variation on the Japanese  tonkatsu sando using a vegan textured soy protein cutlet.

First take your nori and add cooked rice and a pinch of salt then place on top shredded cabbage or lettuce, on top of this place your cooked cutlet .

I made a kewpie mayo mustard and a vegan tonkatsu style sauce ( just tomato ketchup and tamari. Spread this onto your cutlet and then add more rice. Fold over the edges and wrap in cling film. Leave to set for ten mins then cut with a sharp damp knife leaving the cling film off or on that’s up to you.

There you have a perfect tonkatsu onigirazu.

Blog, Spring Food

White Day Tofu Yuzu Flavour Donuts

In Japan on Valentine’s Day is the day that girls buy the guys gifts on March 14th this is known as white day and the roles are reversed.

I decided to make these tofu yuzu flavour donuts dipped in white chocolate to celebrate white day in Japan.

Being made of tofu the donuts have more of a fudge texture but are really delicious and with only a food processor and a few simple ingredients they are really simple to make.

All you need is a block of silken tofu,add this to your food processor and then add two tablespoons of sweetener ( I used maple syrup but rice syrup works just as well ) three tablespoons of pure yuzu juice ( if you can’t get this you could use lemon juice instead. Give it a process . Then add one teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda and give it another process. Leave the food processor running and keep adding tablespoons of oat flour until you get a nice batter consistency about twelve to fourteen should do.

Wipe some coconut oil around your donut pan and spoon in the mixture this made 6 donuts.

Place in a moderate oven and bake for 15-20 mins after this time take them out and if you cannnot see a hole just go round the hole with a tooth pick then place back in the over for a further ten mins.

Remove and allow to completely cool (before removing, you may need to loosen the edges carefully with a spatula or flat knife.)

Place a bowl over a pan of simmering hot water and break up two bars of vegan white chocolate and melt in the bowl. Then dip your donuts into the melted chocolate . When they are all done I added a little chopped crystalized yuzu peel for decoration. Place in the freezer for 20 mins to set after which time you can take them out and keep in the fridge.

Delicious enjoyed with a matcha tea.

Happy white day !

Blog, Spring Food


Hinamatsuri is a festival in Japan celebrated on March 3rd.
Sometimes also known as girls day or dolls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health.

It is tradition to display ceremonial dolls,sometimes past down from many generations. There are lots of special foods associated with this day. You will find three colours of significance often displayed in a layered mochi rice cake known as hishi mochi. I made a coconut ice in these three colours and also a tofu mousse dessert.

White is for purification, green for health and pink for luck.

Another sweet eaten is Sakura Mochi. Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf and topped with a salted Sakura flower. They are a nice combination of sweet and salty.

A drink called Umeshu or plum wine goes down well for Hinamatsuri. Have it chilled on its own or with soda or even a splash in green tea for a hot drink. Plum blossom is very significant at this time as it is the start of the Hanami or flower viewing festivals and marks the beginning of spring.

Temari sushi is one of the traditional meals you can have. These decorated sushi balls take their name from Temari balls which children used to play with. Temari means hand ball. They are beautiful embroidered balls that to day are mainly used for decoration.

Another food also associated with Hinamatsuri is chirashi sushi you can find a recipe for this in one of my other posts. Which is a simple scattered sushi dish.

For to day I also made Inari sushi for my final meal served with three colour coconut ice and a nice glass of Umeshu.

Happy Hinamatsuri 幸せなひな祭り

Winter Food

Mushi-Zushi ( A Winter Sushi )

A winter speciality in the Kyoto/Osaka region is mushi-zushi or steamed sushi. This is like a Chirashi sushi but eaten warm. Also known as Nuku-zushi this winter sushi uses prepared cooked vinegared rice called sumeshi normally with vegetables and eel. Obviously I will not be using eel and will substitute with shiitake. This is a really quick meal especially if you have left over sushi rice.

I used a bamboo steamer and placed in the bottom some parchment paper. Spoon sumeshi in to the bottom I then added a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then start to layer your vegetables. I started with sliced shiitake then added.carrot,daikon,asparagus,purple broccoli,baby corn green beans and romanesco.

Simply put on the lid and steam for 10 mins.


I served this with a simple soup and tofu dengaku.

I also think it’s nice to have some toasted nori on the side to make hand rolls.



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!



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.


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


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.




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


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 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.


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 ! )



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!