Ramen is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Although ramen is now part of the Japanese culture, it came originally from China. In Japan each ramen restaurant will have their own secret stock recipe and this is guarded from one generation to the next. You can find ramen stalls on street corners and these are popular places to visit on the way home after a night out.
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper to season
1 chicken breast, butterfly cut
1 litre chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried seaweed
2 packs of egg or ramen noodles (about 400g)
3 tablespoons white miso paste
100g beansprouts, washed handful of pak choi leaves, washed and roughly chopped
spring onion to garnish shichimi togarashi and/or chilli oil to add a little spice
To serve ramen you’ll need;
2 large bowls 2 spoons 2 sets of chopsticks
1 To make the marinade for the chicken breast, in a small bowl mix together the sake, vegetable oil, salt and pepper.
2 Using your hands, completely cover the chicken in the marinade and leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
3 Once the chicken is ready, heat a heavy-based pan on a medium to high heat and seal the chicken on both sides. Then reduce the heat and continue to fry until the chicken is cooked through and set aside.
4 Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and immediately reduce to a simmer.
5 Place the dried seaweed in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Then squeeze out any excess water and set aside.
6 Place the noodles in a bowl of boiling water and gently untangle using a fork or chopsticks. Drain in a colander and rinse under a running cold tap to remove any excess starch.
7 Toss the noodles into the stock. Bring the stock back to the boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.
8 In a small bowl, mix the miso paste with a few tablespoons of hot stock from the saucepan, dissolving any lumps. Add the miso paste to the stock and mix well together.
9 Divide the noodles between two large serving bowls. Then divide the seaweed, beansprouts and pak choi evenly between the two bowls, arranging carefully. Slice the cooked chicken breast and place on top of the ingredients as shown in the picture.
10 Finally, fill the bowls about three-quarters full with the miso stock and garnish with spring onion and shichimi togarashi or chilli oil.
I remember collecting buckets of persimmon fruit (also called sharon fruit) with the elementary school children behind the local school where I worked in Japan. It reminded me of how we pick apples here in Ireland. In the past few years I was delighted to see this beautifully coloured fruit in my local supermarket. It is best eaten ripe otherwise it will be hard and bitter. To check if it’s ripe just press on the skin and it should be soft to touch. A really ripe persimmon can be eaten by slicing the top off the fruit and scooping out the flesh with a spoon. The persimmon and white chocolate cream in this recipe are a marriage made in heaven!
puff pastry, shop bought and pre-rolled (320g puff pastry makes 9 servings)
5 persimmon fruit (about half a persimmon fruit per serving),
brown sugar to dust
100g good quality white chocolate
250ml fresh cream, whipped
icing sugar to serve
1 Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife cut the pastry into rectangular pieces large enough to serve one person for dessert. For 320g of puff pastry I divided the pastry into nine servings.
2 Peel the persimmon fruit, cut in half and then into thick slices.
3 Place four or five pieces along the centre of the pastry. Dust with brown sugar.
4 Bake at 200°C in a fan oven for 10–15 minutes until the pastry is slightly browned and crisp.
5 Break the white chocolate into small squares and place in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water on a medium heat. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt while stirring.
6 Once completely melted set aside for a few minutes to let cool a little, then add to the whipped cream and mix well together.
7 Serve the persimmon tart with a spoonful of white chocolate cream and dust with icing sugar.
4 eggs, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 tablespoon ingredient matcha powder
250ml whipped cream for filling
icing sugar for dusting
You’ll need swiss roll tin (10” x 15” or 13” x 9”)
1 Preheat a fan oven to 180ºC.
2 Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in an electric mixer for about 10 minutes until nice and fluffy.
3 Sieve the flour and matcha together a few times to make sure the matcha powder is completely mixed into the flour.
4 Using a large spoon gently fold the sieved flour into the egg and sugar mix.
5 Carefully line a baking tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease with butter.
6 Pour the batter into the baking tin, using a spatula to gently even it out.
7 Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until a skewer/sharp knife inserted comes out clean.
8 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the baking tin.
9 Turn the cake over onto a clean tea towel, then carefully peel off the greaseproof paper.
10 Roll the cake in the tea towel and allow to cool (this will avoid it breaking later).
11 Unfold the cake when it is cool and spread the whipped cream evenly on the cake.
12 Roll again and dust with icing sugar. Put in the fridge until ready to eat.
Sake is an integral part of Japanese cuisine in the same way as wine is to French cuisine. It’s traditionally drunk from small cups called ‘choko’ and can be served either hot or cold. It’s a popular option for cocktails and has a lower alcohol content than vodka. Asian speciality stores now stock a decent selection of sake, including sparkling sake.
Makes 2 cocktails
30ml lime juice
90ml cranberry juice
mint leaves to garnish
1 Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add all the liquid ingredients and mix well together until well chilled.
2 Serve in a cocktail/martini glass and garnish with mint leaves.
This is one of my favourite summer recipes, it’s quick and easy to make at home. You don’t need an ice-cream maker for this recipe and it takes about five minutes to make. So give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be experimenting with different flavoured ice creams once you see first-hand the rewards of making your own.
2 tablespoons ingredient matcha powder, mixed with about 4 tablespoons water
500ml double cream
300ml condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 Using a fork or a small whisk, mix the matcha powder and water together until all lumps are dissolved. Set aside.
2 Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
3 Stir in the condensed milk, lemon juice and matcha mix using a large spoon. Mix well together.
4 Transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Poke bowls have become one of 2017’s biggest food trends and I’m not complaining. It’s basically a deconstructed sushi roll. So it’s filled with healthy ingredients, really easy to make and there’s lots of room to get creative and use your favourite toppings.
4 portions of freshly steamed rice, white or brown
600g sushi grade salmon/ tuna (alternatively smoked salmon/trout), cut into cubes
Half mango, peeled & cut into cubes
2 avocados, halved and thinly sliced
Pickled ginger/ shredded nori seaweed, to serve
Sesame seeds/ Japanese seven spice, to garnish
Caviar, optional for a special occasion
For the dressing (mix all ingredients well together in a small bowl)
4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
Pea sized dollop of wasabi
1 To prepare for assembling the poke bowls place all the ingredients listed above in separate dishes.
2 To assemble the poke bowls arrange four bowls alongside each other.
3 Fill the bowls about halfway with rice.
4 Start to build the poke bowl with your preferred fish and the other selection of toppings.
5 Finally drizzle the dressing over the poke bowl. Eat and enjoy!