Vegetarian Sushi

Do I like sushi?  Yes.   Do I like wasabi?   Not if I can see it.   The key to making these tasty is to use an almost invisible smear of wasabi paste.   If you use too much they burn your mouth and nose from the inside out.  Or at least that’s what it felt like to me the first time I made them.

Sushi actually means vinegared rice although many people in the UK think that it refers to raw fish.   Raw fish is actually sashimi, something I would be much more wary of preparing by myself at home, but that I’m happy to eat in good Japanese restaurants.  If you have some, these would be delicious served with a slice of sashimi on top of each roll.  If not, they are pretty good by themselves, just be careful with the wasabi.

I made these for My Kitchen My World which is focusing on Japanese food this month.

Ingredients – Serves 3

150g sushi rice

1/2 tsp wasabi paste

1 small carrot, julienned

1/4 green pepper, julienned

2 inches cucumber, julienned

1 spring onion, sliced into strips

3 sheets of nori

2 tbsp vinegar

1tbsp soy sauce

How to make Vegetarian Sushi

1. Cook the rice according to the pack instructions.  When ready, mix in the vinegar and soy sauce and leave to cool.

2. Use a sushi mat to roll the sushi.  Put a sheet of nori on the mat. Smear a tiny amount of wasabi from one end to the other in a narrow line.   Put some rice on the nori, covering about two inches so there is still some empty nori at the furthest away side.  Lay strips of the vegetables in the middle of the rice going from one side to the other.

3.  The sushi is now ready to roll.   As it rolls the vegetables end up in the middle of the rice.  Cut the roll into four pieces.

4. Serve with soy sauce for dipping.

We ate two rolls for lunch and I took the third roll to work as a packed lunch.

Lemon Sole with Spicy Crust

I posted my everyday bread recipe recently.  The only problem is that I don’t always manage to eat it within 3 days.   And I hate to waste food.   So, I save the leftover crusts to make into breadcrumbs and one of the ways I like to use them is as a crust on baked fish.  When I do this I usually add herbs to the mixture but this week I decided to add some spices instead and make a slightly spicy crust.   I wasn’t sure about adding the cheese as it doesn’t always go with spices but as this recipe doesn’t use egg to help the crumbs stick on the fish,  I find a little cheese is necessary as it melts slightly, holding the breadcrumb mix together and so making the crust deliciously crunchy.  If you don’t fancy the spices, just try it with herbs instead.  Anyway, although this was  a slightly odd match of ingredients I was pleased with the end result.

I’d like to send this as my first entry to BSI, Blogger Secret Ingredient.  The challenge this week was to make a meal using leftovers.  The event was hosted by My Year on the Grill.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 filets of lemon sole or other flat fish

1 slice of leftover bread

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp chilli powder

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, then serve the lemon with the fish

1 tbsp grated parmesan

How to make Lemon Sole with Spicy Crust

1. Break the bread into small pieces.   Bake in the oven on a low temperature for about 20 minutes or until hard.   Leave to cool.

2. Blitz the bread in a blender until it turns into breadcrumbs.

3. In a bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, spices, lemon zest and parmesan.

4. Put the fish a baking tray.  I usually lightly oil a piece of aluminium foil and put the fish on the foil on the baking tray.   Cover the fish in the breadcrumbs.

5. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

I served this with a green salad.


I lived in Germany for a year, working in a school as an English Assistant, and so this month’s Regional Recipes choice of Germany set me off on memory lane, thinking of my favourite dishes from that year.   Whenever I visited German friends they invariably had a delicious selection of cakes on offer and would serve them with strong fresh coffee.  One of the teachers often made me her daughter’s favourite,  kartofelpuffer, a type of pancake made with grated potato.  Fish with dill sauce was another standard everyday dish.  In the end I decided to make lebkuchen for this event.   Lebkuchen are spicy gingerbread biscuits which are eaten a lot at Christmas time and often given as gifts.  The flavours remind me of the Christmas markets, drinking warming spicy glühwein in various towns and cities on weekend visits to other English assistants.   This was of course another highlight of my year in Germany.  The more I think about it, the more dishes I want to nostalgically create.  I suspect this won’t be the last German recipe I post this year.

To make the lebkuchen I followed a basic recipe from BBC Good FoodRegional Recipes is hosted by Joanne of Eats Well with Others.


125g plain flour

45g ground almond

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

a pinch each of cloves, nutmeg and black pepper

100ml runny clear honey

40g butter

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

How to make Lebkuchen

1. Put the honey and butter in a pan over a low heat and leave to melt.

2. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl.

