Okonomiyaki

I’m excited to post this Okonomiyaki recipe as I’ve basically been obsessed with okonomiyaki ever since I went to Japan three years ago. It’s a Japanese savoury pancake served with Japanese mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki sauce which is a bit like brown sauce and then some bonito flakes which are dried fish. There are 2 regional variations that are the most famous – the Osaka version and the Hiroshima version, the Hiroshima take adds noodles to the mix. I’ve had both and I have to say the Hiroshima version is the best so that’s what I’ve tried to replicate here with some success. In Japan they just have a large hot plate which they cook the okomiyakis all in a line. I’ve made this a couple of times before and this was the best it’s ever turned out. I think it’s to do with the ratio of ingredients to the pan. I was feeling a bit indulgent and it was the weekend so I had salmon, prawns and scallops but you can pretty much put whatever you want in an okonomiyaki. You can maybe get away with leaving out the bonito flakes and also even subbing the okonomiyaki sauce for HP sauce but I think the Kewpie mayonnaise is an absolute must.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 300g white cabbage (about half a cabbage)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 fillets salmon
  • 6 small scallops
  • 100g raw prawns
  • 300g ready to wok noodles
  • bonito flakes
  • kewpie mayonnaise
  • okonomiyaki sauce

Method

1.) Cut the cabbage into shreds. Dice the spring onions. De-skin the salmon and chop into large chunks.

2.) Break the eggs in a measuring jug, add the flour and beat. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

3.) In a large oven proof frying pan, heat some oil and add the cabbage and fry for 3 minutes or so.

4.) Add the salmon and spring onion and fry for a couple more minutes. Turn on the grill to preheat.

5.) Add the prawns and scallops and cook for a few more minutes, flipping the prawns over so they start to become pink on both sides.

6.) Now add the noodles and break them up a bit with the spoon. Cook for a couple more minutes.

7.) Move the ingredients around the pan so that it’s all evenly distributed and then pour in the batter.

8.) Cook for about 4 minutes until the bottom is set.

9.) Put under the grill for 3 – 4 more minutes until the top is starting to brown.

10.) Sprinkle over the bonito flakes and then drizzle the mayo and the okonomiyaki sauce all over the pancake and serve.

Prawns in beer sauce

I’m now doing a month’s alcohol detox as I never made it through dry January so it was a little sad to use beer in cooking without being able to drink any but this was a tasty dinner which I enjoyed. In the last couple of years I’ve really started to enjoy porter and stout beers and a result of my detox I’ve found a really great alcohol free Milk Stout from the company Big Drop. Also, I had a girly dinner at Salvi’s Italian restaurant in Manchester yesterday and they had Crodino on the menu which is like an alcohol free Aperol spritz but actually a little nicer in my opinion as it’s a little sweeter. So there’s a couple of ideas for you if you’re doing non-alcohol. The beer prawn recipe was again in the Vietnamese Market Cookbook. I did change it up a bit by adding tomatoes to the sauce and serving it with rice noodles and broccoli to make it more of a meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250ml beer (I used Birra Morreti)
  • 1 bunch fresh lemongrass
  • 300g prawns
  • 250g tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • rice noodles
  • 200g broccoli
  • 10g coriander leaves

Method

1.) Chop up the lemongrass into stalks

2.) Chop up the tomatoes

3.) Add both to a large frying pan and add the beer

4.) Cook down the tomatoes and lemongrass until the tomatoes really break down and most of the beer has cooked down into a sauce

5.) Add the prawns and simmer until cooked through. Chop up the coriander leaves finely. Slice the lime in half.

6.) Add the rice noodles into a sauce pan with the broccoli. Cover with boiling water and cook until the noodles and broccoli is tender.

7.) Take the lemongrass and discard. Squeeze the lime juice into the sauce. Serve the noodles and broccoli with the prawns and sauce. Sprinkle over some coriander leaves.

Smoked Salmon Souffles

I’ve just been on holiday in Paris and so whilst I was there I found this recipe called Le Souffle that I wanted to visit. Unfortunately, it was full and we couldn’t go but the idea to eat a souffle stuck in my head so it was the first thing I made after I came back from holiday. When I’ve made souffles in the past I tend to go for the cheese ones but this smoked salmon souffle recipe on the BBC Good Food website was lovely and light. I made these in a haphazard way, using the random collection of ramekins I have in my cupboard and they turned out ok. Serve as a starter or a light dinner with salad.

