Curried Tomato,Soybean & Rice One-Pot


I think I’ll keep this post short and sweet with a little added spice today.
Annoyingly I have come down with a nasty chest infection which has forced me to take a day off work. I suppose it’s not such a bad thing to stay at home and rest instead of spreading my smelly germs around the school. However, I really can’t handle being cooped up in the flat all day. Sadly, I have no energy to do much, but I’m sure there is a little left in me to write a post on a one-pot rice cooker dish I made last night. I really wanted to share this one. “It’s up there”, as Andy groaned in enjoyment to me last night. I hope it’s up there for you too.

I actually wasn’t so sure how this meal would turn out as I was purely experimenting, but not in an extremely adventurous way though. In saying that, I think I have a fairly good idea on ingredients and flavours which work well together without following a recipe so kind of knew it might taste half decent. I also hadn’t made a full dish in my rice cooker for a while, so thought, since I was feeling out of energy and steam, it was the perfect meal to make, offering me the goodness I need to get better.

By the time the dish was ready the sun had completely set leaving me no natural light to show off my food in a photo. Dull cooker hood lighting is what I settled for. This made my dish look not to dissimilar to a rice and baked beans combo. I swear to you though, baked beans were no where near this dish or my house thankfully.

I would have preferred to use chick peas, but I just had to use what I had on hand. Since I have been asked to make it again there will be ample oportunity for modification. Hopefully, by then, the sun will be shining to show off the goods with a mouth watering snap. For now, here’s an Idea of what it looked like last night.

This dish was so full of flavour you don’t even notice an absence of meat. It contains enough protein and nutrition without adding meat. In saying that I never miss meat, but I’m sure Andy does.
This dish was just too easy. With having such a heavy schedule at times, it’s perfect for me.

The aroma it releases whilst cooking really waters your mouth, but the true joy is in the eating. Give it a go, you’ll see what I mean. What you can’t see in the photo above are the crunched almonds I sprinkled on top before serving. They really make this one memorable for me. Those and the cottage cheese, Yummmm…

What I enjoy most about cooking is when dishes are easy to prepare, but offer amazingly delicious results good enough to impress. I also love knowing what’s in my food and the benifits it can give my body. Got to stay beautiful and healthy if I want to continue traveling the way I do.

I don’t know if it’s because of the restaurants I choose to eat in, but I never feel satisfied after a meal. Of course I’ll feel full but I either leave with over powering guilt that I’ve gone way over my calorie limit, or annoyed that there wasn’t enough goodness in what I had eaten due ti it being destroyed with butter, oil and salt. Living in Japan, does offer a lot of healthy option in restaurants adding soba noodles, sashimi and tofu and an array of salads. However, even Japanese chefs can take short cuts by adding unnecessary oil or lard to their soups for flavour, or over dress and drown their salads or by deep-frying and over seasoning their vegetables. I have found a couple of cafes which offer the goodness I look for especially he one I visited on my birthday. But finding cafes like those are like finding a needle in a hay stack.

For me I prefer to cook at home, more satisfaction for the money in my opinion. Living in the country offers you the freshest of vegetables, which you’d be a fool to pass up.

So, back to the one-pot, this dish couldn’t be easier. If you have a rice cooker and love to experiment like me, give this one go. I have never used a pressure or slow cooker before, but I’m sure it would also work in any of those. If you do like the sound of it and try it out, please let me know what you think. Or if you have suggestions to make it even better my coments box is always open.

Oops I must have had more energy than I thought as this post is possibly longer than the others I’ve written.

Appologies if I went on a bit too much.
Happy cooking 🙂

Here you, go;

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 tin of organic plum tomatoes
  • 500mls water
  • 2 sachets of Konbu Dashi
  • 1 inch of fresh root ginger (chopped)
  • 2 plump cloves of garlic
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 100g soy beans (Garbanzo/chick peas would also be fabulous)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 tbsp crushed almonds (they make the dish. They beautiful flavour and texture)
  • 2 tbsp cottage cheese

Directions:

  1. Simply put all ingredients into the rice cooker leaving out the spinach and coriander
  2. Set to the porridge setting and press cook.
  3. After 20 minutes, open the cooker to stir the ingredients again. Close and wait for the music. (My cooker plays twinkle twinkle little star when the food is done :D)
  4. Stir though the herbs and spinach
  5. dish up the risotto style dish on smallish plates
  6. Top with the cottage cheese and crushed almonds and enjoy.
  7. I also squeezed a little lemon juice on my portion (only because I love citrus flavoured curries)

Chocolate Orange Tofu Mousse


Success, I wasn’t tempted or distracted to buy anything from the supermarket that wasn’t necessary or overly indulgent.   I also remembered to pick up some oranges for this particular post.