3. When the butter has melted, pour into the bowl and mix well.   It should all form one ball of fairly solid dough and come away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Cover and leave to cool.  Ideally leave overnight.  I waited 24 hours before moving onto making the biscuits.

5. Roll the dough into about 15 balls about 3cm wide.  Squash so they are a little flatter.  Put them on a tray covered in baking parchment.

6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180°c. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

I was going to make some icing to go on these but before I had to time to make it we’d eaten half of them and so unfortunately it never got made.  However, they would be great with a thin layer of icing, perhaps with a squeeze of lemon added to it.

Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

This is the second quiche I’ve ever made.  I made my first in January this year.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not a quiche fan.  In fact my mother used to make one  at least once a week when I was growing up.   She had about 5 different recipes – smoked haddock, chicken, cheese and tomato and my favourite, bacon and mushroom, which she still often makes when I go to visit.    And that’s partly why I’ve chosen to make this, although it’s not her recipe.

The other reason is that this dish was made for Taste and Create, where bloggers are paired with each other and each make a dish from each other’s blog.   I was lucky enough to be paired with Nicole who is also the organiser of the event.   Her blog, For the Love of Food is fantastic with loads of recipes so I was really spoilt for choice.   When I came across her recipe for Pat in the Pan Pie Crust it just looked so much easier and quicker than normal pastry that I really wanted to make it and I was intrigued about the way the pastry was made.   You really do just mix the ingredient quickly in a bowl, put the whole lot into the baking dish and press around the dish so it covers the base and sides of the pan.  I would have used a proper quiche dish if I’d had one but unfortunately I don’t and so I just used a square dish with a removable base and it was absolutely fine.   I also decided to use a mixture of plain and wholemeal flour as I love the crumblier texture of wholemeal pastry.  The taste of this pastry was very good but it was incredibly crumbly.  I’m not sure if this was because of the wholemeal flour or not but I’d still make it this way again.  As far as I’m concerned, taste is the most important thing and I won’t be put off by a few crumbs.

I also more or less followed Nicole’s recipe for the filling using this recipe for bacon quiche.   I used slightly less cream and more milk and also added mushrooms which were not in the original recipe.   The end result was really creamy.   We ate it warm with salad and because it’s warm it is falling apart a little in the picture but as it cools it firms up and I’ve been taking it to work and it travels well.   It’s good to make one dish that can be eaten up over so many days – not something I often do but I really should try to more often.  It’s definitely a nice change from my normal lunchtime sandwich.

Ingredients for Pastry

3 cups of flour (I used 2 white, 1 wholemeal)

1 cup of vegetable oil

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for Filling

4 eggs

1 cup cream

1 cup milk

6 rashers of bacon, cooked and torn into small pieces

6 sliced mushrooms

1 tsp chives

Pinch of black pepper

2 cups grated cheese (I used Red Leicester)

2 tbsp flour

How to make Bacon Quiche

  1. First make the pastry case.  Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.   Add the salt, milk and nearly all the oil.

  2. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon.   They should all stick together and stick to the spoon.   Keep stiring until it is well combined.   Only add the rest of the oil if it is too dry.  Put into a greased  quiche dish or cake tin with a loose base.  Press the pastry down and flatten, pushing outwards until it covers the base and the sides. Make a few prods with a fork.

  3. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at about 180°c.

  4. Begin to prepare the filling.   Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl.   Beat with a whisk.   Add the milk and cream.   Beat again briefly to avoid any lumps in the cream.

  5. Add the sliced mushrooms, bacon, chives and black pepper.

  6. In a separate dish mix the flour and most of the grated cheese then add to the other ingredients.  Mix well.

  7. When the pie crust is ready, add the filling.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.  Return to the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.   Leave to cool for about 10 minutes then serve warm.   The rest can be eaten cold.

White Chicken Chilli

I have often come across recipes for white chilli on the internet.  As it’s not a well-known dish in the UK I have never actually eaten one before and didn’t really know what it was meant to contain.   Anyway, I felt like making a one-pot chicken dish and so decided I would make my version of white chilli.   I did an internet search and looked at lots of recipes.   They had similarities but there were a lot of differences too.   In fact so many differences that I felt as long as my dish contained chicken, white beans, cheese and spices (most importantly, chilli peppers) , I would be able to call it a white chilli.   I have to say that this dish was different to anything I have made before.  I don’t use milk very often in cooking and was very nervous about adding the cheese at the end in case it didn’t go with the spices and ruined the whole dish.  I’d tasted it and it tasted good without the cheese.   But hey, I’d grated a pile of cheese and if I didn’t use it it would go to waste.   I don’t like waste so I took a deep breath and sprinkled it on the top.   In the end, I needn’t have worried,  it was lovely.   I’d make it again, with or without the cheese.

