First Time Making: Miso Aubergines

I often have lunch at a small Japanese restaurant on Brewer Street called Kulu Kulu. In one of their colourful bowls, they serve this delicious aubergine dish. I like it so much that even after the first bowl, every time another one comes around on the conveyer belt, it’s so tempting to go for seconds! This vegan friendly dish is rather simple, but getting the right combination of flavours is not as simple (I learned the hard way) as it seems. I will try and share the learnings gleaned from my first attempt, for which I took inspiration from this Japan Centre recipe.

Ingredients:
1 aubergine
160g hatcho red miso
4 tsp mirin rice wine
4 tbsp honey (but I suggest you try with sugar the first time)
4 tsp water
a sprinkle of sesame seeds
vegetable oil

Continue reading “First Time Making: Miso Aubergines”

First time making: spiced apple juice

It’s finally the festive season, and this year, I needed a non-alcoholic mulled wine or cider alternative (after all, Christmas is all about minced pies and mulled wine). I’ve looked through the Jamie Oliver incredible mulled cider recipe and the Nigella mulled cider recipe, and have taken the spices I like best out of the two for this spiced apple juice recipe. Oh, and of course, as there’s already plenty of sugar in the juice, there’s hardly any need to add sugar in there.

I’ve always loved mulled wine and ciders with bits of fruit in the pan, so I’ve included chunks and apple and clementines as well.

This takes about 5 minutes to prep and will serve however many people who will be able to drink a litre of spiced apple juice. As this is made from juice, it’s perfect for children and your designated driver.

Spiced_Mulled_Apple_Juice

Ingredients
1 litre of apple juice
1/2 apple
2 clementines
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
2 tbsps of honey

Continue reading “First time making: spiced apple juice”

thanksgiving_stuffedchicken_boiledchicken_wholechicken_recipe

Thanksgiving recipe – a Sardinian take (pudda prena a sa sarda)

This traditional Sardinian recipe will be a great alternative to your classic Thanksgiving roast. Instead of being cooked in the oven, this bird is boiled, instead of giving you turkey sandwiches as leftovers, this will give you succulent tender meat to add to your salads and a rich stock for your risottos, soups or meat stews. It brings me so many childhood memories because this is the Sunday dish my grandma used to prepare for the family. Like she would have done, I used a nice corn fed rampant chicken: my butcher cleaned it for me so it was ready to stuff. I would have needed the inside organs for the stuffing, but they were not included in the purchase, so I bought some chicken hearts separately. Another must-have ingredient is lard: according to all my family, it is the very ingredient that keeps the stuffing together and gives it the right texture. But worry not, just like I did, you will be able to find it at the supermarket.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving recipe – a Sardinian take (pudda prena a sa sarda)”

Apple_Plum_Jam_4

First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom

Now that my two jars of strawberry jam are nearly empty, it’s time to make a new batch – with apples and plums. I wanted to try something less runny this time, and as it’s the pectin that makes jam set, I decided to try a recipe with plums (a fruit that features on the high pectin list). Then I found this delicious-looking plum and apple jam, as well as this beautiful French apple jam recipe, so decided to combine the two and make an apple and plum jam with cardamom.

For the apple variety, I picked Gala, as it’s generally good for apple sauces: it’s sweet, got a good texture and isn’t too “watery”.

PLEASE NOTE: I thought it’d make 2 x 500ml jars of jam, but it turned out that there was only enough for 1 jar, so in the future, I won’t be scaling down the recipe in this way.

Ingredients
250g flavouring plums (4 plums)
250g Gala apples (2 apples)
1 cardamom pod

300g jam sugar
100g cane sugar

150ml water

You’ll also need: a potato masher and 1 jam jar (500ml).

Apple_Plum_Jam_1 I scaled down the sugar slightly, as the apple and plum varieties already seemed quite sweet to me. By the original recipe, you should use 450g sugar. Also, just because I’m paranoid (and there was still some left over), I’m using a mix of jam sugar, which contains pectin, and normal sugar. In theory, the plum will provide enough natural pectin, so you can use normal white sugar here. Continue reading “First time making: homemade apple and plum jam with cardamom”

classic_pesto_recipe

Classic pesto recipe

Let’s admit it, who hasn’t bought pesto in the shops? I did so many times… I understand many people think it is a complicated sauce to make, but actually it is super easy and a lot nicer when made with fresh ingredients. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow my own basil in the garden and therefore I took advantage to finally try to make fresh pesto. The result was so light and tasty I don’t think those pots at the supermarket or at the local deli will ever tempt me again.
When tackling Italian recipes, if I don’t have one stolen from mamma’s notebook, Giallo Zafferano is my absolute bible, they always get the right measurements and they don’t keep extra tips to themselves: so I followed their recipe, but instead of doing the pesto the old fashion way (with pestle and mortar), which would have taken me 20 minutes, I have used a hand blender, spending about ten minutes (if not less) to get my very own pot of pesto!
Ingredients:
50 gr basil leaves (note that to get the real thing as a result, you should try and find basil with longer rather than large leaves, the real Genoese basil)
1 garlic clove (but if you are feeling brave, or your partner is, you can put more)
6 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbsp of Pecorino cheese
1 pinch of salt
100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of pine nuts

Continue reading “Classic pesto recipe”

Strawberry_Jam_1

First time making: homemade strawberry and vanilla jam

As it’s summer, and strawberry season, I thought I’d try out Jamie Oliver’s supposedly super easy way to make homemade strawberry jam. While I love strawberry jam, most store-bought versions taste a tad too sweet/artificial for me. The jam with the lowest sugar-to-jam ratio I’ve found is the Streamline Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam, which is nice as well, but guess there’s nothing like making your own!

It’s my first time trying out this recipe, so I’ve scaled it down slightly (only very, as the strawberries were on offer). Also, I didn’t find any whole vanilla pods in the shops, so used ground vanilla beans instead.

This filled 2 x 500ml jam jars – not quite as expected from what the original recipe mentioned.

Strawberry_Jam_1I used…

Ingredients
800g strawberries
400g jam sugar
4g ground vanilla beans

You’ll also need: a potato masher and 2 jam jars (500ml).

Continue reading “First time making: homemade strawberry and vanilla jam”