Proper Quick Miso Soup

Miso soup from packets can be hit and miss… And expensive. So in my quest to make Miso a daily experience I’ve got to this super quick and easy recipe. You need to fork out for a few bits the first time, then after that its a 2 minute job and usually better than most Sushi bars (I’m talking about you Yo Sushi!).

You’ll need:

  • Toasted Sesame oil
  • Fish sauce
  • Soya paste
  • 1 Spring onion
  • 2 or 3 Shitake mushrooms (optional but worth it)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot water

First chop up your lone spring onion as finely as you can and your mushrooms cut into thumbnail size pieces.

Chuck this into a measuring jug and add in 1.5 pints (approx.) of hot water from the kettle. Then with with a table spoon gouge out a large chunk of the soya paste and stir it into the jug of hot water. The soya paste takes a while to “melt”, just make sure that it has, it should only take a minute or two.

Add a few drops of the sesame oil, and a dash of the fish sauce and stir again. I’m not sure why I started to put sesame oil into the mix, but it just seems to work. It’s probably something to do with the pleasure receptors in your brain (or summat). Finish off with a twist of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir again.

That’s it. It literally takes until the kettle has boiled to prepare. It always tastes good. You can pretty much add any mushrooms, Shitake are the best by far and definitely have the best name 🙂 You can of course add in anything really, left over cabbage (really), peas, shrimps, tofu, etc. Always try to keep the spring onion (or a leek), though if you can.

Simple Italian Tarts

I found this recipe in and article titled Italy – a Great Gastromic Getaway for Any Real Food Fan. I just couldn’t resist a little italian flavoured tart (who could?). They are delicious and quick to make and easy enough even for me (OK I admit I didn’t understand some of it).

I’m starting to really like this book. I reckon I’ll cook some more from there and post the results here…

The ingredients are:

  • Puff pastry (1 roll of)
  • A blob of Mozzarella
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green Pesto
  • A little olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Get your sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, I know it’s cheaper if you roll it yourself. But do I really take the risk?

Get a large mug and cut out some reasonable sized circles from the pastry, then get a smaller mug and push it gently into the middle of your circles (try not to get it all the way through; more of a scoring), this will get the nice raised edged look when the pastry’s cooked. The inner circle needs to be about a centimetre in from the edge.

Put a large teaspoon of pesto (try out the MCC pesto) into the inner ring, cover the tray and put in the fridge. Not entirely sure why this is necessary but there you go  (not the pesto bit; the fridge).

Get you cups out

While your waiting for the “pesto to dry” you can slice up the Mozzarella and tomatoes.

Fifteen minutes after putting the pesto pastry in the fridge take them out, cover the pesto with the mozzarella, tomato slices and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stick into an oven preheated to 200c.

In twenty five minutes you’ll have some of the loveliest italian tarts you’ve ever tasted. Add a bit of shredded basil on top of the tomato to finish it off.

Getting read for the oven
Getting ready for the oven (see the inner circles)

Courgette Love

I have grown some courgettes and I have rather a lot. I have made a courgette cake (courtesy of a Nigella Lawson book) and, I have taken to pickling them as well. it’s a recipe we’ve mucked about with, so we can safely call it ours. I’d be happy to post it if anyone’s interested.

[note: this was a lonely comment on a test post and now has a comfy post all to itself]

Wild Garlic Burgers

Gee went to Brighton for the night for her best friends birthday, so the kids and I thought that we’d cook. Cool. I thought about an amazing lamb dish I saw on the F Word the other night, but thought better of it. It might work, it might not and the kids get nothing to do.

Max Picking GarlicSo we decided on burgers, big fat ones. Whenever I’ve made burgers in the past they’ve always fallen apart, but now, aha, I have found the secret…

So, we went for a walk in the rain, picked some wild garlic, got soaking wet, came home, dried off and got on.

The kids love this stuff, getting mucky, wet, picking some stuff to eat, although they ate all their leaves before we got back…

Anyway ere we go, easy peasy lemon squeazy.

  • Minced beef, not too lean.
  • Handful of wild garlic (finely chopped bulb garlic will do)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • An egg

harvey01.jpgThe trick I’ve found with burgers is – do not mix in a bowl. I’m not sure why, but they seem to stay together better, and it’s more fun.

So get the mince out and put on a larger chopping board and flatten out with your hands, fold it over and flatten again, do this for a few minutes.

Next, break the egg over the flattened mince, wishing that your chopping board had a gutter (you’ll see what I mean), you then fold the egg into the meat. When you have kids; the more mess the better!

