Happy New Year to you all! I have been very quiet in the blogosphere. One excuse I have is because of busy lately in the Christmas and New Year Period. However, when I looked back it’s mainly because I have not opened my laptop as much as I did in the past. I use the iPad more often. Of course there is a WordPress app but it’s never as user friendly as using the computer in particular with the formatting, there is no way to make bullet points, I would need to draft from the app and then finalize online using the laptop.
I do have a few unfinished draft and here is one of them. I have been using my iPhone to take food photos instead of using SLR. I am now less picky than before. I have been thinking recently if I should stop blogging totally, because my aim of blogging is to keep the recipes I like and that I would definitely make again and again. I have discovered a few apps (e.g. Keep Recipes and Food Reporter) which serve the purpose but then I would store by recipes here and there but not in one place. I hope to get back to my blogging routine together this year and not distracted by other things. In 2013, my primary goals are more blogging and continue learning German.
Without further ado here is my avocado tuna cerviche, extremely to quick and easy to make, it’s a fusion of Mexican and Japanese cooking style, hope you will like it.
Just came back from our Easter break in France (Normandy and Paris), it was a very nice holiday as the weather turned out to be better than forecasted which made the whole trip more pleasant. I have organised the photos yesterday and trying to construct how and what to write about, writing travel stories is more work than writing up a recipe I find so hope you will bear with me that I am not that fast, I need to have the mood to do it. Anyway, after having so much good food in France, I intend to have simple meals for a while and if possible to eat less meat.
A lot of you would probably know that I love noodles of all kinds, tonight I have been struggling if I should make a veggie yakiudon, soup noodle or Pad Thai shrimp. And in the end I went to make wafuu pasuta, a Japanese style pasta which I have never cooked before. I have been looking for this type of recipes and there are actually not that many around. I found some recipes from Just Hungry and Tess’s Japanese Kitchen and have adapted it according to what I have available at home. The outcome came out so delicious and better than I thought that I have to blog it right away for future repeats. I was a bit skeptical with the idea of using soy sauce in pasta but you would not taste the soy sauce prominently, just remember that the sauce should just be enough to coat the pasta, then you are fine.
Having bought the duck breast and kept in the freezer for some time, I finally decided to make it last night. Duck breast seems to be challenging to prepare, I heard that it takes longer to cook then other meat so I always felt restrained to try cooking it myself. I love duck almost in all forms but I have always enjoyed it in the restaurant. Nevertheless, every thing has its first time. I have searched online and found an excellent post on ‘how to pan roast a duck breast from Cookthink. Meanwhile, just like Marisa’s post in Slashfood, I did not need to put the duck breast into the oven but still could get the inside rosé.
Yesterday Peter and I went for a short Autumn hike in Wasserfallen-Regioldswil in Basel Land. We first took a cable car up and then the hike began. We chose the route direction to the Passwang, if you are lucky with the weather, on top you can see as far as to the Alps, the Jungfrau. By the time we got home, it was late afternoon and we both have tired legs. So I chose to make something relatively simple and nice. The Teriyaki and salad were both quick and easy to prepare.
Salt grilled fish (Shioyaki) is one of the Japanese dishes I ordered a lot especially as set lunch in Japanese restaurants or in yakitori restaurants.
It is another effortless recipe which can bring out the flavors and retain the freshness of the fish. In Japanese cuisine, whole mackeral or mackerel fillets are commonly used. Other fishes or boneless fillets (with skin on) can also be used such as salmon and hamachi. Some Japanese restaurants even offer salt grilled fish heads or belly, probably not your favorite picks for most of you but if you have the courage to try one day, they are actually more juicy and contain more fish oil.
Here I have grilled some mackerels, you can serve one fish per person. For mackerels, choose the bigger ones if you can. This time I had rather small fish so each person I served two.
- 2 whole mackerel, sardines or other small fishes cleaned, gutted or fish fillets with skin on (e.g. salmon)
- Sea salt
- Daikon (or also called mooli or white radish), finely grated & squeeze out excess juice
- light Soy sauce
- Lemon wedges
- Using a knife, make a few cuts diagonally on both sides of the fishes (if the fish is relatively big in size)
- Lightly salt fish by sprinkle on both sides and leave for 20-30 minutes.
