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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.

Autumn Food, Blog

Ohagi

The Autumn equinox is nearly upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan . To celebrate I made Ohagi. This is a traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time. In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi. I covered mine with kinako and black sesame .

Served with a nice green tea they make a wonderful treat .

This is how to make your very own ( it takes a little time but is well worth the effort !)
1 cup of Japanese rice
1 cup of mochi rice
plastic wrap
tsubu-an ( bean paste )
toppings  matcha powder,kinako ground black sesame powder
first wash your rice together really well changing the water a few times
place in your rice cooker with water up to level 2 and cook until done
then pound your rice I use the end of a rolling pin until some it’s mashed but still has some grain don’t over pound or it will be to sticky mix it as your pounding in between with your rice paddle so it’s even.
take about 70g of rice if your having rice on the outside and make balls of these in plastic wrap . Flatten each one spreading it out. Measure out balls of bean paste 30g and place in the middle of each flattened out ball ( mould  the rice around the bean paste .
If you want to do a reverse 40g rice and 60g red bean paste .
when they are all done roll them in your chosen topping .
I like to then wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them and defrost over night ( great for a bento dessert ) .

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha & Chestnut Loaf

Its definitely getting to that time of year again when the leaves start to turn and the weather is chilly. I especially like this time of year for pumpkin and squash  season . My favourites being kabocha and kuri . These both have a lovely texture and nutty flavour and are so versatile they can be roasted or steamed and have many health benefits being  high in beta-carotene and vitamin A . These are prized in Japan and are a staple food come autumn. I’m sure cooking with these will become a firm favourite if you haven’t already.

In this recipe I decided to steam half a kabocha pumpkin and scoop out the soft flesh to combine it with ingredients to make a chestnut and pumpkin loaf .

So steam your pumpkin first and cook up a cup of short grain brown rice ready to add later.

Finely chop half an onion,a small carrot,a stick of celery, a large shiitake mushroom or a few small ones and around six already cooked and peeled roast chestnuts. I buy mine already done . In the U.K. They are by a company called Merchant Gourmet.

Add to a pan some coconut butter and sauté these ingredients. Then add a tablespoon of tamari,Worcestershire sauce,miso and tomato purée and mix in then add your mashed steamed pumpkin and finally some chopped kale or you could use spinach and a cup of cooked rice.

Add a cup of gluten free oat flour to a bowl and add to this your kabocha ingredients and give it a good mix .

Line a loaf tin with parchment paper and spoon in your ingredients.

Bake in a moderate oven until cooked through around 30-45 mins.

Turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting in to slices.

I think this could also be a good mixture for kabocha burgers instead of adding the mixture to a baking tin just make into individual burger patties and bake or fry them .

The slices can be a nice alternative for maybe a thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and could also be nice cold in a wrap for instance.

I decided to make a comforting dinner with creamy mashed potatoes and shiitake miso gravy.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha & Miso Risotto

Autumn is a favourite time of mine. I love the colours and the delicious seasonal  food .

It really is beginning to feel like Autumn is on its way here in the U.K. already. The nights are drawing in and the weather is chilly in the mornings . The leaves are already turning, so I felt like I wanted to make something with my favourite pumpkin Japanese kabocha. It has such a lovely nutty flavour and is really comforting.

I decided to make this risotto

You will first need to roast half a medium size kabocha you can keep the skin on but remove the seeds.

Then in a pan add one cup of short grain brown rice and to that around 800ml of vegetable stock. Place you rice on a medium heat and simmer adding a little more water until almost done if needed.

Then add a cup of pumpkin to your rice ( just scoop out the flesh but discard the skin. Also add one heaped tablespoon of white miso and stir well. I then added a heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast for extra flavour .

Spoon in to a bowl . I added some roast king mushrooms and broccoli to mine with some fresh black  pepper but you could add anything you like.

This makes a really hearty meal ( nice with some warm bread to scoop up the risotto too.)

 

Blog, Summer Food

Macrobiotic Nourishment Bowl

This is a wonderful way to get a balanced meal. Called a macro bowl because you hit all the nutrients carbs,protein and fat with plenty of vitamins and minerals. There are many things you can add to your bowl if you just follow a simple guideline .

