Blog, Winter Food

Christmas Yuzu Snowball Truffles

As the snow comes down making it very festive I decided to make these snowball truffles.

Using yuzu juice and candied yuzu peel. If you can’t get this you could easily substitute with lemon juice and candied lemon peel.

In a food processor add

2 cups of desiccated coconut

1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries

1 cup of almond flour

3 tablespoons of melted coconut butter

1/4 cup of rice malt syrup or maple syrup

1/4 cup of yuzu juice

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1/4 cup of chopped candied yuzu peel

Blend all the ingredients together . Then tip it out onto some plastic wrap and squash all the ingredients together into one big ball so that everything is well pressed together.

Then take tablespoons of truffle mixture and roll out in to individual balls. Finally give them a dusting of icing sugar to make them even more snowy looking.

Place in the fridge to set keep them refrigerated until you want to eat them.

These would be perfect boxed as a gift.

Winter Food

Steamfried Brussels Sprouts with miso

Brussels sprouts are the perfect winter seasonal vegetable.

These panfried ones have lots of flavour start by cutting each Brussels sprout in half . Add a little oil to a hot pan and sear the flat side . Meanwhile make a sauce with 240ml of veg stock,1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger,2 tablespoon of mirin,1tablespoon soy sauce and four tablespoon of white miso paste and whisk.

The amount of sauce you need depends of how many Brussels you have so use your judgement.

Pour the sauce into the pan and cover to steam the Brussels sprouts. Then add shimeji mushrooms and crumbled yuba ( if you can’t get yuba you could maybe add some crumbled tofu)

Finally before serving add some yuzu rind (or lemon) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Lovely served on rice .

 

Summer Food

Gomadofu & Nut Butter Dofu

Gomadofu or sesame tofu is in fact not tofu at all. Often served in Shōjin Ryori cuisine it is made from kuzu powder .

Kuzu root is a gluten free thickening starch made from the Japanese vine. It has been used as an ancient health food remedy for over 2,000 years. The root can be used to help the digestion and calm the nerves,relieving muscular tension and migraine. Studies have shown it helps to reduce high blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.

I recall having gomadofu as an appetiser at Brown Rice Cafe in Tokyo and I actually thought it was a form of tofu.

There are a few different ingredients you can use the traditional one is sesame paste. To make this easy you can use Japanese sesame paste or tahini,you can also like the one I made use smooth peanut butter or you can make it with almond or cashew butter.

You can also use plain water to make this or kombu steeped water with a little mirin or sake.

To make these chilled squares all you need to do is as follows:

You will need 25grm of kuzu starch

250ml of plain water or kombu water

35g of nut butter of choice

First add a little of the water to the kuzu starch to make a paste then add the rest of the water and mix well.

Add this to a pan and add your nut butter then give it a whisk to combine.

Start to heat this gently and continue stirring. Turn up the heat a little and keep stirring until the mixture thickens until it looks like a thick pudding a bit like custard .

Wet the inside of a plastic container and pour in the mixture. Give the container a tap down on the work surface to eliminate any bubbles and leave to cool.

Then place in the fridge to harden and chill.

Turn out and cut into four equal portions. As my container gave my dofu slightly rounded edges I sliced these off.

As for your serving condiments here are a few ideas of what you could use. Yuzu Kosho,wasabi,soy sauce or ponzu,green onion,sesame seeds,sliced cucumber,grated ginger or maybe evenchilli oil.

I decided this would also make a nice dessert so I topped mine with sweet red beans and a dusting of kinako.

美味しい!

 

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Damako Nabe ( Rice ball Hot Pot )

From the mountainous  region of Tohoku comes this local dish which is perfect for cold winter days.

After cooking your rice mash it and then sprinkle with potato starch and roll into balls then set aside.

Use a dashi stock for the broth I always like to make one in advance with kombu kelp and dried shiitake. Just place them in water for a few hours then take them out and add mirin and tamari.

The vegetables I used were leek,taro,carrot,mixed mushrooms spring onion,nappa cabbage,komatsuna and daikon radish.

