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Autumn Food, Blog

Tonyu & Miso Nabe

Tonyu means soy milk in Japanese and nabe is a kind of one pot dish.

This thick and creamy nabe is full of vegetables and tofu it is comforting and filling but also healthy.

Its so quick to make all you need to do is prepare what vegetables you want to use.

I used napa cabbage,kale,leek,broccoli,carrot,pumpkin,tofu and a selection of Japanese mushrooms.

Start by steaming the vegetables first that take the longest so the carrot and the pumpkin and leave things like the kale and broccoli until the last minute.

In a pan add two cups of kombu dashi (leave a piece of kombu submerged in water over night or simmer for 15 mins) and two cups of soy milk,add one tablespoon of mirin and bring to a gentle simmer. Add your miso about two tablespoons and gently stir in.

Pour your broth into a large pot and add your vegetables and tofu. Serve with rice. (If you have a donabe pot like this one you can cook them all together in the same pot, just add your broth and vegetables pop on the lid and simmer )

A perfect meal for a cold day but so easy to make.

Autumn Food, Blog

Chard & Tofu Rolls With Roast Vegetables

This colourful dish is created using rainbow chard but you could just as easily use cabbage. First roast some vegetables i used fennel,carrot,beetroot and tofu. Add these to some foil with some bay leaves and make a parcel and roast until tender. Steam some leaves and they them out flat. Fill with your roasted vegetables and tofu and roll them up and secure with a tooth pick . Make a broth of tamari,kombu dashi and mirin and warm in a pan. Arrange your filled chard in a bowl and pour over your broth. Why not decorate with some steamed carrot that has been cut into leaf shapes.

Perfect served with rice and a soup on a cold day.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Houtou (Hōtō) ほうとう

It has been a typical autumn day today. The wind has nearly blown all the leaves off the cherry tree. The seasons go by so fast. No sooner am I enjoying the beautiful Sakura blossom than it quickly falls to make way for bright green summer leaves which then turn all to soon yellow and orange. Today they have nearly all dropped to reveal the dark naked branches.

I wanted to make a cosy autumn dish so I chose Hōtō . A comforting miso noodle soup originating from Yamanashi in Japan. This is normally made with large flat udon style noodles but without making some or having any in my store cupboard I decided to use a gluten-free alternative made by Clearspring, brown rice wide noodles. They worked a treat.

I first simmered a selection of winter vegetables daikon,carrot,parsnip,brussels sprouts,napa cabbage,kabocha,maitake and kale,with enough water to cover and a drop lid or otoshibuta. Add leafy greens at the end of simmering the vegetables.

When the vegetables are tender and you have added your greens mix one tablespoon each of Hatcho miso and white miso paste in a bowl with a little cooking liquid to dissolve,then add to your pot . The hatcho miso gives the soup a nice earthy rich flavour .

Soak your rice noodles for 10 mins in a bowl of hot water to soften and then add them to the gently simmering pot for a further 10 mins.

Or if you are using fresh udon add them directly to the pot.

Now cosy up on a dark autumn evening and enjoy.

Autumn Food, Blog

Simmered Kabocha (Kabocha no Nimono)

This meal was so flavourful and it made me feel like autumn had truly arrived . Using Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) this is a typical simple seasonal dish in Japan.

Make some kombu dashi by soaking a piece of kombu in water over night. Then the  next day discard the kombu.

First cut a large wedge ( around a quarter of a large pumpkin ) and take out the seeds,place on a plate in the microwave for a few minutes to soften (this will make it easier to cut and also cut down your cooking time). Take out your pumpkin from the microwave and cut into equal wedges and lie skin side down in a pan. Add enough kombu dashi to cover along with 1 teaspoon of sugar,1 teaspoon of mirin and 1 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce. Give the pan a swirl and cover with a low drop lid or otoshibuta if you have one. Simmer the pumpkin until tender. Place a few pieces of pumpkin in a dish and ladle over your sweet dashi broth.

I served this with Nasu Dengaku. I cut a whole eggplant in half length ways and then scored a deep grid pattern into the flesh. Get a pan with hot oil and pan sear on both sides. I mixed two miso pastes together a sweet white miso and a more rustic brown rice miso with a little mirin. Then I added this to the top of the eggplant and placed it in the oven. It turned out so delicious. The flesh was so tender but the miso was slightly crispy .

It made for a perfect Teishoku meal with miso soup,yaki onigiri and a persimmon tofu mousse for dessert.

Autumn Food, Blog

Tofu Baked With Kabocha & Miso And A Simple Oden

This was a perfect autumn Teishoku meal.

