Category

Winter 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.

Winter Food

Mushi-Zushi ( A Winter Sushi )

A winter speciality in the Kyoto/Osaka region is mushi-zushi or steamed sushi. This is like a Chirashi sushi but eaten warm. Also known as Nuku-zushi this winter sushi uses prepared cooked vinegared rice called sumeshi normally with vegetables and eel. Obviously I will not be using eel and will substitute with shiitake. This is a really quick meal especially if you have left over sushi rice.

I used a bamboo steamer and placed in the bottom some parchment paper. Spoon sumeshi in to the bottom I then added a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then start to layer your vegetables. I started with sliced shiitake then added.carrot,daikon,asparagus,purple broccoli,baby corn green beans and romanesco.

Simply put on the lid and steam for 10 mins.

Perfect

I served this with a simple soup and tofu dengaku.

I also think it’s nice to have some toasted nori on the side to make hand rolls.

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Mini Kinako Biscotti

I think I must spend whole days in the kitchen on my days off. There is nothing I like more than creating recipes and to day I ended up making two different cookie recipes this one and the matcha choc chip.

I do love a biscotti and I also love the nutty taste of kinako so I have put them together into this super easy recipe.

These little biscotti are perfect for a mid morning snack with a coffee.

All you need to do to make these is

In one bowl add

1 and cup of oat flour

1/2 cup of kinako

2 teaspoons of baking powder

A good handful of flaked almonds

mix

in another bowl add

1/2 cup of unrefined sugar I used coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter

two tablespoons of water

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

Tip the dough onto some plastic wrap and form into a log about 1 inch thick . Wrap up the dough and place in the freezer for ten mins to firm up. ( this is when I do the washing up )

Take the dough out the freezer and out of the wrap and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper . Cut your dough log into slices and place in a moderate oven for 10 mins .

After this time take your baking sheet out and let them cool slightly and then tip each slice onto its side and bake again for a further 5 mins.

After this time take them out of the oven and let them cool completely if you don’t they will crumble.

Enjoy

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I have just started a new job on my days off I like to make treats for when I’m working in the week .

I made these yummy choc chip matcha cookies which are perfect as an afternoon snack .

you will need

in one bowl

1 cup oat flour

2/3 cup almond flour ( meal )

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 heaped teaspoon matcha powder

A good handful of vegan chocolate chips

Mix

in another bowl

1/4 cup of melted coconut butter / oil

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1-2 tablespoons of water add 1 to start with

Add wet ingredients to try to form a dough

Tip out onto some plastic wrap and form into a ball and place into the freezer for ten mins to firm up.

Take your dough out the freezer and place on a surface  lined with parchment paper, roll out your dough ( I tend to do this whilst it’s still inside the plastic wrap so nothing sticks ). When your dough is flat cut out your cookies with a cutter and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can keep reusing up your dough until it’s all gone . Put your cookies in the oven for 10 mins . Leave to cool and enjoy.

Blog, Winter Food

Ganmodoki

Ganmodoki or Hiryouzu are tofu fritters or balls with vegetables often found as one of the ingredients for oden Japanese hotpot dish.

They are crispy on the outside and soft inside. They are mostly bound with egg but I’m going to let you into a Japanese secret to help you bind them together.

First you will need a block of firm tofu mashed with something like a rolling pin or pestle. Then for the secret ingredient. In japan they normally use a Japanese yam but I could not find this in the UK so I used something else that had just as a sticky texture ( taro potato ). As it’s a starch it will help to bind all your ingredients together. Chop off the outer skin and grate three small taro with a Japanese ginger grater.

Add this to your mashed tofu,then add your vegetables. I used grated carrot,chopped green onion,diced shiitake,chopped hijiki and some grated ginger.

See below ( the white in the middle is the taro )

Mix together

Then to a bowl add some starch (I use potato starch from Hokkaido)

Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form into a ball in some plastic wrap then add this to your bowl with the starch and roll it around until covered. Do this until all the mixture has gone.

Heat some oil and a few at a time fry your tofu balls until golden on the outside. And they are done. These balls are sometimes referred to as flying dragons head.

You can then add them to a hot Dashi Stock with sautéed mushrooms like I have done below and serve with rice.

Or as part of a meal below I have added some hot chilli sauce.

I think you will find these quite versatile.

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Kabocha Crust Pizza

This has to be one of my favourite ways to make a pizza base and it’s so super easy,

All you need to do is steam half a kabocha pumpkin or similar ( like a kuri pumpkin) . After the pumpkin is done all you need to do is let it cool slightly so you can handle it and scoop out the flesh into a food processor. To this add a cup of oat flour and a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt then process, keep adding flour until you get a dough. Take your dough out and knead it slightly . To a baking sheet cover with some parchment paper and add a dusting of flour. Put your dough on the sheet and roll out into a pizza shape ( I like to make a crust around the edge. Place this in a moderate oven and half bake for around 15 mins. This recipe also works well with sweet potato.

Take your pizza out and then add your toppings a base of tomato purée tomatoes,slices of already roasted kabocha,vegan cheese,lotus root and a sprinkle of aonori or what ever you wish. Put your pizza back in the oven until baked and crispy.

Enjoy with a nice fresh salad.

