Tag

Kabocha

Autumn Food, Blog

Houtou (Hōtō) ほうとう

It has been a typical autumn day today. The wind has nearly blown all the leaves off the cherry tree. The seasons go by so fast. No sooner am I enjoying the beautiful Sakura blossom than it quickly falls to make way for bright green summer leaves which then turn all to soon yellow and orange. Today they have nearly all dropped to reveal the dark naked branches.

I wanted to make a cosy autumn dish so I chose Hōtō . A comforting miso noodle soup originating from Yamanashi in Japan. This is normally made with large flat udon style noodles but without making some or having any in my store cupboard I decided to use a gluten-free alternative made by Clearspring, brown rice wide noodles. They worked a treat.

I first simmered a selection of winter vegetables daikon,carrot,parsnip,brussels sprouts,napa cabbage,kabocha,maitake and kale,with enough water to cover and a drop lid or otoshibuta. Add leafy greens at the end of simmering the vegetables.

When the vegetables are tender and you have added your greens mix one tablespoon each of Hatcho miso and white miso paste in a bowl with a little cooking liquid to dissolve,then add to your pot . The hatcho miso gives the soup a nice earthy rich flavour .

Soak your rice noodles for 10 mins in a bowl of hot water to soften and then add them to the gently simmering pot for a further 10 mins.

Or if you are using fresh udon add them directly to the pot.

Now cosy up on a dark autumn evening and enjoy.

Autumn Food, Blog

Simmered Kabocha (Kabocha no Nimono)

This meal was so flavourful and it made me feel like autumn had truly arrived . Using Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) this is a typical simple seasonal dish in Japan.

Make some kombu dashi by soaking a piece of kombu in water over night. Then the  next day discard the kombu.

First cut a large wedge ( around a quarter of a large pumpkin ) and take out the seeds,place on a plate in the microwave for a few minutes to soften (this will make it easier to cut and also cut down your cooking time). Take out your pumpkin from the microwave and cut into equal wedges and lie skin side down in a pan. Add enough kombu dashi to cover along with 1 teaspoon of sugar,1 teaspoon of mirin and 1 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce. Give the pan a swirl and cover with a low drop lid or otoshibuta if you have one. Simmer the pumpkin until tender. Place a few pieces of pumpkin in a dish and ladle over your sweet dashi broth.

I served this with Nasu Dengaku. I cut a whole eggplant in half length ways and then scored a deep grid pattern into the flesh. Get a pan with hot oil and pan sear on both sides. I mixed two miso pastes together a sweet white miso and a more rustic brown rice miso with a little mirin. Then I added this to the top of the eggplant and placed it in the oven. It turned out so delicious. The flesh was so tender but the miso was slightly crispy .

It made for a perfect Teishoku meal with miso soup,yaki onigiri and a persimmon tofu mousse for dessert.

Autumn Food, Blog

Tofu Baked With Kabocha & Miso And A Simple Oden

This was a perfect autumn Teishoku meal.

First cut a piece of firm tofu in half and wrap in a paper towel to soak up any moisture. In a bowl add two tablespoons of steamed and mashed kabocha then add a tablespoon of sweet white miso and mix together. Remove the towel from the tofu and place on some parchment paper on a baking sheet. Coat all sides with the pumpkin mash except the bottom. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until the coating is crispy. This will be crispy on the top but fluffy inside.

I served the tofu with sautéed purple sweet potato pieces and steamed kale in a sesame sauce. The sauce was white sesame paste,mirin and tamari.

With this I also made an oden style one pot soup. You can read more about this in one of my winter recipes just search Oden.

This one was made by soaking kombu and a shiitake to make a dashi,for a few hours. I then removed and discarded the kombu and sliced the shiitake. Added the shiitake back into the pot along with tamari,mirin,shimeji,aburaage,chunks of daikon and leaf shape carrots .I also added a few pieces of Yuzu rind I think this makes such a difference to the flavour. Yuzu is hard to come by in the UK. If we manage to ever get it it’s imported over from Japan and is very expensive. Normally sold at the Japan centre in London. If I’m lucky enough I buy one and take off the rind and slice the rind into pieces,I then freeze it to be dropped into stews when ever I choose. So because it’s frozen it’s well worth the investment. Everything is then simmered on a low heat until the daikon is tender,and everything and soaked up the lovely favours.

Serve with mixed grain rice and salad . There was also a warm amazake and roasted tiny satsuma orange. I had never thought of roasting an orange until I was watching a program about fire festivals in Japan at which they roast Mikan in the fires. I just popped mine in the oven with the skin still on and then peeled it after. The orange was small just enough for one mouthful but how sweet and warm the orange became . Give it a try.

Now the weather is getting colder why not make a Japanese oden to warm you up on an evening. Just simple ingredients but you will be surprised how flavoursome this dish is.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Shiratama Dango

I often make tofu dango (shitatama rice flour and silken tofu ). It got me thinking about if I could use pumpkin to make a Halloween dango. So I thought I’d give it a try . Being a recipe creator is all about trying out new ideas in the kitchen. These kabocha dango turned out amazing. Soft and chewy mochi balls on a bed of sweet bean paste and dusted with kinako and ground black sesame. What a perfect Japanese wagashi treat for Halloween.

