Summer Food

Blog, Summer Food

Vegan Tekka Don (tuna bowl)

Tekka don is a rice bowl dish topped with raw marinated tuna sashimi.

I wanted to make a refreshing but vegan friendly version of this dish and this is what I came up with.

You will need three large firm tomatoes cut a small cross section on the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pan of boiling water. To cook the tomato doesn’t take long you will know they are done when the skin starts to peel. Plunge the tomato into cold water to cool and then peel off the skin from the cross section you cut into the tomato.

When the tomatoes are peeled cut them into quarters discarding the seed part.

Make a marinade of tamari,lime juice and mirin ( around two tablespoons of each ) you can add some shichimi spice pepper if you like. Coat the tomatoes in the marinade and chill in the fridge

when you want to serve your Tekka Don wash and cook some sushi rice in your rice cooker and when your rice is done place into the bottom of a bowl.

Top the warm rice with the marinated tomato chopped green onion a sprinkle of sesame seeds sliced lettuce  kizaminori ( shredded nori) and angel hair chilli threads if you can get them they are called Ito togarashi if you live in the U.K. You can get them from

Blog, Summer Food

Nasu Dengaku

A popular summer dish in Japan is Nasu-dengaku eggplant with a miso glaze. Eggplant dishes in summer are popular all round . Traditionally using Hatcho miso from Nagoya it’s a very simple dish to make.

You can either slice your egg plant whole in half length ways or just slice thick circles which is what I have done here this time.

First score the cut flesh and then bake in the oven.

While they are baking make a miso glaze . Add miso, sugar and mirin about a tablespoon of each to a pan and heat until combined and thick. The sugar and mirin balances out the salty miso.

Spread this on your cooked eggplant and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds  then place under a warm grill when done add and some chopped green onion or chives.

I actually served mine on top of rice and it was delicious

Blog, Summer Food

Yuzu Melonade

In Japan in the hot humid summer people like to eat watermelon or Suika (スイカ)

It’s a refreshing fruit to eat as it has a high water content.

So why not make this cooling yuzu melonade to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.

Just add one cup of chopped watermelon to a food processor blend and strain and chill in the fridge until ice cold.

Divide between two glasses and add a teaspoon of yuzu juice to each glass and also a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to bring out the flavour of the watermelon and stir

Add to this ice and mint and top with either sparkling mineral water or for an alcoholic drink some sparkling white wine for a summer cocktail

Watermelon is lower in sugar than other melons and high in lycopene for bones and heart health



Blog, Summer Food

Mitsumame & Shiratama Dango Recipe

Do you know the Japanese summer dessert Mitsumame?

If you live in Japan you will but it is not easy to find this out side of Japan. I was lucky enough to be sent one by my Instagram friend and I decided to make some shiratama dango to go with it and serve if with fresh fruit and matcha ice cream.

Mitsumame is made with small cubes of agar jelly the jelly came with a piece of sliced peach,some Mikan orange  segments,a cherry,sweet red peas and a sachet of black syrup ( kuromitsu) to pour over. I added some sliced kiwi,banana and strawberry.

This really is a Japanese summer time treat and as I was eating this it transported my mind back to when I had a similar dessert ( Anmitsu) which is the same dessert with bean paste at the Tokyo Sky Tree Solamachi. The Mame in Mitsumame refers to the peas that are served instead.

If you would like to make Shiratama  dango for a simple Japanese summer time treat which you could serve with ice cream and anko this is all you need.

1/3 cup of sweet rice flour, 3 tablespoons of water and 1/4 teaspoon of unrefined granulated sugar. Just mix together to form a dough, roll into a log and break of small pieces to roll into balls. Press down on the balls slightly ( this will help them cook better inside) Drop the balls into boiling water and when they float to the top they are done. Scoop them out with a sieve and put into iced water. If you are not serving straight away they can be kept in ice water in the fridge but use them as soon as possible.

Blog, Summer Food

Yuzu Battered Tofu & Sticky Orange Sauce

After seeing Marc Matsumoto create an orange chicken on Instagram I was inspired to go out and make a vegan version of my own.

Before starting make up some rice in your rice cooker and leave it on warm ready for later.

First I decided to use my yuzu battered tofu for this but you could just as easily use baked tofu or just plain if you prefer.