Blog, Winter Food

Nanakusa-Gayu

On the 7th of January in japan (jinjitsu) it is custom to make a seven herb rice porridge Nanakusa Gayu 七草粥 to help heal the stomach after the New Year festivities. It is quite common in japan if you have an unwell stomach to eat Okayu rice porridge. The 7th of January is one of the 5 seasonal festivals the porridge is said to prevent illness for the coming year. The herbs used in japan are waterdrop wort,shepherds purse,cudweed,chickweed,nipplewort,turnip and daikon radish. As I live in the UK I have had to substitute for herbs I could find. I used watercress,rocket,mizuna,chive,coriander,daikon radish and parsley a mixture of these. I made a kombu dashi kombu and shiitake soaked in water over night and cooked up already cooked Japanese rice in the dashi with a 1-5 ratio. Simmer for around 30 mins and then mix in your herbs and steam for 10 .Or you can just put the herbs on top and mix them into the warm rice. I like to add some sautéed daikon radish and if you have any left overs miso is nice to add also with some chopped onion and sesame seeds. Wishing everyone good health this 2018 !

Winter Food

Stollen

I have noticed that Japanese Instagram feeds are full of pictures of stollen at Christmas, it seams to be very popular. Because of the popularity in japan every year I make my own vegan version .

Here are a few past stollen from previous years.

This was using matcha in the flour and in the marzipan

 

This year using my recipe I made mini stollen bites

This is just the basic recipe which you can use to make one large stollen or mini stollen if you so wish.

First make your marzipan

I used one cup of almond flour mixed with two teaspoons of almond essence and three tablespoons of maple syrup. Cream this into a dough and set aside wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until needed.

(I always find I have some left over which is lovely to stuff into dates)

For the stollen

In one bowl mix

3 cups of oat flour

3/4 cup of almond flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

cinnamon,nutmeg,allspice,ginger and clove ( 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of each )

Mixed fruit and peel I used raisins, cranberries,chopped candied yuzu ( you could also add orange and lemon zest and flaked almonds)

In another bowl mix

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup apple purée

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon melted coconut butter

Mix wet into dry to form a dough.

At this point if you want to make one large stollen shape the dough in to a log and then flatten it. Roll your marzipan into a long sausage shape and put this in the middle of your flattened log then fold over the sides to encase the marzipan inside and reshape.

Or to make individual balls make balls then flatten them into a cookie shape, add balls of marzipan to each one then fold over the sides again to encase the marzipan and then roll back into a ball.

Now bake in a moderate oven for around 20mins

When they are done leave to cool and then dust with icing sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Food

Hot & Spicy Fermented Cabbage Nabe

Another snow day called for hot soup.

This one is made from vegan Kimchi and is so quick and easy to make.

A Donabe pot is what a lot of people in Japan use to cook with as it means everything just goes in one pot. They are made of special clay for use over an open flame. Quite a lot of people in japan have limited kitchen space and using a donabe with a one ring gas burner stove makes for an easy simple meal.

Also there is nothing better than serving up your meal into bowls straight from your donabe on the dining table.

If you do not have a donabe pot this dish can easily be made on the stove with any pan or pot.

First sauté some shiitake and maitake mushrooms in a little toasted sesame oil. Add to this some carrots cut into quarters and some chopped green onion or leek. Then add tomato purée about two tablespoons and top up your pot with water. Add two heaped tablespoon of kimchi or other fermented cabbage. Maybe check out a company in the UK called Hurly Burly I used their jalapeño and oregano fermented slaw in this dish. Also Biona organic do a vegan kimchi or you could use sauerkraut. I then added two good handfuls of beansprouts and some chopped nappa cabbage. Finally some nice big pieces of firm tofu to soak up all that lovely juice.

Put the lid on and let it simmer down.

I served mine with rice and added some schichimi powder for extra warmth.

A perfect cosy meal.

 

Blog, Winter Food

Rustic Raw Mince (Fruit) Pies With Sake & Yuzu

Yeaterday I went for a beautiful long walk in the snow. On my walk I got to thinking how I could make raw mince pies. For those of you who are not sure what a mince pie is it’s basically shortcrust pastry with a filling of normally spiced fruits maybe with alcohol like brandy and fruit peel.

As soon as I got home I set to work on creating the pies and they turned out much better than I thought they would.

To make the crust I used 1/2 cup of coconut flour and 1/2 cup of almond flour. I placed this in my food processor with two large dates and pulsed this together. Then I added 6 tablespoons of melted coconut butter and 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup ( you could use what ever sweetener you want) I started to process until the dough came together. I then tipped out the dough onto plastic wrap and wrapped it into a tight ball and pressed it all together.

I then placed a sheet of plastic wrap over my mince pie tray and started to press in the dough to make pastry cases. I did this as I wasn’t sure how the dough would roll but after making the stars for the  tops I think you could roll this and cut out the rounds with a pastry cutter. Anyway this way made for a rustic raw edged looking pie but I thought it was quite in keeping. I then placed the tray covered over into the freezer. With the remaining dough I cut out stars for the tops of the pies.

Now for the filling I tipped into a bowl 1/4 cup of raisins,1/3 cup of dried cranberries, three chopped dried soft figs,a scatter of flaked almonds,the juice of one clementine ( I basically cut the clementine in half an squeezed the juice out),a dash each of cinnamon,nutmeg and allspice,the zest of one small lemon,a tablespoon of candied chopped yuzu and a sake cup of sake. I then used the end of a rolling pin to squash all the fruit. It’s a good idea to make this in advance and let the fruit soak up all the juices.

After taking the pastry out the freezer you can then lift them out the plastic wrap and fill them with your filling for a totally raw pie.

However I placed mine in the oven for five mins just to slightly brown them . If you do this place them back in the freezer after for five mins because if they are warm they fall apart slightly.

I think they made a lovely alternative mince pie and this year I will be having these instead of the normal pastry ones I make. Nice with some vegan cream. You can warm them slightly as well before eating.