First cut a piece of firm tofu in half and wrap in a paper towel to soak up any moisture. In a bowl add two tablespoons of steamed and mashed kabocha then add a tablespoon of sweet white miso and mix together. Remove the towel from the tofu and place on some parchment paper on a baking sheet. Coat all sides with the pumpkin mash except the bottom. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until the coating is crispy. This will be crispy on the top but fluffy inside.

I served the tofu with sautéed purple sweet potato pieces and steamed kale in a sesame sauce. The sauce was white sesame paste,mirin and tamari.

With this I also made an oden style one pot soup. You can read more about this in one of my winter recipes just search Oden.

This one was made by soaking kombu and a shiitake to make a dashi,for a few hours. I then removed and discarded the kombu and sliced the shiitake. Added the shiitake back into the pot along with tamari,mirin,shimeji,aburaage,chunks of daikon and leaf shape carrots .I also added a few pieces of Yuzu rind I think this makes such a difference to the flavour. Yuzu is hard to come by in the UK. If we manage to ever get it it’s imported over from Japan and is very expensive. Normally sold at the Japan centre in London. If I’m lucky enough I buy one and take off the rind and slice the rind into pieces,I then freeze it to be dropped into stews when ever I choose. So because it’s frozen it’s well worth the investment. Everything is then simmered on a low heat until the daikon is tender,and everything and soaked up the lovely favours.

Serve with mixed grain rice and salad . There was also a warm amazake and roasted tiny satsuma orange. I had never thought of roasting an orange until I was watching a program about fire festivals in Japan at which they roast Mikan in the fires. I just popped mine in the oven with the skin still on and then peeled it after. The orange was small just enough for one mouthful but how sweet and warm the orange became . Give it a try.

Now the weather is getting colder why not make a Japanese oden to warm you up on an evening. Just simple ingredients but you will be surprised how flavoursome this dish is.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Shiratama Dango

I often make tofu dango (shitatama rice flour and silken tofu ). It got me thinking about if I could use pumpkin to make a Halloween dango. So I thought I’d give it a try . Being a recipe creator is all about trying out new ideas in the kitchen. These kabocha dango turned out amazing. Soft and chewy mochi balls on a bed of sweet bean paste and dusted with kinako and ground black sesame. What a perfect Japanese wagashi treat for Halloween.

I started out by steaming some kabocha and when it was cool enough I removed the skin and gave it a mash in a bowl.

Add one heaped tablespoon of pumpkin with three tablespoons of Shiratama rice flour,half a teaspoon of maple syrup and a drop of water to help bind. Cream everything together until you have a dough ball about the size of a tennis ball. Break off pieces and roll them in your hands do not make them too big as they will not cook through.

You should have enough to make three skewers each one having three dango. Boil a pot of water and drop the balls into the water,when they are done they will float to the top. I always leave them that extra min. Scoop out the balls and drop into ice cold water. Pat them dry and put them through the skewers. Top with what ever you fancy.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha pumpkin Granola Squares

These pumpkin granola squares are a great snack perfect for times on the go. Rushing off to work or study why not make some for the week ahead to pack in your lunch box.

Turn on your oven to a moderate setting and line a pan around 8x8inch square with parchment paper.

Ingredients

Add to a bowl

1/2 cup of already steamed mashed and cooled kabocha pumpkin (or what ever pumpkin you can find Kuri work well also)

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,pumpkin spice or what ever you like ginger,clove,allspice all work well.

1 heaped tablespoon each of slivered almond,pumpkin seeds and cranberries. (you can omit the nuts for nut free or add whatever you like)

cream these all together then add 2 cups of gluten-free raw sprouted oats (or what ever oats you like)

Make sure all the oats are coated in the pumpkin mixture

Turn out your mixture into your already lined pan and evenly press the mixture down ( I like to cover it over with plastic wrap and push the mixture down firmly )

Place in your moderate oven for around 30 mins

When golden leave to cool totally before cutting into squares or bars. You can store them in the fridge and also put some in the freezer to defrost later. I will definitely be doing this so I have some to take on the plane to Japan with me next month (Nov 2018)

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Halloween Wagashi

These sweets are made just like my chestnut wagashi recipe but add two tablespoons of already steamed and mashed kabocha pumpkin to your creamed chestnuts and add a whole roasted chestnut inside instead of anko. Why not make both or maybe use purple sweet potato you could do a selection of different types for a seasonal treat.

