Tuesday, November 8, 2011
I've mentioned missing Britain and my favourite London haunts, so, once again, I've been searching in the kitchen for a solution. This time it takes the shape of my absolute favourite dish in my absolute favourite restaurant, the Kinoko Hiya Atsu (mushrooms, udon, broth, and walnut miso) at Koya. I've written about this dish a few times. The walnut miso has become the best possible reason for living, no word of a lie.
I know that at Koya they make the udon the traditional way, kneading by foot, so I added that to one of my reading breaks today. I used the recipe given here and was delighted by how simple the whole project was. I will be making them again.
I brought together a stock with vegetable broth and miso, finely sliced cabbage, oyster mushrooms, and enoki mushrooms. Light, plain, and simple, this broth is the perfect foil for the main object of my affection, the walnut miso.
God. I can't even come up with words for it. I am addicted to the stuff. Salty, sweet, full of umami flavour from the miso and crunch from the walnuts. And, as I discovered today, so damn easy to make. You can eat it on its own (strong!), in small bites with your noodles, or stirred into your soup. I do all three.
My own personal Koya, halfway across the world and in my own home? I'm delighted.
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
2 heaped tbsp. rice miso paste
1/2 tsp. umeboshi vinegar
1/2 tsp. tamari
1 heaped tbsp. unrefined sugar
1 tsp. water
1. Blitz all the ingredients in the blender. Scoop into a jar and keep sealed up in the fridge for up to a week.
Oyster Mushrooms with Udon
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. rice miso paste
2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
2 large oyster mushrooms, finely sliced
a handful enoki mushrooms, cut in half horizontally
2 spring onions, chopped
1 portion (about 2 cups) udon noodles, cooked, rinsed, and drained
1. Bring your stock and miso paste to a boil. Cook for about ten minutes, then season to taste. 2. Add your cabbage and oyster mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes, until tender. 3. Add in your enoki mushrooms, half your spring onions, and your cooked udon. Cook until just warmed, then serve with the remainder of your spring onions and a spoonful of walnut miso on the side.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Leftover pie, more accurately.
I also contemplated titling this post "Treating Homesickness: with pie!" but thought better of it. Wouldn't help with the search engines and whatnot, but might convey the point better.
Because, you see, I've been thinking a lot about what I can eat to make myself miss London slightly less. I think it's a fruitless project - I continue to miss it despite warming to Toronto daily, which tells me something about the steadfastness of my love for it. I can't be there right now (for a lengthy list of reasons) and quite frankly, much as I'm unwilling to admit it, don't really think I should be there right now. For now, Toronto is where I lay my head.
BUT. And there is always a but. That doesn't mean I don't still constantly want good tea, dippy eggs, beans on toast, Marmite, Ginger and White lattes, decent curry, amazing fine dining, and a nice pub in my life. I admit to watching Jamie Oliver's newest series, Jamie's Great Britain, and feeling a twinge of identification when he said that, for people who leave the places they love, food is often the strongest connection.
So in between chapters of Andrew Motion's biography of Keats (very good, incidentally - I even cried at the end), I knocked up some rough puff and set a mushroom and brown rice stew a-bubbling. Some chapters later, I was tucking into this very lovely pie, rich with whatever vegetables I happened to have left in the fridge - a spare carrot, half an onion, five tiny radishes (I love me a cooked radish), some frozen peas, mushrooms, and a scoop of brown rice. With half a bottle of red wine left from Bonfire Night, I knocked together a gravy with a teaspoon of soy sauce and water (!) instead of stock. Very successful, all things considered.
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup/a handful field mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
a few radishes, roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 tbsp. plain flour
3/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
salt and pepper
plus 1/2 quantity rough puff pastry, as given here.
1. In a large skillet, fry your onions and garlic in a bit of oil until just softened. Add in your mushrooms and carrots, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are reduced a bit. 2. Add in your radishes and oregano, and stir in your plain flour. Pour in your wine and reduce, stirring all the while, before adding your water and tamari. Bring to a gently simmer. Cook for ten minutes or so on medium heat. 3. Add your peas and rice, season to taste, and cook for a few minutes more. Set aside to cool a bit before turning out into a pie dish. 4. Top your dish with a round (about the thickness of a pound coin) of rough puff, cut a few vents in the top, and brush with milk. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt (this gives the pastry a nice crackly finish) and bake at 400 F (200C) for thirty minutes, or until nice and golden.