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

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

A sense memory: Portuguese Cod Soup

I recall eating soups in huge, deep bowls with a piece of rustic bread floating on top. To stretch they added kale, cabbage, and lots of potatoes, but it was digging in to find the fish and pieces of hard boiled egg I remember best.

(recipe follows) I really enjoy reading other peoples blogs. Last week I came across this post which reminded of the soups my aunts would make when I was boy. They were immigrants from the Azores and we all lived in a little community in Artesia. The ingredients depended on what grew in the garden, how much money was left after expenses, and how many people were staying. So salted cod was on my mind. Yesterday I walked by the Korean section of the market — packaged dried cod. My morning ritual is to… 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)

Sweet as you like, apple pie unlike any you know: Apple Pie Your Way

Foodies can be elitist. If your macaroon — or pasta, or x, or y, or z — isn’t exactly as so, it doesn’t count; so follow me they say, mine is The Way, the only way that’s right. That approach to food keeps people out of the kitchen. I’m going to show you what I mean by teaching you a different way to make Apple Pie Your Way. (The recipe is at the very bottom of this post.) But first, what is Apple Pie? The universal ingredients are apples and crust, which I’ll call top… Read More

A week of ten minute recipes

boiled daikon, first step

I’m new to blogging. To get my bearings I’ve been read, read, reading blogs. A constant theme in the food-o-sphere is ‘quick and easy’. Myself, I prefer slow and complicated; but delicious, inexpensive, healthful food is easy to prepare at home and so I’ve decided to do a series of posts in which I make meals in no more than 10 minutes — preparation is required. I spent two hours preparing last Friday and no more than 10 minutes each day throughout the week. (Links to my recipes will follow in the… Read More

Zero To Hero, Day 12: Fermenting, part one

(For a tutorial and recipe for Kim Chi please click the link)   I’ve made my own yogurts and buttermilk for a decade. Last summer I noticed the word “konbuchya” — which has a very different meaning in Japanese — coming up a lot online. The long and short is that I started thinking about fermentation in the home kitchen. I bought a few books, read the personal experiences from many, many bloggers and went shopping on Amazon.co.jp. By November I was ready. I prepared 3 litres of sauerkraut, 5 litres of… Read More

One turkey many ways, debone your turkey for steak and . . .

Turkey is underrated because it’s overeaten in too short a time. The long roasting can dry the meat. And left over meat isn’t going to produce the best dishes. The solution for me has been to debone the turkey, create a layer of dark and white meat rolled into a log which I slice into steaks and freeze. The steaks cook in three to five minutes, or can be cut up and used in other recipes. In addition to the steaks, boning the bird gives us: fat for flavouring dishes two wing… Read More

It’s January 11th, it must Kagami Mochi

How are you doing with your new year resolutions? The year is already moving a breakneck speed and here to remind us is kagami mochi. In the old Japanese calendar each variation of the season lasted ten days. According to that old calendar we’ve already finished one season and to mark the transition we eat kagami mochi. Kagami means mirror, but here refers to a celebratory day. Kagami motchi is a cake of rice said to house the spirit of the rice harvest, which traditionally took place around the harvest moon. Where… Read More

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

First recipe: Indian: Murgh Methi

A few years ago I had the honour to study cooking at The Culinary Academy of India (CAI). Chef told me that teaching regional Indian cooking is impossible as every 20 kilometres from wherever you are, the food is prepared differently: What X connotes in one city can be very different just one town over. To teach me Chef printed out recipes from the web and taught me why tomatoes are used here but fenugreek there, and we cooked and tasted at every step. This was my base education. Indian Food: A Historical… Read More