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.

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)

Rice Cooker Blueberry & Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake.


I have tried to decide on a cake to bake for my big birthday night out on Saturday.

Here’s the criteria;

  • I’m not so fussed about it being healthy.  If it is then it’s a bonus.
  • I want it rich and decadent
  • Delicious
  • Amazing
  • Beautiful
  • colourful
  • Not too delicate as it has to travel 45 minutes to the restaurant.

My first thought was a red velvet cake due to its boldness in colour and style.  Unfortunately  none of my local supermarkets stocked enough red food colouring, so that was that option out of the window.  I actually can’t seem to justify using so much food colouring either.  They do look really pretty though.

Do you think the cake would turn a beautiful purple if I used grated aubergine skins and blueberry purée?

Anyway, whilst I was rummaging around other foodies blogs I stumbled upon a beautiful blueberry sponge cake with cream cheese frosting, which looked toooo good to pass by.   This one was quickly marked in my favourites.

The cream cheese in the frosting of this recipe reminded me that I have always wanted to try out a baked cheese cake recipe in my rice cooker.  You see, baked cheese cakes here in Japan are the best you will try.  They are so simple, containing the main flavours, cheese and the zest of lemon, but they just look too plain for a 30th birthday party.  I have never really liked the biscuit bases in the ones I have tried before and the filling is always too creamy for me.  However, they do look colourfully impressive, with all the various combinations of fruit don’t they?

Decisions, decisions.  Cheese cake or blueberry cake???

So, I thought, why not join both cake ideas?  It would have been too much of a risk experimenting on the friday night before the big night out, so today is the day the cake experimentation began.

The results?  So far so good.  It has risen at least, and looks promising.  I am now waiting for it to cool completely before taking it out of  ‘Benri’ for a photo shoot.

Ok, the results are in.  Just as I thought.   A superficial disaster!!  I will say this though, it is absolutely delicious.   Try out the recipe in a regular oven, it is yummy.

I’m going to try this one again, but not using a ring tin next time.  My tin was useless. It wasn’t stick proof and wasn’t greased enough 😦 I think I’ll save it for the fruit terrines in future.

At least you can always rely on the sun to make any disaster look pretty, ehe?

For the cake, which is beautifully rich and lemony, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • juice and zest from  lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your rice cooker on the cake setting.
  2. Grease the rice cooker pan with butter or oil.
  3. sift the flour 3 times, on the 3rd time sift in the baking powder and soda
  4. Beat cream cheese with milk to soften.
  5. mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy
  6. Add the egg yolks then mix until smooth.
  7. mix in the cream cheese mixture, vinegar and the lemon juice & zest to the butter mixture
  8. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy.
  9. Gradually fold beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, stirring gently.
  10. mix in the blueberries
  11. Pour into the bundt cake tin (make sure it fits in your rice cooker first) then insert the tin into the rice cooker pan and smooth the surface.
  12. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a pick inserted in the middle of the center comes out clean.
  13. be careful not to open the lid until it has been in the oven for at least 20 minutes.

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 🙂

Benri’s Bakery


So here we are, work has officially commenced after the glorious golden week here in Japan.  Ahh。。。なつかし

I’m so terrible at choosing omiage (souvenir) treats for my teachers in all of my 3 schools I teach at (Aprox. 100+ teachers).  I always have the great intention of picking the best I can find.  It’s a huge tradition here in Japan to bring back sugary treats to share after you have travelled somewhere.  Something I really can’t seem to get into.  It’s apart of their culture, I know, so I really should respect that right?  Well, I do, but they often taste terrible, extravagantly packaged and very over priced.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stingy,  I’m just careful.   I do love sharing and giving, but this, I just can’t seem to justify.

My solution, make your own.  Who doesn’t like home-made delicious cakes?  I love making them, so why not?  So that’s what I did.  I also made one for each of Andy’s 4 schools.  Making a total of 7 cakes…what did I get myself into!!  My poor wee rice cooker is doing crazy over time and my right whisking arm is bulking up big time.   My belly is becoming jellylicious too with all the taste testing…must stop that one!!   But, I just can’t resist.  Too yummy.

The results were just as I thought.  No matter how amateur a cook you are, people seem to really enjoy the warmth and effort that goes into home cooking.  Especially the cake lovers out there. Surprisingly, the teachers who I thought didn’t understand a word of English shocked me by listing all the ingredients of the cake, in English.  One teacher has even asked me to do an English learning cooking class with my 5th grade elementary kids.  This made my day yesterday.  Happy.

Here is one of my wee creations, Carrot cake number 5, which popped out of the oven at 11pm on Thursday evening. Not the best lighting, I know. Not the best camera either, but that will change soon as the big 30 is approaching fast.  Almost time to treat myself…yeahyee 😀


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.


