Search results for: "togarashi"

A scriptwriter’s life is very often governed by deadlines.

When a deadline looms,  life is put on hold and the universe shrinks to a keyboard and a pair of hands orbiting a brain. Scrabble games are interrupted, conversation dries up and, unsurprisingly, meals might be missed.

If you find yourself inhabiting such a universe, and you’re not the scriptwriter, I suggest you scamper into the kitchen and have a bit of solitary fun making a tasty supper suitable for the scriptwriter slaving away in the study. You might even find that a cook’s creativity can eclipse that of a scriptwriter.

I made a three part supper that consisted of:

A  salad of carrot and coriander with spicy mango chutney sunflower seeds

carrot salad

Georgian lobio, a staple in our family introduced to us by my sister Penny,  and based on Lesley Chamberlain’s recipe from The Food and Cooking of Russia.

Wikipedia says Lobio (Georgian: მჟავე ლობიო, also Lobio Nigozit) is a family of dishеs of various kinds of prepared beans (cooked or stewed), containing coriander, walnuts, garlic and onion, popular item in the cuisines of the South Caucasus nation of Georgia. There are many varieties of lobio, both hot and cold.’


And fried haloumi


Carrot and coriander salad with sunflower seeds


8o ml raw sunflower seeds

20 ml spicy mango chutney

2 large carrots

one bunch fresh coriander

juice of half a lemon

60 ml olive oil

salt and black pepper


Heat a heavy bottomed pan  over moderately high heat and scatter the pan with the sunflower seeds.

Stir the seeds until they just start to brown. 

Add the spicy mango chutney to the pan, stirring constantly, until the liquid has evaporated and the seeds are sticky and nicely browned.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Separate the seeds in to little clusters.

Cut the carrots into ribbons with a Microplane Spiral Cutter.

Chop the coriander  and toss with the carrots.

Mix the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper together and toss with the carrot and coriander mix.

Scatter with the sunflower seeds.

Lobio (my inauthentic version)


2 large onions chopped

4 bay leaves

15 ml black pepper corns

5 ml togarashi seasoning (forgive me, the real recipe calls for chili)

80 ml tomato paste

30 ml honey

30 ml cider vinegar

2 x tins red kidney beans


Fry the onions in oil until soft and translucent.

Add all the other ingredients except the kidney beans and simmer until nicely combined.

Add the drained kidney beans and some water (as needed) and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through and all the flavors have amalgamated.

Serve at room temperature.

Fried haloumi

The trick here is not in the cooking but somehow managing to by a brand of haloumi that doesn’t melt into one gigantic disc in the frying pan. In South Africa, the Woolworths brand is good. Here in the UK I haven’t had any problems. The type I bought for this recipe released quite a bit water but it evaporated and as you can see turned out crisp and golden.


Cut the haloumi into 7mm slices and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan – either non-stick or a heavy bottomed one. Fry the haloumi over a moderate heat turning a couple of time until golden and crisp.

P.S. I’m just sneaking this in while the cook is planning tomorrow’s menu. The sunflower seed salad came as a total shock and delight to my senses. RJB

Each time we leave Patience, we imagine we’ll be back sooner rather than later. We imagine it might be just a few months, certainly not years.

Braunston Marina mooring

And so because we’re optimists we leave all kinds of food behind, saying to ourselves ‘We’ll be back long before that best-before date.’

This time we arrived back on the boat having been away for longer than we care to admit to find an interesting array of groceries in our store cupboard. The question is always how to incorporate the sometimes beyond their sell-by date ingredients into delicious meals. Some things languish, others prove irresistable.

The star of the show this week has been the togarashi seasoning.

Togarashi close up

We have used it on everything. Richard has whipped up fabulous breakfasts every day this week. He’s specialized in eggs with togarashi seasoning: frittata with red pepper and togarashi, scrambled eggs with stir fried vegetables flavored with togarashi, an omelette filled with mushrooms, onion and togarashi and coddled eggs with togarashi seasoning.

mushroom togarashi omlette

I’ve been in charge of the suppers all of which involved togarashi seasoning.  You’d think we’d have overdone it but that’s not the case. Addicted? Possibly.

But addiction wasn’t our biggest problem. Diminishing supplies of togarashi were. I decided I’d better  stock up before we left Braunston for the start of our journey so I made a special trip by bus to the nearest branch of Waitrose in Daventry.

I dashed in and marched down the first aisle after the fruit and veg section and was pleased to see a massive section of exotic ‘Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients’, the array of jewel-coloured labels as familiar as the togarashi seasoning label. Squares of bold color with simple black text. Hooray – in a few seconds I’d have the box of togarashi seasoning in my hands and I’d be on the bus back to Braunston.

The line up of ingredients was impressive and tantalizing. They had everything any cook could possibly want from ancho chillies and black bean sauce to nam pla fish sauce and tamarind paste, from yuzu juice to za‘tar.  How tempting. I wasn’t, however, here to stock up on every exotic ingredient on the planet. I just wanted a 40 g cardboard box filled with togarashi seasoning.

