Archive for April, 2012

April 29, 2012

Grandma’s Rock Cake

by KK

Hi, this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

I think the passion and love for cooking inside me comes from my grandparents, who used to live in the countryside of Japan near the sea. Every time we visited them for a holiday, Grandpa would take us fishing to catch something, and Grandma would cook the catch of the day in her small kitchen.

She also had this funky gadget you put on a gas stove, and it became an oven! With that “Magic Box”, she would bake us cream puffs and cookies and many other things that a child would only dream about. This rock cake was one of our favorite, and she would bake it and send it in parcels to us when the holiday was over.

I made some arrange to it by cutting out the butter and using dates, but as long as you know the basic recipe, you can play around with it!

My recommendation is to use at least one type of dried fruit, and one type of nuts. Basic combinations are:

Raisins + Walnuts

Apricots + Almonds

Cranberry + Macademia

You can also put in things like sesame, cooked beans(Adzuki beans or red kidney beans are my favorites), or rolled oats. It’s difficult to make a mistake, so use your imagination and enjoy!!

 

Basic Rock Cake Recipe (makes about 15-20 cookie size cakes)

-220g (or 2cups) Organic wholemeal flour

-1 teaspoon Aluminium free Bakin Powder

-30g (or 2 Tablespoon) Organic raw sugar

-2 Tablespoon shredded coconuts

-3 Dates, chopped

-2 Tablespoon walnuts, chopped

-1 egg

-2 Tablespoon Oil

-4 Tablespoon Organic Soy milk

 

Method

Step 1 : Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, BP, sugar, coconuts, dates, nuts)  in a large bowl; In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients (egg, oil, soy milk)

 

Step 2 : Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combine using a spatula. Make a round dome shape cake about Tablespoon size on a cooking tray, bake in pre-heated 180C oven for 12min, or until golden on top.

 

Soooo easy, and it will last in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. Hope you enjoy making it with your kids!

 

 

April 25, 2012

Some basic ingredients

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

I was looking in my pantry and wondering,

“What is the most important ingredient for me to cook Japanese/Vegetarian food?”

I’ve thought about this before, and time to time, mentioned about it in my blog, but the top 3 would be

1)Soy sauce

2)Miso

3)Sake (Cooking rice wine)

 

Today, I want to write about Miso.

Miso is a thick paste made from soy beans, salt and malt. You can make it yourself, and this year, I have “cooked” 4kg at home in Sydney.

Here, I prepared organic soy beans, macrobiotic sea salt and “KOUJI”, dried rice malt that I miraculously found in a Japanese grocery shop in Artarmon.

 

Malt is used in many forms in Japan. It is essential to create Sake(Japanese traditonal alcohol) ,Miso, Pickles, and even Soy sauce. Through fermentation, it gives a wonderful flavor that can not be expressed in words, and you can not imagine how happy I was to find this precious ingredient.

Unfortunately, I could only find it once, and is hoping that they will import it once again. Then, I can introduce how to make your own Miso on this blog too!

 

Even in Japan, not everyone makes miso at home. People like me who enjoys cooking would do so, so I do have a group of friend making miso every year. After “cooking” it, we have to wait at least 6 month for the fermentation process to happen, but I believe it’s worth the wait, and the more you wait, the better taste it becomes. It’s like wine! You need patience, love and passion to make these kind of things.

 

If you are more practical, and would like something handy, I recommend to buy either Barley miso or Shiro-miso.

 I am out of my Barley miso, so here is a photo of my Shiro-miso. Shiro-miso means “White miso” and compared to most miso, it is a bit sweeter. This is why you can use it in other cooking apart from miso soup!

 

Some of you may have realized that in Japanese cooking, we add sweetness by using raw sugar or Mirin(sweet cooking wine). In Japan, I hardly used sugar, but living in Sydney, and introducing Japanese food in English, I thought “Hey, I’m using way too much sugar”. This is because most Japanese food in Sydney is made much sweeter than it is in Japan, and I thought I should cook something to match your taste.

However, now that Yumi is eating like us, and I don’t want her sugar consumption to increase, so I am shifting a bit back to my basic cooking, and try to use less sugar. So, in that way, I would be using shiro-miso more often in my food. I hope you can find it and learn to use it!

 

Miso is not only for miso soup, it has many more possibility to it, and I hope you can find your favorite cooking with it! Enjoy your cooking!