- Grate the daikon in the meantime and set aside.
- Put the fishes under a grill for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown & crispy .
- Place grated daikon and lemon wedges placed next to the grilled fish.
- Pour soya sauce in individual small plates.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice or as one of the dishes or with other yakitori dishes.
- Remove the skin, drizzle lemon juice on the meat and eat by dipping in soya sauce or mix the daikon into the soya sauce which is even better.
You can baked some mushrooms in foil to accompany with if you like, and pour yourself some Hot/ Cold Sake or Plum wine will be ideal!!!
The other night initially I did not have any idea what to cook for myself, I did not feel hungry until it’s almost 9pm. I seemed to feel hungry only when it was gradually getting dark. When I looked into twitter, I saw Helen had made aglio e olio for dinner, I thought this was not a bad idea, quick to make and my other food blogger friend Ella @ From Stratch had just blogged this dish recently. However, the inside me wants to make something different, I was thinking that I have a small bottle of Masago which needs to be finished asap. I know there are Japanese pasta which uses fish roe but from what I can remember, they are using creamy sauce which I did not fancy tonight. So I had an idea to use the aglio e olio recipe as base and spin off to become a Japanese-Italian fusion version. The result was delizioso, oishi!!! I was very happy with my creativitiy tonight : )
- 100g liguine
- 30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp masago (capelin roe) or tobiko (flying fish roe)
- 1.5 tbsp dried garlic flakes or 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 2 frozen basil cubes or handful of fresh basil
- 1/2 sheet sushi nori (seaweed), cut into thin slices
- 1 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
- 1/2 small red chili cut into small pieces, discard seeds or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
- fresh ground sea salt
- Cook the liguine as instructed from the pack to al dente and drain in a colander.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan at medium high heat, sauté the garlic and chili for a while, when the garlic turns slightly brown, add the drained liguine and basil into the pan and toss until they are mixed well. Sprinkle the parsley, mix well.
- Transfer the pasta onto serving plate. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese, then add the masago or tobiko on top and followed by the nori.
- Add a little freshly ground salt as seasoning and mix well.
Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese cold noodle salad which is only available in summers. In the past I did not really like it, I always ended up choosing a bowl of hot ramen. However yesterday, we had 31ºC in Basel, and it was not common to have air conditioning like as in Hong Kong. Therefore it made me think of making this cold noodle at home to chill out a bit. It also serves as a great fitness meal. I had all ingredients I needed at home and did not even need to go to the supermarket. It is very easy and quick to prepare so I went swimming in the afternoon to burn some calories and get ready for summer.
To make this cold noodle, it is very flexible, you can choose any vegetables you like, the objective is to combine different colors of toppings (see below for suggestions) to create a colorful dish, so feel free to use your imagination and create your own. You can just skip the meat if you are vegetarian or if you feel like meat-free one of these days.
My recipe is inspired by the one I found in Wikia, thanks to the author for sharing this.
Serves 2-3 (depending on your appetite)
- 2 package boiled and drained ramen noodles (see picture)
Toppings (choose as many as you desire):
- sweet corn or thin strips of pan fried egg
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- grated or julienned carrots
- handful bean sprouts, boil for 1 minute and drain
- handful pak choi, boiled & cut into thin strips
- tomatoes, cut into thin strips
- Choose one:
- ham, cut into thin strips) or
- boiled chicken breast, hand teared into strips or
- cooked prawns (I have used Louisiana peeled shrimps this time bought from ALDI) or
- crab sticks
Sesame dressing :
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ground sesame seeds
- 6 tbsp sesame paste chinese sesame paste or tahini
- 1 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional, see notes below)
- Prepare the toppings as described above and set aside.
- Boil the noodles, rinse in cold water to avoid over cook it as well as chill the noodles and drain to remove excess water.
- Mix well the seasonings for the sesame dressing in a bowl, make sure the sesame paste is well blended into the rest of the seasonings.
- Divide the noodles into 2-3 flat bowls. Place the toppings on top of the noodles.