I started out by steaming some kabocha and when it was cool enough I removed the skin and gave it a mash in a bowl.

Add one heaped tablespoon of pumpkin with three tablespoons of Shiratama rice flour,half a teaspoon of maple syrup and a drop of water to help bind. Cream everything together until you have a dough ball about the size of a tennis ball. Break off pieces and roll them in your hands do not make them too big as they will not cook through.

You should have enough to make three skewers each one having three dango. Boil a pot of water and drop the balls into the water,when they are done they will float to the top. I always leave them that extra min. Scoop out the balls and drop into ice cold water. Pat them dry and put them through the skewers. Top with what ever you fancy.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha pumpkin Granola Squares

These pumpkin granola squares are a great snack perfect for times on the go. Rushing off to work or study why not make some for the week ahead to pack in your lunch box.

Turn on your oven to a moderate setting and line a pan around 8x8inch square with parchment paper.

Ingredients

Add to a bowl

1/2 cup of already steamed mashed and cooled kabocha pumpkin (or what ever pumpkin you can find Kuri work well also)

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,pumpkin spice or what ever you like ginger,clove,allspice all work well.

1 heaped tablespoon each of slivered almond,pumpkin seeds and cranberries. (you can omit the nuts for nut free or add whatever you like)

cream these all together then add 2 cups of gluten-free raw sprouted oats (or what ever oats you like)

Make sure all the oats are coated in the pumpkin mixture

Turn out your mixture into your already lined pan and evenly press the mixture down ( I like to cover it over with plastic wrap and push the mixture down firmly )

Place in your moderate oven for around 30 mins

When golden leave to cool totally before cutting into squares or bars. You can store them in the fridge and also put some in the freezer to defrost later. I will definitely be doing this so I have some to take on the plane to Japan with me next month (Nov 2018)

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Halloween Wagashi

These sweets are made just like my chestnut wagashi recipe but add two tablespoons of already steamed and mashed kabocha pumpkin to your creamed chestnuts and add a whole roasted chestnut inside instead of anko. Why not make both or maybe use purple sweet potato you could do a selection of different types for a seasonal treat.

Autumn Food, Blog

Chawanmushi

Chawanmushi means steamed in a teacups,this is a savoury Japanese egg custard normally filled with ingredients like chicken,shrimp,mushrooms and ginkgo nuts.

I decided to make a vegan version using silken tofu and Japanese kabocha pumpkin.

First steam a quarter of a small kabocha pumpkin and leave it to cool slightly,then take off the skin ( it should easily fall off without much effort). In a food processor or blender add half a block of silken tofu and then add your steamed pumpkin. Process until smooth. Spoon the mixture into little teacups and add any filling you like ( I added a few ginkgo nuts,some leaf shaped carrot and shiitake mushrooms. Wrap the whole teacup in foil and steam in a steamer for around 15-20 mins.

The tofu will firm up and will give a nice custard texture. This makes a good starter to a meal.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread and butter pudding is normally made with bread,butter,eggs and milk ( so much dairy ! ) I decided to make a vegan pudding that was so comforting and no diary needed.

First you will need about a quarter of a kabocha Japanese pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and steam in a steamer until tender. Leave to cool a little and then take off the skin. Add this to a food processor or blender. To this add some plant based milk ( around one cup ) then add a tablespoon of sweetener of choice like maple syrup and some cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg. I will let you decide how much you want to put in. Process until smooth if it’s to thick to pour add a little more milk. It should be the consistency of thinner pouring custard.

Take a loaf of uncut bread. I used a nice white sourdough and cut up some slices. Then cut each slice into two. Butter each with coconut butter or vegan spread. Butter a small ovenproof dish and add your first two slices butter side facing up. Pour on some of your pumpkin mixture and scatter with a few raisins,sultanas or cranberries. Layer like this until your dish is full and finish with topping it off with the final pumpkin mixture. I added some chestnuts to the top but pecan would be nice also. Sprinkle a little nutmeg or pumpkin spice on the top and bake in a moderate oven until the bread is crispy on the top.

Cut and serve warm with some vegan cream.

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.

Autumn Food, Blog

Three Pumpkin Recipes For Halloween

It’s Halloween again and if your anything like me you just love using pumpkin in everything at this time of year!

I like to use Hokkaido also known as onion squash or kuri pumpkin along with kabocha .

I find the last one harder to get in the UK so I often use the Hokkaido pumpkin.

All these recipes are super easy and quick and all use steamed pumpkin as their base.

Also if your interested in what it’s like in Tokyo on Halloween why not check out my travel section for photos of my time spent at Shibuya and japan over Halloween.

The first is a starter or a great party dip.

Pumpkin Hummus

In a food processor add half a steamed pumpkin ( just scoop out the flesh) it’s also good to do this when the pumpkin is still warm.

