Archives for category: Vegetarian

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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As you know the areas worst hit are in a state of devastation Our hearts are with those still missing, those who have lost everything and those are directly working to help, risking their lives for the safety of Japan.

In Tokyo, amidst the panic of not knowing how serious the situation is and being unable to help the situation the best we can do for now is stay calm. The British Embassy released a frank and calm statement reassuring there as no reason to worry in Tokyo about nuclear radiation and for now best to follow local authorities advice and not put further strain on resources. The people and businesses in Tokyo have been carefully using electricity so for now no power cuts and although aftershocks and small earthquakes continue we can only hope they stop soon.

I have complete respect and confidence in the Japanese systems in place, their transparency is globally monitored and we all want the same thing, our people to be safe. For those of you who want to help, here are a few ways collected from friends and other online sources:

●If you speak Japanese you can help with interpreting http://www.babelverse.com/

●The people over at Explore.org are donating $1 for every “Like” of the “Dog Bless You” Facebook page, up to $100,000.

●Apple is also dedicating resources to the crisis in Japan. They have created a simple donation page in iTunes [iTunes link] that makes it simple to donate anywhere from $5 to $200 to the Red Cross with just a few clicks.

●One beautiful idea is from ATSUKO KUDO. Her way to help & donate is http://www.atsukokudo.com/japan-tsunami-donation.php

AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region to help. Donate here.

British Red Cross, here.

The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at GlobalGiving.org to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake. It has already raised over $100,000, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world.

Yahoo is accepting donations, only in Japanese

Let’s pray the situation improves, stay up-to-date with facts and keep spirits optimistic. Keeping the economy ticking over will help long-term and when more information on how we can help becomes available let’s do more!!

This is one of my most favourite warm salads that I have been making since the time I lived next to an amazing Deli in Glasgow, Delizique. Glasgow has lots of great deli’s and speciality shops in the West End and it was heaven living amongst them, getting the best of fresh and local produce. It has some terrific restaurants too and I am still inspired by food I ate and chefs I worked with during my time there. I miss deli’s like that and remember being star struck bumping into Robert Carlyle there one day like it was yesterday. They had the most amazing Chorizo and even though good Chorizo is a bit trickier to get your hands on in Tokyo, this salad has some very simple components which make it versatile and easy to make anytime so is worth hunting some down when you can. Sun-dried tomatos, tossed with chorizo, roasted red peppers and red onion, shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, baby spinach make this a very simple, tasty salad.

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A classic Indian Gujarati dish here, made from baked eggplant cooked with onions, spices and tomatoes. I like to make it without tomatoes sometimes and with sliced green chillis, a mix of spices, garlic and ginger it has strong flavours yet a very delicate texture. The onions should be cooked for fairly long, browning and sweetening as they do, and the eggplant baking for 30-40 mins until the skin is black and can effortlessly be removed. The smoky flavour is truly incredible and although you could make a tasty dish without baking the eggplant, it is worth the extra effort and produces a very comforting result. With chapattis, pita bread, rice, or a daal it is a light meal and some plain yoghurt is something I love having with it.

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Such a treat to find plantains in my local supermarket! In Tokyo you have to travel to find products that aren’t usually used in Japanese cooking and these were 100 yen so was really happy to see them. Plantains are from the same family as bananas but lower in sugar and more starchy. Fried in olive oil they are the great little side or snack and with some lime salt they were magic. Very easy to make so do try next time you see some.

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Spinach is one of my all time favourite leafy vegetables.  It has amazing health benefits and needs very little cooking, preparation and can be incorporated in anything. High in calcium, Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and iron it is good for our bones, memory and provides important nutrients and minerals for protecting us against a whole range of diseases. Containing important enzymes, the best way to reap the benefits is by chopping the spinach, not tearing, and not overcooking. The ensures you get the best from the enzymes, and they are broken down and absorbed easily.  This rice is an easy dish to make, very pretty with any curry or side dish, and with the cumin and onions, added flavour and health benefits can be enjoyed.

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A question I am often asked and since I have spent a fair amount of time and effort on this I feel it only to share this golden information with you. Useful if you live here and have tried buying any spice or herb that isn’t used regularly used in Japanese cooking. If you come from any country outside Japan this usually applies. Herbs, spices lentils, Basmati rice, dried fruit like dates, nuts, meat, and cosmetic products like coconut oil can be bought from these places. They can vary considerably in freshness and price, so good to check expiry dates from some of the smaller outfits. Buying online is a convenient way to get heavy rice and lentils sent to your door and most of the internet online shopping groceries offer free delivery for ordering over a certain amount. You can order a big amount and split between friends so you don’t have to store kilos of beans and MUCH cheaper than buying from the international supermarkets.

Also included are the major international supermarkets and some other stores that are good for imported foods. Sometimes if you are near a place or craving something they can be handy.

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