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 40g butter (plus extra to butter the ramekins)
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 85g cream cheese
  • 2 tsp dill (actually I didn’t have any and they were still good)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 85g smoked salmon (plus extra to serve)
  • 1 lemon

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Butter 6 ramekins

3.) Chop up the dill and measure out the cream cheese. Zest half the lemon.

4.) Separate the eggs, put the egg whites into a large bowl.

5.) Melt the butter in a saucepan and once it’s melted add the flour. Stir into a paste and cook for 1 minute to cook off the flour taste,

6.) Gradually add the milk and whisk after each addition to get rid of all the lumps. Once all the milk is added, cook for another couple of minutes to thicken the sauce.

7.) Take off the heat and add the cream cheese and dill. Beat to incorporate.

8.) Move the mixture to a bowl to cool quicker.

9.) Whisk up the egg whites into stiff peaks.

10.) Chop up the salmon and add to the cream cheese mix. Add the egg yolks and lemon zest and mix everything.

11.) Half-fill a roasting tin with water.

12.) Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mix.

13.) Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, just below the top. Place the ramekins in the roasting tin.

14.) Bake for 25 minutes or so, until they’ve risen over the top, the egg is set and the top is brown.

15.) Serve with some extra salmon and maybe a dollop of creme fraiche.

Sushi Bake

For someone that deleted her facebook account as a self-birthday gift (self birthday gift – definitely using that one in the future), you can imagine my enthusiasm for Tik Tok. However, I found the recipe for this Sushi Bake on the blog ‘I am a food blog’ which had been trending on said social media platform. I am a food blog is a really great blog if a little too wordy for me and it’s obviously the first thing that comes up on a Google search ‘food blog’ so points for the name there. The sushi bake is assembled by cooking some rice, spreading it out into a casserole dish and topping with a mixture of cream cheese, crab and the Japanese seasoning Furikake (or togarashi – both work). Serve it with some seaweed on the side and the result is heavenly – I really think you could impress your mates with this one! I changed it up a bit by adding some crab paste to cheaply boost the crab flavour and fleshed it out with some fishsticks.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 225g sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g crab meat
  • 1 tin crab paste
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 100g kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp furikake seasoning
  • 1 pack seafood sticks
  • roasted seaweed

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Boil the rice until tender. Drain off any excess water. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice and mix to dissolve.

3.) Spread the rice out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the furikake.

4.) In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, crab paste and mayonnaise and give it a good mix. Chop up the seafood sticks and add them to the bowl. Add the crab meat and gently stir.

5.) Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top and sprinkle on the rest of the furikake.

6.) Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

7.) Serve with some seaweed.

Thai Salad

writing up this recipe is making me hungry as I’m going for Thai food tonight before a Monet painting class. The recipe was actually Green Papaya Salad in Gordan Ramsey’s ‘Ultimate Cookery Course’ but I couldn’t get papaya so I subbed it out with some mango and cantaloupe melon which worked pretty well. I served the salad with some pan fried sea bass and had a tasty cantaloupe breakfast the day after,

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 chillis
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 mango
  • 1/3 cantaloupe melon
  • 1 shallot
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 10g basil leaves
  • 6 tbsp peanuts

Method

1.) Make a paste with the garlic, chilli, sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and lime.

2.) Chop the mango and melon into sticks and add to a large bowl with the dressing. Peel and finely chop the shallot and peel and add this too.

3.) Crush the peanuts and toast in a pan for a couple of minutes.

4.) Chop up the basil and coriander leaves. Add the nuts and herbs to the salad and give everything a mix.

Thai Seafood Soup

I used this picture of my seafood soup as the end product although delicious came out as looking a bit beige. Despite the reputation of beige food this soup is very healthy containing lean fish, mushrooms and tomatoes. It’s also really quick to put together but something really different too. I finally found some squid at the supermarket, albeit frozen so I used that. The recipe uses chopped lemongrass stalks but they’re pretty tough so maybe next time I would just chop into bigger chunks and fish them out at the end or use a lemongrass paste.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 nests rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp galangal paste
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 shallots
  • 100g punnet mushrooms
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 100g frozen squid
  • 100g frozen raw prawns
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 750ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 10g coriander leaves

Method

1.) Make up the stock and add to a casserole dish. Add the rice noodles and cook until soft.

2.) Peel and finely dice the shallots. Slice the mushrooms, Slice the tomatoes. Half a lime and remove the pips.

3.) Add the shallots, galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, mushrooms, tomatoes, squid, prawns, sweet chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes (or longer if the fish isn’t hot).

4.) Finely dice the coriander leaves and serve with the soup.