To make my yuzu battered tofu all you need is a block of tofu that has been drained and cut into large cubes. Then in a bowl add three tablespoons of plain or rice flour one tablespoon of yuzu juice and eight tablespoons of water. Mix together to form a thick batter. Coat your cubes in the batter then heat some coconut butter and shallow fry the coated tofu . Then drain on kitchen paper.
To make the sauce is as follows:
Use a zester to zest the peel off an orange and put the peel in a pan then slice the orange in half and juice the orange and add the juice to the pan with the zest. Next add one tablespoon of brown rice vinegar,one teaspoon of tamari,one teaspoon of coconut palm sugar,one tablespoon of grated ginger using a Japanese ginger grater if possible,half a teaspoon of chilli flakes and one tablespoon of orange marmalade give it a stir and start to heat up the sauce. Make a slurry of kuzu starch by adding one teaspoon of kuzu and half a teaspoon of water to a small bowl and mix then add this to your sauce. Turn up the heat a little and let it simmer until the sauce is all nice and sticky and thick. Then drop in your battered tofu and give it all a good coating.
Serve with rice and maybe add some chopped red chilli or green onion to garnish and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

(I also think maybe adding some sliced bell peppers to this would also be nice just cook them up in the sauce before adding the tofu)

Blog, Summer Food

Tofu cheese

This cheese is totally nut free and made from soy milk. I adapted this from my friend in Japan cotokimiki on Instagram so I would like to thank her for the inspiration on this recipe.
This cheese has a crumbly texture very similar I think to ricotta so it’s a good one to add to pasta like on the top of spaghetti. I also think it’s a nice one for breakfast maybe with some refreshing marmalade.

All you need is to add 300ml of soy milk to a pan with three tablespoons of brown rice vinegar and one heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt heat it gently but do not let it boil. As the soy milk starts to heat you will see it start to turn into cheese. Gently give it a stir then pour out the liquid into a cheese bag or muslin cloth and give it some gentle squeezes to drain off excess liquid all you are left with in the bag is a soft cheese and hang it over night at room temperature. The next day turn out your cheese into a bowl. At this point if you wish roll your cheese in some fresh chopped chives or chopped cranberries and refrigerate for 24 hours and it’s ready.

Blog, Summer Food

Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich

Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich
Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich
Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich
Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich
Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich
Japanese Style Summer Fruit Sandwich

In Japan in the summer time sweet tea sandwiches or (Furutsu Sando)フルーツサンド are very popular. These are made with a heavy whipped cream and a selection of fruit and a soft white special bread called shokupan. Shokupan is made with powdered milk and butter so being vegan in Japan this is not a good option what with the whipped cream and the buttery bread. So I have tried a few times to recreate these using vegan alternatives. I had tried using a vegan cream cheese and although it was good it just didn’t seam quite right. Most coconut yogurts are still quite runny but I have found a thick one that I thought would work and it worked a treat!
So using vegan bread and co-yo and a selection of strawberry,mango and kiwi I made a Japanese style fruit sandwich which I think can not only be enjoyed in the afternoon but would make a special breakfast alternative. Perhaps if you have guests over.
I recommend blotting the fruit so there is no juice to make the bread go soggy.
You will need two small cartons of co-yo for this. Spread the co-yo on both slices of bread nice and thick then arrange your fruit. Cover the fruit with more co-yo and put the top on the bread and press down gently. I then put my in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 15mins so your bread is not frozen but very well chilled. Then take out of the freezer and out of the plastic wrap and cut off the crusts with a sharp knife,then slice your bread diagonally into two triangles and then again into two more triangles. Look how pretty the fruit looks.
If you want to make these the night before just leave the bread wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge instead and they are still perfect the next morning.
I actually took mine to work for a breakfast bento.
They are delicious at any time of day.

Blog, Summer Food

Soba Noodles With Crunchy Vegetables & a Spicy Peanut & Miso Dip

Noodles and stir fried veggies always make a quick meal. So are great to make in the week when you don’t have much time to cook.
First make your dip,in a bowl mix together one tablespoon of peanut butter a teaspoon each of mirin,brown rice vinegar,maple syrup,miso and tamari add 1/4 teaspoon each of hot chilli pepper and paprika and a tablespoon of water. (If you prefer it more citrus you could add lime instead)

Cook your soba noodles as the packet instructs drain and rinse I keep mine in a sieve with a bowl of cold water under until I’m ready to stirfry them.

Chop up your veggies I used a mix of bell peppers,snow peas,sliced shiitake mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms,sliced asparagus,chopped komatsuna,asparagus,broccoli,carrot and bean sprouts.
(You can use what ever veggies you want)
Add a little toasted sesame oil into a hot pan and throw in your veggies and stirfry them quickly then drain your noodles well and throw them in and make sure you stir the veggies in well . If you do not want to add more oil and you find the noodles sticking just add a little water.
Throw in some crunchy tamari roasted soy beans last minute before plating .
I like to dip my noodles but if you prefer you can mix in the sauce when your stirfrying.