So I scanned the shelf just for that purple box with the orange and black label that I now knew so well.

Togarashi box

They had a five spice blend, an Italian mix, a smokey steak rub and a spicy Thai mix. But no togarashi seasoning. I scoured the shelves. Nothing. Well, too bad.

I went back to Patience without the main aim of my shopping expedition accomplished.

Since then I’ve been trying to use some of the other store cupboard surprises.  I’ve just incorporated a jar of sugary honey and all manner of spices as well as some cognac in a steaming cauldron that has perfumed the boat and made us happy.

I know we won’t be eating togarashi anything tomorrow.

Clementine cauldron

Spiced clementines preserved in honey and cognac


  • 10 clementines
  • 250ml honey
  • 750ml water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 150ml cognac


Pierce each clementine three or four times, place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for fifteen minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, slowly bring the honey and the 750ml water to the boil with bay leaves, star anise, cloves, peppercorns and vanilla paste. Drop the clementines into the boiling syrup, lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for an hour until soft. Carefully remove the clementines, draining any liquid back into the pot and boil the syrup until nicely thickened and reduced

Bottle in sterilized jars but keep in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. I don’t think these will keep too long.

Delicious with cheese. We have had them with feta, cheddar and Gruyère so far. I’m thinking about having them with yoghurt for breakfast and perhaps I’ll add some chopped walnuts.

clementine preserve

Patience‘s galley is very small. 1.6m square to be precise. A micro kitchen if you like.

But well equipped with a gas hob, an oven, a grill, a fridge that works off gas or mains, enough but not too much space for crockery, cutlery, glasses, pots, pans, groceries and cleaning things. Hot and cold running water.

As with all good cooks’ kitchens it’s open plan. I, or Richard, can cook while the other one works, chats, reads or even sits out on the bow with a glass of wine watching the swans sail by.

The truth is there isn’t space for more than one in the galley at the same time. The flip side being everything is at hand. At the stretch of an arm you can open the fridge, fling a dish in the oven, survey your supplies, wash a couple of dishes and turn up the music on the radio. It’s pretty perfect. Nothing unnecessary. No wasted space.

The best thing about it is – a window with a view. A view that might change by the day or by the hour. Water, always water and reflections. Rural countryside, verdant and green.  Inner city grit with old industrial buildings and graffiti. The sun passes overhead, clouds appear and disappear.  The moon rises and sets. The water one minute muddy, the next golden, and then inky black.

It’s nice being back on board Patience in the galley having been away for too long. And it’s good to rediscover some of the ingredients we left languishing on board. It’s even better to discover that they can still be used, ‘best before’ dates notwithstanding.

We’ve only cooked a couple of meals so far. Last night we made a salad with a savoy cabbage and carrots we bought at the street market in Buckingham. I marinated some chicken in black bean sauce, stir fried it and added that to Richard’s finely shredded cabbage and match stick carrot. It was good.

Tonight I made roasted asparagus with chicken, tomato, clementine, feta and pine nuts while Richard sat a couple of feet away from me and finished writing a script.

asparagus horizantal

The asparagus also came from the market in Buckingham. I was very pleased to see that it was grown in the UK. I just couldn’t have brought myself to buy asparagus if it had come from the opposite end of the world.

I sprinkled the asparagus with togarashi seasoning and salt from Slovenia ( a gift from my sister Penny) all left on Patience from our previous trip.

According to Wikipedia tōgarashi (唐辛子) is Japanese for genus Capsicum and commonly translated as chili pepper. When the term is used in English, it refers to any number of chili peppers or chili pepper-related products from Japan, including Shichimi tōgarashi, a condiment that is a mixture of seven different ingredients that varies by maker.

The seven alchemical ingredients are: chili powder, orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ginger powder, Szechuan pepper and seaweed. I’ll definitely be using this fragrant spicy powder in many different ways in the coming weeks, and then I might try to make a version of it myself too.

roasted asparagus

Here’s the recipe. I think you could easily substitute the chicken for aubergine and/or red peppers or perhaps butternut.

Roasted asparagus with togarashi, chicken, tomato, clementine, feta and pine nuts


  • 3 to 4 boneless chicken thighs marinated in black bean paste and stir fried
  • a bunch of asparagus
  • togarashi seasoning
  • two smallish tomatoes cut into eighths
  • one clementine halved
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts
  • a handful of crumbled feta
  • a handful of chopped parsley


Put the asparagus in a single layer in a roasting dish and toss with a little olive oil, sprinkle with togarashi seasoning and salt. Roast in a hot oven for five minutes. Add the tomato, juice and flesh of one half of the clementine and the other half of the clementine whole. Continue roasting for another five minutes. Add the cooked chicken, feta, pine nuts and parsley. Roast until nicely warmed through. Be sure not to overcook the asparagus.