Summer Food

Blog, Summer Food

Greenery Day Raw Tart & Mousse

Greenery Day (midori no hi ) is upon us again in Japan. The 4th of May is part of the long golden week holiday and greenery day is a day when people like to celebrate and take time to appreciate nature. They might visit their local park or flower garden. There are many beautiful flowers out at this time and people in japan flock to see the amazing wisteria,elegant iris or brightly coloured azaleas. In fact the old name for May is Satsuki meaning Azalea.

I decided to make the tarts using tofu,avocado and matcha . If you do not want to make the base you can just eat as a mousse or add the base to the bottom of a glass instead.

To make your base process one cup of raw nuts,I used a mix of almonds,walnuts and pistachios. When your nuts are processed start adding one at a time while your food processor is still running some pitted medjool dates. You will need one cup. Then add two tablespoon of raw cacao powder and one tablespoon of melted coconut butter.Blend all this together. Turn out onto a a large pie tin or small tins . I like the ones with removable push up bottoms. Press in your mixture to form a base and place in the fridge.

Now to make your mousse topping.

Blend together two large avocado,two tablespoons of maple syrup,two tablespoons of melted coconut butter the juice of two limes,half a block of silken tofu and a heaped teaspoon of sifted matcha powder.

When this is blended remove your bases from the fridge and top with the topping. Or alternatively spoon into glasses.

Decorate with lime slices and coconut and pop in the freezer to firm up.

You can also keep them in the freezer for later and just remove them half an hour or so before serving.


Blog, Summer Food

Mini Tofu Quiche Tartlets

These little tofu quiche are great for picnics or lunch boxes just add salad.

First you will need some shortcrust pastry. As I was stuck for time I used ready made which was easy to use I just cut out individual rounds to fit inside silicon cupcake moulds .

Add to a food processor 1 block of silken tofu,1 tablespoon of lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon of turmeric,1 tablespoon of melted coconut butter,2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast,2 tablespoons of tamari and salt and pepper to taste. Blend together.

In a pan sautée your filling I chose to use finely diced red onion,tomato,broccoli,shiitake mushrooms and spinach.

When it’s sauteed lightly add this to your mixture. Then spoon into your cases,sprinkling the top with some herbs if you wish.

First bake for around 20mins then remove  and allow to cool until the pastry is firm enough to gently remove the silicon cupcake cases.

Then bake again for around another 15 mins to allow the pastry to brown slightly.

They turned out really delicious perfect warm or cold.

Blog, Summer Food

Bite Size Temari Sushi

These perfect bite size sushi balls are so fun and easy to make all you need is an ice tray, I managed to find one that made ball shape ice cubes so that was even better but they work just as well with a normal ice cube tray. You can use a variety of toppings for your sushi from fish if you are not vegan to different vegetables and pickles , just choose lots of colour.

First make your sushi rice either with a rice cooker or pan,then for ease I use the Clearspring sushi seasoning which you just sprinkle on top of your cooked rice and mix in. It is tradition to cool your rice as your mixing with a fan . Just let your rice cool down.

Now decide on your toppings and prepare them ready. Lay over some plastic wrap on your ice cube tray and push it into the cube sections. Then add to each bottom your toppings as when the ice cube tray is flipped over this is what will be on the top of your sushi balls.

I used things like avocado,pickled sushi ginger,cooked shiitake,radish and cucumber,carrot,water cress,sesame seeds broccoli and lotus root.

Add the rice pressing in to each hole

Flip the whole thing over and peel off your plastic wrap

Gently pull apart your sushi balls just arranging the bottoms slightly to neaten them.

Now you have delicious Temari sushi ready in no time !

Summer Food

Hiyashi Chuka ( Cold Ramen )

The weather started to warm up to day so I thought I would make a popular summer dish in japan Hiyashi Chuka ramen. A dish consisting of chilled ramen with various cold toppings and a tare sauce or sesame dressing. In the Kansai region it is known as Reimen. In Hokkaido Hiyashi Ramen. You can pile on to your ramen what ever toppings you like . Cucumber,lettuce,tomato,bell pepper etc. If you eat meat or fish you could add chicken, strips of egg or ham or shrimp. Mine is of course totally vegan.

First prepare your sesame dressing.

x3 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce

x2 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

x1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 a teaspoon of sugar

x1 teaspoon of ginger juice

1/2 teaspoon of chilli oil

1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds

whisk and chill well

( you could also make your dressing more citrus by adding a tablespoon of yuzu juice or more sesame by adding tahini.)

Cook your ramen and drain,rinse and then soak in ice water. Prepare your toppings. Then drain your ramen and plate . Finally pour over your chilled dressing.

