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Blog, Summer Food

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

Children’s Day Kashiwa Mochi

Happy Children’s day Japan?
To day May 5th in Japan is known as ( Kodomo no hi ) ( こどもの日)
It is part of the string of national holidays over the Golden Week period .
This day is in fact for the boys as girls day Hina Matsuri was in March . However a lot of people celebrate this day now as children’s day.
It is traditional to eat these mochi wagashi called Kashiwa mochi to day . They symbolise a child’s growth as an oak leaf is used to wrap the mochi ( not edible ). The reason an oak leaf is used is because oak trees do not shed their leaves until the new ones start to grow so thus are seen as a symbol of harmonious flow from one generation to the next. They are also a symbol of growth strength and prosperity. These mochi are made from pounded sweet joshinko rice flour and filled with bean paste . Other mochi can be filled with miso paste . How would you know if a mochi is filled with bean paste or miso paste ? Well look at the leaves the mochi is wrapped in. If the veins are on the outside there is bean paste inside .

Also at this time of year you will see Carp kites ( like wind socks known as koinobori flying all over Japan.
They represent courage perseverance and determination,as the fish swim against the current upstream in real life.
Traditionally there are three colours Black koi =father
Red koi= mother and blue koi for boys and sometimes pink or orange ones represent girls in the family.
The samurai helmet is also another symbol of boys day (children’s day ) symbolising strength and courage.

Enjoying these to day with a simple matcha .
Hope everyone in Japan is enjoying golden week .

Blog, Spring Food

Takenoko Gohan

Spring time in the countryside of Japan you can see bamboo shoots starting to grow .
This is Takenoko Gohan (bamboo rice ) (竹の子ご飯)
Takenoko means bamboo child and is a perfect Japanese spring dish. Have you seen Princess Kaguya? It’s a Studio Ghibli animated film about a child found in a bamboo shoot . They called her Takenoko

Unfortunately I cannot get fresh bamboo in the UK but I was able to get the boiled vacuum packed kind from the Japan centre in London. This is far better than the canned variety as they have lots of preservatives.

Slice some of your bamboo into thin slices if when you cut it you find little white gritty bits it’s totally fine it’s just rice bran that they cook the bamboo shoots with just rinse them off with water.

I had already had some kombu kelp stock in the fridge so after washing a Japanese measuring cup of rice I added two cups of kombu stock to my rice cooker with the rice. I then added a teaspoon of mirin and a teaspoon of tamari . I put the sliced bamboo shoots on top of the rice and cooked the rice and bamboo shoots together in the rice cooker.

As simple as that.

 

Blog, Spring Food

Matcha yuzu chocolate truffles


Japanese matcha yuzu chocolate truffles
Blend all together in a food processor the following
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon of sifted matcha powder
1 tablespoon rice syrup
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tea spoon of vanilla powder or extract

Scoop out the mixture into some silicone chocolate moulds and put in the freezer and leave over night
Melt one vegan chocolate bar of your choice in a bowl over hot water add one teaspoon of Japanese fresh yuzu juice .
Take your truffles out the freezer
Pop your truffles out of the tray and coat each one in chocolate and put on parchment paper .
Top with chopped candied yuzu peel .
Put back in the freezer to set
When you want them take them out and allow to thaw for 10 mins before eating .
Keep in the fridge ( if they last that long )
This makes about 6-8 truffles depending on your avocado size .

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Scones

Home made scones with Sakura flowers and strawberry jam sweetened with rice syrup and thickened with kuzu. Lovely with afternoon tea or to take on a Hanami picnic. 自家製スコーンとイチゴジャム 花見ピクニックのために素敵な ??????????

to make these you will need 

225g of all purpose gluten free flour sifted 

40g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

50g of melted coconut butter / oil 

mix in all ingredients in a bowl adding the oil last 

the consistency should be like a dough so you can roll it out if it’s two wet add more flour 

roll out your dough on parchment paper and have another baking sheet ready lined with parchment paper.

roll out to about 1 inch thickness and cut out small rounds with a cutter.

