February 4th, 2014 § § permalink
This is a traditional Japanese dish and it’s called “Kōhaku Namasu”. “Kōhaku” means “red and white”, this combination of colour is a symbol for auspicious or happy occasions in Japan, and Kōhaku Namasu is one of the festive food for the New Year.
White daikon radish and red (actually it’s orange…) carrot are lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. It’s a light and refreshing side dish.
— Rickled Radish and Carrot Salad (serves 4) —
400g daikon (mooli) radish
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoon caster sugar
A small piece of yuzu citrus or lemon peel, very finely julienned
Peel the radish and carrot and cut into about 2 inch long thin strips.
Place in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, mix and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze well to remove excess water.
Combine the rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the radish and carrot and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge for few hours.
Just before serving, garnish each portion with julienned yuzu or loon peel.
December 19th, 2013 § § permalink
I went to France to see Sophie.
Sophie is the first friend who I made in the UK. We became friends the first day we met at school nearly 15 years ago, and still good friends even after she moved back to France.
Her innocent smile always makes me happy and I learned from her that the importance of being simply yourself and enjoy it.
Quiche Lorraine is the dish she made for me sometimes when we were students. I loved her simple and classic quiche. It was delicious and comforting.
“Simple is the best” is her motto of cooking. I agree with it. I think simplicity is the most important key for cooking, and maybe for a lot of other things too.
— Quiche Lorraine (9 inch round tart tin) —
– for the pastry –
200g plain flour
A pinch of salt
110g butter, diced
2 tbsp very cold water
– for the filling –
2 shallots, finely chopped
150g smoked lardons
80g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
300ml double cream
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper
Place the flour, salt and butter into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle with the cold water, then stir with a knife until it clumps together.
Wrap the dough in cling film and cill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C / gas mark 6.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tart tin. gently pushing the pastry into the corners. Prebake for about 10 minutes.
Heat the butter in a frying pan over low heat, sauté the shallot until softened. Remove the shallot from the pan and reserve.
Turn the heat to medium high and fry the lardons until cooked through. Remove and drain the lardons on kitchen paper, add to the shallots and leave to cool.
Beat the eggs well in a bowl and stir in the cream. 3/4 of the cheese and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need much salt).
Spread the lardons and shallot on the pastry, pour the egg mixture over and sprinkle with the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden and just set.
November 13th, 2013 § § permalink
— Parmesan Fried Courgette (serves 4) —
60g parmesan cheese, grated
40g panko bread crumbs
40g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 medium courgettes
Salt and ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Combine the grated parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs in a bowl.
Trim stem ends from the cougettes and cut into thick sticks. Pat dry with kitchen pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly coat the courgette with the flour, dip in the beaten egg and then coat with the parmesan mixture.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based saucepan to 180C / 350F. Deep fry the courgette for about 3 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with lemon wedges.
— Balsamic Glazed Baby Onions —
500g baby onions, peeled
2 tablespoons, olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Boil the baby onions in salted water for about 5 minutes and drain.
Heat the olive oil in a frying-pan, fry the onions for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, Serve at room temperature.
October 31st, 2013 § § permalink
— Pear & Goat’s Cheese Toasts (serves 4) —
1 French baguette (medium size)
Some olive oil
3 pears (such as Williams), cored and thinly sliced
150g goat’s cheese, sliced into 8 slices
30g walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
Cut the baguette in half, then slice in half lengthwise. Brash the baguette with olive oil, put the bread onto a hot grilled pan over medium heat and toast until golden on both sides.
Transfer the toasts to a baking tray, arrange with the pear slices and goat’s cheese, sprinkle with the walnuts, thyme and black pepper, drizzle the honey over the top.
Grill under the broiler until the cheese is lightly golden.
June 23rd, 2013 § § permalink
A lot of muffins in a box. To open a box is my favourite thing.
— Feta, Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins (makes 12 muffins) —
Olive oil for greasing
280g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
80g butter, melted and cooled
250ml butter milk
150g feta cheese, crumbled
50g sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
50g black olives, pitted, cut into halves
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray with a little olive oil.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
Beat the eggs in separate bowl, add the melted butter, buttermilk.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and add the feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, parsley. Stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until risen and golden.
April 20th, 2013 § § permalink
This chips are so delicious. Good things take time, but they are worth it.
— Double Cooked Chips (serves 4) —
800g floury potatoes (such as maris piper or king edward)
2 litres groundnut oil or sunflower oil for deep-frying
Flaked sea salt
Your favourite dipping sauce
Cut the potatoes lengthways into 1cm thick chips, rinse well under cold water for 10 minutes and then drain.
