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Autumn Food

Autumn Food, Blog

Chestnut Autumn Wagashi

This is a simple wagashi for autumn made of only three ingredients,chestnuts,sugar and koshian a smooth sweet bean paste.

First either roast and shell your chestnuts or like I did you can buy them already done in packets like this.

You will need around 15 whole chestnuts,add these to a bowl and start to mash them if you have a suribachi ( mortar and pestle ) use that. I used the flat end of a rolling pin to mash my chestnuts. Add to this two tablespoons of organic unrefined cane sugar and cream the sugar into the chestnut mash. Then divide your mash into three and put in separate plastic wrap roll into a ball and flatten out. Undo your wrap and in the middle of each place a ball of your bean paste. Gather up the sides of your flattened chestnut and make sure you cover the bean paste roll up in plastic wrap again to shape. I dipped mine in some sesame seeds for extra flavour and to make them look pretty but you don’t have to do this.

Lovely served with green tea as they are very sweet.

Autumn Food, Blog

Tofu & Matcha Mushi-Pan

These steamed cakes are made with silken tofu instead of egg and are made with simple ingredients.

First in a food processor add 1/3 block of silken tofu and two tablespoons of sweetener ( I used maple syrup but rice syrup works just as well ) to this add two tablespoons of plant based milk ( I used soy but almond should work too) add one heaped teaspoon of sifted matcha and one tablespoon of melted coconut butter and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Process until smooth. In a bowl add 1/2 cup of sifted oat flour and add your wet mixture to this to make your batter.

Spoon the mixture into some silicone cup cake molds. This recipe makes 3 mushi pan . Add these to a steamer under boiling water and put on the lid . Add a towel under the lid to catch condensation. I actually used my rice cooker as I have a steamer but a normal pan with a steamer on top works fine. Steam for about 20 mins. Take them out and allow to cool. Turn out onto a plate and serve with some bean paste.

Delicious with an afternoon green tea .

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Takikomi Gohan

It’s starting to feel like a touch of autumn here in the UK. Berries on the trees are already ripe and the birds are loving it. Everything is starting to turn a gold hue and the mornings are a little cooler.

With that said I know Japan is still very hot but I wanted to make a traditional autumn dish called takikomi gohan as I had a lovely mixed punnet of Japanese mushrooms I wanted to use up. The rice dish is about the seasoning in the rice. You can use what ever you like in this dish traditionally it would be meat or fish but I am obviously making this vegan. If you use five ingredients in this dish it would be known as Gomoku Gohan. A similar dish called Maze Gohan does not have the vegetables cooked with the rice they are simply mixed in after the rice is cooked. This mixed rice recipe starts with making the dashi stock. I soaked two dried shiitake and some kombu in water over night. Then took out the mushrooms and sliced them to add to the rice ingredients. I washed one cup of Japanese rice and put this in my rice cooker. (when I say one cup it is the cup that comes with your rice cooker)To this I added 1 1/2 cups of dashi and 1/2 cup water. Then I added 11/2 tablespoons of Mirin and the same in tamari. Tamari is gluten free but you can add soy sauce if you wish. I also added about 1 inch of grated ginger. Also I like to use the small packets of mixed grains you can buy they have a mixture of brown,red,green and black rice,millet and Job’s tears. Add this if you have some .

I let the rice soak while I prepared my mushrooms. I used a mixture of shiitake,shimeji,enoki,maitake and eryngii. I also sliced thinly some carrot and aburaage. Gobo ( burdock root ) sliced thinly is also a traditional ingredient in this dish. Now place your ingredients on top of the rice but do not mix in. Now put your rice on cook.

When it is done mix the vegetables and rice together and serve. It makes a lovely dish just on its own or it can accompany any meal.

Cooking the rice and vegetables together gives the rice a lovely rich flavour. If you want something more delicate then remember to add vegetables that have been cooked separate to the rice and mix them after.

 

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

Raw Chocolate & Yuzu Brownie Bombs

These raw brownie balls can be made with what ever nuts you may have in your cupboard and you can make them as small or as large as you wish. These ones I made extra large so they were more like a dessert than a snack and are perfect with ice cream.