Place your vegetables in your donabe pot with your dashi stock except the leafy greens.

Then simmer your vegetables and add your rice balls the rice balls soak up all the lovely juices.

You could also add tofu or yuba if you wanted.

If you do not have a donabe pot you could steam your vegetables or add them to a cooking pot.

Finely add your leafy greens when everything else is tender and a sprinkle of shichimi pepper.

A hot, healthy,cosy dish for a cold winter evening.

 

Blog, Winter Food

Bifun Soup

As the weather is turning considerably colder I find myself craving soups, stews and nabe ( hot pots ). This one is especially good for keeping those colds at bay with warming ginger and spices.

First I made a stock I used one litre of vegetable stock in a pan and I added to that a tablespoon of tamari,some sliced ginger,half an onion cut into four large pieces,a star anise and half a stick of cinnamon. I put this on a gentle simmmer for about 20mins.

In the mean time I pan seared some tofu and sautéed some shiitake mushrooms. I steamed some broccoli,komatsuna,baby corn,snap peas and bean sprouts. Chopped some mint,coriander basil and sliced a red chilli pepper.

I then cooked my bifun ( rice vermicelli noodles) for a few mins and then drained them in cold water to stop them from cooking further.

Then I drained the liquid on the broth and discarded the rest.

I placed the noodles in a bowl added my stock and the rest of the toppings. Finally I added a wedge of lime,chilli oil,a teaspoon of smooth peanut butter and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Miso baked beans on toast

After having my own retail shop for over 18 years a few weeks ago I ended up having to close. After a few weeks of being slightly lost I decided to start doing a market stall . The weather was so cold that all I wanted was a hot quick comforting meal. Everyone loves beans on toast so I decided to make my own using cannellini (navy beans) .

Heat a little oil and sauté some finely chopped onion until soft ( I used one large shallot then add one tablespoon of tomato purée,one cup of organic pasata,one tablespoon of tamari,a teaspoon of chipotle powder or smoked paprika,a sprinkle of dried thyme and a teaspoon of coconut palm sugar. Give this a stir then add a cup of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and a heaped  teaspoon of sweet miso paste.

Heat until hot and spoon on to fresh toast. Add some fresh black pepper and maybe some grated melted vegan cheese if you like ( you could place this under the grill to melt )

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Autumn Food, Blog

Okayu Japanese Rice Porridge

This comforting healing dish is easy to digest,simple and filling. In Japan it is often made if you are recovering from an illness or not feeling well.

I have made two types of Okayu one for breakfast and one a little more savoury which you could have for dinner.

Both use a 1-5 ratio using one rice measuring cup of rice to five cups water or liquid.

There are lots of toppings you can use like Umeboshi,sweet potato,chopped green onion and nori.

I used my rice cooker to make these but you can just as easily use a pan if you don’t have a rice cooker.

Breakfast Okayu

Wash one rice measuring cup of rice and place this in your rice cooker or pan with five cups of water . Then add about one tablespoon of ginger juice . I use a Japanese ginger grater to finely grate the ginger and then squeeze out the juice. Let this sit to soak for about 30 mins.

Add a little salt and start to cook your rice it normally takes about 30mins.

I topped mine with grated ginger, rice malt syrup and some sesame seeds. I also added a splash of soy milk for extra creaminess.

Savoury Okayu

Wash the rice and then add 5 cups of hot water ( not boiling) to a jug with one tablespoon of white miso paste and dissolve. ( if you like instead of miso you can use vegetable stock ). Pour this onto the rice in your pan or rice cooker and let sit for 30 mins. After this time start to cook your rice.

While your rice is cooking prepare your toppings . I pan seared some maitake mushrooms  roasted some Hokkaido pumpkin and chopped some green onion.

When your rice is done spoon into a bowl and add your toppings and maybe a sprinkle of schichimi and sesame seeds.

There is also a special Okayu that people have in Japan on the 7th of January for health for the coming year ( see my winter post Nanakusa-Gayu ( seven herb soup).