 

NOTE: The brand I buy is called SPIRAL, and I bought it at Mr. Vitamins for under $9 a pack. You can buy other brand shiro-miso from places like Honest to Goodness, an organic shop that I buy most of my beans from. At Honest to Goodness, a 400g packet was $14.50 online, so it is not that cheap, but the taste is definitely worth it!

 

April 25, 2012

Mushroom Delight

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

I came across my favorite vegetable at the market, Shimeji Mushroom and King Oyster Mushroom!

Wow, they are sooooooo good, you must try them! The one I find at the supermarkets are not so nice, but the ones I bought at the market was fresh and had lovely aroma and taste. To enjoy the most out of it, I made 2 different types of sautees and a flavored rice.

This dinner was completely vegan, with okra and round bean and bak choy as a side dish. Very typical Japanese style dinner, and very low in calories, so great for all the dieters!!

 

Today, I will introduce how to make the flavored rice. Very tasty, and Yumi’s favorite. I made small omusubi rice balls for her, and she would eat two! Holding it inside her own small hands, she gobbled down happily.

 

 

 

Ingredients (for 4-5 people, but we always freeze half and enjoy it later in the week)

-540g Medium grain rice (this is equivalent to 3 “rice” cups in Japanese standard)

-2 King Oyster mushroom (we call it ERINGI in Japan)

-4 Shimeji mushroom

-1/2 Carrot

-1 Fried bean curd (Abura-Age)

-500 cc (2 cooking cups)  Dashi broth (or water)

-3 Tablespoon Soy sauce

-2 Tablespoon Sake (cooking rice wine)

-2 Tablespoon Mirin

-1/3 teaspoon Salt

 

Method

Step 1: Wash and rinse rice several times under running water, soak in water for 30min, drain.

 

Step 2: Cut all the ingredients (mushrooms, carrots, bean curd) into thin strips, about 2cm length and 1mm wide.

 

Step 3: Put the rice in a rice cooker/heavy pot with lid. Place all the vegetables and broth on top. If using rice cooker, press start button, if cooking over stove, cook on high for 8min, and low for 12 min.

 

Once you have the rice ready, it is easy as pie! I love flavored rice, especially with mushrooms. This is made into a vegan recipe, and there are other variations using similar ingredients, which I will try making again soon!

 

 

 

April 23, 2012

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Muffin

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

It’s back to school time, and for our family, playgroup is back again.

Not that it makes our daily life so different, but I do use playgroup as an excuse to bake more often,  and take what I have baked for other kids and mums to eat.

 

At the moment, I am experimenting on my gluten-free recipes, using rice flour. Here is a new recipe, that looks exactly like a normal chocolate muffin.

 This is regular muffin size, and it is

-No Egg

-No Butter

-No Oil

-No Sugar

and Gluten Free. So, it is suitable for most kids and the best of all, it tastes good! Well, at least it must have been good for my daughter Yumi, because she ate the whole regular size muffin, as well as half of mine (^-^)/ Good to know that somebody enjoys it!

 

Ingredients (to make 6 regular muffin size)

-100g Rice flour

-50g Glutinous rice flour

-10g Cocoa powder

-2 teaspoon Aluminium free Baking Powder

-2 Tablespoon Maple syrup

-150cc Organic soy milk

-30g Organic sultanas

 

 

To make

Step 1: Shift all the dry ingredients (rice flour, glutinous rice flour, cocoa, BP) into a large bowl; add wet ingredients(maple syrup and soy milk), and then the sultanas. Mix lightly until blended.

 

Step 2: Pour the batter into a silicon cup, put on a steamer and cook for about 12min. Check with a skewer (if it comes clean, its cooked)

 

Compared to my baked muffins, this is healthier becuase it contains no oil/butter. Good for your diet!

By adding   glutinous rice flour, you get the interesting, soft-chewy texture, that my daughter seems to love. If you don’t have the glutinous rice flour, you can use 1 small mashed banana to substitute it. I will try 100% rice flour muffin next time, and tell you how that turns out. ENJOY!!!

 

 

 

 

 

April 21, 2012

Gluten Free Vegan Gnocchi

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

Although, I am Japanese, I love cooking foods from other countries. Chinese and Korean foods are quite common on our table, but the most popular cuisine that I cook (apart from Japanese) is Italian!! I used to have pasta machine at home in Tokyo, and had fun making my own pasta. Our honeymoon was to South Italy, and my husband Hide ate pizza and gelato everyday for 2 weeks and gained 3 kilos. I was 7 month pregnant at that time, and proud to say that I didn’t gain any wait!