- Serve at room temperature. Pour some dressing on the noodle just before eating.
You can use chinese egg noodles if ramen is not accessible to you. I personally prefer ramen as I like the slight chewiness.
You can prepare everything a few hours in advance if you like.
I have tried one bowl with garlic and ginger added to the dressing. My personal feeling is that the garlic and ginger is not a must but if you are a garlic lover like me ……..
Taken in Sörenberg, Canton of Lucern
This Spring I am particularly into asparagus, mostly because it is seasonal and this year’s May is much warmer than usual. We have over 30ºC these few days!!! One Sunday after golfing in France, we wanted to sample the traditional way of cooking asparagus in Alsace but they have just all sold out, then we came back to Switzerland and tried in another restaurants, still no luck. We thought it must be because the weather was so nice that a lot of people eating-out. Anyway we went on Monday and enjoyed a very nice asparagus dinner near the Birs (a 73-km long river in Switzerland that flows through the Jura region and ends as a tributary to the Rhine between Basel and Birsfelden.)
I was told not to buy the imported asparagus if you can, the good ones are from Germany and now it is accessible to get the ones from Badischer, I also like those fromAlsace too. After buying for several times this year, I learnt that only eat them when they are harvested in high season. The first time I bought in late March, the white asparagus tasted bitter and very fibery. I tried to made a soup out of it but ended up throwing the whole thing away.
At home, I like to stir fry my aspargus with thinly sliced chicken & a little yellow bean sauce, in a chinese way. Or alternatively, I would make Japanese Yakitori, wrap the asparagus with bacon or marinated pork, put them in skewers and cook them in BBQ on on a grill. My neighbour’s daughter who never like eating asparagus, she tried a skewer last week and immediately she changed her mind totally and asked for a second skewer.
To make asparagus yakitori, it is really easy, if you do not have much time, choose the non marinade option:
(i) Non-Marinade Method
- white or green asparagus trimmed & cut off 1cm from the end, each stalk cut into 4 pieces
- smoked streaky bacon
- Soak a handful of wooden skewers in a glass of water.
- Cut the bacon into half to make into two pieces.
- Wrap a piece of cut bacon around each piece of asparagus.
- Put a wooden skewer through the wrapped asparagus, 4 pieces into one skewer.
- Cook them on a BBQ or grill for about 4 mins on each side, depending if the thicknessof your asparagus.
(ii) Marinade Method
- white or green asparagus trimmed & cut off 1cm from the end, each stalk cut into 4 pieces
- 350g pork or pork belly, thinly sliced, about 4-5cm long & 4cm wide)
Marinade sauce (inspired by the recipe of Harumi’s Japanese Cooking in P.115)
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese Hoi Sin sauce
- 1 tbsp Balsamico Aceto
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp ground sesame seeds
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- pinches black pepper
- pinches chili pepper
- pinches Japanese seven spices
Radish dipping sauce:
- 5 Red radish finely grated
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Mix all the seasonings of the marinade in a bowl and leave for at least an hour in order.
- Marinate the thinly sliced pork for about 30 minutes or longer.
- Soak a handful of wooden skewers in a glass of water.
- Lie the slices marinated pork flat on a plate and wrap each slice with a piece of asparagus. Repeat for all of them.
- Put a wooden skewer through the wrapped asparagus, 4 pieces into one skewer.
- Prepare the radish dipping sauce by adding the soy sauce and vinegar to the grated radish. Cook them on a BBQ or on a grill for about 4 mins on each side, depending if the thicknessof your asparagus.
- Some said you should blanch the asparagus briefly for a minute in boiling water. I have tried both blanched and non-blanched. I found that it is not really necessary to blanch the asparagus as they cook fast anyway also the taste of the asparagus are kept fresher without blanching them.
- White radish (daikon) is normally used in the dip but the red ones are in season right now. I was very happy with the pinkish color Also if I buy the white radish, I may not be able to finish it in time due to its large size.
- The radish dip is served to lower the internal heat when eating fried or BBQ food, it’s always served with fried tofu, tempura kind of dishes.