Put the chips into a large pan of cold and lightly salted water, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until just soft to the point of knife.
Drain and pat dry with kitchen papers. Lay the chips on a tray lined with kitchen papers and allow them to cool. Put them in the fridge until cold.
In the heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil to 130C, and add the chips. Don’t over crowed the pan. Fry chips for about 10 minutes until cook through but not over cooked.
Remove, drain, pat dry and refrigerate the chips until cold.
Heat the oil to 180C and add the chips. Cook until crisp and golden. Drain and sprinkle with sea salt.
February 1st, 2013 § § permalink
This is a regional snack of my hometown Hokkaido.
The combination of butter and soy sauce is very popular in Japan, it works perfectly well with this potato cakes.
Hokkaido must be covered with snow as far as the eye could see now.
Everything is white. I miss the scenery.
— Camembert Cheese Potato Cakes (makes 12 cakes) —
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
80g corn flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
100g camembert cheese, cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash. Add the the corn flour and salt, mix everything together well with your hands.
Divide the potato mixture into 12 portions, take one portion in your hand, press a piece of camembert cheese into middle. Shape the potato cake into a cake.
Heat the butrter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the potato cakes for about 5 minutes each side or until they are golden, crisp and heated through.
Heat the soy sauce and sugar in a small sauce pan over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickens and syrupy. Drizzle the sauce over the potato cakes.
January 21st, 2013 § § permalink
Blue Monday –– Today is the most depressing day of the year, according to British psychologist Cliff Arnall.
Hmm… maybe that’s true.
It’s always a good idea to make bread when I feel depressed.
Kneading and punching the dough is a stress buster, the smell and taste of fresh and warm bread makes me happy.
— Cinnamon Rolls (makes 12 rolls) —
500g strong white flour, plus extra for working
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 teaspoon salt
7g fast action dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil for greasing
– for filling –
100g brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
100g butter (softened), plus extra for brushing
50g walnuts, chopped
– for cream cheese topping –
50g cream cheese
80g icing sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon milk
Place the butter and milk in a small sauce pan over a low heat. Warm until the butter has melted, and let it cool until it’s lukewarm.
Place the flour, caster sugar, brown sugar, salt and fast action dried yeast in a large bowl and stir together. Mix in the milk mixture and the beaten egg.
Knead the dough on a flour surface board for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, cover the dough with cling film and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Transfer the dough onto a flowered surface board and Punch down. Roll out to 30cm x 40cm.
To make the filling, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Evenly spread the softened butter onto the dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture, and then the raisin and walnuts. Starting from the long edge, roll up the dough to form a log and slice into 12 pieces.
Place on the lightly oiled baking tray, cover with cling film and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven 200C / 400F.
Brash the rolls with a little malted butter and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
To make the topping, mix all the topping ingredients in a small bowl, mix together until smooth. Drizzle the topping over the rolls.
December 18th, 2012 § § permalink
Chip and dip, chip and dip, chip and dip . . . it’s very difficult to stop.
— Mushroom Dip with Bagel Chips (serves 3) —
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
300g button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine
200g cream cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pinch of ground black pepper
– for bagel chips –
3 plain bagels
50ml extra olive oil
2 clove garlic, peeled and crashed
Melt the butter in a frying-pan, sauteé the onion and garlic over a medium heat until the onion became translucent.
Add the mushrooms and sauteé for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms turn brown. Add the white wine and cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Let cool slightly.
Place the mushroom mixture, cream cheese and salt into a food processor and puree until smooth. Mix in the chopped thyme and ground black pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Preheat the oven 350F / 180C.
Slice the bagels vertically into very thin slices.
Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until the garlic became golden, remove the garlic from the oil.
Lightly brash the oil on the bagel chips. Bake until golden brown.
Serve with the mushroom dip.
September 27th, 2012 § § permalink
Flowers for you.
— Olive and Rosemary Bread Rolls (8 rolls) —
350g strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
7g fast action dried yeast
200ml warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
80g Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Some Kalamata olives and rosemary leaves for decoration (optional)
Brash a baking tray and the inside of a large bowl with oil.
Place the flour, salt and fast action dried yeast in another large bowl and stir together, mix in 200ml warm water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Knead the dough on a floured surface board for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, cover the dough with cling film and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface board and Punch down. Flatten it out and sprinkle over the olives and rosemary. Fold up and knead for 3 minutes. Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and shape into balls. Lightly coat the surface with oil and sprinkle a little flour on top.
Arrange some olives and rosemary leaves on the balls (optional).
Place on the oiled baking tray, cover the balls loosely with cling film and allow them to rise for about 40 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven 200C / 400F.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden.