Archive for the ‘fusion’ Category

I did not get a picture of my favourite dish from the restaurant in my previous post. But that does not mean that I did not vow to recreate the mix of flavours at my earliest convenience!
The original dish was with fish roe, but I decided to replace it with eggplant for a more vegetarian twist on it. It worked pretty well, although I might try pureeing the eggplant next time instead of frying it up. (I know there’s vegetarian roe… er… but no. There’s no point in even buying that.)

“Japanese Carbonara” with eggplant
(2 portions)
Spaghetti enough for 2 people (depending on your preferred portion size)
1/8l cream
2 egg yolks
1/3-1/2 eggplant (depending on the size of your eggplant)
A small piece of leek or a spring onion, very thinly sliced
Nori, cut into thin strips (I used egg furikake with nori)
(optional) Parsley for decoration

Slice the eggplant and salt it, set to drain for at least 15 minutes.
Pat dry and cut into small pieces, fry with a little salt in neutral oil. (You could use smoked salt to add a little smokyness, I used a few crumbs of smoked chili instead for some extra zing!)
At this point you can also start boiling the pasta al dente in a big pot of salted water.
When the pasta and the eggplant are done (this should ideally coincide in time), drain the pasta, toss it with the cream and arrange on two plates. Arrange the eggplant, leek/spring onion, parsley and egg yolks on top. Sprinkle over the nori and done!

Eat with chopsticks if you can, stirring in the yolk at the table.

I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week on The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honey Bunch.

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I recently found those lovely, huge colourful pasta tubes. I love trying out new shapes of pasta!
The only problem is that a lot of said shapes come in sizes that are, let’s face it, designed to hold Bolognese sauce – and a lot of it. Conchiglie, Cannelloni and now these tubes – they are fun, but bring a tear to a vegetarian’s eye!

Lucky then that I finally found a vegetarian Bolognese recipe that I like!

The idea came to me in a Thai restaurant of all places. Trying their delicious peanut sauce I had the idea – why not use peanuts as a ground meat replacement for Bolognese?
After a few tries I’m now sufficiently convinced I’m on to something here. So here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian Bolognese sauce with peanuts
1 food processor (don’t do it without! Really)
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 carrot
1 red onion, peeled
1-2 stalks of celery
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chili, chopped
Tomato concentrate
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt, pepper, herbs (e.g. Thyme, rosemary, oregano), sugar to taste
Optional: Mushrooms, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes for the sauce

I’m doing all the chopping for this recipe in the food processor. This saves me time but mostly it’s quite easy to get the right size for bolognese in that manner. I’m going for a random spread of particles of 0,5mm length in average. Some of it can be finer – that’s not a problem, it’ll all end up making a delicious sauce. But I want the peanuts and carrots to feel like “proper” bolognese, so I’m looking for something in between “pulverized” and “chopped”.

Start out by pulsing the peanuts in the food processor. Put them into the dry pan and roast them until they begin to smell – careful they don’t burn! Put aside.
Next, pulse or chop the onion. Fry with garlic and chili in olive oil.
Pulse the carrots, celery and optional veggies and add them. Fry for a bit.
Add the peanuts, herbs, water or tomato sauce and a good dollop (2-3Tsp at least) of tomato concentrate paste. Boil for at least 5-10 minutes, ideally at least 30 minutes, adding water whenever necessary.

Serve on al dente pasta with parmesan cheese, butter and wine. I’d recommend a nice red one, maybe a Cabernet.

This will be submitted to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Theresa at The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine.

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Bento #212


I found those spiral-shaped rice noodles in an Asian supermarket and just had to try them…
Rice pasta with dry peanut/carrot sauce, zucchini quiche Lorraine, lettuce, cherry tomato and a mint.
The ratios are probably way off in this one but I felt like a bigger bento today. I was quite hungry after coming home from class yesterday…


BF gets the same, with a bigger portion of pasta.