First in a food processor add 3/4 cup of cashews,1/2 cup hazel nuts,1/2 cup pecan and a few walnuts. I didn’t add many walnuts as they can be a little bitter but you could maybe use almonds,pistachio or Brazil nuts. Then add 1 cup of gluten free oats and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt with 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder. Blitz together to form a flour. Then chop up some candied Yuzu peel I used about 1 heap tablespoon add this to your flour mix. I also added two tablespoons of Yuzu juice. Start your food processor and start to add large squishy medjool dates. I used 12. If they are hard they do not work so well and I didn’t want to soak these as it can make the mixture sticky. Keep dropping them in ( remember to take the stones out folks ) until the mixture starts to come together to form a dough.

Then take the mixture and form into balls.

Melt some vegan chocolate in a bowl over some hot water  ( I used a large raw vegan ombar) and add another 1/2 tablespoon of Yuzu juice,then roll around each brownie in the chocolate and place on some parchment paper on a baking sheet. When they are all done I topped them with a few pieces of chopped candied Yuzu peel. Place them in the freezer to set. They are best kept in the freezer until you want one and just take them out 15 mins before serving.

Yuzu juice can be found in bottles and the candied peel in packets at a Asian grocery store. I normally get mine from the Japan Centre in London but my friend sent me some lovely Yuzu peel from Japan this time so I used that instead.

If you do not want to use Yuzu juice or peel you do not have to. Why not try adding dried goji berries or cacao nibs instead and coating your bombs in maybe coconut if you do not want to roll them in chocolate. You can also use this recipe to flatten the dough mixture out on a baking sheet and then cut into slices for more of a brownie shape.

 

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

Amazake ( not just for winter )

Amazake or sweet sake is a fermented rice drink made from koji (kome koji). The koji mold or Aspergillus Oryzae is used in the making of miso,soy sauce,sake and Mirin. The mold causes the rice enzymes to break down and ferment into unrefined sugars. The sugar makes a sweet drink or can be used in desserts,smoothies or dressing.

Amazake is a popular winter drink and is often had at New year. You may find it served by street vendors or at shrines and tea houses,but did you know Amazake was not always a winter drink and was actually consumed in the Edo Period in the summer to battle against the hot Japanese summers and reduce fatigue. Amazake is made up of B vitamins, and all the vitamins and mineral components found in an IV drip . It has high levels of glucose so is perfect to have in the morning for breakfast or if your feeling tired. As it is high in protein and vitamins it helps to boost the metabolism and is good for the digestion as it is has probiotics due to the fermentation.

I had bought some organic brown Rice Koji from the macrobiotic shop ( link to their website is down the side of the page) I decided to give making amazake a try.

First you need to make Okayu a rice porridge. Use one cup of Japanese rice and wash well as if you were making sushi then add this with 5 cups of water to your rice cooker and cook. When it is done mix in 200g of Rice Koji and 200ml of water. Set your rice cooker to warm and place over the top a towel. The day I made it was a very warm day so I just used a clean jay cloth and then put the lid on a jar. You need to keep the temperature between 50-60 degrees Celsius so many people check the temperature with a thermometer. I didn’t have one so I actually winged it. If the temperature is too warm the amazake will not ferment sweet and too cool it may turn sour. I was very lucky it turned out so sweet and delicious . You need to keep the amazake on this setting for 10 hours stirring a few times in between.

You can then store your amazake in the fridge for up to 10 days ( I don’t think it’s going to last that long ) or you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Now you can use your amazake to make delicious drinks and desserts.

The most simple way to have your amazake is to gently warm it 1-1 with water adding a little grated ginger.

You could also use soy milk. Do not over heat your amazake as it will kill the enzymes.

How about trying the above chilled with a little Yuzu juice for a refreshing summer drink.

You could also use it to make sweet chai tea. Steep one 1/2 cup of hot water with black tea with spices like cardomom and star aniseed,cinnamon bark and clove. I actually have a premade chai tea blend and used about a tablespoon . Strain then add this to a pan with 1/2 cup soy milk and one tablespoon of amazake and gently heat. This will add a lovely sweetness to your chai tea.

You can make a delicious smoothie or shake by adding to a blender two tablespoons of amazake,one cup of soy milk and one to two bananas depending on how thick you want it. Blend and chill for a delicious breakfast with fruit and maybe some granola.

Why not add it to porridge to make it extra sweet and creamy just add it to your porridge after cooking up the porridge so it doesn’t kill the enzymes.

