From time to time I find myself craving the food I had in Japan. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things, like this Japanese egg salad sandwich. Because even though you’d think there isn’t much wiggle room in how to make egg salad you’d be amazed what a difference a few little tweaks make. I think the biggest difference is that the egg is mashed, not chopped and the mayonnaise must by kewpie for a truly authentic taste. The pinch of salt adds that little je ne sais quoi that makes this run of the mill sandwich spectacularly moreish!
For one sandwich:
2 hard boiled eggs
2tbsp kewpie Japanese mayonnaise
Pinch of salt
Soft salted butter
Two slices white bread
– Put the eggs, mayonnaise and salt in a bowl and mash with a fork until there are no large chunks. You could even use a food processor to get it even smoother (some conbini do) but I prefer a little texture.
– Spread the bread with butter and add the egg mix. This should be a well filled sandwich! (Though factors such as egg size and bread size will affect it, you may find this makes two less well filed sandwiches if using smaller bread.)
People keep asking me how on earth I make an Egg McMuffin at home and seem really surprised that I do it… I thought it was a pretty obvious one but, just to put the mystery to rest, here is my super simple DIY Egg McMuffin Recipe!
1 english muffin
3 rashers streaky bacon / 1 Frozen Lorne sausage (Iceland) / 2 regular sausages skin removed and mashed into one patty (BACON IS EASIER AND QUICKER!)
1 cheese single
ketchup (they really should put this in an Egg McMuffin!)
– Heat a dribble of oil in a small blini/egg pan on a low heat.
– Heat a small frying pan on a low heat.
– Slice your muffin in half and pop in the toaster. Not too high!
– Crack your egg into the blini/egg pan.
– Place your bacon in the frying pan. (Or sausage but the sausage wants to cook for longer so adjust your timings accordingly and get it going before you fetch the muffin!)
– When the white is just set, flip your egg. The longer you leave it now the more solid your yolk will be. Runny yolk is delicious but messy!
– Place the first half of the muffin on a plate, add ketchup.
– Add bacon.
– Add fried egg.
– Add cheese single.
– Add more ketchup. (What? I like ketchup!)
– Top with the remaining half of your toasted muffin.
– PLACE A BOWL OVER THE TOP AND LEAVE IT FOR 2-5 MINUTES. This is the important part. You know how your muffin gets all wrapped up and is nice and soft when you eat it? This is why!
When the weather is dull and wet as it has been recently, I get serious cravings for Japanese food. We English may think we know rain, and to an extent we do. We certainly have a lot of different rains. Japan simply has RAIN. As in, buckets and buckets, step outside without an umbrella and be drenched to the skin within 5 meters RAIN. And when the heavens open, and keep opening, there is absolutely nothing better than finding some tiny little out of the way eatery, thick with a fug of steam and soy sauce and mirin, and hunkering down until the warmth seeps back in and you are ready to face the day once more.
Now, by all rights, what follows should be a recipe for Ramen… but I can never make ramen that is anything other than a poor, pale immitation of proper ramen. And I know why this is. It’s all about the stock. One day I will spend an entire weekend carefully crafting the perfect bowl of ramen but until then I content myself with being able to whip up a number of easy, quick, filling, and delightfully warming Japanese dishes, such as this one.
Oyakodon translates as Parent and Child Bowl, which tickles me rather. The combination of chicken and egg is a brilliantly satisfying one. This dish really hits every single one of my savoury cravings and is always a winner in my kitchen.
150ml dashi stock
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, in chunks (or you could use 2 large chicken thighs, skinned and boned)
1 onion, sliced /1 leed, sliced diagonally*
1 egg, beaten
sticky rice to serve
– In a deep frying pan combine the dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce and bring to the boil.
– Add the chicken and onion / leek and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the chichen is cooked through.
– Pour the beaten egg over the top of the sauce. Do not stir!
– When the egg has set serve over a bowl of sticky rice.
*Sometimes I use an onion, sometimes I use a leek. I think the onion is more traditional but I was given it with leek in too. I like squeaky leek but if you don’t then just go with onion!