For more asparagus ideas:
I have been busy with Spring cleaning, never like cleaning but don’t know why I got into mood of tidying up things. There are days like this, I suppose. Our garden is now in good shape & the terrace is finished, many thanks to my in-laws and my hubby : ) Now we have to wait for the terrace furniture but unfortunately gotta wait until late June as the model we chose are selling too well. I guess the shop does not expect to have such good response in the current economic environment and did not dare to keep too many in the inventory.
And in the coming days, we have to start working and planning for our vegetable garden, really looking forward to having your own vegetables again, they really taste better and more special.
As for cooking, these two weeks I have been exploring in making ice cream without electric ice cream machine, after the big success with the Giandaja Chocolate flavor, I could not wait to explore other flavors. I made a green tea flavor for my friend Carmen, I made it without yolks since she is expecting a baby and it’s better to be on the safe side, and I found out that using sweet condensed milk is a great solution to avoid egg yolks and the ice cream came out as creamy.
I have been missing the Japanese ice cream, the most popular flavors are probably green tea and black sesame. I could get green tea in the Japanese restaurants here in Switzerland but no luck for the black sesame flavor so I attempted to make myself and it proved that it’s actually not that difficult. My version is probably more fibery as I grounded 90% of the toasted sesame seeds and the rest were keep ungrounded. So here is another long-lost taste I have rediscovered, and I can sit back and relax my favorite ice cream at home, even freshly made.
Make almost 3 cups (700ml)
- 1.5 cups (360ml) full cream
- 0.5 cup (120ml) semi skimmed milk
- 80 ml sweet condensed milk/ maple syrup
- 1 tsp castor sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g black sesame seeds
- 50g white sesame seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- The method is not much different to the Gianduja Chocolate flavor, except I have used 4 yolks instead of 3 this time and have used sweet condensed milk instead of castor sugar. You can refer to my other Gianduja chocolate ice cream for more information of my first ice cream making experience.
- Several hours ahead, place a stainless steel bowl in the freezer.
- Toast the sesame seeds on a pan, be careful not to burn them. Ground 90% of the seeds with a pestle & mortar. The rest keeps aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar & vanilla essence for a minute or so.
- In a large saucepan, pour in the milk, full cream and sweet condensed milk (maple syrup), heat it up without boiling. Stop when you can see hint of steam coming up. Keep stiring to avoid burning. Pour this mixture into the beaten eggs gradually. Mix with an electric blender at medium speed.
- When the cream and egg mixtures are mixed together, turn the mixture back to the saucepan and put the heat on again. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon, you will see the custard mixture will get thicker very quickly, you can stop when the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon. Your ice cream mixture is now ready.
- Take the pre-frozen stainless steel bowl out from the freezer. Pour the ice cream mixture to the bowl, add in the all the toasted sesames, stir with the wooden spoon until mixed and put the bowl back to the freezer.
- Take the bowl from the freezer every 30-40 mins, stir with the wooden spoon. You will see the sides of the ice cream mixture begins to freeze, scrap them off to mix with the non-frozen mixture. The sesame seeds may sink to the bottom, stir until mixed again. Repeat until the ice cream mixture gets thick enough, close to the consistency of the ice cream. This will take 4-5 times.
- Transfer the ice cream mixture to a plastic container and freezer for another 1-2 hour or until the ice cream is fully set.
- Scoop to a nice bowl and enjoy!
If I am still living in Hong Kong, I would never or even have a slightest thought of making sushi myself. Living in Basel, it’s another story, it has already improved a lot compare to >15 years ago. Now you can at least find a few sushi places, although the choice is still limited but better than nothing. If I want more varieties or more fansy/ contemporary Japanese restaurants, I will have to go to Zurich or Freiburg (Germany) which both take about an hour to get there.
My hubby had to work until late tonight, by the time he finished at 10pm, it would not be easy to find some nice food this late anymore. Yes only 10pm, this is Switzerland. So in view of this, I offered myself to make some sushi tonight.
For rolls, I have made a few times but for sushi this is my second attempt. My Swiss friend was so surprised that I do not know how to make sushi. Who would need to learn when it is so easily accessible in HK?