Just one more note, you might see on the photos that the beans are not white.  I thought I had a tin of cannellini beans in the cupboard but when the dish was half-way prepared I discovered they were borlotti instead.   I guess this means I have to make it again to be able to truly say I’ve made a white chilli.

I’m sending this post to Debinhawaii at Kahakai Kitchen for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Before adding the cheese…

…and after


250g chicken

1 large potato, chopped into about 12 cubes

5 green chillies, finely sliced

1/4 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground all spice

1/2 tsp thyme

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tin white beans, drained and rinsed

150ml milk

150ml chicken stock

Grated cheese to serve

How to make White Chicken Chilli

1. In a little oil fry the onion.   When soft add the garlic and ginger.  Then add all the ground spices.    Stir well and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.

2. Add the diced chicken.  Brown on all sides.   Add the potatoes and cover with the stock and milk.   Bring back to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

3. Add the beans and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

4. Serve with grated cheese

Microwaved Almond Biscuit Balls

I was going to call this post, Almond Pedas.   But, they didn’t turn out anything like the pictures of pedas’ that I’d seen and so I’ve renamed them.  In fact, as far as making pedas goes,  this attempt was a complete failure.  I wasn’t even going to write about them except my husband really liked them and liked the texture with the mixture of soft and crunchy bits (Should I tell him the crunchy bits are not supposed to be there?).

So, how did I decide to make pedas?  Until today I had never even heard of  them but I had a little ricotta cheese left over in a tub and was unsure how to use it.   I came across this post on Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes.   It was indeed so easy that I made them as I was preparing the dinner.  These tasty sweets only contained 4 main ingredients.   Never mind that I didn’t have any pistachios, I decided to try them using ground almond instead.   As mentioned above, the result was fine, just a little too long in the microwave as the centre of the bowl was a bit overdone at the end. This meant that I had soft and crunchy bits together.   I only did them for 6 minutes but 5 would be enough.   Be careful as the cooking time depends on the power of the microwave.

Ingredients – makes about 10

1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup milk powder
1/2 cup sugar
How to make Microwaved Almond Biscuit Balls

1. Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl.  I had to add a dash of water as the mixture was still powdery.
2. Put the bowl in the microwave.  Microwave for 2 minutes.   Stir.  Microwave again for 2 minutes.   Stir.  Microwave for just 1 minute.
3. Leave to cool.   When cool shape into balls.

Carrot and Bean Sprout Salad

Having grown some aduki bean sprouts I’ve been trying to be inventive in thinking of ways to use them.   I’m going to do some internet research at some point soon but today I just used my imagination and the salad I came up with turned out to be absolutely delicious.    The carrots and beansprouts are both crunchy and the dressing is fresh and spicy.    It would go really well as a side with fish but we just ate it as a starter.

I am sending this recipe to Torview for the Food Palette event where the challenge was to create an orange coloured dish.


2 handfuls of bean sprouts

2 carrots, grated

1 tsp grated ginger

1 chilli pepper, finely slice

1 lime

2 tbsp groundnut oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

How to make carrot and beansprout Salad

  1. Lay the grated carrot on top of the beansprouts.

  2. Make the dressing by putting the ginger and chilli in a bowl.  Juice the lime and add the juice.  Add the oil and soy sauce.  Mix well and then drizzle over the top of the carrot.

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Making homemade bread in the breadmaker

About 3 years ago I was visiting a friend and she made fresh bread.   It only took a minute to put all the ingredients in the breadmaker and two hours later we enjoyed warm homemade bread with butter that melted in.   It was so good.  At that moment I decided I just had to get my own breadmaker.   Since then I make all my own everyday bread and when I buy bread now, I only get special loaves and types of bread that take a little more thought to make at home and that I would need to plan to make if I was going to.   This bread is my everyday recipe.   It lasts for about 3 days and I use it for toast in the mornings and sandwiches to take to work for lunch.

This post is especially appropriate today as 16 October is World Bread Day and so I am sending it to Zorra at Kochtopf


3 1/3 g fast action dried yeast

500g seed & grain white bread flour*

1 tbsp dried milk

1 tbsp castor sugar

2 tsp salt

Approx 15 ml oil

350 ml water

How to make Homemade Seed and Grain Bread

  1. Sprinkle the yeast in the bottom of the bread pan.  Put the flour on top.

  2. Add the sugar, milk powder and salt.  Drizzle with the oil.  Add the water.

3.Put the pan in the breadmaker and bake according to the settings for your machine.  I use fast bake as I find the bread keeps fresh for longer than when I use the standard setting.