I found this recipe over on Joy of Baking and knew it was just perfect for what I wanted. It was very simple to prepare as it’s essentially a muffin mixture and it would keep very well for a week, in fact getting better over the week, so perfect for posting for Christmas presents. It also looks so very Christmassy!
I wanted to use rectangular foil ‘takeout’ containers so as to ship and transport it easily and these were smaller than the 9″x5″x3″ tin the recipe called for so I doubled the recipe thinking may be I’d get 3 out of it, nope, got 4! Yum, one spare! It’s a really interesting flavour too, you have the sharpness of the cranberries with hints of fruity and nuttiness. The crust also forms this delicious sugary crunch. A surefire winner this one. My test subjects of my mum’s office were begging for the recipe!
Makes 2 8″ x4″x3″ ‘loaf tins’
460g plain flour
700g golden caster sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 orange
1 large egg
56g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g fresh cranberries (Dried if fresh not available)
90g mixed peel (I used whole preserved orange peels chopped up)
60g chopped mixed nuts
– Heat your oven to gas mark 4 and grease your tins.
– In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
– In a large jug mix together the butter, vanilla and milk.
– Mix the two together and stir well to combine. (Doesn’t matter if there are some lumps in there.)
– Add the fruits and nuts and stir through.
– Pour into the tins and bake at the top of the oven for 1 hour. Cover the top with foil if it gets too brown.
– Test with a skewer to see if it’s done then remove from the oven and cool completely.
– Wrap in foil to store for up to a week.
I christen this dish French Chicken as I saw it on a French food blog A Foodie Froggy in Paris and it is full of French flavours. The other qualifier is that it is needessly complicated in places as all great French food should be! I tweaked the recipe here and there subsituting ingredients for things I had and were cheap rather than the more expensive options of porcini and fois gras.
I would not recommend that you try wrapping the chicken in spiraled strips of pastry as I did. I will give a different idea in the recipe that should give you a pretty sort of plaited effect and be a hell of a lot easier. While I was wrapping these up I swore like a trooper, they were HARD! But if Gordon Ramsey is anything to judge by may be the swearing makes food taste better because these were delicious!
For the mushroom pate:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley
– Put the mushrooms and onion in a large pan and fry until just soft.
– Add the garlic and parsley and stir well.
– Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and have a large ovenproof dish ready, you may need 2 as the chicken breasts cannot touch.
– Split the chicken breasts on the top down the centre to create ‘boats’. First cut a line straight down then widen the pouch by cutting out to the sides, like an inverted T.
– Roll out the pastry and cut out 4 squares just larger than twice the size of the chicken breasts.
– Place the chicken in the centre of the square.
– Put a large spoonful of pate in the chicken ‘boat’ and smooth down.
– Top this with the mushroom pate to make a small mound.
– Cut strips in the pastry either side of the chicken then start at one end and fold the two strips on opposite sides over towards the other end of the chicken in a V shape.
– Repeat this all along the chicken breast to create a plait effect making sure the whole thing is covered.
– Brush with egg, place in the dish and cook for 30 minutes. If not quite browning turn up to gas 7 for the last 10 minutes.
– Serve with whatever vegetables you like. A simple mushroom cream sauce makes a nice addition but its moist enough to eat without if you wish.
I first had these on holiday as a child and I still love them to bits. I have such a sense memory of the first bite with soft pancake, crisp apple and sweet icing sugar dust. I didn’t appreciate it then but because of the natural sweetness of the apple and the dusting of icing sugar these are so much better for you than smearing pancakes with jam or butter. It’s still something of a nursery tea dish for me, best enjoyed on a crisp Saturday afternoon, or a Thursday like today, I’m not that picky! The basic batter is for drop scones or scotch pancakes and you can add other things such as dried fruits like sultanas or even chocolate chips! The crispness and sweetness of the apple is always a winner for me though!
Makes 6-8 saucer sized pancakes, 12 smaller drop scones.
Yay! This is my 100th recipe posted here! To celebrate I made a cake. Chocolate cakes and I have a tricky relationship. I’m very demanding when it comes to chocolate cakes. I am after perfection! I’m not sure I’m quite there yet but this is the best chocolate cake I’ve made yet. It’s moist and fudgey and squishy but not too rich. It’s quite dense but stops just short of being called brownie-like. The best thing about it is that it can be thrown together in a blender or mixer if you don’t want to do it by hand. It was ridiculously easy. All in all this cake was a success.