So here we have it, the Chocolate Orange Mousse I’ve been meaning to make!

I have to admit, the other mousse I have made in the past, in particular the strawberry one, there was a hint of tofu taste I wasn’t overly happy about.  The taste doesn’t bother me, but I guess it may put some people off and sway them away from the power and versatility of the wonderful stuff.

But here, however, no one will be able to guess the full ingredients.

After making deserts, I can’t resist testing the batter or in this case, completely cleaning the entire blender of any trace of chocolate orange mousse with my spoon.  This one is a pleaser.  I’m never so confident about my food until I have had at least one other person try it, but this one is an absolute exception.

My pouring/presentation skills have a little to be desired, but I am a learner after all.

What really matters is the pure deliciousness of the content.

I assure you it’s a good one and extremely easy to make.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 100g 70% Coco Chocolate
  • A knob of butter
  • The juice and zest of 1 small orange or 1/2 Med/Large Orange
  • 150g Firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tbsp Pure Natural honey or Brown Sugar

Directions:

  1. 1st melt the chocolate in a double boiler, when it is melting nicely add the nob of butter and honey/sugar
  2. In a blender add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. When the chocolate has melted fold in the tofu slowly mixing until the colour is even
  4. There with be remains of tofu mixture on the blender, so transfer the chocolate tofu to the blender and blend together scraping the white from the sides to create an even colour.
  5. Pour into small serving dishes, cover and chill until you are ready to serve, one hour + is best.
  6. Garnish with a slice of orange and serve.

Summery Strawberry Mousse


I had this one for breaky as it’s not over sweet and the fresh sweetness of  the strawberries is so inviting and comforting.  It tastes rich, but completely healthy and low in calories, what more can you ask for?

If not for breakfast, I also think this would be a great spread for scones or sandwiched in a sponge cake.

I initially wanted to make a chocolate orange tofu mousse, but forgot to buy the chocolates and orange…doh!  The strawberries were calling out for me to buy them.  They looked too vibrant and juicy to resist…aaand they were a bargain!  Bonus!

So here you have it, a baby of tofu, ginger and strawberries was born and devoured almost immediately.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tub of firm tofu
  • 1/2 a punnet of strawberries (10 – 12 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure natural honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy
  2. transfer into small ramekins then chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve

Spicy Carrot and Olive Oil Cake


Can words describe this very breath of spring? Can a photo explain how it makes me feel?  Here I found a space to take a deep breath and finally let it all go, thanks to a mid-week holiday.   Ahhh… release.

Here I sit in our favourite park, the air is fresh and everything surrounding us is a vibrant green.  Whilst munching on beautifully prepared take out sushi and a crispy salad, I am content planning more lessons and brushing up my Nihongo skills.  This combination of sun and working at my own pace feels amazing.

I know it’s a holiday and work’s a no go area.  It’s time to rest right?  Time to take your mind off of the stressful things in life.  Do the things you never have time to do.  Time to make the most of your time out of work, ehe?

Well…Having had a rush of inspiration I wanted to grab it with both hands. I’m on a roll.  What a load off!  Oh, how I love when that happens.  Everything feels like it’s all in the right place again.

These days all I can think about is work.  Always looking for ways how to improve what I do.    As the responsibilities are increasing, unfortunately so is my stress.   I’m slowly becoming used to this change in pace and now looking at it as a perfect way to gain more experience.

I am so lucky to have someone to talk to about, work, new ideas and issues that arise.  Someone who is on the same page as me.

Andy has been Mr motivator, always staying positive for me and helping me through my slightly chaotic working life.  We tend to bounce off one another, so to speak, when it comes to creating the best possibilities for lessons. I love his focus, his drive.  I definitely feed off of it.  He is my muse, my inspiration.  He has been from the beginning.  Almost 10 years…wow, he has had to put up with me for that long.  Cheers Andy!

One of my favourite ways to return the favour is to have him be my guinea pig.  He loves his food more than I do!  He re-energises his muse juice by feeding on the food I cook.   What’s more and what’s best is, he offers the best comments and criticism on new dishes happen I try out.  The comments are what keep me motivated and experimental and creative.  I guess they are what feed him too.

The encouragement is what keeps me searching for new ways to view what I eat and why I eat it.

Keeping healthy is important for us, and so is eating.  I see it as a hobby that will definitely not go out of fashion.  Something that isn’t a phase.  I still have a lot to learn, and now look to those with the experience to offer their guidance.

