Search results for: "togarashi"

On Thursday night, happily ensconced in Paddington Basin, we invited a couple of friends round to the boat for supper.

Richard and I made one of our favorite chicken dishes, Michael Olivier’s Tulbagh Chicken from Pam Hirschsohn’s wonderful cook book. We served it with couscous and some roasted aubergine flavoured with the very last half gram of my adored togarashi seasoning. I was very sorry to dust the slices of aubergine with those last few sprinkles of togarashi since I had no clue where I’d ever get any more of this now essential store cupboard ingredient. I knew the aubergine would be delicious though. I hoped our guests would appreciate it. Well, at least I hoped there was enough togarashi on the aubergine that they’d actually be able to taste it.

I’d searched every Waitrose anywhere near the canal on our trip from Braunston to London. Nothing. I’d checked on the Waitrose online store. Nothing. Pity. I’d have to email Waitrose and double check if they did still sell it. Or maybe look for a Japanese supermarket in London.

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Supper was ready, Paddington Basin was looking gorgeous in the late evening light when our friends arrived. We greeted them on Patience’s bow, they handed over the customary bottle of wine and as I turned to lead the way into the boat our friend Jon said, ‘I’ve been reading your blog, you know’.

I stopped in my tracks and spun around, not quite believing my ears. What? No! I mean I do want people to read it, of course, but preferably when it’s better, more polished. When I’ve really found my voice.

‘You know Waitrose doesn’t sell togarashi seasoning anymore, don’t you?’ Jon said.

‘I suspected as much. Pity.’ I’d been having such fun with it.

‘I suppose you must have looked for it on Amazon, then?’

I looked back at him. What? Was he crazy? You’d never find togarashi seasoning on Amazon.

And as I turned to go back into the boat he handed me a packet. A weighty packet. Floppyish and soft but with a bit of heft.

500g of togarashi spice blend.

I almost fell into the canal. What a man! To say I was touched would be a massive understatement.

So to celebrate tonight I made a meal where even the dessert was flavoured with togarashi.

Heaven.

Togarashi 250g

A salad of smoked salmon, greens and goat’s cheese rolled in togarashi

Ingredients

  • zest of half a lemon very finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • one clove of garlic crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 courgettes cut into ribbons with a Microplane Spiral Cutter (a fabulous implement)
  • 30 g soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 tablespoon togarashi spice blend
  • 200 g smoked salmon
  • 200 g asparagus roasted
  • one avocado sliced
  • 60 ml drained capers fried in olive oil

Method

Mix together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over the courgette ribbons. Toss well.

Roll the goat’s cheese in the togarashi spice blend. Slice into discs and cut in hald or crumble roughly.

Layer the courgette, salmon, asparagus, avocado, cheese and capers in a bowl and gently toss.

Roasted peaches with vanilla, cognac and togarashi

Ingredients

  • 4 peaches
  • 8 teaspoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • a generous splash or two of cognac
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon togarashi spice blend

Method

Heat the oven to 220 Celsius.

Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Place in a baking dish.

Put a teaspoon of butter and half a teaspoon of vanilla paste into the center of each peach.

Splash some cognac over each peach and add a little more to the baking dish.

Sprinkle the peaches with a little sugar and the togarashi.

Roast for about 40 minutes or until nicely soften and browned, adding another splash or two of cognac as needed. By the time the peaches are cooked you need to have a couple of tablespoons of liquid in the baking dish.

Divide between four bowls and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve hot with Greek yoghurt flavoured with vanilla and a swirl of honey.

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If a vegetable can be a seductress, then that vegetable is beetroot, Beta vulgaris, earthy, of course and at the same time flamboyantly glamorous. It’s a vegetable that when you allow it to be the star of the show is capable of adding either gravitas or sophistication to a meal .
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Some weeks ago we were moored on the Oxford canal in Jericho. Our galley supplies had run low and we needed to do a shop so that we could get moving through rural north Oxfordshire where we knew we wouldn’t come across any shops for quite a few days. Richard and I sat down to sketch out some meals and make a shopping list. It was all perfectly planned. Meals for five days, not too much and not too little. Some old favorites and some new recipes we were going to try out.

I headed off to see what Jericho could offer by way of shopping opportunities. I walked past two Co-Ops. Well I didn’t actually walk past them. I went into them, walked up and down the aisles, surveyed what was on offer. Mainly pre-made sandwiches, it seemed, and a miserable fresh section. I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I couldn’t for one minute imagine why on earth there were two of these very ordinary supermarkets within blocks of each other. They would do, of course, but I decided to walk a little further to see if I could find something just a wee bit more interesting.

I turned a corner heading away from the main road and towards what I thought would be town. If need be I’d walk to the Covered Market. It would be a good walk, some nice exercise.  I could get a few exquisite things and then come back to one of the Co-Ops for the balance of the shopping list.

It seemed to me there were a couple of coffee shops ahead of me. Mmm, maybe I should stop off and while away half an hour, have a cappuccino? Nope. If I was going to the Covered Market, I’d better get moving. I could have a coffee there.

Then, right in front of me I saw a white van, doors flung open, crates of organic produce spilling onto the pavement, people milling around chatting and shopping. It was the Cultivate Veg Van in Jericho for its weekly stop. How lucky was I?

I tossed the shopping list into the nearest bin and picked up a basket and threw caution to the wind.

I did rather a large shop. As I walked back down the towpath to Patience laden with bags of organic produce I thought I’d better come up with a plan. I just knew Richard would say ‘Lovely – but what exactly do you think we’re going to make with this arbitary mountain of vegetables?’

