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.

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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 ! )

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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 !

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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.

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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)

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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!

Winter Food

Stollen

I have noticed that Japanese Instagram feeds are full of pictures of stollen at Christmas, it seams to be very popular. Because of the popularity in japan every year I make my own vegan version .

Here are a few past stollen from previous years.

This was using matcha in the flour and in the marzipan

 

This year using my recipe I made mini stollen bites

This is just the basic recipe which you can use to make one large stollen or mini stollen if you so wish.

First make your marzipan

I used one cup of almond flour mixed with two teaspoons of almond essence and three tablespoons of maple syrup. Cream this into a dough and set aside wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until needed.

(I always find I have some left over which is lovely to stuff into dates)

For the stollen

In one bowl mix

3 cups of oat flour

3/4 cup of almond flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

cinnamon,nutmeg,allspice,ginger and clove ( 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of each )

Mixed fruit and peel I used raisins, cranberries,chopped candied yuzu ( you could also add orange and lemon zest and flaked almonds)

In another bowl mix

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup apple purée

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon melted coconut butter

Mix wet into dry to form a dough.

At this point if you want to make one large stollen shape the dough in to a log and then flatten it. Roll your marzipan into a long sausage shape and put this in the middle of your flattened log then fold over the sides to encase the marzipan inside and reshape.

Or to make individual balls make balls then flatten them into a cookie shape, add balls of marzipan to each one then fold over the sides again to encase the marzipan and then roll back into a ball.

Now bake in a moderate oven for around 20mins

When they are done leave to cool and then dust with icing sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Food

Hot & Spicy Fermented Cabbage Nabe

Another snow day called for hot soup.

This one is made from vegan Kimchi and is so quick and easy to make.

A Donabe pot is what a lot of people in Japan use to cook with as it means everything just goes in one pot. They are made of special clay for use over an open flame. Quite a lot of people in japan have limited kitchen space and using a donabe with a one ring gas burner stove makes for an easy simple meal.

Also there is nothing better than serving up your meal into bowls straight from your donabe on the dining table.

If you do not have a donabe pot this dish can easily be made on the stove with any pan or pot.

First sauté some shiitake and maitake mushrooms in a little toasted sesame oil. Add to this some carrots cut into quarters and some chopped green onion or leek. Then add tomato purée about two tablespoons and top up your pot with water. Add two heaped tablespoon of kimchi or other fermented cabbage. Maybe check out a company in the UK called Hurly Burly I used their jalapeño and oregano fermented slaw in this dish. Also Biona organic do a vegan kimchi or you could use sauerkraut. I then added two good handfuls of beansprouts and some chopped nappa cabbage. Finally some nice big pieces of firm tofu to soak up all that lovely juice.

Put the lid on and let it simmer down.

I served mine with rice and added some schichimi powder for extra warmth.

A perfect cosy meal.

 

Blog, Winter Food

Rustic Raw Mince (Fruit) Pies With Sake & Yuzu

Yeaterday I went for a beautiful long walk in the snow. On my walk I got to thinking how I could make raw mince pies. For those of you who are not sure what a mince pie is it’s basically shortcrust pastry with a filling of normally spiced fruits maybe with alcohol like brandy and fruit peel.

As soon as I got home I set to work on creating the pies and they turned out much better than I thought they would.

To make the crust I used 1/2 cup of coconut flour and 1/2 cup of almond flour. I placed this in my food processor with two large dates and pulsed this together. Then I added 6 tablespoons of melted coconut butter and 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup ( you could use what ever sweetener you want) I started to process until the dough came together. I then tipped out the dough onto plastic wrap and wrapped it into a tight ball and pressed it all together.

I then placed a sheet of plastic wrap over my mince pie tray and started to press in the dough to make pastry cases. I did this as I wasn’t sure how the dough would roll but after making the stars for the  tops I think you could roll this and cut out the rounds with a pastry cutter. Anyway this way made for a rustic raw edged looking pie but I thought it was quite in keeping. I then placed the tray covered over into the freezer. With the remaining dough I cut out stars for the tops of the pies.

Now for the filling I tipped into a bowl 1/4 cup of raisins,1/3 cup of dried cranberries, three chopped dried soft figs,a scatter of flaked almonds,the juice of one clementine ( I basically cut the clementine in half an squeezed the juice out),a dash each of cinnamon,nutmeg and allspice,the zest of one small lemon,a tablespoon of candied chopped yuzu and a sake cup of sake. I then used the end of a rolling pin to squash all the fruit. It’s a good idea to make this in advance and let the fruit soak up all the juices.

After taking the pastry out the freezer you can then lift them out the plastic wrap and fill them with your filling for a totally raw pie.

However I placed mine in the oven for five mins just to slightly brown them . If you do this place them back in the freezer after for five mins because if they are warm they fall apart slightly.

I think they made a lovely alternative mince pie and this year I will be having these instead of the normal pastry ones I make. Nice with some vegan cream. You can warm them slightly as well before eating.

 

 

 

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 .