place your rounds on the parchment and press in a washed pressed Sakura flower ( see Sakura cookie recipe for how to ) and bake until risen and golden take out and leave to cool.

dust  with icing sugar cut in half and add strawberry jam 

want to make the jam ?

its so easy 

just a handful of chopped strawberries with a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of rice syrup and the juice of half a lemon . Add this to a pan and simmer until the strawberries are mostly liquid ( you may need to use a fork to mash them a little)  the natural juices will come out in the strawberries but if it gets to dry add a little more water.

make a kuzu slurry with 1 teaspoon of kuzu starch powder and 1/4 teaspoon of water and add this to your mixture . Turn up the heat slightly and stir well . Kuzu is a natural thickener used in Japan from the kuzu root and is gluten free . 

Put in an air tight sterilised jar ( I just use boiling water ) this will keep in the fridge for a few days and should be enough for all your scones .

this recipe makes about six scones 

 

Blog

Ogura Toast

Good morning
Ogura toast with home made anko,coconut yogurt ( instead of the normal cream) and strawberry flowers . A latte and some grapefruit and orange segments on the side .
Nagoya specialty dish with warm toasted bread, topped with red bean paste is my Japanese-theme breakfast to day.
Have a wonderful day everyone.
Ogura Toast 小倉トースト
自家製のあんこ、イチゴ、ココナッツヨーグルト

Blog, Winter Food

Nanakusa-Gayu ( seven herb soup)

On the 7th of January (Jinjitsu) this is the day that in Japan it is tradition to eat (Nanakusa-gayu) 七草粥
Seven herb rice porridge soup. To help the stomach after Osechi Ryori / Christmas and new year and bring health to the coming year.
I do not have all the traditional herbs from Japan so I used a mix of daikon and turnip leaf, ( which I had been growing in preparation) parsley,Basil, mizuna and rocket leaf and watercress.

The tradition herbs are nipplewort,chickweed,cud weed,shepherds purse and water drop wort.

I made a kombu and shiitake stock to give it flavour and rich minerals and cooked up the already cooked rice in it with some sautéed daikon radish . Add your greens into the rice when cooking or cook separately and top onto the rice when your porridge is done .

It can take a while for your rice to cook down and you may need to keep adding stock until you get the correct consistency

You can top your rice porridge with maybe a grilled mochi rice cake or sliced shiitake that you used to make your stock with.

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Omurice

A favourite dish in Japan
‘Omurice’ basically a rice omelette.
The rice is often mixed with chicken or ham and seasoned with ketchup then wrapped in an omelette.
I decided to make a vegetable rice omelette.

First to cooked rice sautéed in some chopped vegetables of choice like peppers mushrooms broccoli etc then place back in your rice cooker on warm .

Then make your omelette batter by using the recipe for Okonomiyaki see this post .

spoon your vegetable rice onto a plate and top with your omelette . In Japan you often see this dish topped with tomato ketchup.

Alternatively you can leave the omelette in the pan and spoon the rice onto half the omelette then fold over the rice with the other half and slide off the parchment paper onto a plate .

 

 

Blog, Summer Food

Goma-ae

This spinach and sesame side dish makes a lovely chilled summer accompaniment to any meal .

I used Asian spinach it’s slightly different to the small leaf spinach you get in the UK .

First make your sauce I find the easiest method is to use already ground sesame seeds in a packet .

Take one tablespoon of ground sesame and mix with that a tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce a teaspoon of mirin and a teaspoon of unrefined sugar ( mix well ) This is the basic sauce but if you want to make it a little more citrus you could add 1/2 teaspoon of yuzu juice .

Cook your spinach in boiling salted water for 2 mins takes out and plunge into iced water .  Squeeze out the water from your spinach and lay out on a chopping board and chop into pieces . Place your chopped spinach into a bowl and add your sesame sauce and mix in . Again I like to make this a little different by either spicing up the spinach a bit with schichimi powder or adding even more citrus with some sansho pepper.

Chill in the fridge .