The egg should be thoroughly folded in and the meat kind of sticky, add some black pepper, a pinch of salt.

Make some patties, we made big fat ones, Harvey’s got tiny hands but still managed to make the biggest. Just make big meat balls, if you want to add something to flavour, this is the time. I ripped up some of the wild garlic and folded it in with the meat and then reformed as a ball, Max added some Nando’s Piri Piri sauce (he likes it hot). If you must add onions (why?) cook them first and chop really fine. Really you should add afterwards in your bun…

Patties of loveCook under a hot grill for 7-10 minutes each side (depends if you like it rare or not).

Serve with a bap (I love baps) some salad, some fat crispy chips, a sliver of cheese and sauces of your choice.

A top tip for slicing the cheese (I know most of you know this; I’m new you know), use your potato peeler, revelation, after nearly chopping off my fingers.

burger done.These burgers are great, but I have to say the star of this show were the chips, I’ve never made chips before and these far exceeded my expectations, and the kids. lol.

Toaster Tongs?

While perusing Gizmodo I discovered another one of those “gadgets” that defies belief – Toaster Tongs – so that you can safely get toast out of the toaster.

I love toast. I’ve been eating it for about 30 years and I can’t once ever burning my dainty little fingers trying to get already popped up toast. In fact come to think of it even if it’s managed to get stuck way down in the toaster and begun to smell like bonfire I still haven’t ever had a need for toaster tongs. Who thinks these things up? Who buys them?

Update on the “Sesame Oil and Eczema”

Should have posted this ages ago as an update to the Sesame oil regime that I started with my son. Anyway his eczema completely disappeared after about four weeks use, he still gets a little itchy every now and again, but nothing that would indicate a full on eczema attack, so we rub in a little oil here and there…

Like i said before though, I’m no doctor, so it’s up to you if you want to try it.

We’ve been eaten and regurgitated!

Hibernating BearGood afternoon fellows of the world. We’ve been hibernating from the awful “summer” that we three Brits are having. So to get us back into the MCC madness we’d like to get some ideas for summat to cook.

Any suggestions?

Nothing too complicated, something that we can learn from and then post back here to pass on our new found pearls of wisdom (mmmm pearls).

Sesame Oil and Eczema

My boy(7) gets eczema on his arms, it’s nothing compared to some of the people out there, nevertheless it’s highly irritating for him and he scratches it until it bleeds. We took him to the doctors and asked not to be given any steroid cream and were given an alcohol based cream instead. The idea of these creams is to allow the skin to retain any moisture that it has and soothe the itching. Once I’d found this out I though that I’d investigate some alternatives that would allow the skin to “breathe” a little easier and maybe be a bit more medicinal in the process.

Sesame Oil for some reason popped into my mind, so I did a little research on the web and found that it’s been used for thousands of years for medicinal uses. Ayurveda advise the massaging of the body every morning with Sesame oil for its “healing” properties. It turns out that it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral…

Now, make no mistake that I’m no Doctor, or Ayurvedic practioner, but I thought that I’d rub some into my sons arms every morning and evening and see how we got on. Max, hates having any kind of thing put on him (chicken pox and calamine lotion was a nightmare), I finally managed to get him to let me rub a little on and he pretty much instantly said that it felt less itchy and could I put it on the other arm. This was great.

So, we’ve been putting it on twice a day for just about a week now and the improvement is fantastic. The sore/itchy patches have died right down and his scratching has almost stopped. When you first put it on, it looks inflamed slightly, but I think that might just be the light shining on the oil. I’ve also started adding a little to the bath as well which is cool for having a shave in the bath (not Max, Me… 🙂 )

The oil lasts for ages and is much cheaper than than the stuff you get from the chemist. If you want to try this please investigate for yourself first, we may just be lucky. The Sesame oil that you need should be “cold pressed” and as pure as you can get, organic is preferable.

I’ll update this again in a few weeks as a bit of a progress report. I know this is off topic, but I know so many people locked into the “pharma lifestyle” because we live in a society that “treats” the symptoms of disease as opposed to trying prevent it. I’d much rather Max had Sesame oil than anything the Doctor provides if it consistently works, which still remains to be seen.

Now this is Man Cooking…

Lightly toast some bread. Add a really, really thin spread of marmalade (optional, but try it…). Top with grated cheese and apply the MAPP torch. You’d be surprised just how close you have to hold it to get the cheese to brown—I started waving it vaguely in the direction of the bread, but ended up playing the flame directly over it.

Really. Blowtorch’s are all very well but marmalade and cheese? Originally found here