Autumn Food, Blog

Three Pumpkin Recipes For Halloween

It’s Halloween again and if your anything like me you just love using pumpkin in everything at this time of year!

I like to use Hokkaido also known as onion squash or kuri pumpkin along with kabocha .

I find the last one harder to get in the UK so I often use the Hokkaido pumpkin.

All these recipes are super easy and quick and all use steamed pumpkin as their base.

Also if your interested in what it’s like in Tokyo on Halloween why not check out my travel section for photos of my time spent at Shibuya and japan over Halloween.

The first is a starter or a great party dip.

Pumpkin Hummus

In a food processor add half a steamed pumpkin ( just scoop out the flesh) it’s also good to do this when the pumpkin is still warm.

Add to this one can of drained and rinsed chick peas, A tablespoon of white miso paste,a dash of cayenne pepper, a drizzle of olive oil,a dash of water, some fresh lemon juice ( about two tablespoons) and a tablespoon of tahini. Just process until thick and creamy.

For main course

Savoury Pumpkin Tarts

Use about half a steamed pumpkin and scoop the flesh into a bowl, add some chopped red bell pepper,chopped shallot,cayenne pepper and rosemary ( you can add other vegetables if you wish like chopped zucchini) Mix all together.

Cut out your pastry and place into pastry dishes and then spoon in your mixture. I made some pumpkin shapes to put on the top.

Place in a moderate oven and bake until golden.

Finally Dessert

Tofu Pumpkin Mousse

This super easy dessert is ready in Minutes. Steam about half a pumpkin and let it cool. Add this to a food processor with half a block of silken tofu, a tablespoon of melted coconut butter and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Then add a dash of spice I used pumpkin spice but you can add cinnamon or nutmeg if you like. Blend until creamy and then spoon out into your chosen dishes or glasses. Place in the fridge to set .

Before serving add a squirt of vegan cream,some vegan chocolate chips and I added some fresh pomegranate.

Happy Halloween

Autumn Food, Blog

Kenchinjiru

Kenchinjiru is a hearty warming soup which originates from the Kencho-ji temple in Kamakura. This is my version of this Shojin Ryori Zen Buddhist dish. Full of root vegetables and crumbled tofu in a kombu,shiitake,tamari and miso broth.

Soak one piece of Kombu kelp and two dried shiitake mushrooms in a 1 litre jug of hot water. Leave for a few hours then discard the kombu and slice the shiitake for later.

Add some toasted sesame oil to a pan and sauté your root vegetables I used :lotus root,gobo ( burdock),carrot and daikon radish. Then add your dashi stock. Then add some crumbled tofu a tablespoon of tamari and mirin and shiitake and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked.

Ladle a cup of stock and dissolve one heaped tablespoon of miso and add to the soup. Do not boil the soup as this will destroy the enzymes of the miso.

Just before serving add any leafy green vegetables I used komatsuna and also snap peas.

Serve in a deep bowl and garnish with some sansho pepper to schichimi togarashi .

A wonder winter warmer.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Halloween Kabocha Pumpkin Donuts

Halloween is nearly upon us

I love to make these kabocha pumpkin spiced donuts at this time of year. Topped with melted vegan chocolate and sprinkles they are a great thing to make if your going to or having a Halloween party.

Why not try and make these donuts for yourself

You will need:

two cups of oat flour

3/4 cup of almond flour ( ground almond meal )

2 teaspoon of Baking powder and 1 baking soda

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,ginger,allspice and  pumpkin spice ( I like my spice but add as much or as little as you like)

mix these in one bowl

In another bowl

1/2 cup of already steamed and mashed ( skin removed) kabocha pumpkin.

1 tablespoon of  melted coconut butter

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar

1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

Melted vegan chocolate for the topping

Vegan sprinkles for decoration

Mix the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix in to a batter .

brush a donut pan with a little melted coconut butter and spoon in your batter I like to use a teaspoon .

Bake in a moderate oven to light,fluffy,risen and golden

you may find when you take them out you may need to use a tooth pick just to make the holes again .