So far the best part about cooking is the sharing.

So I want to share this one with you.

I know everyone says their cake is the best, but this one is by far the best of the bunch!!  Well, out of the cakes I have made in my rice cooker so far.  I never usually crave cake to the point I can’t stop thinking about it.  This one has sent me to a whole new world of cake!!  (I really need to get working out.  Working, cooking, eating, blogging!! I can feel my body becoming spongy as I type).  What’s amazing is that like my other cakes, this one it isn’t wasted calories.  You are getting some goodness from them.  Just try not to eat the entire cake to yourself.  This, however, will be a challenge.

This one is coming with me to mountains to share with one of my closest friends here in Japan, Sofie.   Maaaaan we are gonna miss you so much!  Don’t go! 😦

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a little under  3/4 of a cup of oil (half olive oil/half ground nut oil)
  • 3 large finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites (whipped)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • a generous pinch of ground cloves
  • a pinch or turmeric
  • 1 handful crushed pecans/walnut’s
  • Juice and zest of one lemon

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl sift the flour 3 times.  The 3rd time sift it together with the baking soda,powder, salt and spices.
  2. Finely grate the carrots (this is the work out for me.  A perfect way to burn a few calories)
  3. In another bowl combine the sugar, oil, carrots and lemon juice then add the flour and mix together well.
  4. Finally, with a spatula, fold in the soft peaked egg whites.
  5. Transfer to your greased rice cooker pan or if you are using a regular oven, use a greased cake tin.
  6. RICE COOKER:  set to CAKE then TIME is for 60 mins
  7. PREHEATED OVEN at 180˚C or 350˚F  cook for  45 mins
  8. Finally let it rest on a cooling tray before cutting then serve.
  9. I don’t like frosting, I also don’t think this cake needs it either, due to it being so full of flavour and so moist.


Aloe Energiser


The count down has started before my working life commences after a wonderfully relaxing and occasionally not so relaxing break.

Every hour is precious today, so an early start with an energising booster smoothie has set me on my way.

Recipe (serves 2)

  • 1/2 tub tofu
  • 8 tbsp fresh aloe gel
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup spring water
  • a few cubes of ice in each glass
  • 1 cup strawberries (chopped)

Directions

  1. Simply put all ingredients into the blender and mix until smooth
  2. If you want to make the mixture a little more creamy add a little soy milk to the mixture and blend together.
  3. Divide between 2 cold ice filled glassed and serve

Ginger Rice


Spring is most definitely here.  No complaints from me about the sudden increase in temperature.  Spring fashion, food, BBQs, sunshine and swimming in the sunshine, those are amongst some of what I look forward to in the coming weeks.  Only one thing which stands between me and my sunshine fun times is…..W.O.R.K.

Holidays are most definitely over when that word enters my mind.  It’s looking like that time again to get planning for the kiddies at school and less time planning for what I want to eat next.  Och well…

I have a fridge full of goodies and a lot of recipe ideas up my sleeve…  So exciting 😀 Keep your eyes peeled for those.

On tonight’s menu we have;

Ginger & Mushroom Sticky Rice served with a colourful mixed salad of tofu, broccoli strawberries and umeboshi.

Ingredients (Ginger Rice)

  • 30g Ginger
  • 2 cups rice
  • 400ml Konbu Dashi
  • 100g mushrooms (I used shitake)
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp Mirin
  • 1tbsp Sake

Directions

  1. wash and drain your rice
  2. then simply add all the ingredients into the rice cooker and set to cook
  3. The rice should come out slightly sticky
  4. I garnished this dish with a wedge of lemon juice and nanohana (rape seed)

A few interesting facts about this edible flower, nanohana or rapeseed in English

菜の花 NANOHANA Rapeseeds, Canola

Rapeseeds are high in carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium and calcium.   Rapeseed is a well balanced nutritional vegetable. When you steam them, steam for only a short time, otherwise you will lose the vitamin C.  It’s said that rapeseed is good for your immune system. It also helps reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The spicy component is allyl isothiocyanate which is known to help prevent and fight against cancer and blood clots.

You can boil or steam this vegetable to enjoy as a side dish or use it for tempura.

I intend to upload the images for this recipe later so please check back to see how it turned out.  I will also write up the yummy salad  recipe which I served along side it.

I am very much satisfied with this dish.  I love its fresh flavours (ginger being one of my favourites), also its ease of preparation amongst other things.  Find out for yourself and let me know how you get on.

For now I have to head off to study a little more Japanese.

Catch you later

Happy eating