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.

Shakshouka with Pitta Bread

Whilst staying in Paris, our friend cooked us a delicious shakshouka so as I had some eggs to use up I thought of this and decided to make it for myself with some pitta bread. I’ve tried making pitta before but this time using the BBC Good Food recipe it came out really well. I made enough for three people to have some leftovers and I halved the pitta recipe to make four pitta breads. Pitta is a flat bread, in English we use the Greek word pitta but in the Middle East, i.e. the home of shakshouka, it’s called ‘fatteh’.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 10g parsley
  • 500g passata
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 250g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil + extra for oiling the bowl.

Method

1.) Make the dough for the bread by adding the yeast to 150ml tepid water and leaving it to brew for 10 minutes.

2.) Add the salt to a bowl and then pour on the flour. Pour on the yeasty water and the olive oil. Mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook or knead by hand for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and smelling yeasty.

3.) Oil a large bowl, place in the dough then cover with a tea towel or cling film. Leave to rise for one hour.

4.) After 30 minutes, start on the shakshouka. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. Peel and chop up the onion.

5.) Cook the onion in some oil until soft. In the meantime, peel and chop up the garlic and the pepper and finely chop up the parsley.

6.) Cook the garlic and pepper for a couple of minutes then add the spices and cook for 1 more minute.

7.) Add the passata and turn to a low heat. Make some holes in the passata and crack the eggs in them.

8.) Flour a large baking tray and when the bread dough is ready, divide into four and roll into thin oval shapes.

9.) Place the dough on the baking tray, you may need to do two batches.

10.) Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. They will puff up and brown as below.

11.) Move the pittas to a cooling tray and bake the other 2 if need be. Set to one side to cool down a bit. Continue to cook the shakshouka until the eggs are set – about 8 minutes. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve.

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.

Avgolemono soup

I first came across this avgolemono soup on the beautiful food blog ‘Adventures in Cooking’. It’s often seen as a Greek recipe (though may have Jewish roots) and the author of this blog has Greek heritage. I first tried that recipe a number of years ago when I still ate meat. It had shredded roasted chicken and chicken stock so it was a bit of an ask to convert it into a vegetarian recipe but I had to try as I really love it and fortunately the result was a success. Whisking the egg white up then slowly incorporating it back into the hot soup is a genius idea which really makes a lovely creamy textured soup. The recipe works pretty well with orzo or rice noodles that I have used. With the kick of lemon, it’s a perfect dinner for when you have a cold.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • Plant pioneers chicken style pieces (300g)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 rice noodle nests
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp Massel ‘chicken flavoured’ stock

Method

1.) Strip the thyme leaves from the thyme sprigs

2.) Pan fry the chicken pieces until cooked with the oregano.

3.) Slice thinly and set to one side

4.) Peel and dice the onion, chop up the courgette

5.) Pan fry the onion and courgette until soft then set to one side

6.) Make up the stock with 8 cups of boiling water

7.) Add the stock to a large pan and add the rice noodles

8.) Let this simmer for 5 minutes and take off the heat.

9.) Separate the eggs into two separate bowls

10.) Juice the lemons into another bowl

11.) Whisk up the egg whites until beginning to froth. Add in the egg yolks and lemons and whisk together.

12.) Add ladlefuls of the stock to the egg, whisking between each spoon.

13.) Carry on until half the stock is whisked into the egg.

14.) Then, add ladlefuls of the egg mixture back into the soup and whisk between each until it’s all incorporated.

15.) Put back onto the heat and simmer until the noodles are cooked

16.) Add the chicken pieces, courgette and onion back into the soup, season, stir and serve.

Florentina Traybake

This is a delicious traybake, long in the oven but easy to prepare. Ideal for a lazy Sunday where you have the time but not the will to do much. The veggies are mixed with a mustardy dressing and roasted, in the last couple of minutes, the eggs are cracked in to have a lovely runny yolk. In Jamie’s ‘Veg’ there is no accompaniment to this and I had it on it’s own also but I did think it would be a great side to some fish or a vegetarian alternative.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 celeriac
  • 2 onions
  • 500g potatoes (Jamie recommends Maris Piper)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 large eggs

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Peel the celeriac, potatoes, onions and carrots

3.) Slice the celeriac and potatoes finely. Chop the carrots into batons and the onions into slices.

4.) Chop the chives finely

5.) In a large mixing bowl, add the vegetables, the mustard, the chives the oil and some seasoning.

6.) Get right in with your hands to get all the dressing in

7.) Pour the veg into a roasting tin and cover with some tin foil

8.) Roast for 1 hour, take off the foil and roast for a further 10 minutes

9.) Make four dents in the layer of vegetables and in each crack in an egg

10.) Put back in the oven for a final 3 minutes until the eggs are poached and serve.

Green Shakshuka

I’ve been wanting to try shakshuka which has had a little boom in London as a popular brunch dish. It hails from North Africa but is now widely enjoyed in the Middle East as a breakfast food. The more common version usually has tomato sauce in it but looking through ‘Bosh – Healthy Vegan’ this green version did look appetising. That’s a vegan recipe book so they used plant based yoghurt which I switched back to eggs (sorry Vegans!).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 10g mint
  • 10g parsley
  • 10g dill
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g spinach
  • 1/2 tsp za’tar
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Chop up the leek

2.) Heat up the oil in a frying pan and once hot, add the leek

3.) Peel and chop up the garlic, add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes

4.) Add the peas and let them defrost

5.) In the meantime, finely chop the herbs.

6.) Add the spinach to the pan in batches and let each batch wilt before adding the next batch

7.) Once all the spinach is wilted, add the herbs to the pan and stir. Make 4 wells in the vegetable combination.

8.) Crack an egg into each well and leave until cooked but with a soft yolk.

9.) In the meantime, peel and slice the avocado.

10.) When the eggs are cooked, serve up with the avocado and maybe some bread on the side.