Leave  to cool and turn out on to a rack

Melt a bar of vegan chocolate in a bowl over a pan with hot water then dip your cooled donuts into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with your decorations.

Put in the freezer to set.

Happy Halloween

Autumn Food, Blog

Ginger & Pumpkin Bread

I love to make pumpkin bread in the fall and this one has added spice and ginger so it makes for a warming tasty tea time treat or why not crumble some onto yogurt or have it toasted in the morning for breakfast.

First steam half a kabocha pumpkin or similar kuri are nice also.

Add a cup of pitted medjool dates to a food process and pulse til blended.

When tender scoop the flesh from the skin of your pumpkin and add to the dates. To this add one tablespoon of maple syrup,one cup of almond milk and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar process this til well mixed.

In a bowl add two cups of gluten free oat flour,one teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda,half a teaspoon of pink salt,then a teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,allspice and pumpkin spice. Chop up a half cup of crystallised  ginger and mix this all together. Then take your pumpkin mixture and add this to your flour to make a batter. If you think it is to dry add a little more milk or to runny add a little more flour. It should be a thick batter consistency.

Spoon this into a lined loaf pan or silicon loaf pan  top with pumpkin seeds and bake in a moderate oven til golden . ( you could use the batter to make separate pumpkin muffins if you wish)

Take out the oven and let it cool a little before turning it out onto a wire rack. Let the pumpkin bread cool completely before slicing.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Pumpkin & Chestnut Soup

Today is the Autumn equinox, the first day of autumn. Don’t see the last day of Summer as a negative but embrace the change of the seasons and celebrate autumn with optimism. It is time to reflect on the year so far and set new goals going into winter. For me this is very appropriate as my retail shop which I’ve had for over 18 years is closing in October. I am not seeing this as a negative thing I have had some wonderful years but it’s now time to move on. Like the seasons nothing stays the same and change is good. So it’s time to start looking ahead and start afresh with new ventures. It’s time to appreciate the changing season the turning leaves and the wonderful  harvest of food that autumn has to offer. Nothing says autumn to me more than pumpkins and chestnuts so with that I decided to make pumpkin soup to celebrate the equinox .

I just love pumpkin in the Autumn don’t you ? Especially the nutty flavours of Japanese pumpkins. Kabocha and Hokkaido ( Kuri ) are my absolute favourite!

There is nothing better than curling up with a meal made with pumpkins in the Autumn and there are so many things you can make .

The easiest is pumpkin soup. Thick creamy and comforting .

Start by steaming half of a pumpkin seeds removed. When it’s soft scoop out the flesh and add to a food processor. I then added some finely grated ginger ( I like to use a Japanese ginger grater for this )

Then add about two cups of vegetable stock depending on how thick you want your soup and a splash of almond milk add some whole cooked chestnuts ( about six should do ) a dash of coriander or any spice you like ( Paprika or cayenne work well also or even cinnamon, give the whole thing a process.

If your eating it straight away transfer to a bowl and add a few more chestnuts and some pumpkin seeds for topping.

Enjoy Happy Autumn

Autumn Food, Blog

Green Coconut Curry With Yuzu Kosho

Using the Japanese paste Yuzu Kosho for this dish really gives it a spicy but citrus flavour.

Start by making the sauce. In a food processor blend half a can of coconut milk,200ml of vegetable stock, some chopped green chilli,a heaped teaspoon of kuzu kosho and some basil and coriander leaves.

Slice half an egg plant into rounds and cut into quarters and slice one large shiitake. Place on parchment paper and bake in the oven.

While they are baking sauté in some chilli oil half a finely chopped onion and some grated ginger when the onion is tender  add your sauce from the food processor. Reduce to thicken you can add a kuzu slurry or one teaspoon of kuzu root with one teaspoon of water mixed to a paste to make the sauce thicker.

Cut up what ever vegetables you want to use I used a variety of baby corn,red pepper,snap peas,bean sprouts,komatsuna and broccoli. Steam your veg until tender.

Add some cooked rice to a bowl and then add your sauce. Top with roasted and steamed vegetables.