Summer Food

Matcha Smoothie & Granola Bowl

We all know by now that matcha is finely ground whole tea so you are getting all the natural compounds associated with it. From flavanols thought to protect the immune system to the amino acids that have a relaxing and calming effect on the mind and help aid concentration.
So there is no better way to kick start your morning than with a dose of a whole leaf matcha tea smoothie and matcha granola.
I particularly think this is a nice one to make on a weekend to help you unwind after the week.
First let’s make that crunchy chewy granola .
All you need is a cup of oats (I like to use raw gluten free sprouted oats by rude health organic) Add the oats to a bowl.
Then you will need a tablespoon of melted coconut butter (I use Tiana organic) sift a teaspoon of matcha or a Clearspring matcha shot into a small bowl and pour in your melted butter and give it a good stir.
Add this to your oats and stir it in. Then I like to add a few pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds chia seeds and flax seeds but you can use what ever you have.
Give that a stir and then add a little sweetener if you like around a teaspoon of maple or rice syrup.
At this point I turn the oats and seed matcha mixture out onto some parchment paper and bake for ten mins in a moderate oven keep and eye on it you don’t want it to burn. This is why I like to add my nuts and dried fruit after. When your matcha oats are golden you can now tip it into a bowl and add the rest of your ingredients. I added some broken pecan and walnuts a few goji and dried cranberries berries and some flaked almonds to mine but feel free to use what ever you like.
Give it a good stir and your granola is done.
Now for your creamy smoothie.
I always try to think ahead so if I’m thinking of having this on a Sunday morning then I would freeze two sliced banana the night before. I always slice mine and lay them out flat on parchment paper wrap them up and freeze them that way they do not stick together and they are easily blended (my food processor is a pretty cheap one so not very powerful)
Blend up your banana until it resembles crumbs then sift in one heap teaspoon of matcha put your lid back on and give it a few pulses. Then add some plant based milk,for my smoothies I always like fresh organic almond milk but you can use soy if you wish. Add around 1/2 a cup and keep pulsing stopping to scrape the bottom and sides then give it a good final blend so it’s all creamy. Tip out into a bowl add your granola and some fruit topping and enjoy the wellbeing of matcha.

Summer Food

Matcha biscotti

I love to use matcha in my baking and this recipe was a little bit of trial and error but it came out well so I thought you would like to make them also.

In one bowl add

1 and 1/2 cup of oat flour

2 tablespoons of sifted cooking matcha (lower grade)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 heaped tablespoon of chopped candied yuzu peel

( add more if you prefer)

in another bowl add

1 tablespoon of mashed banana or apple purée

1/2 cup of unrefined sugar

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter

two tablespoons of water

add the wet mixture to the dry to form a dough.

if the dough is to wet add more flour to dry add a little more water

form into a log shape and flatten to around  two inches .

This mkes four long thick biscotti

bake in the oven until golden then take out and leave to cool completely  ( if you don’t it will crumble when you cut it)

cut into four slices using a sharp knife and turn onto their sides and bake again for a further ten mins.

Take out the oven and leave to cool completely before storing .

( if you store before they are cool they will go soft) I often wrap mine in foil and freeze them .

Enjoy with a good coffee.


Summer Food

Matcha chia pudding

A really filling breakfast is chia pudding made from chia seeds . Chia seeds aid digestion and are high in omega- 3 essential fats. They are also high in fiber so help keep you full until lunch. Because of this they help to balance insulin levels. When you add liquid to chia seeds they become a gel. All you will need to make chia pudding is two tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with one seaspoon of sifted matcha powder and one cup of plant based milk. Add this to a jar and put on the lid and give it a good shake making sure all the chia seeds are not stuck to the bottom of the jar. You can also add a little sweetener if you wish like maple syrup or rice syrup. Put your jar in the fridge and check it after half an hour giving it another shake. I now leave the jar over night so it will be ready for breakfast the next morning.

In the morning spoon out your chia pudding and add to it what you like. To mine I made a parfait with organic soy yogurt and you could add fruit or granola if you wish .


Blog, Summer Food

Spaghetti Naporitan (Napolitan)

After reading in the Japan Times about how this dish was created by chef Shigetada Irie of the Grand Hotel Yokohama inspired by food served post war around the 1950’s for the American military.

Naporitan is very popular in Japanese cafe restaurants consisting of a tomato ketchup base sauce. Ketchup was a high quality condiment in Japan well into the 1960’s never being thought of as down market like in the west.

It is not a vegan dish as mixed into the spaghetti and sauce are green peppers,onion,wiener type sausages, bacon and Tabasco.

Now I could of used just some vegan tofu wieners but instead I rubbed some baby carrots with a little coconut butter and smoked paprika and roasted them in the oven to make a different take on a sausage.

Sauté some sliced onion and green pepper and drain your spaghetti.

Slice up your carrot sausage and mix in to your spaghetti some tomato ketchup as much as you would like for your sauce you can also add a splash of vegan Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco. Then add your carrot sausage onion and pepper and mix in .

If you like add some fresh black pepper torn basil leaves and vegan Parmesan ( or make your own by adding hemp hearts and nutritional yeast to a food processor)

Its a Japanese / Italian fusion dish made vegan

Blog, Summer Food

Tofu Caprese Salad

Instead of the normal non vegan Mozzarella you can make a tasty vegan version using slices of  silken tofu with sliced tomato and basil leaves in between maybe a few pine nuts.

Add a citrus flavour with a drizzles of olive or hemp oil mixed with a little yuzu juice and a sprinkle of sansho pepper and some fresh black pepper.

An italian dish with Japanese flavour.