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

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha & Chestnut Loaf

Its definitely getting to that time of year again when the leaves start to turn and the weather is chilly. I especially like this time of year for pumpkin and squash  season . My favourites being kabocha and kuri . These both have a lovely texture and nutty flavour and are so versatile they can be roasted or steamed and have many health benefits being  high in beta-carotene and vitamin A . These are prized in Japan and are a staple food come autumn. I’m sure cooking with these will become a firm favourite if you haven’t already.

In this recipe I decided to steam half a kabocha pumpkin and scoop out the soft flesh to combine it with ingredients to make a chestnut and pumpkin loaf .

So steam your pumpkin first and cook up a cup of short grain brown rice ready to add later.

Finely chop half an onion,a small carrot,a stick of celery, a large shiitake mushroom or a few small ones and around six already cooked and peeled roast chestnuts. I buy mine already done . In the U.K. They are by a company called Merchant Gourmet.

Add to a pan some coconut butter and sauté these ingredients. Then add a tablespoon of tamari,Worcestershire sauce,miso and tomato purée and mix in then add your mashed steamed pumpkin and finally some chopped kale or you could use spinach and a cup of cooked rice.

Add a cup of gluten free oat flour to a bowl and add to this your kabocha ingredients and give it a good mix .

Line a loaf tin with parchment paper and spoon in your ingredients.

Bake in a moderate oven until cooked through around 30-45 mins.

Turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting in to slices.

I think this could also be a good mixture for kabocha burgers instead of adding the mixture to a baking tin just make into individual burger patties and bake or fry them .

The slices can be a nice alternative for maybe a thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and could also be nice cold in a wrap for instance.

I decided to make a comforting dinner with creamy mashed potatoes and shiitake miso gravy.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha & Miso Risotto

Autumn is a favourite time of mine. I love the colours and the delicious seasonal  food .

It really is beginning to feel like Autumn is on its way here in the U.K. already. The nights are drawing in and the weather is chilly in the mornings . The leaves are already turning, so I felt like I wanted to make something with my favourite pumpkin Japanese kabocha. It has such a lovely nutty flavour and is really comforting.

I decided to make this risotto

You will first need to roast half a medium size kabocha you can keep the skin on but remove the seeds.

Then in a pan add one cup of short grain brown rice and to that around 800ml of vegetable stock. Place you rice on a medium heat and simmer adding a little more water until almost done if needed.

Then add a cup of pumpkin to your rice ( just scoop out the flesh but discard the skin. Also add one heaped tablespoon of white miso and stir well. I then added a heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast for extra flavour .

Spoon in to a bowl . I added some roast king mushrooms and broccoli to mine with some fresh black  pepper but you could add anything you like.

This makes a really hearty meal ( nice with some warm bread to scoop up the risotto too.)



Roasted Kabocha

To night roasted kabocha with a crispy coating and rice also a nice big salad with a miso yuzu dressing.
With that was a delicious and filling yudofu . I think this soup is one of the best ways to appreciate the delicate flavour of tofu. This dish is a shojin ryori Buddhist monk style of cuisine. Often you can have this meal in temple restaurants in Kyoto .
Yudofu means hot water tofu I added some komatsuna for extra flavour and a small amount of miso in the broth . It’s mostly traditional to just use a simple kombu dashi maybe with a little soy sauce . You can also add a sprinkle of sesame seeds or green onion . I added some chopped chives . I forgot how good this was . For dessert was a small piece of peach Melba cake and fruit.


Ayurvedic Plates

I wanted to create something similar to the Ayurvedic plates that @earth_peace has been sharing on her account from @trueberry_jp
This was a lot of work believe it or not making all these individual dishes I wanted to make it have a Japanese feel to it as well so I made as follows .
Starting in the middle with a Japanese sweet potato coconut curry with vegan tofu paneer.
Then salad with a mango lime dressing.
Next to that is a beetroot chutney and a Japanese spinach and sesame dish called goma-ae .
Next to that is a lentil dhal and some spicy roast chickpeas.
Then a cooling cucumber and soy yogurt raita.
A simple kabocha pumpkin soup and tofu flat bread and Japanese rice in the centre.


Kabocha Soup

A creamy kabocha soup with ginger and coriander.
Topped with some crispy roast potato and spicy chick peas,roasted peppers and rocket.

Blog, Winter Food

O’zoni New Year’s Day meal

Happy new year!

Start  the New Year’s Day with a traditional Japanese breakfast called O’zoni .
It is a breakfast soup,said to be the most auspicious new year food,part of Osechi Ryori. (Good luck food)
Depending on the region in Japan the broth can either be clear or with miso .
Make a white miso broth and add steamed carrot and daikon flowers, shiitake,a slice of kabocha,komatsuna,
yuzu,peel and grilled mochi.

Blog, Winter Food

Hoto “Houtou” thick noodle soup

Hoto or Houtou is a miso soup with thick flat noodles which is a speciality of Yamanashi prefecture Japan.

It can made made in a pan or donabe pot .

To make the noodles you will need

160g of all purpose flour

70 mil of tepid water


Put your flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt add your water little by little until you get a dough. Knead well and spread out your dough to a few mm thickness on a flour surface or parchment paper.  Cut out long thick noodles .

In a large pot / pan add your vegetables I used

daikon,carrot,kabocha,taro,shiitake add enough water to cover and simmer vegetables until tender.

Then add any leafy greens like cabbage or komatsuna .

ladel a little of the liquid and add a heap teaspoon of your choice of miso a miso with a nice earthy flavour is good like barley or brown rice or a Hatcho miso.  Dissolve the miso and add it to your pot of vegetables

Finally if needed add a little more hot water and add your noodles . I found that it’s good to lay your noodles on the top of your vegetables and pop on a lid to steam them for 5 mins .

If you have made this in a donabe pot you can simply eat it straight from the pot or ladle out into bowls .

This nabe miso hot pot dish makes a great winter warmer.


Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha ( pumpkin) curry

A super delicious filling curry using pumpkin to thicken the sauce .

you will need a quarter of kabocha squash ( Japanese pumpkin) this has a lovely nutty flavour steam the kabocha until tender scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.

Cook your Japanese rice and leave on warm in your rice cooker or pan with lid.

In a pan add the kabocha and some of the cooking liquid from steaming  about one and a half cups , add to this one tablespoon of S&B Japanese curry spice mix or any Japanese curry spice you can find ( I get mine from the Japan centre in London ) and simmer the kabocha down . If you need to thicken it you can add a 1/2 teaspoon slurry of kuzu powder.

Steam some lovely vegetables until tender I cut the vegetables nice and chunky to really get the flavour I used zucchini,peppers,daikon,carrot,lotusroot and more kabocha.

Add some rice to a plate or bowl and laden your curry sauce around and top with steamed vegetables and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.