New! Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist

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We were receiving a few guests the other day. Some of them had never eaten my food before, however, rumor was apparently around that I was a good cook.

With a little bit of pressure and no knowledge of what they can/cannot eat, I decided to cook this dish. It looks like a normal standard Shepard’s Pie (which I believe everybody likes), but the inside represents my specialty – Japanese Cooking.

The original idea of this dish is from a Japanese Meat and Potato Stew called “Nikujaga”. I realised the ingredients for Nikujaga are very similar to Shepard’s Pie. Why can’t I combine them all together, I thought.

This new Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist was well received by our guests and the dinner party was very much successful. If you would like to make something different for your dinner party, I certainly recommend this recipe.

Ingredients (Serving for 4, using 24cm round baking tray): 

For Mince Filling

150g of your favorite Mince (lamb, beef, turkey kangaroo etc…)

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

3 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar

3 Teaspoons of Cooking Sake

6 Teaspoons of Soy Sauce

2 Onions – chopped

2 Carrots – chopped

1 Red Capsicum – chopped

1 Zucchini – chopped

For Mash Potato

500g Potato – peel and cut in chunks

1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar

10g Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons of Milk

For Toppings

60g Parmesan Cheese

15g Breadcumbs

 

Method:

For Mine Filling

  1. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the above ingredients) in a medium saucepan on medium/high heat. Once the saucepan gets hot, cook your choice of mince and nutmeg together, while breaking up the mince with a spatula or wooden spoon. In order to bring the best flavour out, please cook it very well. When the mince starts becoming brown, oil from the mince will come out. Even though the mince has become brown and looks cooked, please keep cooking until the oil has disappeared.
  2. Add brown sugar, cooking sake and soy sauce into the saucepan and then fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, carrot, capsicum and zucchini. Reduce the heat to low. Put a lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables become soft and are well-cooked in the sauce.

For Mash Potato

  1. Boil potatoes from cold water for 10-15 minutes or until they become tender. Drain the hot water. Return the cooked potatoes into the same pot. Add sugar onto the potatoes and heat it over medium heat. Put a lid on and burn off the excess water from the potatoes while tossing the pot.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Mash with butter and milk.

Meanwhile, heat the over to 220 °C.

Construction and Baking

  1. Place the mince filling into a baking tray, and the  spread the mash potato over it. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  2. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the surface is coloured and the filling in the bottom is bubbling.

Serve while hot.

 

 

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Big Salad – Larb Gai – Thai Chicken Larb Salad

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It is getting cold here in Australia. However, I still sometimes feel like eating salad…. Big Salad. Is there anyone feeling the same as me????

I would like to introduce my Thai Larb Salad recipe today for my friends who feel the same as me – feel like big salad during this cold weather. This Larb Salad is warm. Chili in the salad makes you warm too. Super simple to make as well. Healthy  – no oil involved.

Convinced? Try it. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (serving 3-4):

 

For Salad

1 Carrot – grated

3-4 Spring Onions – chopped

1 Onion – thinly sliced

3 stalks of Celery – finely chopped

100g of Mushrooms (about 4 mushrooms) – sliced

300g of Cabbage (about 1/4) – thinly sliced

1/2 Cucumber – sliced

1 bunch of Coriander  – chopped

For Chicken

150- 160g of Chicken Mince

50ml of Water

50ml of Cooking Sake (or any cooking wine)

 

For Dressing

4 Tablespoons of Lime Juice

3 Tablespoons of Fish sauce

2 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

1 red eyed Chili (or any of your preferred chili) – finely chopped

Method:

  1. For Salad, place carrot, spring onions, onion, celery and mushrooms in a large bowl. Arrange sliced cabbage and cucumber nicely on a serving plate.
  2. For Dressing, mix all of the ingredients very well. Put it aside.
  3. For Chicken, boil water and cooking sake in a frying pan. Add chicken mince into it. Cook it while breaking it up with a spatula, until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has almost evaporated.
  4. Add the cooked chicken with the remaining liquid (from Method 3) into the salad bowl (Method 1). Add the dressing (Method 2) into it and mix all together.
  5. Place the chicken mince mixture on the arranged cabbage. Add coriander on top. Serve it while the chicken is warm.

Vegan & Gluten Free! Roasted Capsicum and Lupin Dip

My new recipe using my new super food – Lupin Flakes! Today I would like to introduce a new flavour of my beloved Lupin Hummus – Roasted Capsicum Version!