I was going to do fantastic things icing this cake. I made fondant icing from scratch, well, a box of fondant icing sugar. But I had to get the Kenwood out to mix it and spent over an hour rolling it out. Blood, sweat and tears went into this icing, literally. Then I finally had it rolled out to the right size. I went to pick it up to drape it over the cake and… DISASTER. It stuck to the plastic sheets I’d been rolling it out between and then it stuck to itself and then it fell apart. I honestly don’t know if it was too wet, sticky, or too dry, cracked into pieces. But I cried.
So I just stopped with the buttercream icing and decided that may be I should practice with ready rolled a bit first. Learn to walk before I try running if you will. As for the decorations… well, I have the artistic ability of a drunken ferret. I love edible ball bearings and all baked goods should be blessed with them. Strawberries or raspberries would look great on this but they’re out of season at the minute so I used raspberry jelly sweets instead. A layer of fresh fruit inside would be nice too.
Makes 1×8″ cake
For the cake:
225g granulated sugar
200g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
60ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
120 ml boiling water
For the buttercream*:
180g plain chocolate
225g unsalted butter, softened
240g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
– Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and prepare two 8″ sandwich tins.
– In a large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa**, baking powder and salt.
– Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix well. It make seem very dry but keep at it. It will come together to form a dough. Keep mixing until it is a smooth, even consistency.
– Add the water and mix thoroughly.
– Pour the batter into the two tins. If you want completely equal layers you can weigh them but I usually do it by eye.
– Smooth the batter out so it is even.
– Bake for 25-30 minutes. You will be able to see if the centre is uncooked and a skewer inserted will come out clean.
– Make up the buttercream by melting the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Allow to cool.
– Cream together the butter and the icing sugar and then add the vanilla essence.
– Mix well then add the melted chocolate and stir thoroughly until everything is combined.
– Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
– Once completely cool fill between the two cakes and ice all over with the buttercream using a palette knife to smooth it over the cake.
– Decorate as you wish.
* I only made 2/3 this amount and it needed more so expect better coverage than seen in the photo.
**Sift this in or you will get lumps.
This is based on a dish I used to have at a restaurant in Tokyo and loved! You don’t technically have to serve it in the foil parcels as I have but it does give the meat time to take up a little of the flavour of the sauce and you can get on with other things while you leave them in the oven so it’s a good prep ahead then pop it in the oven meal. This was usually served with a baked potato but I chose to have chips tonight as I was in the mood. I’ve also had the burger wrapped in bacon and served with a different sauce or may be no sauce but I can’t for the life of me remember! I’m working on it.
This is a good basic hamburger recipe too and I’m sure would make an excellent burger in a bun on its own. I love Japanese style Western food. So often they take a staple Western food and do wonderful things with it that we would never have thought to do because we’re so used to doing something particular. Although I am informed that this is similar to a Salisbury Steak in America. What I do know is it’s delicious!
I’m dying of cold at the moment so if anything doesn’t make sense here drop me a line and I’ll fix in once I am able to breathe and think again!
For the burger:
1 small onion, finely chopped
500g minced beef
200g sausage meat
1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
pepper to taste
For the sauce:
150g baby button mushrooms, sliced
1 beef stock cube made up into stock*
3 tbsp ketchup
– First lightly fry the onion in a little oil until soft. Allow to cool a little.
– Put everything in a bowl and mix it together with your hand.
– Divide the mixture roughly into 6.
– Gather a portion of the meat in your hand. Roll into a ball then throw the ball forcefully back and forth in your hands to force out the air and flatten it into a patty.
– Gently shape the patty to a circle and create a small hollow so the patty is thinner in the middle. (This allows you to get a flat burger as it compensates for any swelling during cooking.)
– Place the patties on a large plate or chopping board and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably about an hour.
– Melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until just browning. Set aside.
– Sprinkle the burgers with a pinch of salt and prepare the foil sheets.
– Fry the burgers in a large frying pan or griddle. Give about 4 minutes each side. Don’t move the burger about once you’ve placed it in the pan until it’s time to turn it or it will fall apart.
