Spring Food

Blog, Spring Food

Greenery day (Matcha Rice )

Greenery day in Japan is part of the Golden Week holidays also known as Arbor Day.

This day celebrates and appreciates nature.  Festivities include planting trees and seeds and as a lot of people are off work they go to visit parks and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.

As this time is also the time for the first picking of green tea leaves I decided to make a green tea rice meal to celebrate Greenery Day.

Cooking up some rice in the rice cooker I added 1/2 a teaspoon of  sifted matcha to a cup,
Then added hot but not boiling water (about 1/4 cup),
I whisked the matcha well and then when the rice was cooked I poured in the matcha water and mixed it in,
I then left this on warm for a few min’s just to soak through or you can put your rice cooker back on cook until it clicks back over ( takes a few mins )

On top of the rice I scattered it with steamed bamboo shoots, another spring favourite in Japan is edamame and sliced lotus root, watercress and stem broccoli.

The taste of the matcha really brings out a lovely flavour in the rice .

Well worth trying .


Blog, Spring Food

Aburaage sushi rolls

How about using aburaage as an alternative to a sheet of nori when making sushi .

Use the large pieces of aburaage you get in the frozen section of the Asian super market.

Take one large aburaage pocket and cut down the un open sides and open out into one large square of aburaage,
Then use as you would nori buy spreading out seasoned sushi rice over the surface, Add your filling and roll with a sushi matt.

Slice with a sharp knife.


Blog, Spring Food


The bi-annual days of the vernal equinox are 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 Botamochi. 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 different toppings matcha,kinako and black sesame . I also made a reverse one with the rice on the inside . Spring is nearly here . ぼたもち (牡丹餅) (おはぎ) 私は春分点のために作った ほぼ春です!

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 ) .


Blog, Spring Food

Takenoko Gohan

Takenoko Gohan
Takenoko Gohan
Takenoko Gohan

Spring time in the countryside of Japan you can see bamboo shoots starting to grow .
This is Takenoko Gohan (bamboo rice ) (竹の子ご飯)
Takenoko means bamboo child and is a perfect Japanese spring dish. Have you seen Princess Kaguya? It’s a Studio Ghibli animated film about a child found in a bamboo shoot . They called her Takenoko

Unfortunately I cannot get fresh bamboo in the UK but I was able to get the boiled vacuum packed kind from the Japan centre in London. This is far better than the canned variety as they have lots of preservatives.

Slice some of your bamboo into thin slices if when you cut it you find little white gritty bits it’s totally fine it’s just rice bran that they cook the bamboo shoots with just rinse them off with water.

I had already had some kombu kelp stock in the fridge so after washing a Japanese measuring cup of rice I added two cups of kombu stock to my rice cooker with the rice. I then added a teaspoon of mirin and a teaspoon of tamari . I put the sliced bamboo shoots on top of the rice and cooked the rice and bamboo shoots together in the rice cooker.

As simple as that.


Blog, Spring Food

Spring green soup

Spring greens soup
An easy filling soup using spring green vegetables miso and soy milk

A selection of green vegetables equal amounts .
I used broccoli, courgette ( zucchini ) edamame
Komatsuna Japanese mustard spinach ( you could use cabbage napa cabbage bok choy ( pak choi ) or spinach as an alternative), asparagus tips and watercress .
And two small peeled potatoes chopped into quarters this helps to thicken your soup .
One tablespoon of white miso
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy milk

First steam your vegetables until tender and bright green and your potatoes are cooked ( I used frozen edamame so I dropped a handful into the water to cook a few mins under the steaming vegetables .)
When ready put your vegetables into a food processor add your miso and blend with a little of your hot water used for steaming .
When blended add equal parts soy milk and hot cooking water until you reach your desired consistency.
Add a little salt and pepper to taste maybe a swirl of soy cream and a few sprigs of water cress for decoration.
Wonderful as a side dish or as a healthy lunch with a warm piece of bread.

Blog, Spring Food

Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles

Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles
Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles
Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles
Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles

Japanese matcha yuzu chocolate truffles
Blend all together in a food processor the following
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon of sifted matcha powder
1 tablespoon rice syrup
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tea spoon of vanilla powder or extract

Scoop out the mixture into some silicone chocolate moulds and put in the freezer and leave over night
Melt one vegan chocolate bar of your choice in a bowl over hot water add one teaspoon of Japanese fresh yuzu juice .
Take your truffles out the freezer
Pop your truffles out of the tray and coat each one in chocolate and put on parchment paper .
Top with chopped candied yuzu peel .
Put back in the freezer to set
When you want them take them out and allow to thaw for 10 mins before eating .
Keep in the fridge ( if they last that long )
This makes about 6-8 truffles depending on your avocado size .

Blog, Spring Food

Pink Iced Sakura Donut

Enjoying a pink iced Sakura donut and Sakura tea this Hanami weekend. 自家製 ピンクのさくらドーナツとさくらお茶. 幸せな花見季節 ?????