Add to this one can of drained and rinsed chick peas, A tablespoon of white miso paste,a dash of cayenne pepper, a drizzle of olive oil,a dash of water, some fresh lemon juice ( about two tablespoons) and a tablespoon of tahini. Just process until thick and creamy.

For main course

Savoury Pumpkin Tarts

Use about half a steamed pumpkin and scoop the flesh into a bowl, add some chopped red bell pepper,chopped shallot,cayenne pepper and rosemary ( you can add other vegetables if you wish like chopped zucchini) Mix all together.

Cut out your pastry and place into pastry dishes and then spoon in your mixture. I made some pumpkin shapes to put on the top.

Place in a moderate oven and bake until golden.

Finally Dessert

Tofu Pumpkin Mousse

This super easy dessert is ready in Minutes. Steam about half a pumpkin and let it cool. Add this to a food processor with half a block of silken tofu, a tablespoon of melted coconut butter and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Then add a dash of spice I used pumpkin spice but you can add cinnamon or nutmeg if you like. Blend until creamy and then spoon out into your chosen dishes or glasses. Place in the fridge to set .

Before serving add a squirt of vegan cream,some vegan chocolate chips and I added some fresh pomegranate.

Happy Halloween

Autumn Food, Blog

Halloween Kabocha Pumpkin Donuts

Halloween is nearly upon us

I love to make these kabocha pumpkin spiced donuts at this time of year. Topped with melted vegan chocolate and sprinkles they are a great thing to make if your going to or having a Halloween party.

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

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,ginger,allspice and  pumpkin spice ( I like my spice but add as much or as little as you like)

mix these in one bowl

In another bowl

1/2 cup of already steamed and mashed ( skin removed) kabocha pumpkin.

1 tablespoon of  melted coconut butter

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar

1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

Melted vegan chocolate for the topping

Vegan sprinkles 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 butter and spoon in your batter I like to use a teaspoon .

Bake in a moderate oven to light,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

Melt a bar of vegan chocolate in a bowl over a pan with hot water then dip your cooled donuts into the melted chocolate and sprinkle with your decorations.

Put in the freezer to set.

Happy Halloween

Autumn Food, Blog

Ginger & Pumpkin Bread

I love to make pumpkin bread in the fall and this one has added spice and ginger so it makes for a warming tasty tea time treat or why not crumble some onto yogurt or have it toasted in the morning for breakfast.

First steam half a kabocha pumpkin or similar kuri are nice also.

Add a cup of pitted medjool dates to a food process and pulse til blended.

When tender scoop the flesh from the skin of your pumpkin and add to the dates. To this add one tablespoon of maple syrup,one cup of almond milk and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar process this til well mixed.

In a bowl add two cups of gluten free oat flour,one teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda,half a teaspoon of pink salt,then a teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,allspice and pumpkin spice. Chop up a half cup of crystallised  ginger and mix this all together. Then take your pumpkin mixture and add this to your flour to make a batter. If you think it is to dry add a little more milk or to runny add a little more flour. It should be a thick batter consistency.

Spoon this into a lined loaf pan or silicon loaf pan  top with pumpkin seeds and bake in a moderate oven til golden . ( you could use the batter to make separate pumpkin muffins if you wish)

Take out the oven and let it cool a little before turning it out onto a wire rack. Let the pumpkin bread cool completely before slicing.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Pumpkin & Chestnut Soup

Today is the Autumn equinox, the first day of autumn. Don’t see the last day of Summer as a negative but embrace the change of the seasons and celebrate autumn with optimism. It is time to reflect on the year so far and set new goals going into winter. For me this is very appropriate as my retail shop which I’ve had for over 18 years is closing in October. I am not seeing this as a negative thing I have had some wonderful years but it’s now time to move on. Like the seasons nothing stays the same and change is good. So it’s time to start looking ahead and start afresh with new ventures. It’s time to appreciate the changing season the turning leaves and the wonderful  harvest of food that autumn has to offer. Nothing says autumn to me more than pumpkins and chestnuts so with that I decided to make pumpkin soup to celebrate the equinox .

I just love pumpkin in the Autumn don’t you ? Especially the nutty flavours of Japanese pumpkins. Kabocha and Hokkaido ( Kuri ) are my absolute favourite!

There is nothing better than curling up with a meal made with pumpkins in the Autumn and there are so many things you can make .

The easiest is pumpkin soup. Thick creamy and comforting .

Start by steaming half of a pumpkin seeds removed. When it’s soft scoop out the flesh and add to a food processor. I then added some finely grated ginger ( I like to use a Japanese ginger grater for this )

Then add about two cups of vegetable stock depending on how thick you want your soup and a splash of almond milk add some whole cooked chestnuts ( about six should do ) a dash of coriander or any spice you like ( Paprika or cayenne work well also or even cinnamon, give the whole thing a process.

If your eating it straight away transfer to a bowl and add a few more chestnuts and some pumpkin seeds for topping.

Enjoy Happy Autumn