Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheesy potato marmalade balls

Ingredients (makes 5 or 6)
2 medium potatoes
50ml milk
honey according to taste
3 cheese slices (for melting)
marmalade for topping

  • Cut the potatoes into 1cm pieces and put in the LeKue steam case for 5 minutes in a 600w microwave. Carefully mash as much as you can and then microwave for another 3 minutes.
  • Mix in the cheese slices, milk and honey. Microwave for another 2 minutes.
  • Mix well, put spoonfuls onto cling film and twist and squeeze into balls.
  • Unwrap and decorate with marmalade.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Honey Castella


1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
50g soft light brown sugar
40g white flour
half teaspoon baking powder
10ml milk or 10g mascarpone
5g soft unsalted butter
10g/ml honey

  • Line the bottom of the steam case with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Beat the egg with the sugar and butter.
  • Beat in the flour and baking powder until smooth and mix in the milk and honey.
  • Spoon into the LeKue steam case.
  • Bake with the case open for 15 minutes and then close the case and continue baking for a further 5 minutes.
  • Turn out immediately onto a wire rack and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.
  • Serve in thin slices.

New Potato, Asparagus and Bacon Hot Salad

4 new potatoes
4 pieces asparagus
4 pieces of lean bacon or proscuitto ham
1 thick triangle processed cheese (I used processed mozzarella)
Black pepper

  • Wash the potatoes, but don't peel. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Wash and cut the asparagus diagonally into bite-sized pieces.
  • Cut the bacon or ham into small pieces.
  • Put the potato pieces into the LeKue steam case and into a 500w microwave oven for 2 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus and bacon and continue cooking in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the processed cheese and microwave for one more minute.
  • Stir and add freshly ground black pepper to serve.

Monday, February 15, 2010


It's time to introduce this little known food - yuba.

Yuba is sometimes known as tofu skin, but in fact is just the skin that is formed when you boil soy milk.

It can wrap fillings and be fried, or eaten on its own like this with a little soy sauce and ginger or wasabi. It's really creamy and delicious!

Orange Caramelized Onion & Potato Frittata

Nutrition Data (for the whole frittata, serves 4 with a salad)
Calories 800
Protein 42g
Carbohydrate 98g
Fat 25g
Dietary Fibre 14g


3 large onions, chopped
100ml orange juice
1 tablespoon marmalade
about 250g potatoes
5 medium eggs, beaten with a teaspoon of dill and a good grating of pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil for greasing the pan

  • Wash and scrub the potatoes and boil them whole in a pan of water until tender. Chop roughly into cubes.
  • Meanwhile, boil the chopped onion in the orange juice and marmalade until brown. Right at the end of cooking time, as the orange juice has evaporated, stir well to get all the dark brown caramel to coat the onions.
  • Beat the eggs.
  • In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and coat the pan, making sure that the sides of the pan are oiled. Add the potatoes and onions and pour over the beaten egg.
  • Leave on a medium heat for about 10 - 15 minutes without disturbing, until the egg is set.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bite-Sized Pepper Steak

OK, the picture really doesn't do this justice... The beef isn't really burnt, but it's a really wet day today and the lighting on this photograph is terrible.

Although I've never been vegetarian (I like sausages too much!), my family and friends know that I eat very little meat as it is, but instead add smaller quantities (usually ham) to vegetable dishes.

As a child, I hated beef, and I still never choose it in restaurants because it's never cooked as I like it. Since I came to Japan, and discovered the sliced medium roast beef in the supermarkets, I now eat it every few months just as it is. It is still pink, but is actually cooked, and really melts in the mouth.

Today, I decided to make pepper steak for the first time - I don't think I've ever eaten it before. For this many mouthfuls, I used a 100g piece of steak.