Roasted Capsicum Lupin Dip_a little bit of soy

Roasted capsicum dip is so tasty and I always have to try not to eat it too much, due to the amount of cream cheese used in it.

So I thought, how about replacing it with something I do not need to feel too conscious about – Lupin Flakes!

The lupin’s subtle flavour complements the sweetness of roasted capsicums. Vegan and Gluten Free is certainly a bonus too. It lasts for about 4-5 days in a fridge.

Hope this new flavour of Lupin Dip can be a new addition of your repertoire 🙂

 

Ingredients

2 Red Capsicums (about 500 – 550g in total)

100ml Lupin Flakes

1 Tablespoon of Hulled Tahini

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

2 cloves of Garlic – roughly chopped

0.5 Tablespoon of White Vinegar

0.5 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt for season

 

Method:

  1. For red capsicums, cut each red capsicum into quarters. Remove the seeds and membranes. Place them skin side up on a greased oven tray. Grill them for about 15 minutes or until the skin has blackened and blistered. Remove them from the grill and wrap them with tin foil. Leave it for 10-15 minutes to make the skin loosen. Peel and discard the skin.
  2. For lupin flakes, place the lupin flakes in cold water and bring to boil. Boil it for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the lupin flakes a few times, and then drain off the water from the lupin flakes very well.
  3. Place the roasted red capsicums (Method 1), the cooked lupin flakes (Method 2), tahini, lemon juice, garlic, white vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor. Process until they become smooth (or you can use a hand mixer if you do not have a food processor).
  4. Season it with sea salt and serve it with your choice of cracker, bread or vegetable sticks.

 

Spiced Carrot and Coconut Soup

Carrots, Onions and Potatoes are probably the most common vegetables to have in your kitchen. This Carrot Soup recipe can turn these “normal” veggies into a bit of a fun and exciting dish. I think that it is good to have this kind of dish in your repertoire.

It is getting cold here in Australia. This soup hopefully help you and your loved ones to warm up.

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Ingredients: (Serving 4-5)  

5 Carrots – roughly chopped

1 Onion – roughly chopped

1 Potato – roughly chopped

1 clove of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf – bend in half

700ml of Vegetable Stock

¼ Teaspoon of Cumin Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg

140mlof Coconut Cream

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 bunch of Coriander – roughly chopped

 

Method:

  1. Place carrot, onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf and vegetable stock in a pot. Heat it over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low/medium and simmer it for about 30 minutes, or until the carrot becomes very soft and is breakable with a fork.
  2. Remove it from the heat and puree it with a hand mixer.
  3. Reheat it over a low heat. Stir cumin, turmeric and nutmeg into the puree. Add coconut cream. Season with sea salt. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water to make the soup your desired consistency.
  4. Top with coriander and serve while warm.

Healthy! Tuna Spread – without mayo

We do not store mayonnaise at home as we do not often use it. However, I sometimes feel that it would be convenient if there were one in the fridge.

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The feeling came to me last week. It was Easter Weekend and I was making some nibbles for a platter. I just thought that something with mayonnaise flavour would add variety to the platter. And then, this idea came to me – why not using Yogurt instead! That would be much healthier!

My new Tuna Spread without mayonnaise can be served as part of a platter, served with crackers, veggie sticks, or can be used for sandwiches. Even  though there is not mayonnaise involved, I guarantee it still has richness. It is super easy to make as well, so it will be a good recipe to have in your hand. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

1 tin of Tuna in spring water (185g) – drain the water

2 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt

1/2 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Pickled Onion – finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of  the liquid from a jar of pickled onions

A pinch of Sea Salt and Black pepper to season

1 small spring onions – finely chopped

Method:

In a small bowl, mash the tuna with a fork. Add all other ingredients to the tuna. Mash and mix all together until it becomes very smooth. Season it with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

 

Note: If you do not normally have picked onions in your pantry, you can use a small amount of capers instead. 

 

 

Sweet & Sour! Teriyaki Chicken and Roasted Vegetables Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

This is my new “BIG” Salad Recipe.

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I try to cook salad for dinner more often these days, since we are trying to eat less carbs than before. This is just simply due to our age. We just cannot eat the same amount of food as we did before. However I would still like to feel satisfied after each meal.

So I made this salad. It contains both meat and vegetables, therefore it is quite filling while being healthy.

