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
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
100 g fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried and soaked)
one green chilli pepper
a few branches of fresh mint
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
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
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.
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
a bunch asparagus
one tsp. olive oil
Recipe: Basil and sea salt pesto
one cup basil leaves
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
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
4-6 baby artichokes
one tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
one tsp lemon zest
Recipe: Sizzling feta dip
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
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
4 round courgettes
1/2 tsp chili flakes
tsp olive oil
Recipe: Roasted tomatoes sauce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
tsp brown sugar
a pinch of salt
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.
This asparagus and broad beans salad is extremely easy, takes very little time to prepare, but still is a truly satisfying Spring meal. It’s green, crispy and delicious. Makes a great quick lunch or a perfect addition to your picnic basket.
Recipe: Asparagus and broad beans salad
a bunch green asparagus
1/2 cup broad beans, shelled and cooked, skins removed
Recipe: Lemon dressing with chili flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
Cut off the asparagus tips, cook them in boiling water with one tbsp of sugar for 3 minutes.
Using a vegetable peeler, hinly slice the asparagus lengthwise into strips. Cook them for 30 seconds.
Whisk the ingredients of the dressing together.
Combine broad beans and asparagus with the dressing.
It's so simple that it shouldn't even be called a recipe. Let's say that I have an idea for a delicious and presentable winter salad that will help us keep the right level of Vitamin C. Works great as a light dessert or a topping for a sweet breakfast, like porridge or pancakes.
Recipe: Winter tangerine salad
2 tbsp. of pomegranate seeds
a handful of fresh mint leaves
juice of 1/2 tangerine
Peel and slice the tangerines, arrange them on a plate.
Top with pomegranate and chopped mint, drizzle with tangerine juice.