You need some kind of grain this could be brown rice,quinoa,millet,amaranth,buckwheat etc.

Then you need carbs think sweet potato but carbs can also cross over into your grains.

What about protein ha ha . Well we all know there no shortage of that ! Tofu or tempeh are my favourites, but again beans are a great source of protein so it’s good to add some beans in there as well like kidney,Lima,black beans etc.

Add some good fats with avocado,olives,nuts or hemp hearts.

Plenty of veggies and salads ( Go wild ) there are so many to choose from. Spinach,kale,sprouts,carrot,bell peppers,cucumber,watercress,broccoli the list goes on.

Why not add some probiotics in the form of sauerkraut or kimchi?

Dont forget sea veg also as it’s a wonderful source of iodine and good for the thyroid wakame,hijiki,kombu and nori.

Lastly it’s always nice to make a dressing maybe a simple miso dressing with miso paste mixed with mirin,brown rice syrup and little lemon.

I think it’s a good idea to have cooked brown rice ready in your fridge especially if your heading into a busy week . Just throw some rice in a bowl add some beans veggies and tofu and you have a meal in under 10 mins.

Hope you now have inspiration to make  some macro bowls for yourself.

Blog, Summer Food

Shiitake Brown Rice & Miso Burgers

I have been experimenting making burgers for a while but now I have a favourite recipe I want to share with you using some Japanese ingredients.

This recipe make three or four good size burgers and they freeze well so they are good to have on stand by when you don’t want to cook.

First cook one cup of brown rice until al dente . I cook brown rice like pasta.

Next in a food processor add one cup of drained chick peas to this add one heaped tablespoon of brown rice miso, 1/4 cup of finely grated carrot,1tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce,1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast,1tablespoon of brown rice vinegar and some fresh black pepper. And blend.

Next finely chop 1/4 cup of red bell pepper and 1/4 of red onion,1cup of shiitake mushrooms  finely chopped and add this to a pan and sauté in a little toasted sesame oil until soft. Add this to the already processed ingredients and blend again.

Tip the ingredients into a bowl and add your cooked brown rice and some chopped parsley and mix together.

I find the easiest way to shape the burgers is with plastic wrap. Take a sheet and add about three heaped tablespoon of your ingredients and shape into a ball then press down to form a burger shape . Place your burger shapes on parchment paper and brush with a little tamari and sprinkle on some shichimi pepper for extra spice. If you don’t have any you could use cayenne pepper.

Bake in the oven until golden .

I have served my burgers in pitta breads or even made Japanese Moss burger type rice buns.

Serve with what ever relish you like here I served some with butternut squash fries and Japanese vegan kewpie Mayo which were delicious.

Autumn Food, Blog

Macrobiotic Soup With Miso Buckwheat & Lima Beans

In the U.K. Where the weather is very changeable we very rarely get much in the way of hot summers,so it’s a good idea to make meals with a macrobiotic approach. Not only eating what’s in season but eating for the temperature. So when the summer weather is more like mid Autumn why not make a nourishing warming soup. This is a good one as we head off in to Autumn and you can change the vegetables you use accordingly.

To make the stock for the soup I used kombu good for the thyroid as its high in iodine, you just add a piece of dried kombu to water and gently heat for ten minutes then take out the kombu ( this can be chopped and used in salads if you wish)

I also used miso in this soup a good source of iron,calcium,potassium and B vitamins and beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Miso helps to stimulate the digestion and energise. No wonder people in Japan start the day with it. Make sure your miso is GMO free and organic and unpasteurised.

I added a grain to this soup you could use things like brown rice, quinoa,millet,amaranth or barley . In this one I’m choosing to use buckwheat. Buckwheat is a rich source of protein a very nutritious grain which is also gluten free.

Adding a bean of some kind really gives it extra sustenance  and also adds to it being macrobiotic. You can choose what ever you wish in this soup I’m using butter beans also known as Lima beans rich in protein,fiber and B vitamins.

Lots of veggies like carrot,potato,burdock,kale,shiitake and daikon and butternut squash when in season kabocha pumpkin would be wonderful also.

Maybe top with some fresh chopped herbs and a few pieces of tofu if you like.

Just what you need to curl up with on the sofa as the nights start to draw in.