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


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.


The quest for BBQ spare ribs

BBC Barbecue spare ribsSaturday was a win again at the farmer’s market. As well as scoring some excellent broad beans and lovely Crafty Devil beer, Charcutier Ltd again had an offer on their spare ribs so the quest was on to cook them even better! This time, I went for this recipe from the BBC:


I’m now a big fan of poaching ribs before cooking. It makes the meat so tender!

The sauce in the recipe was fine, ketchup and soy sauce being the base of most of this kind of sauce, however, I spruced it up with:

  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

And probably some other bits (cumin?) that I forget. The result was a sauce with a slightly more complex flavour and more depth.

Will definitely use this recipe as a base again!




BBC Barbecued Spare Ribs

Marinading Spare Ribs

We were at the @RCMAmarkets today stocking up on essentials like fresh broad beans, eggs and so on, when, getting my bacon roll from Charcutier I happened to spy that he had half price spare ribs.

Thinking that’s tonight’s barbecue sorted (it’s not raining in Cardiff today, oddly), my next task was a recipe. Eschewing American cuisine and web sites, the BBC came up with this by Antony Worrall Thompson:


Nothing particularly mystical about this recipe, it’s the usual ketchup, soy, honey and other bits, but as it’s sitting there marinading right now, the smells are just right. The recipe also says to boil for an hour or so in the marinade and water so I’m hopeful that the meat will be tender. Fingers crossed!

Pi day

beef and ale pieYesterday we celebrated the perverse American pi day with pie. Perverse because Americans do their dates wrong. The real pi day is obviously 31/4/15 9:26:53 etc. Also, in celebration of Weebl and Bob. Never mind. I made a beef and ale pie. Easy enough. For two with leftovers:

  • Fry one medium or two small onions with a clove or two of garlic in olive oil until softening.
  • Dry a pound of diced beef of some sort then dust with flour, add to the onions and fry until browned. (There’s argument as to whether there’s any point to browning beef but I’l let that slide).
  • Add a chopped carrot, half a dozen small mushrooms and maybe some shallots.
  • Add seasonings to taste: salt (which I always forget!), pepper, maybe some paprika, Worcestershire sauce and herbs (I have Greek mountain oregano!). It was missing something until I added about a dessertspoon of soy sauce.
  • Add an ale such as Guinness or a nice bitter until the beef is covered.
  • Simmer VERY gently on the stove for a couple of hours, or put in a casserole in a 170C oven for the same time.
  • When that’s done, put into a pie dish, put 100g grated cheddar on top, throw on an egged covering of pastry and bake at 190C for 40 minutes or so until the pastry is browned.
  • Eat!