kitchen

That Time Yuko Turned Her Lounge Into A Kushikatsu Restaurant

Kushikatsu is one of Osaka’s soul foods. Click HERE for a detailed video. Tonight, Yuko out did herself by basically turning their lounge into a kushikatsu joint! It was incredible. I am so full.  First, we dipped our sticks of meat, seafood and vegetables into a white sauce of egg, milk and flour (as a sort of glue) then panko, a Japanese-style breadcrumb then, hot oil.  Before eating, we smothered our fried goods in kushikatsu sauce, which at a kushikatsu restaurant you can ONLY DIP ONCE! I write that in capitals because it’s a big well-known rule however; at Yuko’s, we had our own individual set of sauce, lemon and salt which we could freely double-dip into. For dessert, we had my vegan, sugar and gluten free crumble (with 2 tubs of ice-cream LOL). How great is this ? I heart sharing love and culture through food!
image[12]image[11]image[10]image[9]image[6]image[5]image[4]image[3]image[2]image[8]image[1]image

New Recipes

I have been experimenting…

1. Savory oats. Basically, make porridge as usual then crack a free-range egg into it, stir for a minute and season with salt and pepper. This time, I also added a tablespoon of home-made basil pesto. Finished with pumpkin seeds and avocado. The verdict? GOOD!
image
2.Coconut baklava balls. It’s almost Persian New Year (March 21st) and so, the perfect time to attempt to healthify my favorite Iranian sweets. These turned out pretty amazing (if I can say so myself). Next, I’ll try healthifying (like how I made up a word?) the original baklava, as well.
image[1]
1 1/2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut plus a little more for coating
1 cup almond powder
4 tbsp melted coconut oil
4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp rose water (optional)
1/2 tsp cardamom or more depending on taste
a pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender for 1-2 min or until the mixture starts to come together like a dough.

Use your hands to form small balls (wet them to prevent sticking).

Roll the balls in the extra coconut until well coated then transfer to a plate.

Refrigerate for at least 30 min before nomnom.

An Israeli Dish To Make You Forget Hummus

Hummus who? That’s right. That’s how good my Israeli dinner (not hummus) was last night. Oh my, where to begin?

Hamin (pronounced with a strong KH so KHamin) or Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew. According to Lifa (Mr. Head Chef) it is usually simmered overnight Friday for about 12 hours, and eaten on Shabbat, the Religious holiday where Jewish laws prohibit cooking or turning on the light for that matter!

There are many variations of the dish but the basic ingredients are meat, potatoes, beans and barley. Sephardi-style hamin uses rice instead of beans and barley, and chicken instead of beef. A traditional Sephardi addition is whole eggs in the shell (huevos haminados), which turn brown overnight. Ashkenazi cholent often contains kishke (a sausage casing) or helzel (a chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture). When I asked Lifa more about this casing and what it was stuffed with, he replied in his thick Hebrew accent, “I don’t know, mostly FAT and BREAD.” Ha! So I’m glad he couldn’t find it in Japan and opted for boiled eggs instead.

I loved listening to Lifa describe this dish. He very much reminded me of my father. Seeing as we were both hungry, his mouth was watering as he showed me pictures of the cooking process. One description stood out. That being his technique of placing the beans on the bottom of the pot as they are his least favourite ingredient, so if something is to burn, it will be them!

Come tasting time, the Hamin or Cholent was unbelievably delicious. Picture a marriage between a risotto and a stew. So damn delicious. Lifa had also included prunes and date syrup making it a flavoursome sweet and savoury concoction. The ultimate comfort food. I can’t wait for him to make it again. Here I should mention, Aki also made, as usual, an amazing green salad with figs and hemp seeds, cabbage soup and a tasty broccoli dish.

For dessert, we had entirely VEGAN, GF and SUGAR-FREE cupcakes which I made using Kaori’s recipe. Don’t we have the best foodie community here?! Recipe below.

150g soft tofu(it’s called KINU-TOFU in Japanese)
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
nuts of choice (optional)

Mix the first lot of ingredients together in a blender then transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Pour into a greased cake tin or muffin tray and bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes.

Icing:
Flesh of one avocado
1 small banana
3 tbsp pure cocoa powder
2 tbsp raw maple syrup (or honey)

Blend all ingredients together and spread atop cake. Make sure blender is off before you start licking it! <3

image[10]image[9]imageimage[6]image[8]image[7]image[4]image[5]image[2]image[3]image[11]image[1]

 

One fruit crumble to rule them all.

It’s safe to say, if I can say so myself, which I can, seeing as this is my blog, that I know how to make a good fruit crumble. And by good, I mean real good. With real ingredients free of dairy, gluten(if you want it to be) and refined-sugar.
image[1]
Last night, I made said crumble and took it to my dear friend and neighbour, Kaori’s house. Though this has become a recurring habit of ours, nevertheless, it was for a special occasion and that special occasion is Ayyam-i-Ha.

Ayyam-i-Ha, or the Intercalary Days, is a multiple-day Bahá’í festival. It typically falls around the end of February and the beginning of March and is joyously celebrated by Bahá’ís (that’s my religion) in countries and territories all over the world.

It is a period dedicated to being social, hospitable, generous and joyful. In addition, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming Bahá’í fast come March (2nd) though more on that soon!

So, Kaori, her daughter, Emma and I spent last night in yin-yang spirit by consuming a vegan, gluten and refined-sugar-free crumble alongside a huge scoop of budget ice-cream in the same bowl.image[3]
image-7image[2]image
Last thing, before I get to the recipe, which I know is why you’re all here anyway, is that this morning, I woke up with a terrible cold and so, was forced to cancel my entire weekend plans. WAH. Nevertheless, it’s giving me some MORE time to work on my blog (as if I don’t harass you all enough) and combine all of my crumble recipes into one neat one, below. Sorry for all the ranting! GO GO GO:

To make the recipe GF, simply use GF oats and ground nuts in place of flour.

Filling:
3 Large apples or pears or a combination, peeled, cored and chopped medium.
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackcurrants or raspberries or a mixture of all.
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence

Crumble:
1 cup jumbo oats
1/2 cup of quick oats
1/4 cup of flour (I usually use wholemeal)
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice (I like walnuts)
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice (I like pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted.

In a small pot cook the apples/pears with 1/2 cup of water on med-high heat until soft (about 15 min).

Add berries, cinnamon and vanilla essence and continue to simmer for another min or two.

The secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so transfer the fruit mixture to a round cake tin with as little of its water as possible. You can drink that (that is if you have any excess liquid) or use it in another recipe, if you will.

Combine all crumble ingredients together in another bowl until nice and sticky.

Assemble on top of fruit.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crunchy at 180C.

**Do keep an eye out so it doesn’t burn.

Oishi desu yo!