Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chicken and Mango Salad

A light, refreshing salad that can be prepared a few hours in advance to allow the flavours to develop.


· 200g Greek natural yoghurt (or set yoghurt strained through a coffee filter/several thicknesses of kitchen paper)
· 1 tbsp mild curry paste
· 2 tbsp mango chutney
· 350g cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
· 1 large firm ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
· 40g naturally roasted cashew nuts
· flatleaf parsley sprigs, to garnish
· 225g mixed wild and white/brown rice, boiled and mixed with chopped herb salad, to serve

1. Mix together the yoghurt, curry paste and chutney in a bowl. Add the chicken and mango and toss gently to mix. Cover and chill in the fridge.
2. Boil the rice and allow to cool. Mix with the chopped herb salad.
3. Spoon the chicken mixture onto a plate and sprinkle over the cashew nuts; garnish with flatleaf parsley. Serve with the rice salad.

Bacon, Avocado and Stilton Kedgeree


· 8 rashers smoked back bacon, derinded
· 110g stilton
· 2 ripe avocados
· 570 ml stock
· 225g long grain rice
· 1 bunch spring onions
· handful of fresh chives
· 4 hardboiled eggs
· 50g butter
· 4 tbsp single cream or sour cream
· pepper

1. Heat the stock, then add the rice, bring to the boil and then stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed. (This can be done in advance, eg the previous night, but mix with a tablespoon of olive oil to stop the rice sticking together.)
2. Halve, stone and peel the avocados. Reserve 4 slices for the garnish and dice the rest. Grill 4 rashers of bacon until crisp, then chop finely. Finely chop the spring onions, cut the chives with scissors and crumble the stilton. Chop the hardboiled eggs.
3. Put the remaining bacon under the grill. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the chopped bacon, avocado and spring onions to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Turn the heat down slightly.
4. Add the rice, eggs, stilton, cream and most of the chives (reserve about 1 tablespoon for the garnish). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir gently until piping hot.
5. Garnish with grilled bacon and slices of avocado. Sprinkle chives on top and serve immediately.

Note: I use brown rice and cook it in the rice cooker. I also fry parma ham instead of bacon in a little olive oil with the avocado and spring onions. The picture shows this version, served on a bed of spinach.

Salmon and Green Lentils on Sauted Sweet Potato

I once had this delicious dish in a restaurant in Winchester. This is almost equal to that dish, but is my own variation with easy to buy ingredients.

Serves 2

2 fillets of salmon, skin removed.
Lemon juice
2 sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise about 2cm thick with skin
100g green lentils
1 tub of creme fraiche (mascarpone or sour cream can be used as substitutes)
olive oil for sauteing
3-4 tablespoons of fresh dill
2 small sprigs of dill to garnish

  1. Cook the lentils until al dente. Wash quickly with cold water and drain. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Put the creame fraiche and most of the dill in a large bowl and mix. Remove a little of the creme fraiche and dill mix into a small bowl - this is for garnish. Mix the remainder of the creme fraiche with the just warm lentils.
  3. Loosely wrap each salmon fillet in aluminium foil, sprinle with lemon juice and a little dill. Steam until cooked. Keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, saute the sweet potato slices until soft and golden brown. Keep warm.
  5. On 2 large plates, arrange slices of sweet potato. Top with the creme fraiche and lentil mixture, and then with a salmon fillet. On each salmon fillet, garnish with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a sprig of dill.

Creamed Kabocha with Strawberries

Kabocha is otherwise known as Japanese pumpkin, but it's actually a kind of squash. From a quick search of the web, it seems that it is now finding its way into some British supermarkets for example Waitrose. If you can find it, I highly recommend it. It has an exceptionally sweet flavour, which means it is excellent as a dessert as well as in savoury dishes.

This recipe is a dessert.

Serves 2

1/3 of a kabocha pumpkin, washed thoroughly.
1 tablespoon of sour cream
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or runny honey
Strawberries and flaked almonds to serve.

Deseed the kabocha and microwave for 8-10 minutes until soft. The skin is edible, so you don't have to remove it. Mash with the sour cream and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan using a fork.
Spoon into a dish and garnish with strawberries and flaked almonds.

The Japanese Tradition - Sushi

This is a spoof video from the Japanese comedy duo The Rahmens.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Credit: with amendments!

Serves 4-6

Okonomiyaki is said to be Japanese-style pizza. This recipe makes Osaka-style okonomiyaki. There are lots of toppings. Okonomi means according to your taste, yaki means grilled. The only essential ingredients are the flour, stock, eggs, cabbage and spring onion. Any other ingredients can be added, according to your taste. I like to cook proscuitto ham and kimchi (pepperdew peppers from Sainsbury's work well instead of kimchi!)


  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup dashi soup stock, water, or any other stock
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 1 - 1 1/4 lb cabbage
  • 6 tbsps chopped spring onion
  • 2/3 cup bonito flakes, if liked
  • 12 - 18 strips of thinly sliced pork or beef
  • For toppings:
  • Ao-nori (ground or fine strips of green seaweed)
  • Okonomiyaki sauce, tonkatsu sauce, or fruity brown sauce
  • Mayonnaise


Pour the stock or water in a bowl. Mix the flour in the stock. Rest the batter for an hour in the refrigerator. Chop cabbage fairly finely. Take about 1/2 cup of the batter (to make one sheet of okonimiyaki) in another bowl. Mix chopped cabbage (about 1/4 lb) and chopped green onion (about 1 tbsp) in the batter. Make a hole in the middle of the batter and add an egg in the hole. Stir the batter. Add meat and kimchi or your choice of toppings in the batter. (Some people like to add meat and seafood). Heat a large frying pan and oil slightly. Pour the batter mixture over the pan and make a round. Cook 5-7 minutes , flip the okonomiyaki and cook for 5-7 more minutes. Flip the okonomiyaki again, spread okonomiyaki sauce on top and drizzle with mayonnaise in a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle seaweed over the sauce. Sprinkle katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and beni-shoga (red ginger) if you like. Makes 4-6 sheets.

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup


Serves 6


  • 55 g butter
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 90 g red lentils
  • 0.9 g minced fresh ginger
  • 1 g ground black pepper
  • 1 g ground cumin
  • 1 g chili powder
  • 1 g paprika
  • 950 ml vegetable broth
  • plain yogurt


  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, and onion in the pot. Stir and cook the apples and vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir the lentils, ginger, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and vegetable broth into the pot with the apple and vegetable mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.
  4. Return the pureed soup to the cooking pot. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes. Add water as needed to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Serve with yogurt for garnish.