I like to called this dish Rainbow ramen Bowl


Blog, Summer Food

Salad Parfait With Miso Dips

Inspired by one of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo Ain Soph Journey (see my restaurant reviews).I made this salad parfait with miso dips.
Just a layer of crunchy raw salad and vegetables in a glass I made two dips for dipping.
The first was an aged miso and peanut dip.
1 teaspoon of aged miso or any dark miso then add 1 teaspoon of smooth peanut butter a dash each of sesame oil and mirin and half a teaspoon of maple syrup. Mix well.
The second was a creamy sweet white miso with brown rice Amazake dip.
1 teaspoon of white miso add to that two teaspoons of brown rice Amazake a teaspoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of mirin.
Mix well.
Perfect as a starter for any meal.

Ain Soph often serve something similar with their everything course or heavenly pancake course. If your ever in Tokyo the pancakes are a must try!

Summer Food

Gomadofu & Nut Butter Dofu

Gomadofu or sesame tofu is in fact not tofu at all. Often served in Shōjin Ryori cuisine it is made from kuzu powder .

Kuzu root is a gluten free thickening starch made from the Japanese vine. It has been used as an ancient health food remedy for over 2,000 years. The root can be used to help the digestion and calm the nerves,relieving muscular tension and migraine. Studies have shown it helps to reduce high blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.

I recall having gomadofu as an appetiser at Brown Rice Cafe in Tokyo and I actually thought it was a form of tofu.

There are a few different ingredients you can use the traditional one is sesame paste. To make this easy you can use Japanese sesame paste or tahini,you can also like the one I made use smooth peanut butter or you can make it with almond or cashew butter.

You can also use plain water to make this or kombu steeped water with a little mirin or sake.

To make these chilled squares all you need to do is as follows:

You will need 25grm of kuzu starch

250ml of plain water or kombu water

35g of nut butter of choice

First add a little of the water to the kuzu starch to make a paste then add the rest of the water and mix well.

Add this to a pan and add your nut butter then give it a whisk to combine.

Start to heat this gently and continue stirring. Turn up the heat a little and keep stirring until the mixture thickens until it looks like a thick pudding a bit like custard .

Wet the inside of a plastic container and pour in the mixture. Give the container a tap down on the work surface to eliminate any bubbles and leave to cool.

Then place in the fridge to harden and chill.

Turn out and cut into four equal portions. As my container gave my dofu slightly rounded edges I sliced these off.

As for your serving condiments here are a few ideas of what you could use. Yuzu Kosho,wasabi,soy sauce or ponzu,green onion,sesame seeds,sliced cucumber,grated ginger or maybe evenchilli oil.

I decided this would also make a nice dessert so I topped mine with sweet red beans and a dusting of kinako.





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.

Blog, Summer Food

Yuzu Tofu Cheese Cake Pot

This makes a really easy and refreshing dessert and the base is made by using dried mulberries.

Add a cup of dried mulberries to a food processor and process them down into crumbs.

Tip the crumbs out into your chosen pot and press down, as the mulberries are sticky they stick together. This will be your biscuit layer.

Then wash out your food processor and add 1 block of silken tofu,two teaspoons of sweetener  ( I used rice syrup ) and two teaspoons of yuzu juice if you can’t get yuzu juice maybe use a blend of grapefruit lemon and orange or lime ( you get the idea)

Then take a heap teaspoon of coconut butter and melt it in the microwave add this to your other ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.

Spoon into your pots on top of your mulberry layer and set in the fridge over night.

Garnish and serve.


Blog, Summer Food

Chocolate Chip Cookies With Miso

I love using miso in my cooking soups,stews,dressings sauces.

However I have never thought of using it in baking. I was inspired by a friend on Instagram to make these cookies.
These are so soft inside and because I added chocolate chips it goes together with the salty miso just perfect along with some nutty tahini.
This is my recipe for chocolate chip miso cookies

Turn on your oven to warm and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl add 2 cups of gram flour (sometimes called garbanzo or chickpea flour)
Add to this 2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
And give it a mix. Then add 1 cup of vegan chocolate chips and mix again.
In a separate bowl add
1 heaped teaspoon of white miso and 1 heaped teaspoon of tahini and cream them together.
Add to this 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil and 1/2 cup of soy milk (or almond milk)
Mix it all well and add this to your dry flour mixture
When it’s all well mixed it should be a dough consistency if it’s too dry add a little more milk if to wet add a little more flour.
I then find it easy to take heaped tablespoons of the mixture and put it into plastic wrap make into a ball then turn each ball out onto your parchment lined baking sheet and flatten them out into cookie shapes.
I made 6 large cookies or you can make 12 small ones.
When you have all your cookies place them in the oven until golden (about 10 mins)
Leave your cookies to cool down (I know it’s difficult) if you don’t  they will crumble apart .
For extra freshness keep in an air tight container or freeze them .

perfect with a nice matcha latte.

