Teriyaki aubergine

*** Disclaimer – this is a sponsored post. I received a free bottle of Hon Mirin and took part in an online cook along. The recipe posted in this post is from the Sozai Cooking School and not my own. However, the comments and recommendations are my own***

I’ve always wanted to know how to make a good and authentic teriyaki sauce especially as Big S has become a fan of Asian flavours, but when I’ve made versions before the resulting dishes were a bit too sweet and sickly. So I was delighted to be asked to take part in an online cook along sponsored by Hakutsuru Hon Mirin and which promised the ultimate teriyaki. 

It was a really fascinating couple of hours. I knew nothing about Mirin before the class other than the name! Now I feel that I have a little insight into this really interesting ingredient and I hope to use it in a variety of dishes. Hon Mirin is apparently very popular in Japan but hardly heard of in Europe, hence this event to celebrate Hon Mirin’s global launch. Hon Mirin (with Hon meaning real) is a sweet rice seasoning/alcohol made from glutinous rice, rice koi and alcohol. It has a pleasant sweet taste, a bit like a sweet sherry and none of the additional salt you get in cheaper alternatives.  It also has the advantage of being allergen free and contains no artificial ingredients – perfect for us. 🙂

Having used this mellow alcohol in a couple of dishes (we made minstrone soup and teriyaki) I would really recommend searching out a bottle for your store cupboard (and I’m really not saying that because I got a free bottle!). It really did add a lovely umami richness to both dishes and the shine in the teriyaki sauce was outstanding. Right now, Hon Mirin is only available on the TK Trading website, but hopefully it’ll become more widely available as more people come across it’s versatility. I really didn’t think it would add much to a minestrone soup but actually the mellow sweetness was a nice addition that enhanced the tomato flavour.

If you’re interested in learning more Japanese cooking skills then do check out the Sozai cooking school which runs lots of interesting online cook alongs, the instructor in my class was really knowledgeable and a great teacher.

I’m posting the teriyaki aubergine recipe from the Sozai cooking school, but if you wanted to use chicken or salmon, simple cut into bite sized pieces and then follow the instructions below.

Teriyaki Aubergine

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 2

7 tbsp Hon Mirin

2 tbsp water

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 aubergine, sliced in half lengthways

1-2 tbsp cornflour

  1. Mix together the Hon Mirin, water and soya sauce and set aside
  2. Score the aubergine flesh and then dust all sides with cornflour
  3. Heat some flavourless oil on a medium to high heat and cook the aubergine on both sides until golden and throughly cooked through. This will take 5 or so minute son each side. Remove from the pan.
  4. Wipe out the pan to remove any excess cornflour. Return the aubergine to the pan and add the teriyaki sauce. Cook on a medium to high heat, basting the aubergine until the sauce has reduced and you have a sticky soft aubergine.
  5. Serve with rice and steamed green veg.

Katsu Curry

I’ve got a fair few recipes to write up and asked my FaceBook followers for help to decide which to post first – the Katsu curry won by far! So here it is, my take on a Katsu.

Wagamama is a real favourite of ours, they offer such great service for the allergy family and we always have a fantastic experience, plus they’ve recently removed peanuts from the premises which is such a reassurance. Before lockdown we were regular Wagamama visitors, but even so we also had our own version at home. Everyone loves a Katsu in this house! So much so we had Wagamama at home last Friday, featuring paper table mats for the order to be scribbled on!

The other week Wagamama very kindly started posting their own recipes on Instagram so their fans don’t have to miss out too badly and we’ve been hungrily waiting for the bang bang cauliflower and to see if my Katsu is anything like the real thing. The bang bang cauliflower is really banging, delicious but super spicy with the chilli flakes in tablespoons!! Funnily the Katsu is quite similar to mine but has coconut and a different combination of spices, we actually prefer our usual home version! So here’s my Katsu, probably the least authentic recipe ever but one that is delicious and is definitely worth a go. Let me know what you think? If you eat chicken then you can always simply replace the sweet potato with breadcrumbed chicken.

Katsu Curry my way

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

1 or 2 sweet potatoes, sliced 2-3mm thick

4 tbsp plain flour

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

for the sauce:

2 tbsp flavourless oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

3cm piece of ginger, minced

2 tbsp mild curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp plain flour

450ml or 2 cups of vegetable stock

1 to 2 tsp honey or maple syrup

1 to 2 tsp soy sauce

salt to taste

  1. First prepare the sweet potato but blanching the slices in boiling water for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. To make the sauce: heat the oil and fry off the onion until soft (cut finely if you like a chunky sauce, we like smooth so i sieve the bits out and so roughly chopped is fine)
  3. add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. stir int he curry powder and turmeric and cook out for a minute
  4. Next add the flour and again cook for a few minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste. Gradually add the stock a bit by bit and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened nicely.
  5. Add the soy sauce and honey/syrup. Taste and add more of either, plus salt if required. Sieve to remove the onion (if you like) and then set aside to keep warm whilst sweet potato is cooked
  6. Place 2 tbsp flour in one bowl, 2 tbsp flour mixed with 2 tbsp water (to make a thin batter) in another bowl and the panko in a third bowl.
  7. Dip each sweet potato slice into the flour, then the batter, then the breadcrumbs.
  8. Once they are all coated add a generous amount of oil to a frying pan (to cover the base) and heat. Fry the sweet potato slices until golden on both sides and then keep warm in a low oven (160 degrees Centigrade) until they all are cooked through
  9. Serve with rice and salad

 

St Clement’s Marmalade (orange and lemon flavour)

Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement’s.You owe me five farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin’s. When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch. When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney. I do not know,Says the great bell of Bow. Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

Oranges and lemons have such a fresh, vibrant flavour that they’re prefer for injecting some colourful sunshine into these dark January days.

