Facebook Instagram Pinterest

Vegan ramen

Is there anything better than a bowl of steaming soup on a cold evening? The only thing I can think of is a long sauna session. But I have always thought that eating Asian soups is a bit similar to visiting sauna, so ramen remains my first choice for rainy days. Also, I have bowls and pots at home, but I don't have a sauna.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish, containing Chinese-style wheat noodles, broth and various toppings. It's been extremely popular with foodies all over the world for the last few years. You can easily enjoy a great ramen in New York, London or Warsaw.

There are numerous version of the dish, starting with nearly every region in Japan taking pride in its own variation. My recipe is simple and vegan - with fried tofu, shiitake mushrooom and green chillies.

Recipe: Vegan ramen

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 l oriental broth (recipe below)
  • 200 g ramen noodles
  • 200 g firm tofu, pressed
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp runny honey
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • one carrot
  • 100 g fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried and soaked)
  • one green chilli pepper
  • a few branches of fresh mint
Method
  • Cut the tofu into thick slices.
  • Whisk soy sauce with honey and chilli flakes.
  • Cover each tofu slice in the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pan-fry tofu slices, about 1 minute per side.
  • Peel and julienne the carrot.
  • Slice green chilli.
  • Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Cut larger mushrooms into smaller pieces.
  • Pan-fry for a few minutes.
  • Divide noodles between two bowls.
  • Top with hot broth.
  • Add fried tofu and shiitakes, carrot, chilli and mint.

Recipe: Oriental broth

Ingredients
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled
  • 1/2 celery root, peeled
  • one leek, sliced
  • 2 l water
  • 5-6 slices of peeled ginger
  • one green chilli pepper
  • a few branches of fresh coriander
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
Method
  • Place all the vegetables, ginger, chilli and coriander in a large pot
  • Top with cold water and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Strain the broth through a colander.
  • Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and miso paste.

Ceviche

I love ceviche: it's delicious and full of flavour, beautiful and super easy to make. It probably derives from Peru, but is popular in many coastal regions of South America. The dish is made from fresh fish, cured in leche de tigre - a marinade made of citrus juices with coriander, chilli and onions.

Citric acid from limes or lemons cooks the fish. I like my ceviche semi-cooked and raw inside, so I usually leave the fish in the marinade for 15-20 minutes. If you're not a fan of raw fish, you can leave it to marinate for a few hours. Some chefs think the best marinating time for ceviche is as short as 2-3 minutes.

I have prepared two recipes - a very basic tuna ceviche and a sea bass ceviche with coconut milk and roasted sweet potato. There's plenty of room for experiments: modify the marinade adding juice from different citrus fruits, use various kinds of fish and seafood or play with the toppings, trying avocado, corn, grapefruit or pomegranate seeds. Make sure to use very fresh, good quality fish.

Recipe: Tuna ceviche

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 g fresh tuna steak, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • one garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Place the tuna in a bowl, add salt, combine and set aside for 2 minutes.
  • Combine lime juice with ginger, coriander, garlic and chilli.
  • Pour the marinade over tuna, delicately toss together and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Before serving, combine with red onion and coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roasted sweet potatoes or tortilla chips.

Recipe: Sea bass ceviche

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 g fresh sea bass, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3-4 tsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 green chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • one small sweet potato, roasted and diced
  • a few coriander leaves
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Place the sea bass in a bowl, add salt, combine and set aside for 2 minutes.
  • Combine lime juice with coconut milk, ginger, coriander and chilli.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish, delicately toss together and set aside for 20 minutes.
  • Before serving, combine with red onion, roasted sweet potato and coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roasted sweet potatoes or tortilla chips.

Roasted fig salad

Light salad with rosemary-roasted figs, watercress and feta. Simple, easy and delicious. Perfect with a glass of dry white wine for autumn dinner.

I hope for many sunny, relatively warm days before winter. Maybe this fall wan't be all warming soups and mulled wine. Just maybe.

Recipe: Roasted fig salad

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 5-6 ripe figs
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • one tsp brown sugar
  • a handful of rosemary springs
  • 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Cut the figs into quarters and place them in a baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped rosemary.
  • Roast for about 30 minutes.
  • Divide the watercress between two plates and top with slightly cooled figs.
  • Top with crumbled feta and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

NOPI

NOPI is an amazing place, but would you expect anything less from Yotam Ottolenghi? Yes, I’m one of many enthusiasts of his food, his cookbooks and his culinary philosophy. Tons of vegetables, phenomenal mixtures of flavours, skilful use of herbs and spices, all with hints of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Sounds like a perfect meal for me.