Edamame Salad with Wasabi Dressing


This weekend was off to a rocky start from Friday night.  Coming home with a head full of stress then waking up at 4.30 am on a Saturday morning worrying about work is something I don’t want repeated.  To top it all off, all the dishes I made completely flopped too.  Definitely something to do with my energy imbalance, I think.  Luckily for me the sun has been on my side and shining beautifully in my direction.

Ever since my knee injuries a little over a year ago now, my exercise regime has pretty much come to a stand still.  My body has been crying out for a decent cardio work out, even more  so now that my blood is beginning to boil over with stress.  I pushed myself to take a dip in the city training pool to work it out of my system.

I’m not a huge fan of swimming, mainly because I’m not great at it, however, desperate measures were called for and now I’m happy I went.  What an amazing workout!   Not as great as a 10k run, but I can’t afford to be picky when it comes to exercise right now.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday either.  Again the weather was glorious!  Still feeling a little fragile, we took a ride to the Buddhist  Chakra temples a short 45min or so bike ride away.  The fresh sunny spring air seems to be all I needed to get things into perspective.  Feeling inspired again and ready for a new, hopefully not so stressful week.

To finish of this slight roller coaster of a weekend I was in the need of a fresh crispy salad with rice of some sort.  Here’s what I came up with; an edamame salad with a wasabi dressing on the side of a mixed Japanese mushroom rice dish.   Also, In the fridge I have a strawberry and blueberry terrine setting as I type.   I hope it’s ready  and turns out successfully for a photo and post tomorrow.

This salad is inspired by a post I found on my foodbuzz page, but changed it to fit the ingredients I bought today.

The dressing is something I came up with a year ago when I was desperate for a dressing at the last-minute.  It has been a regular dip and dressing since.  It tastes much more powerful if you use fresh wasabi, but the paste works well too.   I absolutely love wasabi.  I could easily have it with everything. 😛

Ingredients (Salad):

  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • handful of sweet basil (torn/chopped)
  • 1 cup of leafy greens
  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 9 quartered cherry tomatoes
  • a handful chopped spring onions
  • 1 cucumber diced

DRESSING

  • 2 tsp low fat mayo
  • 1 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tsp wasabi (fresh/ready made paste)

Directions:

Simply assemble the salad mixing all ingredients together then drizzle a little of the dressing to your taste.

As I mentioned I pared up the salad with a Japanese style mushroom rice mix.  I mixed it into brown rice and barley.

Ingredients:

  • 200g japanese mushrooms (I used shitake and maitake)
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 5g bonito flakes
  • some chopped green onions

Directions;

  1. put the soy sauce and the mirin in a small sauce pan and bring to the boil.
  2. add the mushroom and cook until all the liquid is absorbed
  3. mix through the bonito flakes and sesame seeds.
  4. When your rice is ready, simply mix through and serve.

Bellow is a lemon cake which I attempted, however it failed to raise.

On the good side it tasted amazing, so full of flavour.  The texture wasnt fluffy like the recipe stated, but more puddingy, pie like and a wee bitty stodgy.

I actually love stodgy cakes.  I dressed it with some fresh grapes and a drizzle of natural yogurt, which complimented the lemon in the cake beautifully.  It really did burst with spring deliciousness, regardless of the fact it was a bit of a failure.

I will actually make this one again in the hope I make the same mistake as last time 😀

Here is my variation of the linked recipe:

Ingredients: serves 8

  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven 350 degrees/ rice cooker to 50 mins on cake setting
  2. beat together the butter and sugar to a fluffy creamy texture
  3. add egg and mix until combined
  4. add honey, lemon juice, yogurt and vanilla
  5. In s separate bowl sift together the baking powder, baking soda, spices and flour
  6. Mix the flour mixture together with the liquid then transfer to a loaf tin or your rice cooker bowl.
  7. Bake for 40-45 mins
  8. allow to cool in the tin before transferring it to a wire cooling tray.

serve with a drizzle of natural yogurt and some halved grapes (or a fruit of your choice)

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili.


There goes another weekend.   Here’s what happened;

A short bike ride took us to Akaoka Beach for lunch, but the wind was insane…

Something had to be done about that, so we stopped in at our favourite cafe, where they make the most delicious baked cheese cake I have ever eaten.  Just look at it! mmmmm…

Sat night was spent in a really good izakaya. My images don’t do the food any justice, but believe me, it was mouth watering.  Only one problem, there wasn’t enough.  However, the umeshu (plum wine) quickly satisfied me. 