Autumn Food, Blog

Purple Sweet Potato Mousse

This purple sweet potato mousse can be made in much the same way as my pumpkin mousse . All you need to do is blend 1/2 block of silken tofu with a tablespoon of maple syrup,a tablespoon of melted coconut butter and two heaped tablespoons of already steamed and mashed purple sweet potato. After blending pour into your desired glasses and chill for a few hours. When ready to serve top with maybe fruit and soy whip cream. I even added one of my spiced ginkgo leaf cookies. You could also put granola on it for a breakfast treat.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Ginkgo Shaped Spiced Cookies

Ginkgo or (Ichō) trees are another celebrated tree in autumn along with the maple for autumn viewing. Much like in the spring with the cherry blossom viewing or (hanami) . The autumn leaf viewing or koyo is a longer season ranging from late October to late November early December. Unlike the maples which turn green to vibrant red the ginkgo tree leaves turn a brilliant yellow. These trees are often planted in avenues and one of the best places and most celebrated in Tokyo is the avenue (Ichō Namiki) at Meiji Jingu Gaien. Around 150 trees line the avenue and from the 16th of November to 2nd of December a matsuri is held there to celebrate the trees. Be sure to watch my Instagram as I will be visiting this year (2018).

I decided to make some cookies to represent the ginkgo leaf and served them with a chai turmeric latte.

Spiced ginkgo leaf cookies

you will need

in one bowl

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup of plain flour

2/3 cup almond flour ( meal )

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 a teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg and ginger

Mix

in another bowl

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter / oil

1/2 cup of maple syrup

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 . 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.

These cookies stay lovely and crisp for days in an air tight container.

Autumn Food, Blog

Daikon Tsukemono

This sweet and spicy simple daikon pickle is known as Su-Zake a Japanese term used for vegetables pickled in rice vinegar. Tsukemono means pickled things . Also known as Namasu ( Nama meaning raw) this can refer to raw vegetables and seafood slightly pickled in vinegar. Where as sunomono are just foods dressed in vinegar.

This is a quick pickle that lasts a few days in the fridge and is perfect for the shojin ryori cuisine . Just steamed rice, miso soup and tsukemono for a traditional meal. Pickles are used to cleanse the palate and can be used between courses like in the elaborate kaiseki cuisine.

Peel and slice your daikon ( around a six inch piece ) in to half rounds.

In a pan add 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar,1 tablespoon of mirin,2 tablespoons of organic caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. I was lucky enough to have fresh Yuzu peel which I have frozen in the freezer so I added a few pieces to the heated liquid and a little chopped red fresh chilli pepper. You could use unwaxed organic lemon peel if you wish.

Add your daikon to a jar and pour in your sugar mixture . Give it a good shake to evenly coat the daikon and leave in the fridge over night. I actually gave mine a few more shakes at regular intervals. You will have a lovely crisp pickle you can add to salad or as a side dish to your meal.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Chawanmushi

Chawanmushi means steamed in a teacups,this is a savoury Japanese egg custard normally filled with ingredients like chicken,shrimp,mushrooms and ginkgo nuts.

I decided to make a vegan version using silken tofu and Japanese kabocha pumpkin.

First steam a quarter of a small kabocha pumpkin and leave it to cool slightly,then take off the skin ( it should easily fall off without much effort). In a food processor or blender add half a block of silken tofu and then add your steamed pumpkin. Process until smooth. Spoon the mixture into little teacups and add any filling you like ( I added a few ginkgo nuts,some leaf shaped carrot and shiitake mushrooms. Wrap the whole teacup in foil and steam in a steamer for around 15-20 mins.

The tofu will firm up and will give a nice custard texture. This makes a good starter to a meal.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread and butter pudding is normally made with bread,butter,eggs and milk ( so much dairy ! ) I decided to make a vegan pudding that was so comforting and no diary needed.

First you will need about a quarter of a kabocha Japanese pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and steam in a steamer until tender. Leave to cool a little and then take off the skin. Add this to a food processor or blender. To this add some plant based milk ( around one cup ) then add a tablespoon of sweetener of choice like maple syrup and some cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg. I will let you decide how much you want to put in. Process until smooth if it’s to thick to pour add a little more milk. It should be the consistency of thinner pouring custard.

Take a loaf of uncut bread. I used a nice white sourdough and cut up some slices. Then cut each slice into two. Butter each with coconut butter or vegan spread. Butter a small ovenproof dish and add your first two slices butter side facing up. Pour on some of your pumpkin mixture and scatter with a few raisins,sultanas or cranberries. Layer like this until your dish is full and finish with topping it off with the final pumpkin mixture. I added some chestnuts to the top but pecan would be nice also. Sprinkle a little nutmeg or pumpkin spice on the top and bake in a moderate oven until the bread is crispy on the top.

Cut and serve warm with some vegan cream.