Category

Spring Food

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, 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.

Blog, Spring Food

Kashiwa Mochi

Happy Children’s day Japan🎏
To day May 5th in Japan is known as ( Kodomo no hi ) ( こどもの日)
It is part of the string of national holidays over the Golden Week period .
This day is in fact for the boys as girls day Hina Matsuri was in March . However a lot of people celebrate this day now as children’s day.
It is traditional to eat these mochi wagashi called Kashiwa mochi to day . They symbolise a child’s growth as an oak leaf is used to wrap the mochi ( not edible ). The reason an oak leaf is used is because oak trees do not shed their leaves until the new ones start to grow so thus are seen as a symbol of harmonious flow from one generation to the next. They are also a symbol of growth,strength and prosperity. These mochi are made from pounded sweet joshinko rice flour and filled with bean paste . Other mochi can be filled with white sweet bean and miso paste known as misoan. How would you know if a mochi is filled with bean paste or miso paste ? Well look at the leaves the mochi is wrapped in. If the veins are on the outside there is bean paste inside.

I was lucky enough to be sent some of the preserved oak leaves from japan so I set out to make Kashiwa Mochi . I’m really hoping next year I am in japan eating an authentic Japanese one and visiting the wisteria park and seeing the azalea.

To make 5 Kashiwa Mochi

( they do not keep well so only make what you plan to eat on the day or at the very latest the next day)

x5 preserved oak leaves ( not edible)

125g of Koshi-an ( smooth bean paste)

100g of Joshinko flour

x1 tablespoon of organic granulated sugar

130 mil of water

you will need a sharp knife,some paper towel, a microwaveable bowl,something to pound the Mochi like a rolling pin or pestle and plastic wrap and a spoon ( also have to hand a bowl of water and a damp cloth.

First rinse and pat dry with some paper towel your oak leaves and set aside.

Then make five balls of sweet bean paste and set aside

Add joshinko flour and sugar to a bowl and mix then add your water and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 mins.

When done remove from the microwave and use a wet spoon to loosen the edges. Start to pound your Mochi with your pestle or rolling pin.

When it is smooth and elastic take out of the bowl and place on a damp surface, dampen your hands and knead the Mochi.

When nice and stretchy form into a log shape and cut into five pieces with a damp sharp knife. Cover with a damp cloth,while you make each mochi. Keep your hands and surfaces damp to avoid sticking.

Flatten each piece out into an egg shape then place a ball of sweet bean paste in the centre and fold over your Mochi to cover it and then pinch the ends together. Wrap with an oak leaf and you are done.

They are best eaten straight away they are so chewy and soft. If you need to store them wrap them in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. I did have one the next day and although still nice they were no where near as nice as eating straight away.

I hope what ever you do you all have a wonderful Golden week in Japan and happy children’s day !

 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Gomoku Gohan

Gomoku gohan is Japanese mixed rice ( five ingredients mixed with a dashi stock ). Go means five and gomoku means five items with out including the rice or any toppings or seasoning. It can also be called takikomi gohan which is rice cooked with vegetables,meat or fish. This is known as takikomi in the Kansai region but in Kyoto/Osaka it can be known as Kayaku gohan.

You can put what ever ingredients you like into your rice which can make for a good fridge clear out day. Some items could be as follows, daikon radish,carrot,tofu,aburaage,burdock,meat or fish if you wish. Mine of course is vegan and so is the dashi used.

First start by making your dashi by simmering a kombu kelp and dried shiitake in water for about 20 mins, then add a dash of soy sauce or tamari, this dashi will be used to cook your rice in and will add flavour. I used spring inspired vegetables like Takenoko which is a traditional spring vegetable in japan and is bamboo shoot. Avoid the tinned variety and if you can not buy fresh then see if you can get the vacuum sealed precooked type. As well as bamboo shoots I added to my rice sliced shiitake,edamame,broccoli and sweetcorn.

Add your rice to your rice cooker or pot and then the required amount of dashi liquid. As I was mainly using vegetables that didn’t require much cooking I steamed my vegetables on the top of my cooking rice. However you can just add vegetables to the top of your rice and let it cook then after mix the vegetables in. When my rice was ready I mixed in my vegetables.

I served my vegetable rice with spring peashoots and Hiyayakko which was topped with pickled ginger and had Ume shiso seasoning .

 

 

 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Pink Sakura Tea Latte

I think I miss Japan the most in Spring. Seeing all the gorgeous Sakura in full bloom on the media makes me wish I was there. At least I have been lucky to experience the season first hand. The Sakura is highly prized as the season only lasts but a week or so,proving that life is fleeting and ever changing. When we look at the cherry blossoms we realise that we must appreciate things and live mindful in the moment of each passing day.

The cherry blossom in Japan this year came over a week early and was the third earliest full bloom in Tokyo on record. As for my Sakura it’s still very much in tight bud it has been so cold in the UK this year. I’m still in Japan in spirit and I am loving making these Sakura tea pink lattes.

All you need is Japanese Sakura tea ( this might be a little difficult to find outside of Japan.)

Brew one Sakura teabag in half a cup of hot water. Heat up half a cup of non dairy milk then add one tablespoon of beetroot juice and froth your milk. As the beetroot is naturally sweet you don’t need to add sweetener. Then take out your teabag and add your milk topping with froth. I actually have some pink pitaya powder that looks pretty dusted on the top or you could add some pink tea powder which is made from 100% mangosteen.

Just waiting now for my Sakura to bloom and spring to finally arrive.

Blog, Spring Food

Teriyaki Shiitake Sushi Burgers

I decided to make these delicious sushi burgers I made them quite small so they were almost like sliders. The difference between these and my rice burgers is that you use seasoned sushi rice and do not cook the rice on top in a pan.