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

mix these in one bowl

In another bowl

1/2 cup of apple purée ( I normally make my own ) peel core and chop two apples steam until tender and blend in a food processor) or you can use ready made in a jar .

1 tablespoon of coconut oil / melted coconut butter

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar

1/2 cup of unrefined caster sugar

1 tablespoon of yuzu juice

For the frosting

icing sugar water and beetroot juice for colouring

sakura flowers 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 oil and spoon in your batter I like to use a teaspoon .

bake in a moderate oven to light and 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

mix icing sugar  beetroot juice and add a little water at a time to make your icing . Cover your donuts with icing and a Sakura flower and maybe a little dusting of coconut .

I like to film my icing up in the freezer for half an hour . If your not eating them straight away I tend to keep mine in the freezer and defrost them one at a time .

enjoy !


Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Scones

Sakura Scones
Sakura Scones

Home made scones with Sakura flowers and strawberry jam sweetened with rice syrup and thickened with kuzu. Lovely with afternoon tea or to take on a Hanami picnic. 自家製スコーンとイチゴジャム 花見ピクニックのために素敵な ??????????

to make these you will need 

225g of all purpose gluten free flour sifted 

40g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

50g of melted coconut butter / oil 

mix in all ingredients in a bowl adding the oil last 

the consistency should be like a dough so you can roll it out if it’s two wet add more flour 

roll out your dough on parchment paper and have another baking sheet ready lined with parchment paper.

roll out to about 1 inch thickness and cut out small rounds with a cutter.

place your rounds on the parchment and press in a washed pressed Sakura flower ( see Sakura cookie recipe for how to ) and bake until risen and golden take out and leave to cool.

dust  with icing sugar cut in half and add strawberry jam 

want to make the jam ?

its so easy 

just a handful of chopped strawberries with a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of rice syrup and the juice of half a lemon . Add this to a pan and simmer until the strawberries are mostly liquid ( you may need to use a fork to mash them a little)  the natural juices will come out in the strawberries but if it gets to dry add a little more water.

make a kuzu slurry with 1 teaspoon of kuzu starch powder and 1/4 teaspoon of water and add this to your mixture . Turn up the heat slightly and stir well . Kuzu is a natural thickener used in Japan from the kuzu root and is gluten free . 

Put in an air tight sterilised jar ( I just use boiling water ) this will keep in the fridge for a few days and should be enough for all your scones .

this recipe makes about six scones 


Blog, Spring Food

Mochi Cheese On Toast

To night is no cheese on toast (mochi cheese) placed under the grill . I had this with left over vegetable tofu miso soup from yesterday, rice,pickles and salad with a miso dressing . Grapes and strawberry. Hope everyone has a great day/evening . 餅ビーガンチーズとトースト 野菜と豆腐と味噌汁 ごはん サラダと味噌ドレッシング 漬物 イチゴとブドウ

want to make mochi cheese ? 

Add one mochi rice cake ( dried mochi block ) to a shallow bowl and almost cover with soy milk  

microwave for 30 seconds ( take out and mash with a fork )

add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric 

put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds the mochi with rice and go gooey and sticky . Keep mashing with a fork .

then add a teaspoon of nutritional yeast and a teaspoon of white miso ( this will give you your cheese  flavour .

add a touch more milk if needed and microwave again for 15 sec 

now it’s ready for your toast then place under the grill to brown .

this can also be used for lots of things like pizza for instance 


Blog, Spring Food

White Day Sakura Cookies

On the 14th of March in Japan is a day called White Day this is like Valentine’s Day but to day the girls get the gifts and on Valentine’s Day the men get the gifts. In celebration I made sugared Sakura cookies. In Japan the cherry blossoms are preserved using a special process using ume plum vinegar and salt. So as the cookies are not salty I soaked them in water then dried them . Hope everyone has a lovely White Day in Japan. 幸せなホワイトデー 自家製さくら、クッキー

First you need to wash and dry your Sakura flowers as shown

you will need

in one bowl

1 cup oat flour

2/3 cup almond flour ( meal )

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

in another bowl

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter / oil

1 tablespoon of flax meal

1/2 cup of rice malt syrup

1-2 tablespoons of water  add 1 to start with

caster sugar for decorating and Sakura flowers

if you are wondering how to find Preserved Sakura flowers out side of Japan check your Japanese super market in the tea section these ones were sold as Sakura tea . There is no tea leaves just flowers in salt . These flowers are often dunk as a salty tea in Japan for Hanami ( cherry blossom viewing season ) with a  wagashi Japanese sweet .

mix wet mixture into dry mixture if it seams to dry add more water mix well until a dough forms .

Roll your mixture out on parchment paper and cut out cookie rounds with a cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet lined with more parchment paper .

press a Sakura flower into each cookie and sprinkle with carter sugar

bake in a moderate oven until cookies are golden

leave to cool and enjoy .