This is how much we love Italian food, and I still make my own tomato sauce and never bought ready made pasta sauce.

 

Here is a simple recipe that is loved by everyone in my family, including my 19 month old baby Yumi, and you must try it.

 Once you made the gnocchi dough, you can eat it in many ways. It will keep in fridge for about 3 days, and some people say you can freeze it, but I usually finish it within 3 days, so am not quite sure how the texture would turn out.

 

I sometimes add mashed pumpkin or sweet potatoes to the basic recipe, and have it with my “soy cheese” sauce. It is a great alternative to carbonara, low in fat and calories, so you can enjoy your “pasta” without any guilt!

 

 

Ingredients (to make about 12-15 gnocchi pieces)

-1 large potato (about 250g)

-50-80g Potato starch

-1 pinch Salt

 

Step 1 : Peel the potato skin, cut into 8 pieces and steam for about 20min, until soft. (You can boil it with the skin on, then peel it or cook it in the microwave  as well. I just prefer steaming my vegetables, so that they will have maximum taste to it)

Step 2: Mash or mix in food processor until smooth, add salt and potato starch. Form into small ball (about 20cent coin big and finger thick) and cook in boiling water for 3-5min. It will swell up and become about 50cent coin size.

Serve immediately with your favorite sauce. Today, I cooked tomato sauce with kidney bean burgers, looks like meatball!? It was sooooo good, I enjoyed my organic wine very much with it. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

April 19, 2012

Carrots for Rabbits?

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artisit / Healthy Muffin  Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

My final Sushi Art for April, I decided to make a different rabbit using carrots!

 Can you tell that compared to yesterday’s rabbit, the colors are a bit different? This is because instead of using beetroot as a color source, I used grated carrots! It came out to be nice orange, and tasted good too!

 

This could be told by a 15months old baby girl, just like my daugher Yumi, loved the sushi so much, she ate 1 heart and 3 rabbit ears! I am so happy to see baby eating well. Reminds me of my own when I am away.

 

 

Rabbit teaches you a basic technique to make other animals as well, and it is loved by kids all the time. Being vegan, it is suitable at any situation, and is a popular party treat!

 

Next month, we will be making Cars and the basic Plum flower, also popular amongst kids.  Hope to see you again soon!

 

 

April 18, 2012

Rabbit and Heart Sushi Art

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

Today was Sushi Art class for April, and even in this WET WET WET weather, we had plenty of fun! It was so fun, I forgot to take photo during the class, but here is what we made!

 

When Yumi came home from child care and found this sushi on the table, she started singing

“Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!”

in a funny tune, grabbed hold of the rabbit face, and took a large bite from it.

 

 

Quite amazing to see a 19 month old baby eating sushi on her own in such happiness. I guess it is easy for her to eat because she can hold it in her hand, and shove it in when necessary. Everything is precooked, and already has a taste, so no need for soy sauce!

 

I hope we have lots of fun tomorrow too!

April 17, 2012

Gluten Free Cookie

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

My daughter Yumi has been teething for the past few days, and she is having a very picky appetite. No more muffins, as she prefers to bite on something harder. I have been giving her non-salt low-fat crackers, but it has come to a point that she is eating too much of it, so I decided to make something for her  myself.

 It is a cookie made from rice flours! Because it doesn’t contain any butter, it is crispy and crunchy in a way. I hope she likes it. This recipe is gluten free, no-egg, no-butter, and no-sugar, so it’s great for everyone! I hope you enjoy it too!!

 

Ingredients (will make about 40 bite-size cookies)

-100g Rice flour

-50g Glutinous  rice flour

-20g Organic cocoa powder OR 20g Almond meal

-5g Aluminium Free Baking powder

-1 pinch salt

-2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

-2 Tablespoon Oil (I used Extra virgin olive oil)

-1/2 to 2/3 cup boiling water

Making it is so easy, and the best part is you don’t have to rest it!

Step 1: Put all the ingredients except boiling water in a food processor and mix for about 30 seconds, until everything is blended. It may be crumbly but take it out in a large bowl.

Step 2: Add boiling water little by little, beating well each time with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes like your earlobe.

Step 3: Roll out about 3mm thick, cut out into desired shape and bake in pre-heated 170C oven for 10 to 12 min.