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Bento #205

Continuing the celebratory theme.
Starting top left: Muhammara and grilled zucchini, cherry tomato, hazelnut lentil balls, colourful sushi rice rolls (no stuffing, just differently coloured rice), grapes, and a tiny cherry tomato.

Here’s a not-so-artsy shot of the same box. Yes, it all fitted (except the picks which I tucked in afterwards)!

And my own box. Same food, but arranged slightly differently.
I also have wasabi, ginger, soy sauce and a candy tucked away at the sides.

PS: I used this recipe for the hazelnut lentil balls, but substituted red dal. They are really yummy and I’m going to whip up a batch to freeze next time. Sadly they do benefit from being fried a little, just oven-baked was a little bland.

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This somehow looked better in my plans than in reality. Hmm.
Two quarters of the box (divided crosswise) are taken up by spelt pasta gratin with mushroom sugo and cheese, broccoli, carrots, a fishy with vinegar in one remaining quarter, and tiny grapes, half a zebra cookie, and some tangerine in the other.

I brought the spelt pasta home with me from Austria – spelt is quite popular there right now, it seems. This type is a kind of very small tube-shaped pasta. I have a bag of spaghetti too – I’ve been pondering making faux soba with it, as I’m not much of a fan of the buckwheat pasta that goes into it. The spelt pasta has a very similar colour.
Taste-wise it’s quite nice as well – the spelt taste doesn’t come out as strongly as in, say, spelt bread (of which I also imported a piece of delicious homemade stuff which I will be aiming to recreate soon) but it mingled well with the mushroom sugo and the cheese. It doesn’t stay as chewy as wholewheat pasta, which makes it more easy to integrate into non-creamy sauces, I think. But all in all it’s quite a success! We’ll see if I can secure more of the stuff over here.

The BF gets the same but since his bento doesn’t look so tidy I don’t have a picture.

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Bento #174

Three nests of spaghetti all’arrabiata with parmesan, scattered tamagoyaki for the proteins and broccoli for the vitamins, some organic tomato wedges and strawberries for dessert.

This is the BF’s version as I was not happy at all with how mine turned out on the photo. I also had forgotten my HK bento at work, so I had to use a pink box… not so great colour scheme:

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I seem to be on a vegan roll with my lunchboxes this week…!
The big container holds 1/3 spiced mixed rices (black longgrain, parboiled, red, white roundgrain, brown roundgrain), 1/3 red lentils boiled with turmeric and raisins, and 1/3 palak paneer tofu – spinach curry with tofu and green peppers. You can’t get paneer here and I’ve not attempted to make it myself yet, so I replaced it with tofu. Works ok, I guess, though it should have simmered longer to make the tofu take up more of the curry’s taste and saltiness.
The small container holds candy easter eggs (of questionable vegan status), lettuce, sugar snap peas, red pepper strips and a baby plum tomato.

The recipe for the curry is again adapted from The Indian Restaurant Cookbook – it had no proper palak paneer recipe but I adapted its spinach curry for it.

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I should use more leftovers for my bento. The sad thing is that I’m really picky when it comes to leftover food – I had some more things in my fridge that I had planned to pack but when the time to pack came, I looked at them and knew I wouldn’t want to eat them any more. *sigh*

On the other hand, having a free side container all of a sudden means I could put something more colourful in there, and the box needed any colour it could get!

The big compartment holds potato wedges separating oven-baked breaded mushrooms and fish (my dictionary says it’s called plaice), and a sauce kitty with Hollandaise.
The small compartment on the top holds red and green grapes and a quick mayonaise salad containing chopped carrots, apple, leek and corn.
The small compartment on the bottom holds mozarella, tomatoes and basil leaves.

Breaded soy-marinated fish and vegetables
This is after something I tasted in a restaurant once, and had to try at home. The original recipe used fish, but – vegetarian friends rejoice! – the mushrooms tasted much, much better even! It was just regular champignons but they tasted amazing. I think eggplant would also fit it rather well.
It’s rather simple as well.
For the marinade: Dark soy sauce, a spoon of honey dissolved in it, crushed ginger and garlic. Marinate (or if you want to save time, cook the stuff in it for a bit).
Bread with flour, salted scrambled egg and milk, and crispy breadcrumbs with sesame seeds mixed in.
Oven-bake or fry.

