Bolognese Sauce (with vegan option)

The backbone of any western dish.

(recipe follows) _ Japan has slowly tortured all the affection I had for Italian food out of me by reducing it to PASTA. _ A: Let’s go out! B: Where? A: Italian. B: (Pasta!) ___ If you’re out looking for a restaurant _ A: I’m hungry. Oh look, Italian! B: (Pasta) __ Even when you’re at a Japanese restaurant _ A: Hey, look! They have tuna on the menu. B: (It’s served over pasta! ) _ None of it is any good. It’s almost always overcooked spaghetti with watered down tomato sauce containing… Read More

The Kim Chi Department

Living near Tokyo means Seoul is a day trip. I was in Seoul last May to visit a friend for hanami, do a little shopping, and eat. The most prestigious department store in South Korea is a massive 12 story chunk of architecture named Lotte. Their food department is kinetic, laid out to show how much you’re spending and pulse you through the whole floor. Each pristine display has a salesperson fitted to the task. Toothsome young ladies in Confectionary, delicate women in Fruits, dishy old broads in Kim-Chi — I confess, I completely… Read More

Dosa, a recipe

Dosa and Sambar.

I received a bilingual Indian cookbook about seven years ago, English and Japanese — I ordered every single ingredient. Two years later I was attending cooking school in India. The first day I had to study in the library, which was packed with Asian, European, African, and Indian faces — every one of them were Indian — their culinary traditions as varied and in harmony with each other. In southern India Dosa is ubiquitous and varied like the faces in India. It is made with urad dal and rice, or semolina, or with an… Read More

Waste not! Croquette.

Croquette served with breaded fish, two kinds of kim chi, and daikon salad.

(recipe follows) I don’t waste food. I keep the scraps and cuttings — those little bit of trim you might easily discard — and find a way to use them. Yesterday I made a lentil soup using pork bones to flavour the stock. After I strained the bones out from the soup, I pulled off the little meat that was left and along with the tips —  not tops — of the carrot and celery, minced the whole fine and added a ladle of very thick béchamel and folded in a bit… Read More

Play with your food! — Dosa Your Way

I poured Dosa batter into a waffle iron and set it to high. Ten minutes later -- beep, beep, beep -- and it was on a plate. Coconut chutney is usually served much, much thinner, but I wanted to see how the thicker texture would fill the gaps.

I wanted something different for lunch, but my refrigerator is filled with leftovers. To add variety I changed the approach to something typical by using different tools: I used an American waffle maker to make an Indian dosa (link to recipe) — and it was perfect. Crisp on the outside, it gave way with a loud, satisfying crunch. Inside was the flavour of urad dal. If I had added a thinner coconut chutney, it might have made this particular Dosa soft, muted the urad dal flavour, and required a knife and fork.

Play with your food! — Bindaettok Your Way

Bindaettok made in a waffle iron with kim chi, corn, and mixed greens.

Since I had the waffle iron out I took the last of my Bindaettok (link to recipe), mixed in a few odds and end taking space in the salad crisper and poured the batter into the machine. It steamed like a locomotive and took close to 20 minutes to finish. It was crunchy without having used any oil. The spices in the batter from the kim-chi (link to recipe) were aromatic and it tasted very good, kind of like a chip. However, I was already full from the dosa and could only finish half…. Read More

Play with your food! — Lasagne In A Pan Your Way

I was hungry after work. In keeping with my ten minute rule I boiled water, rolled a sheet of lasagne, boiled it and assembled it on a small skillet with a drizzle of basil infused olive oil. I'm out of béchamel, so I layered with mascarpone and vegetarian Bolognese. It took four minutes on the stove to make it hot -- onto the plate with a little Marinara. 12 minutes.

I wanted something light and quick for dinner, high protein, balanced carbohydrate. I wanted chew, so I put in soy “meat” balls. Since it was vegetarian I wanted to maximise flavour and coated the pan with a drizzle of basil infused olive oil. (link to tutorial for the sauce)


I layer vegetables in my kim-chi jar so that as I progress I always have something new to eat.

By soaking the beans overnight you can have a healthy meal (link to recipe and tutorial) in ten minutes with as few a three ingredients. You can also make kim chi (link to recipe and tutorial).

mung bean pancakes, bindaettok, and skills every cook should know

Lunch in ten minutes Bindaetteok with home made kim-chi.

(The recipe is at the bottom of this post.) As I mentioned in my Quiche Epiphany, I contracted vegetarianism when I was 14. Unchecked, it grew into full blown veganism by 21. International travel cured me: It’s hard to be picky when your abroad — even less so way back when, but I still love vegetarian and vegan foods. My guide when I was 14 was Recipes For A Small Planet. The only foods I had the skill to prepare were bean burgers — for years I ate bean burgers not knowing… Read More

stuffed portobello mushrooms with Bolognese sauce

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and spinach topped with (vegetarian-ized) bolongaise sauce, na no hana (I have no idea what its called in English, if you do, let me know) as a side dish. — This dish took only ten minutes to put together. By preparing the sauce the day before, I can have a healthy, light meal in the time it takes to steam the vegetables and cook the mushrooms.

portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and spinach topped with (vegetarian-ized) bolongaise sauce, na no hana as a side dish. It’s surprising how much like meat the mushroom smells, tastes, feels. — Everything is homemade and this dish took only ten minutes to put together.

Seven Herbs: Seven Days: Nanakusagayu

Seven days after the new year Japanese people eat okayu, a kind of rice porridge, flavoured with seven herbs. The dish is called nanakusagayu, or Seven Herbs Okayu. It’s not delicious. It’s traditional. It’s a way to count the progression of the year — one week has already passed. Like Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, onwards and forewords we travel through the year until we’re back where we started one year further on. Nanakusagayu. It’s that time again. To make okayu you’ll need a ratio of 1:5 rice:water, though some families add… Read More