Blog, Spring Food

Taco Rice (Takoraisu)

Japanese/Mexican fusion Taco rice (takoraisu) A dish from Okinawa normally consisting of taco flavoured ground beef on a bed of rice with shredded lettuce tomato and cheese. It owes its existence to the military presence in Okinawa in the 1960’s. Now days it’s a firm Japanese favourite. I made this dish vegan by using @clearspringuk gluten free organic soy mince with chilli powder and tamari. I topped Japanese sticky rice with the mince and added mochi cheese and placed it under the grill. I then added salsa and coriander. I served this with a salad and miso dressing . ビーガン タコライス

To make taco rice 

add about one cup of dried soy mince to hot water and let soak for ten min.

finely chop half an onion and a few mushrooms of choice and sauté in a little coconut oil then add your soy mince . Add 1/2 teaspoon of chill powder and 1 tablespoon of tamari ( gluten free ) or soy sauce .

make some Japanese rice in your rice cooker and keep on warm 

make some mochi cheese ( see cheese on toast recipe ) or you can just use grated vegan cheese .

Shred some ice berg lettuce and make a simple salsa from

1 chopped tomato 

finely diced ( the other half of the onion) 

a little chopped green chilli and a squeeze of lime .

build your taco rice 

people build their taco rice in different ways this one was 

rice , shredded lettuce , mince,cheese ( you can then melt your cheese under the grill before adding your salsa. Then maybe top with a slice of tomato . 

You can also add a drizzle of vegan Mayo over your lettuce as your building your taco rice .

other people may put the cheese on the rice then mince then lettuce 

or mince lettuce cheese.

you decide .

serve with salad and maybe guacamole and some corn tortilla chips 



Blog, Spring Food

Ichigo Daifuku

Good morning . ????? I made soft ichigo daifuku Strawberry Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi) いちご大福 Daifuku is a traditional Japanese wagashi . This one is mochi with anko (sweet red bean paste) and strawberry filling. There are many varieties of Daifuku, but it’s the same soft mochi with different fillings . During the spring time, Japanese confectionery shops sells a seasonal daifuku. This one always reminds me of the Sakura season I spent in Kyoto and visiting the beautiful shrines and temples. I’m not very experienced at making these but they taste delicious with a delicate green tea. If only I could be there this spring . My life is kind of in turmoil at the moment and my future very uncertain I need some calm before the storm so things like these help me some how to bring back wonderful memories of past travels to Japan. Daifuku actually means ( great luck) that’s something I definitely need at the moment.

To make these delicious treats you will need 

40g of shiratama rice flour

60ml water 

3 small strawberries

red bean paste 

10g of unrefined caster sugar 

potato starch ( I like to use one from Hokkaido) ( Toyo potato starch powder ) 

you will need a plastic microwaveable bowl plastic spatula plastic wrap and a good clean open work service ( it can get a bit messy ) 

First get a ball of red bean paste in plastic wrap and flatten it out . Put a strawberry in the middle and cover the strawberry with red bean paste . Do this to all three strawberries .

Thenmix flour and water in your bowl and add the sugar and mix well.

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 mins

uncover and mix well 

cover and microwave again for a further one min .

cover your service in potato starch and your hands 

knead potato starch to make your mochi keep adding potato starch I like to keep a bowl to hand with some in ready . Then when it’s nice and stretchy make three balls . 

Then flatten each ball and mould  the mochi around your already read bean paste covered strawberries .

they are ready .

slice with a sharp knife and enjoy like this one with a green tea.

Blog, Spring Food

Vegan Takoyaki

Tofu takoyaki balls with so-su sauce,vegan mayo and ao-nori.


To celebrate Kodomonohi (children’s day) in Japan I decided to make a vegan takoyaki.
Takoyaki are normally fried octopus balls topped with so-su ( which is like a thick Worcestershire sauce) Mayo and ao-nori and some times bonito flakes . No fishyness here though ?? .
I made them with tofu and okara (which is soy pulp made into a flour)

chopped shallot,green onion,celery and cooked artichoke from a tin mix them into the a block of tofu that had already been mashed add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix in .  Then add a type of old bay seasoning . I can’t get this in the UK so I made a mixture by adding a pinch of each of celery salt,black pepper,smoked paprika,mustard powder,nutmeg,cinnamon,clove,
ginger,cardamom,allspice and bay.

Next start to add your okara ( soy pulp flour) until it starts to form a dough that you can shape.

then roll the mixture into balls and then roll the balls in chickpea flour. I started them off cooking in the oven and just finished them by pan frying in a little coconut oil .
The so-su was made with a tablespoon of vegan organic Worcestershire sauce,a dash of each of tomato puree,mirin,Dijon and onion powder . If you need to thicken just make a slurry out of kuzu and water or potato starch.
Topped off with vegan Mayo and ao-nori.