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And because I had been seduced I knew that I had better be very clever in devising a good few meals that were going to center around my crimson temptress .IMG_6741Beetroot Tart Tatin

I normally make this in a cast iron frying pan, but because we don’t have such an item on the boat I made it in a rectangular baking dish – 30 x 23 cm

Ingredients

  • 6 large beetroots, peeled and sliced about 7mm thick
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 75g butter
  • 4 T sherry vinegar
  • 1T sugar
  • ground black pepper and coarse salt
  • 1 sheet ready-made puff pastry

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Celcius.

Toss the beetroot with the olive oil in the baking dish and roast, covered with foil, until tender.

Remove from the baking dish and set aside.

Add the butter, sherry vinegar, sugar salt and pepper to the baking dish and put back into the oven until the mixture is bubbling and syrupy.

Toss the beetroot with the sherry mixture and arrange in overlapping rows in the baking dish.

Top with the sheet of puff pastry, tucking in the edges all round.

Bake until puffed and golden. Remove from oven, loosen the edges and flip out onto a board or platter.

Serve with marscapone topped with a sprinkling of togarashi or goat’s cheese sliced and rolled in togarashi and a green salad made with rocket. Make a simple dressing of olive oil, sherry vinegar and honey. You can use some of the beetroot greens in the salad too. DSCF1434 Beetroot Cured Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1kg piece of salmon – I’ve made it with and without the skin but I think I prefer it without
  • 500g beetroot, grated
  • 175g coarse salt (but I have also used ordinary table salt)
  • 100g sugar
  • 60ml vodka (I’ve also used gin)
  • zest of two lemons
  • a bunch of fresh dill, chopped (or you can used dried)

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Method

Mix all the ingredients (except the salmon) well together.

Layer half of it in a glass dish just large enough to hold the salmon.

Put the salmon on top of the beetroot mixture and cover with the remaining beetroot.

Cover tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the salmon from the mixture and wipe it dry with paper towels.

Slice thinly.DSCF1352 Serve with crème fraîche, lemon wedges and fried capers,with or without buckwheat blini.

Bonus meal: Beetroot greens and lentil soup

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped fine
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 200g green lentils
  • water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • beetroot greens from a bunch or two of beetroots, shredded

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Method

Heat the olive oil, add the onions and fry very gently until soft and translucent.

Add the garlic, carrot, celery and bay leaves, and cook gently for about ten minutes.

Add the lentils and stock and continue cooking until the lentils are soft.

Stir in the beetroot greens and sherry vinegar.

Cook for about five to ten minutes.

Season and serve either as is, or with a dollop of marscapone or manchego and/or strips of serrano ham.

In summer there are many, and varied, delights to be found in and alongside the rivers of England.

I couldn’t help thinking about all the centuries of history that came before us as we cruised up and down the Lee Navigation and then up the River Thames. That it is likely that dugout canoes from the Bronze Age and Saxon barges once plied the River Lea and that Viking raiders slipped up the river in their longboats to pillage villages.

The Thames has been described as ‘liquid history’. There is evidence of human habitation on the banks of the Thames dating back to Neolithic times.  Bronze Age settlements and artefacts have been discovered along the banks of the river, while the Romans recognised the river’s strategic and economic importance.

These rivers carried armies and freight as well as being a source of food and water.

As delightful as it was to contemplate the centuries, no, millennia, that preceded Narrowboat Patience on these venerable waterways, my interest was less in marshaling my army of one up and down the river to capture a village and more in the food I might find along the way.

I came upon supermarkets galore and pubs aplenty but the truth is, I was really in search of  something just a bit more thrilling.

I’ve had  fun in the past collecting berries on the banks of the River Nene and making a delicious jelly, but it was too early in the year for berries. I wondered if we might find fields of wild garlic as we have also done in the past, but I remembered that that was in April, and this was June.

Then one day while while impatiently waiting for a lock to fill, I admired the profusion of wild flowers on the bank. There were starry elderflowers, bright yellow dandelions, creamy nettle buds and droopy purple comfrey flowers. DSCF0969 I wondered whether to pick some nettle leaves to make tea but I had no gloves and didn’t feel like risking the mean sting of the innocuous-looking serrated leaves. I thought about the medicinal value of comfrey, aka knit-bone, and remembered drinking comfrey tea with my sister, Penny, when she broke her neck.

I know you can eat dandelions but I have never done so and as much as I looked at them and admired their sunny beauty, I wasn’t entirely sure about turning them into a meal. I knew of course one could make elderflower cordial so I thought that might be an idea. And I had in the past made borage fritters. Was borage not some sort of relative of comfrey? Could I make comfrey fritters?

The lock filled, I opened the gates, Richard expertly piloted the boat in. I closed the gates and opened the paddles so that the lock would empty and abandoning my army of one in the lock, I made a mad dash back to the elder and comfrey plants and quickly gathered leaves and flowers.

Supper was sorted. A botanical fritto misto.

IMG_6105After a quick goole search I consulted Neil Cooks Grigson for his Comfrey Leaf Fritters and Nigel Slater for his elderflower fritter recipe. I used the Nigel Slater batter recipe pretty much as it was but added a teaspoon of my friend togarashi to the mix. And to serve I drizzled the fritters with a syrup made of elderflower cordial seasoned with togarashi. A delicious sweet and spicy supper which was enjoyed by my army of one — and me, of course.

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