First make your sushi rice and season the rice ( I like to use the Clearspring brand sushi seasoning it makes things really easy.)

Then decide how big you want to make them and choose a small bowl and place clingfilm wrap inside. Then put some rice into the bowl and press down making burger buns.

Then make your teriyaki shiitake. Slice up some shiitake mushrooms and sauté in a little toasted sesame oil. Make your teriyaki sauce I used tamari,mirin and maple syrup. Add this to your mushrooms and reduce down.

After you have made all your tops and bottoms you can fill your sushi burgers. I first spread some vegan kewpie mayo on the bottom of the rice then added sliced cucumber then lettuce,red pickled cabbage,sliced avocado and a square of toasted nori, then I added the teriyaki shiitake mushrooms. Topping it with another burger rice bun a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and some dried kombu. I served these with soy sauce,pickled ginger and wasabi.

Perfect for a Hanami picnic or for entertaining guests.

Continue reading…

Blog, Spring Food

Onigirazu

An onigirazu is a combination of an onigiri and a sandwich basically a rice ball with filling wrapped in nori seaweed. They are great as you can add what ever filling you like and are perfect for the coming Hanami season so you can pack them in a bento for an out door picnic or just to take to work or college as a change from an ordinary sandwich.

This particular one is a variation on the Japanese  tonkatsu sando using a vegan textured soy protein cutlet.

First take your nori and add cooked rice and a pinch of salt then place on top shredded cabbage or lettuce, on top of this place your cooked cutlet .

I made a kewpie mayo mustard and a vegan tonkatsu style sauce ( just tomato ketchup and tamari. Spread this onto your cutlet and then add more rice. Fold over the edges and wrap in cling film. Leave to set for ten mins then cut with a sharp damp knife leaving the cling film off or on that’s up to you.

There you have a perfect tonkatsu onigirazu.

Blog, Spring Food

White Day Tofu Yuzu Flavour Donuts

In Japan on Valentine’s Day is the day that girls buy the guys gifts on March 14th this is known as white day and the roles are reversed.

I decided to make these tofu yuzu flavour donuts dipped in white chocolate to celebrate white day in Japan.

Being made of tofu the donuts have more of a fudge texture but are really delicious and with only a food processor and a few simple ingredients they are really simple to make.

All you need is a block of silken tofu,add this to your food processor and then add two tablespoons of sweetener ( I used maple syrup but rice syrup works just as well ) three tablespoons of pure yuzu juice ( if you can’t get this you could use lemon juice instead. Give it a process . Then add one teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda and give it another process. Leave the food processor running and keep adding tablespoons of oat flour until you get a nice batter consistency about twelve to fourteen should do.

Wipe some coconut oil around your donut pan and spoon in the mixture this made 6 donuts.

Place in a moderate oven and bake for 15-20 mins after this time take them out and if you cannnot see a hole just go round the hole with a tooth pick then place back in the over for a further ten mins.

Remove and allow to completely cool (before removing, you may need to loosen the edges carefully with a spatula or flat knife.)

Place a bowl over a pan of simmering hot water and break up two bars of vegan white chocolate and melt in the bowl. Then dip your donuts into the melted chocolate . When they are all done I added a little chopped crystalized yuzu peel for decoration. Place in the freezer for 20 mins to set after which time you can take them out and keep in the fridge.

Delicious enjoyed with a matcha tea.

Happy white day !

Blog, Spring Food

Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri is a festival in Japan celebrated on March 3rd.
Sometimes also known as girls day or dolls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health.

It is tradition to display ceremonial dolls,sometimes past down from many generations. There are lots of special foods associated with this day. You will find three colours of significance often displayed in a layered mochi rice cake known as hishi mochi. I made a coconut ice in these three colours and also a tofu mousse dessert.

White is for purification, green for health and pink for luck.

Another sweet eaten is Sakura Mochi. Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf and topped with a salted Sakura flower. They are a nice combination of sweet and salty.

A drink called Umeshu or plum wine goes down well for Hinamatsuri. Have it chilled on its own or with soda or even a splash in green tea for a hot drink. Plum blossom is very significant at this time as it is the start of the Hanami or flower viewing festivals and marks the beginning of spring.

Temari sushi is one of the traditional meals you can have. These decorated sushi balls take their name from Temari balls which children used to play with. Temari means hand ball. They are beautiful embroidered balls that to day are mainly used for decoration.

Another food also associated with Hinamatsuri is chirashi sushi you can find a recipe for this in one of my other posts. Which is a simple scattered sushi dish.

For to day I also made Inari sushi for my final meal served with three colour coconut ice and a nice glass of Umeshu.

Happy Hinamatsuri 幸せなひな祭り

Spring Food

Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi sushi and Maze sushi are so quick and easy to make. Chirashi sushi is prepared sushi rice or “sumeshi” with toppings scattered on top. Maze is when you mix in your ingredients.

This particular Chirashi sushi was a citrus version made with blood orange but you could easily use Mikan or grapefruit or even yuzu.

Using some of the juice from the blood orange and mixing it with sugar, salt and brown rice vinegar I used this as my seasoning and mixed this into cooked rice. I topped my sumeshi with scattered lotus root and pieces of blood orange along with blanched shiitake and asparagus and a scatter of toasted sesame seeds.

Chirashi Sushi is one of the tradition dishes eaten for a Hinamatsuri also known as dolls day or girls day.

I am running a giveaway of Ingredients to help you make your own on Instagram so why not enter you have until the 3rd of March 2018 .

Instead of using all the ingredients I used you can just use cooked sushi rice and the sushi seasoning I’m giving away. This will make delicious sushi. Good luck!

 

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 .