Enjoy !

Blog, Summer Food

Baked Tomatoes With Spicy Soy Mince

First slice the tops off your tomatoes then scoop out the insides.

I used Clearspring organic soy mince which is dry so you just add a little hot water to it and leave it to soak for 10 mins. While that’s soaking sauté some finely chopped onion and shiitake mushrooms in a little coconut butter then add your soy mince with a splash of vegan Worcestershire sauce and tamari. I like to spice mine up with some shichimi spice you could add chilli powder or cayenne pepper if you don’t have it.

Next fill your tomatoes with the mixture.

Top with panko bread crumbs and vegan cheese and bake in a hot oven until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese is melted.

Top with chopped basil

I served mine with a buckwheat pasta and salad

How will you serve yours?


Autumn Food, Blog, Summer Food

Fruit Crumble With A Kinako Topping

Kinako is roasted soybean flour. It tastes a bit like caramel with a hint of nut. It’s often used with Japanese desserts like mochi. Did you know it’s a Japanese superfood? It’s packed full of protein and is easily absorbed by the body and is also high in dietary fiber,calcium,potassium and vitamins A,B1 and lecithin. Simply by adding kinako in your diet you get all these benefits and saponins known for blocking fat absorption and breaking down fat faster. It’s also good for the skin. 1 teaspoon is only 10 calories so makes a healthy latte mixed with some plant based milk just add kinako to milk and heat and froth with a milk frother to make a delicious drink.

The weather in the U.K. is not very summery and although it’s August the wild blackberries are already ripe and ready for picking. Autumn seams to be on its way here already we never have much of a summer though I must say I love autumn foods they are my favourite.

I decided to pick some wild blackberries and make a crumble with fresh apple and some rhubarb out my mother in laws garden .

I just washed the fruit, peeled the apple and sliced it and chopped the rhubarb then lay it in the bottom of an oven proof dish.

I then decided to use that lovely nutty kinako powder to make a crumble topping just by adding gluten free raw organic oats ( I use the ones by rude health). Then add your kinako,some coconut palm sugar and then rub in some coconut butter . I didn’t really measure it out but I used 1 cup of oats 1/2 cup kinako and a tablespoon each of coconut sugar and coconut butter but it really depends on your dishes and how much fruit you have. Spread the kinako crumble mix over the fruit and bake in a moderate over until the crumble topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

This really is a cosy dish to have warm with vegan cream .


Blog, Summer Food

Ruben Sandwich With A Japanese Twist

A Ruben is an American sandwich made from corned beef and sauerkraut. Vegan versions  I have seen made with seitan or tempeh .

I decided I wanted to make one with a Japanese twist and it turned out so good I needed to share it with you.

First your going to need some good size shiitake mushrooms and cut off the stems. Then make your marinade. You will need a large dish big enough so you can lay your mushrooms flat in the marinade. Add to the dish two tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce,a tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce,a dash of each of coriander,allspice and Japanese shichimi spice. Mix and add your mushrooms making sure both sides are coated and then leave them in the fridge face down. I left mine for about five hours .

For the sauerkraut I used fermented cabbage,red pickled cabbage and pickled daikon radish in a Ume dressing . I use the Ume dressing  by Clearspring. I mixed them all together to make the sauerkraut. If you buy sauerkraut in a jar make sure you squeeze out all the liquid you don’t want a soggy sarnie. Just a note on the pickled daikon I used dried daikon that had been soaked in water drained and pickled for a few days in brown rice vinegar. Again from Clearspring.

Then you need to make a dressing I used Japanese vegan kewpie Mayo about a tablespoon and the same ketchup,add a half teaspoon of horseradish and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and mix.

You will need two slices of bread traditionally it is rye,I just used a brown glutenfree. Spread coconut butter on both sides of each slice then to one side spread on your dressing then top with sauerkraut and then grated vegan cheese ( make sure you get one that melts)

Next take your shiitake from the fridge and cook them whole on both sides i didn’t use any oil. Then either slice them or leave them whole but add them to your already added sandwich ingredients and place the other slice of bread on top if you want instead of adding the cheese on top of the sauerkraut add it on top of the shiitake ( which ever way you like is fine). Then take the whole sandwich and put it in a hot pan and press down on the sandwich to melt the cheese and brown do this on both sides. Because you spread both sides of the bread with coconut butter they do not stick and cook beautifully.

Serve straight away warm. I served mine with salad and a miso soup.