Anyway, tonight, I was very happy with the results. Everything seemed to come together. I also made tamagoyaki for the first time. And guess where learnt these from? It was from YouTube !!! Therefore you will not see any recipes in this post, I just want to share my happiness and the satisfaction with you. I have also saved a lot instead of eating out. If we would have eaten in the restaurant, this would cost more than CHF 120 excluding drinks. Now it cost us just one-third of that, 2 plates of sushi combo and sashimi and a cumcumber salad (not shown here).
Sushi combo: salmon cucumber roll, tamago sushi, salmon, scallop & tuna sushi
Tamagoyaki: Japanese egg omelette
I have so many various vegetables in the fridge and came up an idea to make a veggie version of yakiudon. I love meat so it’s pretty challenging to go for a meatless meal, but after after cooking so many nice dishes, cakes and cookies when my in-laws were with us in the last 10 days, it’s time for me to eat something light. You can substitute any vegetables you have around you. The original Japanese version uses Cabbage and I used Pak Choy instead. Combine different colours of vegetables so you will get a multicolor dish, it will cheer you up and it tastes as good as with meat or seafood.
- 3-4 tbsp Worchestershire sauce or Tonkashu sauce
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- Japanese 7 spices
- pinches of sea salt
- fresh ground black Pepper
- green nori flakes (optional)
- 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pack enoki mushrooms
- half courgette, cut into thin strips
- 1 small carrot, grated
- handful of white champignons (mushrooms), thinly sliced
- 1 pak choy
- 4 sprigs chinese chives, cut into 4 cm lengths
- 3 sprigs spring onion, cut into 4 cm lengths
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- 1 pack boiled udon, washed in water, unwind and drain
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Dried bonito flakes (optional for garnish)
- Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok if you have one.
- Add in the chopped garlic and let it cook for about 20 seconds. Turn down the heat a little if it gets too hot, don’t burn the garlic.
- Add the vegetables into the pan and stir fry, add the mirin and follow by some salt and pepper.
- Add the udon, keep stir frying until all ingredients are mixed well and almost cooked.
- Add in the Worchestershire sauce or Tonkashu sauce, 7 spices, green nori flakes and sugar. Taste to see if need more salt and pepper.
- This can be done here but I learnt to add mayonnaise which enhanced the yakiudon extremely well. If you prefer you can put this next to the udon on the plate.
- Serve immediately when hot and garnish with bonito flakes.
Enjoy with a glass of Japanese (CHOYA) Plum wine !
- The amount of vegetables I used here are actually enough for 2 udon but there was only one on the shelf and I wanted a light meal anyway, it still produced 2 good sizeable portion which I could save for my hubby coming back late from work.
- The mayonnaise is really important in this Yakiudon I find, it really did the trick.
I was so excited the other day that I found these mixed mushrooms in the Swiss COOP supermarket, they are like the Japanese Enoki mushrooms. In the pack they have white and brown ones, plus some shiitake. On the pack they just labelled as Mixed mushrooms, anyway who cares as long as they are edible.
I immediately put a pack in my trolley. How to cook them? All of a sudden I recalled this baked mushrooms I had a long time ago in a Japanese Yakitori restaurant. I love Yakitori restaurants, those Japanese skewers are my favorites. Order some skewers and a sake, it’s perfect to go with a small group of friends. I always feel these Yakitori Sake places are similar to the Spanish Tapas Bar.
Anyway, based on my memory and some guesstimation, I made this baked mushrooms at home. This is so easy and clean to make. After finished, I just threw away the aluminium foil.
- a pack of mixed mushrooms (you can use enoki and shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Cut a big piece of aluminium foil about 80cm x 30cm. Fold both sides into middle to make a double layer. And fold it into an aluminium wrap with an opening.
- Line the mushrooms in the wrap and add in the seasonings.
- Put the aluminium wrap into a baking tray, cover the opening with another piece of aluminium foil (as a lid)
- Place the baking tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 mins.
- Check if the mushrooms are cooked and serve immediately as one of the vegetable side dishes.
Serving suggestion: best to go with other small dishes such as grilled chicken wings with Asian spices which is also extremely easy to make.
The beauty is that you could serve as it is with the wrap and it really did not leak!