100g piece of good quality steak
a lot of freshly ground black or mixed peppercorns
about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
about 4 tablespoons of mirin
olive oil for frying

  • Cut the steak into bite-sized pieces.
  • Grind the pepper onto a plate.
  • Coat both sides of the steak with the pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and add the steak pieces. Brown both sides.
  • Quickly pour in the soy sauce and mirin (exact quantities don't matter, just roughly 2 parts mirin, 1 part ssoy sauce). It will bubble vigorously and thicken a little. It will also produce an impressive flame if you forget to remove from the heat... Make sure that the beef has been coated in this sauce. Tip: use the sauce to cook the beef to your liking, rather than the browning stage - the bubbling sauce will quickly cook the beef through.
  • Serve immediately.

Ham and Mustard Twice Baked Creamy Jacket Potatoes

I'm not going to give any measurements because you will need to use more or less depending on the number and size of the potatoes, and according to taste. If you can get baby new potatoes, they would be best.

Small potatoes
Mascarpone cheese
Dijon mustard
Proscuitto type ham, chopped
Salt and black pepper

  • Bake the potatoes until they are soft. (I have a magic baked potato setting on my oven).
  • Take out from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes until they are cool enough to handle. Turn the oven up to 230C.
  • Slice off the top of each potato and eat it to keep you going until the potatoes are ready.
  • Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop the potato out of the little jacket potatoes into a bowl.
  • Mash with the mascarpone, dijon mustard, salt and black pepper, stir in the chopped ham. Taste and add accordingly.
  • Using a teaspoon again and your fingers, pile the mixture back into the potato skins, and press the skins back into place if you tore them. Grate lots of black pepper over the top.
  • At this point you can wrap some of these up with cling film and keep in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to reheat.
  • Bake the potatoes in the 230C oven for about 10 minutes until the mixture is hot.

Cod and Poached Egg on Wholemeal Toast

Now that was a delicious breakfast! I steamed some cod in the microwave for a couple of minutes, mashed it with some fresh dill, and piled it on one small slice of wholemeal bread. I put a poached egg on the other piece of wholemeal bread.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lentil and Vegetable Gratin (improved!)

I originally posted this recipe as Lentil and Courgette Gratin back in September last year, when I didn't have an oven. Since moving house, I bought myself an oven and have been making this recipe a lot recently. I have made some amendments/improvements to the recipe, and am now even more happy with it.

It's a very healthy recipe: it's very high in fibre and low in fat, as the crispy base is not made from pastry but a combination of red lentils, oats and now also wheat bran. The wheat bran came into the recipe by chance, as I only had half of the amount of oats needed.

Nutrition Data (per portion)
Calories 313
Protein 21g
Fat 10g
Carbohydrate 37g
Dietary Fibre 14.5g

Ingredients (serves 4)

125g/4ozs red lentils (in Japan, sold on Rakuten or in some import food shops such as Nissin)
10ml/1dsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
25g/1oz oat flakes and 25g/1oz wheatbran
10ml/2tsp of your favourite dried herbs

250g vegetables such as courgettes, leeks, broccoli or cauliflower (or a mixture), diced
2 eggs, beaten
15ml/1tbsp wholemeal flour
50ml/2fl ozs skimmed milk
50g/2ozs Cheddar Cheese


1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/375oF/190oC.
2. Cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for about 20 minutes, until they are fairly soft and the excess water has dried out. Beat well with a spoon.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and sliced garlic for about 6 minutes until soft and golden brown.

4. Remove from the heat and mix in the cooked lentils, tomato purée, oats, wheatbran and herbs. Season well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold together. If the lentils are a little wet, return the pan to the heat to dry them out.
5. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of an 20cm/8″ flan dish. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon. Pre-bake at 190C for 20 minutes until it is slightly dried out.

6. For the filling, lightly steam the vegetables for 4 minutes or until tender.
7. Blend the eggs with the flour, then add the milk. Stir in the steamed vegetables and season well.
8. Spoon the filling into the pre-dried flan case. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set.
10. Serve hot or cold with jacket potatoes and salad, or with soup.

  • This can be taken out of the tin, cooled on a wire rack, then cut up and frozen in individual portions. Unwrap and reheat from frozen at 200C for 30 minutes.
  • Finely grating the cheese makes it go further.