Tomato & Basil Brown Rice Salad


To accompany the chilled cucumber soup, I prepared a refreshing brown rice salad.

Both of these dishes could be made ahead of time, saving you valuable relaxing evening time.

Cold dishes like these really do offer you more interesting lunches as well.

What you don’t see in the image is a side dish I also served,  pan-fried tofu stakes seasoned in curry salt and pepper mix.  A nice tip for crispy tofu steaks is after draining and marinade (30 min),  dust the steaks with a little corn flour around the edges, top and bottom right before cooking them in your hot pan for 2 minutes each side and seal around the edges.  Serve immediately with the dish/salad of your choice.

Here is the salad I made.  It’s super easy to make as you don’t need to cook anything except the rice and egg, of course 🙂 (The egg is optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (1 1/2 cups when uncooked)
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs (I use coriander and sweet basil and fresh mint)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 (cut into 1/8s) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped roughly)
  • sprinkle of Konbu dashi powder or bullion powder to taste
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. When the rice has finished cooking, allow it to cool.
  2. In the mean time combine all other ingredients in a large salad bowl
  3. Mix in the cooled rice then chill until ready to serve.

Easy Chilled Cucumber Soup


The supermarket was offering fresh cucumbers by the case load for an amazing price that I’d be silly to pass up.

The first dishes that came to mind were an Indian raita and a cold cucumber soup.

First up is the soup.

You could drink this as a savoury smoothie (after my first taste I instantly thought of gin.  I reckon this soup would work as an amazing mixer for Hendricks) in a glass, topped up with ice, or enjoyed simply in a bowl as a soup.

What better way to celebrate summer than with a cold soup and salad.

Here’s what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cucumbers (peeled and de-seeded) or 5 Japanese cucumbers (peeled)
  • 1 small/half clove of garlic (minced) (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups Low fat plain/Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Konbu dashi (or vegetable bullion powder)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
  • The Juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Simply add all ingredients to a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve
  4. serve in a glass filled with Ice or in a bowl as desired.

I love SALAD!!


It’s most definitely salad season here in Japan… Yipeee!!! Absolutely one of my most enjoyed foods.
The joy with salad is, you can go as simple or complex as you like, there are no limits!! Time to get creative…

What type of salad makes your mouth water? I want to try them all!!  Please post your comments 😀

Today, despite the gray dull rainy weather, I never lost my appetite for preparing tonight’s salad.
Perhaps that’s the reason the sun shone for the first and only time today when I decided to photograph my creation…hhhmmmm, maybe 🙂

Recipe:

  • Around 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 shredded small cucumber
  • 1 chopped small red pepper
  • 6 chopped green olives
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup pasta
  • 1/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 9 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • A hand full of chopped basil
  • Roughly 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves
  • 1/2 can tuna(drained)

Dressing:

  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1 tbsp Mayo(light)
  • 3 tbsp soy milk

Directions:

  1. Boil your pasta and bulgur in separate pans according to the package instructions.
  2. In the mean time, Wash and chop your veg.
  3. As soon as your pasta and bulgur have finished cooking, rinse with cold water, simply to avoid over cooking and wilting your fresh greens.
  4. Assemble your salad, keeping aside the avocado, tomatoes and sunflower seeds as these are to garnish the salad. Squeeze the lemon juice over and mix through,
  5. For the dressing, combine all ingredients and set aside. I love my wasabi strong, so carefully add and taste, add and taste until you reach your desired strength. Even if you feel it’s still a little over powering, you will find the flavour will mellow out when mixed into your salad.
  6. Drizzle a little of the dressing over each serving.
  7. Finally  garnish with the avocado, seeds and tomatoes.

Enjoy 😛

Five Spice Kabocha, Brown rice and Tofu Salad


Can you see a wee theme going here. This one is definitely a take on a post from yesterday. Yup, I loved that mushroom salad so much I wanted to make a variation. Grilled and roasted veggies are soooo goood.

This one is similar but different, if that makes any sense

The main component is Kabocha. The five spice seasoning adds that extra dimension to the flavourful vegetable. All of the other flavours in the dish compliment it without over powering it. The varitey of beautiful textures from the soft tofu to the brown rice with bite are utterly satisfying and extremely healthy and wholesome.

My image, again, doesn’t do the dish any justice, but it gives you an idea at least. Just ignore the flash of light to the left.

Here you go…delish!!

Ingredients;

  • 1/4 kabocha cut into thin slices (be careful, using a very sharp knife makes this easier, but also pretty dangerous)
  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 150g firm tofu (drained)
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sprinkle of cracked salt and pepper
  • A bunch of spinach roughly cut
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 umeboshi

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl add the sliced kabocha
  2. Splash a little of the olive oil and add the five spice then mix evenly (with your hands, I find is best)
  3. Add to the grill pan – the rack.
  4. Perform the same method to the aubergine using the rest of the olive oil, then add to the grill tray along with the kabocha
  5. Grill on a medium heat turning frequently
  6. In the mean time, wash and chop your spinach. Drain and dress with the lemon juice and sesame seeds
  7. Cut the tofu into cubes and add to the spinach.
  8. Allow your rice to cool a little before adding to the spinach and tofu.
  9. Mix through with a little salt and pepper
  10. Dress your plates with the salad
  11. When your veggies have cooked through, place on top of the salad
  12. Serve with umeboshi or a pickle of your choice.
  13. Enjoy 🙂