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Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

I love tuna! Especially when it's lightly seared outside and almost raw inside. You have to try out this recipe: seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds with amazing dipping sauce with tamarind paste, soy sauce and honey. Perfect for ligh lunch or with a bottle of wine and fine conversation. It's a kind of dish that I appreciate the most: minimal effort, maximum results. The preparation takes 20 minutes tops, looks lovely and is really delicious. Give it a try!

Recipe: Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 200 g thick tuna steak
  • 3-4 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
  • one tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper
  • one spring onion
  • a few leaves of fresh mint
  • a few leaves of fresh coriander
Method
  • Slice tuna into smaller chunks and coat them in sesame seeds.
  • Heat sesame oil on a pan and sear four sides of each chunk for about 15 seconds per side.
  • Finely chop chilli and herbs.
  • Cut the tuna chunks into 3-4 cm slices.
  • Place tuna on the plate. Top with chilli, spring onion, mint and coriander.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce.

Recipe: Dipping sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 tbso tamarind paste
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • one tsp sesame oil
Method
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

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

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