What’s your opinion on marmalade? It definitely divides people, that is unless you are Paddington and then you think everyone must love it!

I’ve never been a fan, finding it too bitter and grown up, but as it’s January and everyone makes marmalade in January, I thought I’d give it a go. It turns out, that after much taste testing, I do actually quite like it. What’s that theory with children and new tastes? It’s something like 17 tries before a new taste is accepted. Well, maybe my experience with marmalade is this theory in action, or maybe I just make awesome marmalade! 😉

This version used half normal oranges and half lemons (hence the St Clement’s theme and nursery rhyme at the top of the post), so I used jam sugar for added pectin. If you use the more traditional Seville oranges then no pectin is needed.

I loosely based my recipe on Nigel Slater’s one as he strikes me as someone who would be great at preserving and the results are pretty delicious. Go on, give it a try, you might like it too (and it’ll probably come in handy in some recipes coming up soon 🙂 ). It’s also pretty easy to make and if you don’t like it everyone loves a jar of something homemade as a present.

St. Clement’s Marmalade

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 small jars

4 oranges

4 lemons

up to 2 litres water

750g jam sugar

  1. Wash the fruit, then pare off the peel, Trim off any excess white pith and finely chop. This takes a while!
  2. Squeeze the fruit. Pour the juice into a saucepan and top up to make 2 litres of liquid. Add the chopped peel. Wrap the discarded pith and flesh into a muslin (or a clean j-cloth), tie tightly and submerge into the liquid.
  3. Cover and set aside for at least a day in a cool place. I left mine for 2 days.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40-60 minutes until the peel is soft and translucent.
  5. Remove the cloth filled with the fruit, add the sugar and once again bring to a boil. Simmer for 40-60 minutes until the marmalade has darkened and thickened. If any scum comes to the top, skim off. It’s useful to keep a sauce in the freezer for the skin test. Drop a dollop of the marmalade onto the cold saucer, if it quickly forms a skin the marmalade is ready.
  6. Pour into sterilised jars and immediately put on the lids.

 

Perfect Sesame-free Hummus

 

sesame-free hummus

Hummus is everywhere, over the past twenty years or so it’s become a mainstream classic, one everyone eats and can be found in any store. All commercially found hummus contains sesame in the form of tahini and so is out of bounds for Little S. In fact hummus gave me the Heebie jeebies when Little S was smaller as we’d often come across other hummus eating children at parties and picnics and they’d invariably get the hummus everywhere, all over their hands and everything they touched. Not a fun situation when you’re worried about allergens. There were many uncomfortable moments trying to keep the hummus away from Little S!

I’ve tried just so many times to make a good hummus without using tahini but somehow the results are often just a bit bleurgh – it loses a lot of the moreish umami when the tahini is removed, as well as some of the silky smoothness. Whilst browsing the ‘vegan meringues hits and misses’ Facebook page, I came across the apparently traditional idea of using some of the chickpea water from the tin or cooking (the aquafaba) to give a creamy texture. Boy does it work well! The texture is spot on. By making sure the hummus is well seasoned you can make a pretty delicious sesame-free dip.

Perfect Sesame-free Hummus

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

perfect hummus, no sesame

makes 1 small bowlful

1/2 tin chickpeas

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 clove garlic, crushed

Salt to taste (probably a bit more than you think!)

2 tbsp aquafaba

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

To drizzle: extra virgin olive oil and paprika

  1. Whizz together all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. taste and adjust the salt, lemon and cumin to taste.
  2. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and paprika

hummus, no tahini

Lemon curd

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Lemon curd, mmmmmm, so yummy and zingy but also crammed full of eggs and milk – not ideal for us at all! I have such clear memories of not very inspiring school cookery lessons and particularly the one where we made lemon curd – I was so surprised at the ingredients! As a child I imagined lemon curd was made like jam, how wrong was I!

Anyway, I had an idea of making a lemon mousse using aquafaba and lemon curd as lemon mousse was my most favourite pudding when I was little. Sadly that experiment was a total failure, resulting in airy foam suspended above a layer of lemon curd – not nice! Anyway, it prompted me to make some gorgeous egg and dairy free lemon curd. Yes it is possible, in fact it is actually rather delicious, the only real difference being that it doesn’t keep as long as the conventional kind.

Utterly delicious served on toast, with scones or keep some for my divine lemon cake recipe coming later this week.

Lemon Curd (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_6462

makes 1 medium jar or 2 small

  • 1/3 cup oat milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsps caster sugar
  • 6 tbsps lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsps dairy-free spread
  • pinch of salt

– Dissolve the cornflour in the water and oat milk. Heat and stir until starting to bubble.

– Add the dairy-free spread, lime juice, zest, sugar and salt.

– Continue to bubble until it starts to thicken.

– When coats a spoon transfer to a non-metalic bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for a couple of minutes.

– Cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge.

– This curd will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.

IMG_6461

Black Bean Salsa

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This is a nifty little recipe for an interesting variation on a ‘regular’ salsa. Inspired by a delicious lunch I had at the fabulous the Gate Restaurant the other day, this is my take on black bean salsa. Wonderful scooped up with tortilla chips, as an addition to a wonderful Mexican main course (recipe coming soon!) or a topping for nachos or any tortilla based dish. It’s also the kind of dish that is enjoyable to prepare, just simple ingredients put together in an uncomplicated way.

There’s nothing wrong with a tomato salsa (especially this awesome salsa), but it’s good to have more in your locker, and for me a great new way with beans that is fresh and zingy.

Black Bean Salsa (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 1 bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped fairly small
  • 1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste if you have a dry old line that gives little juice!)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

1. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about half an hour for the flavours to mingle

2. Taste and adjust the salt and lime juice accordingly

3. Enjoy!