Sweet Miso Stir-Fried Aubergine & Green Pepper

January 26th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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This is a Japanese home-style dish. Sweet and savoury miso sauce gives the vegetables a very rich and appetising flavour. Serve with steamed plain rice.


Miso is fermented soya bean paste, made from soya beans and normally rice or barley are mixed with salt and koji (a formentation starter) and allow to ferment for six months to five years.
It comes in many colours, creamy white, yellow, red brown and dark brown, etc.
Usually the light coloured miso has light flavour and dark coloured miso has strong flavour.

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— Sweet Miso Stir-Fried Aubergine & Green Pepper (serves 2) —

1 aubergine

1/2 green pepper

1 tablespoon miso paste  (mideum-coloured)

1 tablespoon sake (rice wine)

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons sesame oil


Cut the aubergine into bite-sized pieces, immerse in water for 10 minutes and drain.

Cut the green pepper into bite-sized pieces.

Mix the miso paste, sake, sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the sesame oil in a frying-pan. Fry the aubergine over a low-medium heat until softened. Add the green peppers and fir-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the miso sauce and stir-fry until the liquid is evaporated.




Salmon Ochazuke

January 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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Ochazuke is a simple and easy Japanese dish. Pouring hot tea over cooked rice, roughly in the same proportion as milk over cereal, and topped with savoury toppings. It’s popular as a light meal or after-drinking snack in Japan.

In the olden days in Kyoto, when a host asks if you want to eat ochazuke, it means you have overstayed their welcome and it being politely asked to leave.
But don’t worry, it’s the custom of the past. If you are offered ochazuke in Kyoto now, then just enjoy :)

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— Salmon Ochazuke (serves 2) —

1 piece salmon fillet

Sea salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup cooked short grain white rice

2 cups Japanese green tea

1/2 sheet nori, finely shredded with kitchen scissors

1/2 spring onion, finely sliced

Wasabi paste


Rub the salmon fillet with a generous amount of sea salt.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying-pan, cook the salmon on both sides over a medium heat until cooked through. Break the salmon into chunks.

Place the cooked rice in a bow, top with the salmon, nori, spring onion and a little wasabi paste.

Pour hot green tea over the rice.




Espresso Granita

January 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Espresso Granita (for 6 small glasses) —

500ml freshly-brewed espresso

100g sugar, or adjust your taste

Some sweetened whipped cream for serving

Some dark chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)


Combine the espresso and the sugar in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved and leave to cool.

Pour the espresso into a shallow container and freeze about 1 hour. Using a fork, stir to break up the crystals. Freeze and stir every 30 minutes until the mixture became small crystals (about 4-5 times total)

To serve, spoon the granita into chilled glasses and dollop with a whipped cream and garnish with the chocolate shavings.




Calamari in Tomato Anchovy Sauce

January 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Calamari in Tomato Anchovy Sauce (serves 4) —

8 tbsp olive oil

6 anchovy fillets, chopped

3 tablespoons capers

2 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 small red chilli, very finely chopped

1kg squid, cleaned a and chopped

A pinch of salt

3 tablespoons white wine

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

20 karamata olives, pettied

A handful chopped flat-leaf parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan, add the anchovies and capers, stir-fry over a medium heat, until the anchovies dissolve.

Add the garlic and red chilli stir-fry for about 1 minutes.

Add the squid, stir-fry for a further couple of minutes. Add the white wine and boil until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

Add the canned tomatoes, olives and a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley.




Garlic Bread Salad

January 2nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Garlic Bread Salad (serves 2) —

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 loaf day-old crusty bread, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and black pepper

10 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

1/2 cucumber, cut into chunks

150g lettuce leaves

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

10 karamata olives, pitted

Small bunch of fresh basil, chopped

Some parmesan cheese, shaved


In a large frying-pan, heat the olive oil and garlic over a medium heat. Add  bread pieces and lightly sprinkle with salt. Sauté until golden brown for 4-5 minutes. 

In a small bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, red onion, karamata olives and basil. drizzle with dressing. Add the sautéed bread, toss well to coat.

Garnish with parmesan cheese.




Caramelised Red Onion & Apple Chutney

December 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Caramelised Red Onion & Apple Chutney (makes 4 jars) —

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 red onions (700g), peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces

3 apples (400g), chopped into small cubes

1 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chilli, very finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

200ml balsamic vinegar

100ml red wine vinegar

200g dark brown sugar

A pinch of salt


Heat the olive oil in large pan and cook the onions over a low heat for about 30 minutes until the onions are golden and sticky.

Add the apples, garlic, chilli, cinnamon stick and bay leaves into the pan, cook for a further 15 minutes.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

Add the balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally.

Spoon into sterilised jars and seal. Store unopened in a cool place. The chutney should rest for at least 2 weeks (4 weeks recommended) before opening.

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Quiche Lorraine

December 19th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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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.

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— 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 –

25g butter

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.




Mussels in Lemongrass & Coconut Milk

December 14th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Mussels in Lemongrass & Coconut Milk (serves 2) —

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

1/2 – 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

400ml coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 lime

Some coriander leaves

Crusty bread to serve


Heat the sunflower oil in a large pot. Add the shallot, garlic, lemon grass, kaffir lime and chilli, cook over medium heat until until soft and fragrant about 3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam the mussels, shaking the pan occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes until the mussels have opened. Finish with the squeeze of line and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Chickpea & Aubergine Salad

November 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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— Chickpea & Aubergine Salad (serves 4) —

1 aubergine, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

Sea salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Some lemon zest, very finely chopped

3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1 can (400g) chickpeas

Freshly ground black pepper


Brash the aubergine slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt.

Heat a large frying-pan over a medium heat. Fry the aubergine until browned and soft on both sides, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, place into a bowl with the aubergine, red onion, lemon zest and parsley. Toss with the dressing, sprinkle with back pepper.

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Parmesan Fried Courgette & Balsamic Glazed Baby Onions

November 13th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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— 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

Some salt

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.

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