– Place the burger in the centre of the sheet of foil and top with a spoonful of mushrooms.
– Deglaze the pan with red wine (tip it in and scrape off any cooked on bits).
– Add the stock and reduce until starting to thicken.
– Add the ketchup and stir in continue to reduce.
– If necessary add a little cornflour slaked in a little water to thicken the sauce. It needs to be quite viscous slow moving. (Make sure to taste the sauce as it can need a little more ketchup to cut the saltiness of the stock cube.)
– Pour a little sauce over each burger.
– Fold the foil up into a tent and fold together the edges to seal. Then fold in the sides to seal those.
– Place the parcels on a baking tray and place in the oven at around gas mark 5 for 10-15 minutes until everything is piping hot again. (If preparing ahead cook for around 30 minutes to ensure food is piping hot all through.)
– When you’re ready simply put the parcel on a plate to serve.
* I only cooked sauce for 1 tonight so I can’t speak as to actual quantities. I just poured!
Tonight I finally made madeleines! I have been desperate to make madeleines for weeks now but my main problem was that I didn’t own a madeleine tin. I did a lot of research and visited every cookware store in the area but couldn’t find what I was after. Madeleine tins are elusive! The one tin I could find had poorly defined edges and I thought that at that price it should be perfect. Eventually I managed to find one on ebay for £8.50, only a 9 hole silicon one but it had nice crisp looking edges so I bought it. Even better, when it arrived it was not evil orange as in the picture but a lovely red colour. It arrived earlier this week and I would have made them before this evening but I was dead of cold, hence my lack of posts recently. I had taken to my bed and stayed there! Tonight, after over 12 hours sleep, I finally felt relatively well again and I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen. The time for madeleines had come!
I chose this madeleine recipe from the dozens and dozens I’ve looked at because it didn’t use baking powder. I was always told that if you use baking powder in a recipe you should cook it as soon as possible as it activates as soon as it is mixed with liquid. Since madeleine recipes generally call for a period of rest before cooking I couldn’t quite see the logic in adding it. I also liked it because it didn’t make dozens and dozens as most recipes seem to. The end result is a beautiful light little cake, a perfect addition to afternoon tea I would say, although they were equally good as dessert. I made them with orange flower water this time but next time may try for a lemon or vanilla flavour. In an interesting discovery my mother can’t seem to taste orange flower water when I cook with it. It’s more of an aroma than a solid taste but I love the delicate nature of it, to my mother it just doesn’t seem to register.
Makes 12 (Doubles easily to make ~21)
50g unsalted butter
1 large egg
40g caster sugar
pinch of salt
45g plain flour
1 tbsp orange flower water/1 tsp vanilla essence/zest of half a lemon
icing sugar for dusting
– First melt the butter and allow to cool. (I usually microwave for 1 minute if straight from the fridge but even so it sometimes explodes so cover it!)
– Beat together the sugar, egg and salt for 5 minutes using an electric mixer on high. It should become thick and pale, or as the recipe said “as thick as mayonnaise”.
– Sift in the flour (don’t just put it in you want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture).
– Lightly fold in the flour then add the butter and orange flower water/vanilla/lemon. Mix well but not too much as you are trying to keep it light and airy.
– Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
– Remove from the fridge and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and grease the moulds with a little melted butter.
– Put one spoonful of mixture in each scallop, don’t fill the scallop, it will spread out when it goes in the oven.
– Bake for 12 minutes. (If you only have a 9 hole tin like I do then do it in two batches.)
– Turn out onto a rack to cool* and then dust with icing sugar before serving warm or cold.
*I’ve never cooked with silicone before, except for the odd bun case, I was very impressed with how easy it was and how well they came out of the mould, I just tipped it upside down et voila, out they came! I did stand it on a baking tray to cook though as I was worried that the wire racks in the oven wouldn’t keep it straight.
Hi, I'm Anna and this is what's going on in my kitchen and growing in my garden.
Everything you see here is how it looked as I cooked and ate it. I don't like to make things too fussy. I want you to know that if you try one of my recipes what you see is what you'll get.
Don't forget to leave a comment, I love to know what you're thinking and if you do try out a recipe then let me know how it worked for you. Happy cooking!