Archives for category: Breakfast

This week is National Vegetarian Week apparently. Well in the UK and I know only from twitter and online newspapers I read. Since I mostly eat and have a dear love for vegetarian food here is a tasty paratha version I made for lunch today. Paratha are a type of Indian flatbread and I love endless variations. On a trip to India a few months ago I had the pleasure of cooking with some pretty amazing cooks and was great to see the varieties even the simple Paratha has from different parts of India. The biggest difference is of course either stuffing the paratha or mixing the flour with ingredients but the even using ghee, butter or olive oil can make subtle differences in taste. With a fresh batch of ghee made and some Japanese kabu I thought I would make a twist on the Mooli Paratha. Kabu are a great little vegetable with lots of Vitamin C and dietary fiber and I finely chopped and added some of the shoots which gave a rather lovely colour.

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Yes! Another birthday treat for one of my best friends.. this time a homemade focaccia B.L.T. birthday extravagnaza for Rachel. The bread is such a simple one to make and can be left overnight to rise making it even easier. This special treat paying homage to Rachel was made with Rosemary and had Happy Birthday spelt on on top in sun-dried tomatos and olives. Focaccia is great as a side dish and I like making it to use in sandwiches. The best thing is how easy it is to make, requiring few ingredients and effort, sprinkled with a a topping of choice before it is baked in the oven. Freshly chopped Rosemary or some dry herbs kneaded into the dough and a simple brushing of olive oil and some sea salt thrown over are tasty enough. Olives, sun-dried tomatos, finely chopped garlic and Parmasan are great to play around with too and this recipe is very versatile so do try kneading in ingredients in for more flavour in the focaccia as well sprinkling on top. They work well frozen too so if you have a nice afternoon baking and have any extra you can freeze in little batches for a little snack next time you’re peckish.

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An easy 10 minute recipe my mum said. And after about half an hour not disimilar to a GCSE maths problem the scones were ready to start on and yes they turned out perfectly. The trouble started and usually does for myself and baking with how much of everything I needed. I much prefer cooking to baking, tasting as I go and using my palette to guide what I think should and shouldn’t be added. Baking is more of a science and unless it’s an ‘easy’ recipe I tend to shy away from any complex baking. Two reasons really. The weighing and preparing of ingredients, especially when working with recipes that involves ounces or cups, and all I have is a scale that uses grams, and the amount of butter of sugar that goes into some recipes can freak me out. With cups, a Japanese ‘go’ is slightly smaller than an American ‘cup’ and although I get it doesn’t matter as you just vary the ratio, it does matter when they don’t sell self-raising flour in Japan (except National Azabu apparently) and I have to mix baking powder and regular flour explained in cups! Anyway, thanks to technology and having my unit converter on the iPhone, together with my dashboard widget and a useful Wikipedia guide on cups I was ready to start. Pleas don’t be put off by my complicated intro. These really are easy and turn out perfect. I had some cranberries, blueberries and raisins so thought I would go for a mixed berry version and they even passed the ultimate scone test of being able to be broken in two perfect pieces. Lovely with a cup of tea and next time think I’ll grate some orange rind and with just the cranberries think they’ll make a very festive treat.

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Two very good friends of mine treated me to these delights when I was in London last month so I made some last weekend with what I could find in Tokyo. Simple and SO good. Be careful to let them cool a little when they’re out of the oven. As tempting as diving straight in is, the melted cheese can be quite hot and no-one likes burnt tongue.

If you want to try and make the pastry yourself, lots of help out there. For those of you like me who like the idea of homemade croissants without the 2/3 days prep time, buy some frozen puff pastry, some cheese, ham, or anything else you’d like inside and turn the oven on while you get them rolled out.

By cutting the pastry sheets, once thawed into triangles, filling them and rolling them up, making sure they stay chilled as if they get warm the puff pastry can get soggy. Brushing them with milk or egg and 15-20 minutes in the oven they’ll be a mighty fine start to  day.

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Another quick bite here. I am thinking of having a section just on toast as it’s so simple to make wherever you are, supposedly takes us back to childhood and can easily be jazzed up.

I keep fresh Dill in the freezer as it’s pretty expensive to buy here in Tokyo from regular supermarkets for such a little amount. Buying it from the Thai supermarkets here in bulk for about 200 yen, washing, drying and popping in a plastic tub from the hundred yen store as I do with some other herbs, it’s then on hand for throwing into dishes as I please.

Here, scrambled eggs with the smoked salmon on the toast, a quick squeeze of fresh lemon over, drizzle of avocado oil, and black charcoal salt, pepper and the dill thrown over make a lovely light lunch. Packed with protein will keep you from going hungry till dinner so no need to snack too!

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A very simple dish here which I love to make, and you can vary the ingredients as you like. Subtle changes like trying different potatoes, different cheeses, fresh eggs, adding different herbs can keep you endlessly entertained and served with any variety of salad I find this a wonderfully versatile dish.

This particular delight was made with fresh spinach, shiitake mushrooms – huge ones as big as my palms they were! red peppers, onions, garlic, dried oregano, new potatoes, eggs and fresh parmasan cheese. I don’t buy cheese everyday but I do love treating myself to fresh, good quality cheese when I do buy it so this was one of those days.

Dead simple to make, and I started by getting my spinach filling made. As this cooled on the side, in the same pan my potatoes cooked whilst I beat the egg and turned the oven on. Salt and peppering everything is great so you get your salt levels perfectly balanced. After layering and 20 minutes in the oven, during which I made a quick salad with a classic lemon and balsamic vinegar dressing with black charcoal salt, this was a quick and very enjoyable dinner.

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A traditional Japanese meal here and perfect brunch for me to start my Sunday.

Sanma fish, known as Pacific Saury or Mackerel Pike depending on which dictionary you use, is a real Autumn fish here in Japan. It is very protein rich and simple to grill as needs no preparation. Some other ways it can be served are nicely shown here.

I like to put a bit of water in the grill since the fish is quite fatty and as the fish oils drip in the grill this prevents the oils from spluttering and getting too hot and also makes your grill much easier to clean after you’ve eaten.

Served with some tofu and leek Miso soup, Japanese rice and nori seaweed are the perfect accompaniments and I find fresh lemon is enough to compliment the fish.

While the fish is being grilled on a high heat for about 5-10 minutes, it only needs turning once when the skin is nicely brown and depending on the size of the fish needs a bit longer, you can boil water for the soup, add some dashi stock, chopped leek, stir in the miso paste and tofu and add some ichimi if you like.

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