Japanese Flaked Mackerel with Vegetables

This Japanese Flaked Mackerel with Vegetables a variation of this dish which has become one of our staples since mackerel turns up often on the supermarket last day shelf and freezes so well. This dish thrives on the basis that “soy/mirin/sake makes everything better”.

We originally got our recipe from [easyazon_link identifier=”1840917431″ locale=”UK” tag=”thenomr03-21″]Everyday Harumi: Simple Japanese food for family and friends[/easyazon_link] which is a great repository of Japanese recipes. Panko pork, oh yes.

Carrot, mushroom and onion

I have to say though, that chopping the vegetables is a royal pain in the neck. It’s fiddly and time consuming. Fine if you get into the zone and don’t worry about time.


Serves 2

2 mackerel fillets
100g mushrooms (shitake if you like) chopped
8g ginger
100g carrots chopped
50g onion chopped
oil for frying
2tsp sake
2tsp caster sugar
20ml mirin
20ml soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp awase miso


Chop the ginger and with a teaspoon scrape the flesh off the mackerel.

Put the skins to simmer in a pint of water with soy, miso, salt and so on for a nice fishy miso soup to go with the mackerel.

Ginger and Mackerel

Chop the carrots, onions and mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the mackerel and ginger and fry until the mackerel is opaque.

Darkening the mackerel

Side note, stainless steel frying pans can be pretty non-stick. The trick is to heat the pan before adding the oil. Something about the pits in the steel. You can see from our frying pan that is gets a lot of use!

Add the vegetables and simmer until they start softening. Then add all the liquids and miso and simmer gently, stirring, until the sauce is mostly absorbed.

Suteeing in sace

Serve on the Japanese rice that’s been in your [easyazon_link identifier=”B00ABYI0IE” locale=”UK” tag=”thenomr03-21″]Rice Cooker[/easyazon_link]. You DO have a rice cooker, right? That and the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01HMITHY2″ locale=”UK” tag=”thenomr03-21″]bread machine 23620, 600 W – Black[/easyazon_link]are the two devices that get use in our house.

The resident Asian in our house is quite picky about her rice. Obviously Taiwanese rice is amazing (it is) but a close second is Japanese short-grain rice which in Europe can be grown in Italy, California or Texas or anywhere suitable. Our preferred brand is Nishiki  (in a 10kg bag, thank you Amazon) but we’ve also used Yakuta. Basmati rice is a dirty secret here.

Serve on the rice. A nice side is spinach with sesame or Japanese pickled cucumber, sunomono. If you’re feeling particularly fusion, Chinese bashed cucumber works too.

Serving on rice


The flexibility of a chicken

Roast chickenSometimes you’re walking past the last day shelf in Tesco and a chicken for £2.50 just leaps out at you, you just can’t avoid it!

You think “I can get at least four meals out of it for the two of us!” And you do! As an example meal plan:

  1. A proper Sunday roast. Beautiful crispy roast potatoes, some fresh seasonal vegetables or two. I still haven’t cracked the secret to lovely crunchy potatoes here, but given a variety like King Edwards, they will still be tasty. It’s summer so we just picked up some broad beans from the farmer’s market. Don’t forget the gravy! I should pontificate at length on gravy at another point.Leftover chicken
  2. Then do something with the leftovers. In this case a chicken pie but I was too lazy to make the lid ? This one had some frozen peas, and chopped red pepper in. And obviously, that thing that makes everything better, sweetcorn. You can put in pretty much anything you like. Chop up a leek or throw in left over vegetables. Swede on the side is a nice touch, and fry up left over roast potatoes. Obviously, with the bones, you’ll get between a pint and a litre of stock. You can either just boil the bones or throw in some garlic, chopped onion, carrots, celery, herbs and so on.
  3. Then, with that stock, make soup! Possibly with some leftover gravy added for extra flavour. This soup has noodles, an egg mixed in, some veggies and a soft boiled egg. We get through the eggs in this house! Cantonese chicken and sweetcorn has been perpetrated in this house and that’s good too,
  4. Last but not least, you’ll probably have a chicken breast left over. That’s easy to dispose of: a chicken sandwich. Me, I like nice fresh bread and mango chutney. That’s the right combination of solid and savoury. The other option is to load it up with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and mayonnaise. Either way.On the bread note, we mostly make our own. Either from the components or supermarket mix, and throw it in the bread maker. Good fresh bread for half the price.

And that’s how you get four meals out of some discounted chicken!

Some good links out there:

There’s plenty you can do with a chicken: lemons, put vegetables in the roasting tin. Me, I put smoked paprika and garlic salt on the skin before rubbing with olive oil. The skin is the best bit. Or just buy the thighs and roast them!

HelloFresh recipe box – review, tasty

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 21.14.54There was a half price bargain to be had, so we took the plunge and got a couple of HelloFresh boxes at half price. Tuesday morning they arrived by truck incredibly well packed. The refrigerables packeded in insulated bags and all the other ingredients portioned into little boxes of a size appropriate to the recipes, or in some case more.

Over two boxes, the recipes we got were:

  • Paprikás Csirke – a Hungarian paprika chicken dish. A dash of honey and soy sauce at the end, lifted the dish somewhat.
  • Beef Enchiladas – There were enough tortillas left over, we had this again for lunch again the following day. Probably my favourite.
  • Pan Fried Chicken with tarragon sauce – a simple sauce of tarragon simmered in crème fraîche.
  • Honey mustard sausages with read onion gravy – the sausages were tiny and the gravy a cheaty version of the one I do, but the real revelation here was cabbage that was quartered, fried lightly then baked in the oven in stock. This I will cook again!
  • Jamie’s grilled chicken with green bean salad – fairly classic, lemony Jamie.
  • Salmon baked on a bed of walnut-herby mushrooms with cerleriac fries. Sorry, there’s nothing to commend celeriac, it’s a vegetable of winter desperation. The mushrooms however, were awesome.  The texture of the nuts and the flavour of lots of fresh herbs. Amazing.

So there we have it. Would I do it again? Probably not. The recipes were easy enough but nothing you couldn’t do with a recipe book and a supermarket. I think my expectations were for more umami and more exotic flavours. Good enough though and if I were a busy executive with a career, wife and mistress, it might be tempting. 3/5.


Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupA neighbour is going on holiday and gave us some tomatoes.

So I made soup.

Gently fry an onion and a medium carrot in olive oil for ten minutes, add 1lb of chopped tomatoes and a pint of stock (boullion in my case), a squirt of tomato puree and a small handful of basil leaves. Simmer for ten minutes then blend. Salt and a small amount of sugar to taste. I topped it off with freshly made garlic-y croutons, more basil and a quick grate of parmesan for umami.

It was good!