Ottolenghi has several places in London. So far, I’ve only been to this one, but there’s no way I’m stopping here. The restaurant has two levels - the upper floor is a bit more elegant, the downstairs - more casual and cosy. I don’t like thick tablecloth and uncomfortable chairs, so, just in case, I booked a place downstairs, at the common table and facing the open kitchen. But the upstairs looked very friendly as well, it’s a dose of elegance that even I could handle. The interiors are fairly simple, filled with warm light, flowers and golden details.

A fairly large section of the menu consists of small dishes, perfect as starters for one or even more perfect for sharing. I love composing a feast of small dishes, that way you get to try more. And I wanted to try pretty much everything at NOPI.

Making decisions was tough, but it had to be done eventually. My friend and I started with burrata with blood orange and coriander seeds. It’s safe to say that it was the best burrata I’ve ever had, creamy and perfect. We loved scallops with apple and yuzu puree, sweet potatoes with feta, tangy roasted eggplant and the okra salad. The venison with blackberries was spectacular: tender, seared to perfection and flavourful. The menu changes according to the seasons, so the dishes may differ, but I’m sure everything they ever serve is perfect. And burrata, one of the signature dish created by Ramael Scully, is always there.

I’m being overly enthusiastic, but it really is a delightful place with delicious food, stellar service and convivial atmosphere. Perfect for an evening of wining, dining and talking. So try it out yourselves whenever you have a chance! Not surprisingly, NOPI is rather popular with hungry Londoners, so make sure you have a reservation.

NOPI, 21-22 Warwick Street, London

Roasted summer vegetables

Roasted vegetables are great as a light lunch or dinner. Try roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto, baby artichokes with feta dip and round courgettes with cherry tomato sauce.

Surely, they would be even greater, if grilled and consumed in a garden, by the lake or in a park. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. For instance, one might not have a garden, a lake or a grill. Unexpected rain can also disrupt an al fresco dinner. Another reason could be a group of wasps.

It was during my sailing holidays in Croatia. I have spend the entire day gutting fish, squid and octopus that I'd bought on a market, geatting ready for a BBQ evening. When we'd finally managed to find a picturesque little bay and tie up the boat, we realised there were countless wasps coming to our yacht and we had to run away. We ended up staying in a marina where barbecueing was not permitted and I had to make the squid and octopus in the oven.

What lesson can be learned from this story? Probably the fact that anything that you might want to barbecue, you can also make in the oven. It doesn't always work the other way around, but in this case it does - I have prepare these recipes for the oven, but you can make the vegetables on the grill too.

Recipe: Roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • a bunch asparagus
  • one tsp. olive oil

Recipe: Basil and sea salt pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Method
  • Blend basil with olive oil.
  • Add salt, combine.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Trim asparagus' ends. Coat asparagus with olive oil.
  • Roast at 180C for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with pesto.

Recipe: Roasted artichokes with sizzling feta dip

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4-6 baby artichokes
  • one tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • one tsp lemon zest

Recipe: Sizzling feta dip

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Method
  • Prepare a bowl with cold water with lemon juice. To prevent artichokes from discoloration, keep the cut ones in the bow before you're ready to roast them.
  • Cut the stalks off the artichoke. Pull off the tough leaves. Cut the artichoke in half. Spoon out the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. Very young artichokes might not have the choke.
  • Combine oil and lemon juice, coast artichokes with the mixture. Place them in a baking dish and top with lemon zest.
  • Roast at 200C for aboit 25 mintes.
  • Combine feta with oil and lemon juice.
  • Place in a ramekin and bake with the artichokes for 20 minutes.

Recipe: Roasted round courgettes with roasted tomatoes sauce

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 round courgettes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • tsp olive oil

Recipe: Roasted tomatoes sauce

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • tsp brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Cut the tomatoes in halves and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and sugar.
  • Roast at 150C for about 45 minutes.
  • Cool down and blend.
  • Cut the courgettes in halves and coat with oil. Place them in a baking dish and top with chili flakes.
  • Roast at 200C for about 35 minut.
  • Serve with tomato sauce.
Previous pageNext page