On Sunday, I woke up ridiculously early considering I didn’t get home until a little after 3am.  Luckily there wasn’t much of a hangover, but still, I needed to freshen up my head and make the most of my Sunday.  That’s where my trusty mamachari (my bike in the image above) came in handy.  We went for a 25km or so bike ride to this beautiful park out in the country side.  despite it being a really hilly ride, it was one of the most beautiful routes.  My poor wee body is suffering a little now, but it was worth it.

Whilst munching on some very deserved lunch, more Japanese was studied.  I like to believe it’s getting better, but I can’t seem to find the confidence to speak it much unless I’ve had a few.  I suppose the same can be said about speaking in general actually.

A healthy and hearty meal followed in the evening.  I have never made a vegetarian chili before, in fact I’ve never even eaten one, but wanted to give it a go.  It wasn’t as spicy as I usually like it, but it was really satisfying.   I served it up with genmai (Japanese brown rice)…beautiful.

I have so much left over, so tonights dinner is an easy one.

Perhaps I’ll make a tofu and avocado guacamole and serve it up with warmed wraps and a fresh, crunchy salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small kabocha/squash
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans / 2 cups dried(is what I used)
  • 1 tsp chili powder/ 1.5 tsp dried chopped chilies
  • 1 tsp toasted and crushed cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 fresh chili (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 300 ml water/ Dark Ale (I used water as Andy can’t have yeast)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. If you are using dried black beans, soak them over night for quicker cooking.
  2. The next day cook every cup of beans with 2 cups of cold water
  3. bring to the boil then cook on a low heat for an hour to keep the beans in their Jackets.
  4. Cut the pumpkin/squash into 1/2 ” cubes.
  5. Pour olive oil into a large pot over a medium – high heat
  6. Add onion & saute until soft and translucent (around 3 minutes)
  7. stir in the tomatoes, pumpkin and spices then bring to the boil
  8. cook for 25 min or until the pumpkin becomes tender
  9. Sir in the pepper and cook for a further 4 min
  10. stir through some fresh coriander saving some for garnish
  11. serve up with rice and a little yogurt or sour cream

Honey Glazed Fish Fillets


It was absolutely stunning out until the torrential rain started. Oh rain, why must you disrupt my happiness?

Not to worry, at least one day out of the weekend allowed for some adventure.

I figured with all this eating, I really should burn off at least some of it some how.

We took a ride on the bikes through the countryside then along the coast. I am gutted I forgot my camera to show you how stunning it all was. Getting caught in a storm was a highlight. Luckily a different kind of storm, one which makes you feel like you are in a fairy story.

花吹雪 はなふぶき or hana-fubuki is what it’s called in Japanese, meaning “Flower Petal Blizzard,” and refers to the “blizzard” created by Japanese cherry blossoms when they are blown off the trees by a strong wind.
So sad they are falling so soon, but so beautiful at the same time.

The dinners delights were what I looked forward to next.

On the menu we had, Honey glazed white fish fillets on a bed of rice with steamed asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Followed by umeboshi ochazuke.

This image of ochazuke wasn’t taken by me. I stole it 😛

My portion was also much smaller than this 🙂

Life only seems to get better…well, when it doesn’t rain that is.

Ingredients (FISH & DRESSING): (serves 2)

  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Pure honey
  • 1 tsp vegetable/olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • cracked pepper
  • 2 White Fish Fillets of your choice

Directions:

  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a deep-ish dish, big enough to fit the fish steaks.
  2. bathe the stakes in the mixture, cover and allow to marinade
  3. Meanwhile prepare the next part of the dish below.

Ingredients: (rice)

  • 2 cups of washed white/ brown Japanese rice
  • 1 sachet of mixed seads
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper and salt
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in the the rice cooker and set to cook on either the white or brown rice setting…yep, it’s that simple.
  2. When the cooking cycle is finished leave on the keep warm setting. Open the top and place some chopped cherry tomatoes ontop of the rice, close the lid then allow to steam whilst you cook the fish.

Directions (Cooking the Fish and steaming the asparagus)

  1. Heat up some olive oil in a skillet then cook the fish including all of the marinade juice until the fish is cooked through.
  2. At the same time steam the asparagus until tender with a slight bite to them.
  3. Serve up and enjoy.

As for the Ochazuke, this is a dish you can make with left over rice if you didn’t serve it all up.

It’s a very popular dish here in Japan and a favourite for hangovers.

All it is, is plain rice topped with green tea. About the same amount as you would add milk to cereal.

This dish can be eaten with many different toppings as a side dish, after a main meal or as a main meal. A popular topping here is crispy seaweed flakes and steamed fish or umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum)

I love this dish, especially when the rice is slightly crispy from the bottom of the rice cooker. …mmm…satisfied

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