As you can see from the photo, I made half almond and half coco. This will keep in an airtight container for about a week, but I don’t think it’ll last that long because they taste great!

April 16, 2012

Steamed Banana Muffin_No sugar, No butter, No egg, No oil!

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

My daughter Yumi loves muffins soooo much, I bake about twice a week to keep up with her appetite. I usually bake mini muffins, so it’s quicker to bake (12min in the oven) and easier for her to eat.

As I was trying to think what I can do with 1kg of flour, I decided to do something different. Instead of baking a muffin, I tried steaming it, like my mum used to do at home. Unlike kitchens in Australia, many Japanese mums do not own an oven. Well, these days we have microwaves that work like an oven, but it’s much smaller than the ones here. In our house, we didn’t even have a microwave until I was 12 or so, fortunately, we had a gas oven, but it was seldom used. So when we wanted a quick filling snack, mum used to make steamed buns! I have a lot of recipes for this, but can’t always find the ingredients in Sydney, so today I will start with the basic.

 So easy to make, the only problem here is you need a steamer, but that can be solved by using a large pot and a bowl plus a plate. You just simply put a bowl upside down in a large pot, pour water around the bowl (about 3/4 of the depth of the bowl) put a large plate on top, put your muffins and cook with the lid on! Better to wrap the lid with a kitchen towel, so you don’t have water dripping on your muffins.

Be careful not to burn your self because steam can be quite hot when you are handling them. Apart from that, this is easy, quick and fun to make with kids.

I used silicon muffin cases for this, you can use ceramic or metal, just remember to grease  it with butter or oil before you pour the batter. I repeat, be careful when handling this because the tin gets quite hot too!!

Ingredients (to make 6 regular size muffins)

-220g Organic wholemeaf flour
-1 medium to large size ripe banana

-1 cup Organic soy milk (or regular milk)
-2 teaspoon Aluminium free baking powder

Method

Step 1: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth

Step 2 : Pour into muffin cases/tins, place in steamer and cook for 10 to 15 min, Check with a skewer (if it comes clean, its cooked)

I though my muffin was quite healthy, but this is healthier because it has no oil in it. Still, nice and moist thanks to the banana and the steaming method. Hmmmm, maybe I should have this for my snack!

April 15, 2012

Vegetable Tempura for Parties

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

I was changing the design for my blog, which took a lot of time from cooking, but finally it’s done! I hope you find it easier to read!

Today, I would like to introduce are recipe for parties,  a new way to enjoy Tempura.

I cook tempura often at home, but when people come over to eat, there is one small problem.

It’s about the dipping sauce! Tempura can be eaten in different ways, and at most exclusive tempura restaurants in Japan, it is fried right in front of your eyes and usually served with salt. This way, you can enjoy the crispiness and the flavor at the same time. It is difficult to do the same at home, unless you stay in the kitchen and cook as you serve the guest. I sometimes do that but you miss out on the conversation which is a pity.

So what happens is when you serve at home, you serve with a dipping sauce which is made from Dashi broth, soy sauce, mirin and raw sugar, but there are two problems for me when I prepare the sauce. One, I  never know how much to prepare because some people like to have a lot of sauce to dip their tempuras, while others don’t use much at all. And second, I don’t have enough bowls when I want to serve at a party!

To overcome this, I changed my state of mind. Instead of serving it as a sauce, I covered the tempura with it! This is good for parties, when you want to serve them on a small plate or as finger food, just place this sauce next to the tempura with a small spoon, like the way jams are served near breads on a breakfast bar.

The way to make this sauce is quite simple, just prepare the sauce like usual, and add some edible gelatine. The sauce can be used in other dishes, it goes great with eggplants, tofu and other steamed vegetables. I hope this idea help you challenge tempura at home!

Ingredients

-100cc Dashi broth (Soak 7cm square konbu kelp or 2 dried mushroom in water for over night, bring to boil and take out konbu/mushroom before serving)

-1 Tablespoon  Soy sauce

-1 Tablespoon Mirin

-1/2 Tablespoon Organic raw sugar

-1-2 teaspoon Edible gelatine

-2 Tablespoon water

Step 1: Soak gelatine in water and rest 5 min

Step 2: Boil dashi and add gelatine, add soy sauce, mirin and sugar, mix well and cool

Step 3: Mix with fork before serving

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