I think a fruity yoghurt sauce would fit it really well, but the BF requested Hollandaise, so Hollandaise we had…

Also, a fruit breakfast box from last Friday, which I didn’t post then because I wasn’t that fond of it:

Stuffed dates (recipe courtesy of The Daily Tiffin), grape skewers, apple and kiwi slices, and pocky in the lid.

Oh, and Jennifer! I looked into the Japanese store this Friday and they still have the “Deli Club” three-compartment box in blue and red for 100 SEK (~14.43 USD) each. If you can’t find it anywhere else, I can look into how much shipping to you would cost…
I bought a male box there this time, for the same price, and it’s HUGE! I wanted a slightly bigger one but this one is amazing. 810ml! Maybe if I’m REALLY hungry someday… else my BF is going to use it. Apologies for the bad picture, the camera didn’t cooperate without a flash.

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Summer salads! After a week of stressing and eating out way too often (very bad for my stomach!) I felt like a cold dinner for once. And I had this craving for salads…

The bentobox contains the leftovers:

  • Caprese: Mozarella, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil (I use “fruttato”, which means that it has a very strong flavor, for my salads), balsamico vinegar. Salt and pepper. Pure and lovely!
  • Corn and pineapple with red onions, mayo (I stretched it with light creme fraiche to avoid becoming too fatty), herbes de provence, salt and pepper. And a bit of juice from the canned pineapple to sweeten.
  • Tabbouleh: cooked couscous, chopped fresh mint and parsley (I have both frozen, so it’s a simple matter of shaking it out of a bag for me), crumbled feta, chopped cherry tomatoes. Add lime juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper and knead the whole thing so the flavour starts working! (And yes. It could be greener. Somehow I never have the courage to add enough parsley, as I’m not that fond of it.)
  • and something experimental with brown rice, grapes, cauliflower and curry, which I have to tweak a little still before I can offer a recipe.

    In the middle some pieces of baguette, and I’ll probably take another one which I’ll toast in the morning (I have frozen readybaked baguettes in my freezer, for such emergencies).

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A discussion about nori substitutes made me run to the kitchen and demonstrate that eggplants (and oher things) can be used very well to roll sushi rice!

How to:
Cut an eggplant lengthwise into -very- thin slices. I made them only about 2mm thick. The slices I used for rolling were about 15cm long – if your eggplant is very big, cut slices in half. Salt the slices and lay them out on kitchen paper to draw water.
Meanwhile, cook sushi rice, flavour, etc.
Dab off the salt and water from the eggplant slices and spray them with oil (garlic oil is especially great!). Fry them on both sides in a very hot oiled pan. Dab off excess oil and let cool.
With wet hands, form small nigiri and put them on the lower (wider) end of the eggplant. Roll up. The nigiri should be big enough so the eggplant goes around just about once and a little bit. You can also spread the rice out really thinly over the whole eggplant and roll it up, but that is a bit harder (and might be a problem if the eggplant is really oily). Also, my eggplant tended to try to rip so the nigiri variant was safer.
Cut the rolls in half and stand them up on a plate. VoilĂ !
Sorry for the blurry picture.

Other “inside out” no-nori ideas shown here are egg (mine is tamagoyaki today though, but on principle omelette works too), and of course my personal favourite, inari pouches.

If you don’t like eggplant, I think that zucchini treated the same way as the eggplant would be great too!

The eggplant was a great success here – I was fiddling around with my camera before starting to eat, arranging sushi and taking pictures. Then I looked up again, ready to start munching.
“Hey! Where has all the eggplant sushi gone?”
The BF looks up, his mouth full. “They are so good!”
…Can’t be angry at that, now can I?


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