Lemon Stuffed Olives
Lemon Stuffed Olives

These Lemon-Stuffed Olives were inspired by an appetizer I once had served to me in a Greek restaurant. Like many recipes for lemon stuffed olives, the ones I had on that occasion used the zest for the stuffing and were served in a simple herbed-olive oil. Here, I substitute the flesh of the lemon for the zest, and include a little white wine in the marinade.


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Simmered Enoki Mushrooms
Simmered Enoki Mushrooms

There are many ways to prepare Simmered Enoki Mushrooms. The recipe here is derived from the basic Japanese traditional method for making this dish, but it adds a few twists. Chinese Rice Wine replaces the more common Mirin, and butter replaces the more common cooking oil for a nice depth of flavor and richness…


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Spicy Fried Baby Octopus
Spicy Fried Baby Octopus

This little appetizer dish of Spicy Fried Baby Octopus incorporates chili, cumin, and a little thyme into the deep-fry coating of cornstarch. When jazzed up this way, the tender morsels require no additional condiments at the table other than just a wee squeeze of lemon.

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Red Pepper and Feta Meze
Red Pepper and Feta Meze

This Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Appetizer dish is very Mediterranean in spirit. It enhances the sweetness of roasted Red Peppers and the tang of Feta Cheese with a combination of garlic, lemon and green onion. It can be a dip for vegetable sticks, or bread, used as a topping for Crostini, or else served as a small salad at any Meze table.


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Ginger Fried Baby Octopus
Ginger Fried Baby Octopus

These Ginger Fried Baby Octopus take advantage of the fact that the smaller varieties are more tender, and often more sweeter than the larger ones. Here, a little complimentary flavoring is added by way of a ginger and rice wine marinade….

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Basil Pimento Crostini
Basil Pimento Crostini

This little appetizer of Basil Pimento Crostini hardly needs an actual recipe. Its creation was inspired by a need to use up some fresh Basil leftover from another use, and as a way to showcase some of my home-made Roasted Red Peppers.

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Three Shred Duck – 三絲鴨肉
Three Shred Duck – 三絲鴨肉

Three Shred Duck is a great way to use up leftover duck and it derives its name from the fact that the Duck meat is stir-fried with three other shredded ingredients… in this case, Carrot, Scallion and Celery. This very Chinese preparation is actually a good example of the type of stir-fried dish that is usually made to finish up the rest of the meat left after a meal of Peking (Beijing) Duck…


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Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers
Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

The filling for these Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is very straightforward and simple… not much more than ground pork with scallion and garlic, really.

It is the sauce, though, that I think makes this dish. It is based on Oyster Sauce mixed with some rice wine and a decent hit of chilli oil. The sweetness of the primary ingredient is just enough for this recipe that you won’t be needing any added sugar…


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Agedashi Tofu
Agedashi Tofu

An Agemono dish in Japanese cookery is one in which the main ingredient is deep-fried. Age dofu (or tofu) is any preparation of deep-fried tofu, while Agedashi Tofu is cubes of the fried bean curd served in a dashi-based sauce. Here, as is often the case, the sauce is essentially a Kakejiru (or dashi, soy, mirin blend) lightly thickened with cornstarch.


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Kakejiru: Japanese Noodle Broth
Kakejiru: Japanese Noodle Broth

Kakejiru is most widely known and used as a Japanese Noodle Broth. Indeed, the famous ‘Kake-Udon’, is simply thick Udon noodles along with other toppings, served with Kakejiru poured over everything as a rich ‘soup’.

Similar ‘soup-noodle’ dishes are also made with many other sorts of noodle (including Soba, Somen, and the ever-popular Ramen), but the name ‘Kakejiru’ simply means ‘dressing’ or ‘gravy’, and it has other uses as well. It is extremely versatile, and often forms the base for more complex broths and sauces, as well as being frequently used to braise Tofu and other ingredients.


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