This Teriyaki Chicken Salad technically has 2 dressings (1 sauce and 1 dressing if I wold like to be specific) – Teriyaki sauce and Dijon Vinaigrette. The sweetness of teriyaki sauce and the sourness of vinaigrette dressing totally balance each other. The roasted vegetables suck these 2 dressings in! The soft boiled egg topping (which is optional, but!) gives the salad richness. YUM YUM YUM.

BTW, please note that you do not need to buy “Teriyaki”sauce from the shop 🙂 Hope you like it.

 

Ingredients (serve for about 3)

For Chicken

300g Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless)

Salt and Black pepper for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of Plain Flour

For Vegetables

6 big florets of Cauliflower

1 Red Capsicum

3/4 Butternut Pumpkin (or your favorite pumpkin)

1.5 tablespoons of Olive Oil for roasting

150g of Leafy Mix

Teriyaki Sauce

1.5 tablespoons of Brown Sugar

1.5 tablespoons of Soy Sauce (Japanese one)

0.5 tablespoon of Cooking Sake

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

2 Limes – juiced (you can replace it with 3/4 lemon)

5 teaspoons of White Vinegar

2 teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

5 teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Soft boiled egg for topping (optional)

3 Eggs

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C.
  2. Cut chicken breast and all vegetables into bite size pieces.
  3. Place the chicken into a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Put it aside.
  4. Place the cauliflower and the pumpkin into a roasting tray, and the red capsicum into a different tray. Coat them with olive oil. Roast the cauliflower and the pumpkin for 30 minutes until they are cooked and caramelised. For capsicum, place the tray into the oven 10 minutes after the cauliflower/pumpkin tray. Roast it for 20 minutes.
  5. In the mean time, make teriyaki sauce and Dijon Vinaigrette dressing by mixing all ingredients. Put them aside.
  6. Make soft boiled eggs for topping. Boil water in a small pot. Place eggs into the boiling water gently. Please use cold eggs from the fridge. Cook them for 6 minutes. Remove from the pot and cool them down in cold water. Put them aside.
  7. Now make teriyaki chicken. Heat a small amount of oil (which is not included in the ingredients’list above). Sprinkle plain flour over the chicken breast and mix them well.  Place the chicken into the frying pan. Pan-fry both sides of the chicken until lightly browned. Turn up the heat to high. Add the teriyaki sauce into the pan. Keep cooking it for about 30 minutes or until the sauce becomes silky and shiny, while applying the sauce over the chicken with a spoon.
  8. Now assemble the salad. Place 1/3 leafy mix on each serving place. Arrange the roasted vegetables and the teriyaki chicken on the leafy mix nicely. Pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the salad. Place the soft boiled egg on top. Serve it warm with the Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

 

Gari – Pickled Ginger

Today, I would like to share with you my mother’s Gari recipe.

Pickled Ginger Gari 2

Gari is Japanese Pickled Ginger, you might know it as the free side you get with sushi. It is perfect for refreshing and cleansing your palate. To make this pickle, it has to be young Ginger. Young Ginger has paler skin and pink tips. The flavour is much milder and juicier than the normal ginger. It is only around from late summer to early autumn. The season is short, so if you see young Ginger in the store, make the most of it! (if you are in Australia, it is now 🙂

Here is my mum’s recipe. The ginger will be quite spicy as she likes that way. If you would like to make it less spicy, you can boil ginger before pickling (see the method below).  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

800g – 1kg of Young Ginger

30g of Sea Salt

1 liter of White Vinegar

200ml of Caster Sugar

5g of Dried Kelp (if it is too difficult to find, you do not need to use it)

Method:

  1. Wash young ginger. Using a spoon scrape off the brown hard skin part from the ginger.
  2. Slice the ginger VERY thinly. Soak the sliced ginger in water while you are working. ( if you prefer less spicy, boil the ginger for 1 minutes here)
  3. Remove the sliced ginger from the water. Sprinkle sea salt over the ginger and put it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. In the mean time, put white vinegar, caster sugar and dried kelp in a small pot. Heat it over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Put it aside until it is cooled down.
  5. Squeeze the excess water from the sliced ginger and place it into a clean jar. Pour the vinegar mixture (method 4) over it. Store the jar in the fridge for 4-5 days, and then it will be ready to eat.

 

This is before

Pickled Ginger Gari 1

This is after – PINK!

Pickled Ginger Gari 3