jap gyosa

Pork Gyoza

I recently spent a day in a Japanese kitchen. Aya, my teacher, made making the gyoza dumpling look effortless; my slow and steady process took twice the time, but still tasted ok. Aya’s mum always salts and rinses the cabbage before using, but we found it worked ok without this step.

Pork Gyoza

150g pork mince
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp Japanese soy sauce
2 tsp sake
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of ground white pepper
24 gyoza or gowgee wrappers
2 tsp peanut oil
Japanese soy sauce, to serve

Combine the pork, cabbage, green onion, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, caster sugar and pepper in a medium bowl. Place a gyoza wrapper on a clean work surface. Spoon a heaped teaspoonful of pork mixture onto the centre of the wrapper. Brush the edge with a little water. Fold over to enclose the filling. Use your fingertips to pleat the edge 4- 5 times. Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining pork mixture and wrappers.
Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan over high heat until just smoking. Remove from heat. Arrange dumplings over the base of the frying pan. Return to the heat and cook for 2 minutes or until the base of the dumplings are golden. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup water evenly over the gyozas. Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes or until gyozas are cooked and the water evaporates. Serve with soy sauce. Makes 24

gyoza 2

Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

pizza tom mozarella

You can make the pizza dough up to 12 hours before you want to make it and let it rise slowly in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, punch the dough down to get rid of any air, then knead and roll it out into shape. The less topping you add, the crisper the pizza. Make sure the oven has reached the right temperature – the dough needs a blast of heat to set the crust.

Pizza base

350 g strong white bread flour
1 x 7 g sachet (two teaspoons) dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the flour, yeast, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add oil and 210ml of just warm water and mix until a firm dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5–7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using a dough hook for about 7 minutes, then knead for a minute or two.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 1–11/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough to release the air, divide into two or three equal portions and either roll out or stretch to a thickness of about 4 mm.

Mozzarella and tomato pizza

cornmeal or polenta, for sprinkling
1/2 quantity pizza dough
EV olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
250g mozzarella, sliced or torn into pieces
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
rocket or basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 220°C (Gas Mark 7). Lightly oil a metal pizza tray and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Roll out or stretch the dough to a thickness of 4 mm and place on the tray.
Brush the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped garlic. Scatter the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes over the top and season well. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Top with a handful of lightly dressed salad leaves or basil leaves and serve immediately. Makes 1



Favourite Tomato Salad

Beg borrow or steal the best tomatoes you can find for this recipe and try to combine a few different varieties and colours. My grandmother taught me to place the sliced or cut tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Mix well and leave them to drip off any excess liquid for about 30 minutes (all excess salt should drip off). Then use them in salads.

Favourite tomato salad

4 thick slices rustic Italian-style bread
1 clove garlic, flattened with a knife
750g (1½lb) ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
1tsp capers (optional, but good)
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2tsp balsamic vinegar
basil leaves

Toast the bread, rub each slice with the crushed garlic clove and then break into bite-size pieces. Combine the tomatoes, chilli (if using), capers (if using), any remaining garlic and bread and place in a bowl.
Combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over the salad. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well then leave the salad for 10-15 minutes. Serve scattered with basil leaves. Serves 4

asparagius 1

Roast Asparagus

One of the few vegetables we still eat more or less seasonally is asparagus. Fresh asparagus has firm, crunchy, vibrant spears. Hold the spear at either end and snap it; the break will take place where the tough part becomes tender. Discard the ends, as they will be often be too dry or tough to eat. I love it roasted as this slightly chars and caramelises the spears and brings out flavours you can lose by boiling it. I always pop some in the oven while a roast chicken or leg of lamb is resting. Use the thicker spears when roasting.

Olive oil
Garlic (optional)
Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (optional)

Trim the asparagus. The easiest way is to hold the spear at either end and snap it; the break will take place where the tough part becomes tender. Lay the asparagus in a single layer in a roasting tin. Lightly drizzle or brush with some oil. Sprinkle with a little crushed garlic (optional) and season well with salt and pepper.

Roast in a preheated 200C oven for about 15 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a sharp knilfe. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice or balsamic before serving, if desired.

tomato asparagus salad

Roasted asparagus with mozzarella

2 bunches asparagus (thick stemmed if you can find it), trimmed
1 baby cos lettuce or little gem
4 medium sized mozzarella balls (buffalo if possible)
250g Cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Lemon zest

Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes in preheated 200C oven, until tender and slightly charred.

Meanwhile, place the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes into a bowl and pour over the 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and the finely grated zest of half a lemon. Mix well and set aside. Separate the lettuce leaves.
Divide the lettuce leaves between four plates. Top with the warm asparagus and then top with the mozzarella, breaking them slightly into pieces, the tomatoes and the juices. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 as a light meal or entree.

grilled asparagus salad

Roasted Asparagus and Tabbouleh

150g bulgar wheat
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint
200g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, chopped
The juice of 1 lemon
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
100 feta, crumbled, to serve

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with 450ml boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes then drain and squeeze out excess water by placing the drained bulgar in a clean cloth and squeeze tightly. Combine the bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, spring onions and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes in preheated 200C oven, until tender and slightly charred.
When ready to serve, pour over the remaining olive oil over the salad and toss well. Divide the salad between four plates, top with the grilled asparagus and sprinkle with feta. The salad may be made and left to let the flavours develop for up to an hour before you add the oil and feta. Serves 4

Spicy garlic prawns

2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 long fresh red chillies, chopped, seeds removed
1kg large uncooked prawns, unpeeled
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
grated rind 1 lemon
2 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
lemon wedges, to serve

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the prawns cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through.

Add the lemon juice, lemon rind and parsley to the prawn mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Divide the prawns among serving plates and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4

carrot soup

Easy Carrot Soup

A simple yet luxurious carrot soup recipe topped with fresh chives that takes just 10 minutes to prepare. Go on, let your hob do all the work tonight…

2tbsp olive oil
600g carrots, chopped or grated
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 1/2l chicken stock
100ml whipping cream
Chives, snipped, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the carrots, onions and celery, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently Remove the soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly before blending until smooth.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Ladle the hot soup into teacups and spoon 1 tbsp whipped cream on each. As the soup heats the cream, it will smooth out on the top. Sprinkle with snipped chives and celery salt. Serves 4

Top tips
The soup can be made up to 2 days in advance. Serve topped with freshly whipped cream.

Feature on thai food, prawn salad

Thai Prawn Salad

thai prawn salad 2


The best Thai salads are combinations of opposing tastes and textures. The flavour should be a balance of hot, sweet, sour and salty. Get the balance of these flavours right and you can create authentic Thai dishes at home. Use the recipes as guides – the intensity of the ingredients can vary and only your tongue can tell you how much more of something you need to add.

This Thai prawn salad is one of my favourite dishes and is adapted from a recipe by David Thompson.


Thai Prawn Salad

 20 large cooked prawns
2 red eshallots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely sliced lemongrass
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 long red chillies, thinly sliced
large handful of mixed mint and coriander leaves

For the dressing

2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Peel the prawns and remove their heads and any veins, then thinly slice them.
Combine the dressing by shaking in a screw top jar until well mixed.
Mix the dressing  and sliced prawn together then  add remaining ingredients and mix gently to combine.
Season to taste. Serves 4