  • I usually use Allinson Seed and Grain white bread flour which contains wheat and barley flakes, kibbled rye, sunflour seeds, linseed and millet.   You could just use mixed seeds and white bread flour.

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves.   Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of  Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

This is my first Daring Cooks recipe challenge and also the first time I have attempted to cook vine leaves.   To begin with, I have to admit that although I have had really tasty homemade vine leaves (cooked by a friend),  I’d be unlikely to order them in a restaurant as I’m not such a big fan of them.   Despite this, I was really excited by the challenge as it gave me the opportunity to cook something that I would probably never have decided to cook otherwise.   I decided to prepare the vine leaves with the meat filling from Aromas of Aleppo.  I was able to buy vine leaves easily in the supermarket but couldn’t find short grain rice, except pudding or risotto rice and I wasn’t sure about using either of those.   I looked on the internet and many recipes seem to use long-grain rice so I decided that the normal basmati rice I use would be ok.   I also don’t have any white pepper so decided to use black pepper instead.  Apart from that I followed the recipe as stated.  As it’s my first time with vine leaves, there’s always time for more experimenting later.


Vine leaves, preserved in brine

455g minced beef

65g long grain rice

1 tsp all spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 onion, chopped

Small handful pine nuts

Additional Ingredients

6 apricots

1 tbsp tamarind paste

Juice of 1 lemon

Natural Greek yoghurt, to serve (optional)

How to make Stuffed Vine Leaves

1. Pour hot water onto the rice and leave for half an hour.   Pour boiling water on the vine leaves and leave for 20 minutes.  Then change and rinse the leaves in fresh water.

2. As the rice and vine leaves are soaking, mix all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

3. Take a vine leaf and put it on a plate with the veins facing upwards.  Put about 2 tsp of the filling in the middle of each leaf.   Roll the leaf round then tuck the ends in underneath.  Put the rolled up leaves in the bottom of a saucepan.

4. Put the apricots in gaps between the vine leaves.  Dissolve the tamarind into boiling water and pour over the leaves.  Place a plate on the leaves to weigh them down.

5.  Put in the oven for an hour at approx 180 degrees.  When the vine leaves are ready, squeeze the lemon over them and serve with natural Greek yoghurt.

So what did I think?  Have I become a vine leaf lover?  They were nice, as far as vine leaves go.  I enjoyed them.  I felt pleased with myself for completing the challenge, but even so, I don’t think I’m going to be making stuffed vine leaves on a regular basis.  But,  if I do make them again, I will happily follow the same recipe.

Pad Thai with Chicken

‘I thought you said this was pad Thai,’ said my husband, before tasting.

‘It is.’

‘But pad Thai doesn’t have green beans in it.’

‘Why not?  This one does.’  But maybe next time it won’t.  It just depends what vegetables I have in the fridge.

That’s a typical conversation in our flat.   This dish has all the flavours of a delicious pad Thai, plus the delicious addition of green beans.  That’s how I look at it anyway.  The list of ingredients may be quite long but it really is quick and easy to make.  The green beans and green pepper are definitely optional.  The bean sprouts aren’t.  I used aduki bean sprouts as I’m experimenting with growing different types, but you can just use any bean sprouts.

I am sending this post to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Claudia at Honey From Rock.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 nests of dried noodles

150 g chicken, thinly sliced

2 handfuls of bean sprouts

4 green chillies, thinly sliced

2 spring onions

1/2 red onion

Small handful of green beans (optional)

1 green pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp dried shrimp, pounded to a powder or fish sauce

1 lime

1 handful of dried roasted peanuts

1 egg, beaten

How to make Pad Thai

1. In a pan with a small amount of hot water, dissolve the tamarind paste and sugar and add the dried pounded shrimps or fish sauce.

2. Heat some oil in a wok then stir fry the chicken.   As soon as it is cooked, remove from the pan.

3. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Move the vegetables to the side and add the beaten egg.  Cook for about a minute then stir into the vegetables.

4. Drain the noodles and add to the wok, along with the bean sprouts, peanuts and chicken.  Add the sauce containing the tamarind and shrimps.  Heat through, stirring.  It should only take about a minute.

5. Divide between 2 plates and serve, squeezing lots of fresh lime juice over each plate.  Garnish with a little chopped spring onion.