I even made a chia pudding with it. Just add two tablespoons of amazake with two tablespoons of chia seeds and 1/2 cup of soy milk. Mix well and leave in the fridge to set. Perfect when topped with yogurt and fruit.

 

If you do not want to make amazake for yourself you can buy it . Clear spring do a lovely range or if you can get it you can buy Japanese amazake drinks from an Asian supermarket .

Amazake can be enjoyed at anytime of year.

 

Autumn Food, Blog, Summer Food

Lotus Root & Tofu Mushimanju

These little dumpling or steamed buns are inspired by Shojin Ryori or Buddhist cuisine. I actually added onion to mine which in typical Shojin Ryori they would not do, as they do not use onion or garlic in their cooking.

First start by peeling then finely grating a piece of fresh lotus root around 6 inches in length. Put the grated lotus root in a sieve and push out all the liquid until you are left with a pulp. To this add 3/4 of a block of drained silken tofu. I then added some black salt and chopped green onion for extra flavour, you could leave them plain if you wish or even add more veg like finely chopped carrot or sweetcorn.

Mix the tofu and lotus root pulp together. Then cut three squares of muslin cloth and in the middle of each add some mixture. Gather the ends and squeeze any liquid out through the cloth,then tie each one with string and steam for ten mins.

Take each bun out of the cloth and now you can use them as dumplings for soup if you wish.

This one is with a sweet sesame miso sauce,just white miso paste and sesame paste with Mirin.

Again could be a perfect dish as part of a Teishoku set meal.

 

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

Kinako Latte

Kinako (黄粉) Japanese roasted soybean flour. You will probably know it from being dusted over wagashi like Mochi . Did you know it also makes a delicious and nutritious drink? Kinako is a Japanese superfood being packed full of protein,and rich in dietary fibre,calcium,potassium,vitamin B1 and A.

That sweet nutty flavour makes a comforting alternative to tea or coffee or have it cold with ice in the summer.

Just add two heaped teaspoons of sifted Kinako to a pan with a teaspoon of sweetener. I like to use coconut palm sugar. Add a cup of your favourite plant based milk. Soy or almond work well. Heat gently whisking well . If you have an electric frother use this to create a nice foam for the top that you can dust with more Kinako before serving. If you want this cold just chill for a few hours mix and add ice before serving. Why not add Kinako to your favourite smoothies it works well with banana. Or add to ice cream for a nutty flavour topping. Sprinkle onto cereal or granola. This stuff is not just for Japanese sweets .

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

Tofu Dengaku (In A Miso Umeboshi Glaze)

Dengaku, a miso glaze traditionally used on tofu,daikon or eggplant ( see Nasu Dengaku for a further recipe.) This one has lots of umami flavour as I used Umeboshi plum giving it that sweet,salty and sour taste. To make the glaze mash one tablespoon of Umeboshi plum with one tablespoon of white miso paste or any other miso you prefer like red or hatcho. Add one teaspoon of maple syrup or malted brown rice syrup,a teaspoon of mirin and a teaspoon of brown rice vinegar and mix together. Now you can use this to glaze your tofu. Cut your tofu into cube or steaks if you like and spread on the glaze. Bake in the oven until the tofu is golden. Top onto warm rice to make Tofu Dengaku Donburi. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

You can use the glaze for eggplant either cut into rounds or lengthways and score a cross hatch pattern into the flesh. This is called kakushi-bocho,this will help the eggplant absorb the flavours while baking. Bake in the oven until tender,again adding some sesame seeds and green onion before serving.

Finally Daikon Dengaku this one is particularly nice in winter. Peel and cut your daikon into at least one inch rounds and simmer until tender in some kombu dashi,do not throw away the water after as it makes nice broth for miso soup. When tender you can serve your daikon as is with some of your miso paste on top .

or why not pan sear first to give your daikon a crispy outer coating. I also like to add a little dashi broth with a dash of tamari when serving my daikon in the bottom of the bowl. Makes for a comforting dish. In this particular paste I added a splash of yuzu citrus ,if you have any paste left over just add it to a jar with a little water put on the lid and give it a little shake for the perfect salad dressing.

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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After spending many stressful years dealing with a business that really was causing me lots of harm mentally I am realising self care is very important just a little time to be mindful can help you feel at peace in body and mind . www.selfcarecompany.com

(check them out)

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