May 21 2013
Chiho cooks this melt in your mouth Japanese Braised Pork Belly (Buta No Kakuni 豚の角煮) and the accompanying crunchy and delicious Burdock Salad (Gobō Sarada ごぼうサラダ) from her mother’s family recipe
WDTD got to spend a wonderful holiday over in Japan for most of April, hence the absence of posts these last few weeks.
One of the highlights of the trip was documenting this beautiful luncheon cooked by Chiho Kobayashi, a good friend and talented florist from Sydney, in her family home in Nara, the old capital city of Japan. A quaint small town that’s famous for its sacred and friendly deer that roam the park of Tōdai-ji temple, the largest and most impressive wooden building in the world.
Star of the luncheon was the melt in your mouth Japanese Braised Pork Belly (Buta No Kakuni 豚の角煮) and the accompanying crunchy and delicious Burdock Salad (Gobō Saradaごぼうサラダ). Burdock might be difficult to come by in your area but you may be able to find some in your local Japanese grocer (in Sydney, they are occasionally available at Tokyo Mart in the suburb of Northbridge). If this fails, you can substitute it with Jerusalem Artichoke as they are of the same family and have very similar taste and texture.
Sadly, Chiho lost her mother in a road accident last year. I had the privilege of photographing Mrs Kobayashi when she visited Sydney. The dishes Chiho prepared are the ones Mrs Kobayashi used to cook for her as she was growing up in Japan. She said Mum was a great cook and often attended cooking schools to learn new dishes. She also enjoyed being a host and cooked many delicious meals for her family and friends. Chiho said, “These dishes are not overly difficult to prepare but for me it’s the ultimate homestyle Japanese cooking.”
Burdock Salad with carrot, ham, roasted sesame seed and mayo dressing
To prepare the burdock root, peel the outer skin and grate into coarse strips or julienne then soak in water for about an hour with a bit of vinegar to stop discolouring and enhance the crunchiness after parboiling
After parboiling the burdock root and carrot, toss with sliced ham and the mayo dressing. Add toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch and flavour. Simple and delicious!
When traveling, WDTD loves to check out the local market/supermarket. Earlier that day we followed Chiho and her baby boy Aki to the local supermarket to get extra ingredients. Everything was SO neatly stacked and nicely presented. You can get sidetracked very easily going through every isle – before I knew it, my basket was full of things I really didn’t need as a tourist!
To prepare the Buta no Kakuni: 1) Boil the pork and top half of coarsely chopped leek for about 3 mins then skim out the surfacing fat. At the same time boil the eggs like usual. 2) Drain out the water and add new 6 cup of water, 1.5 cup of sake, sliced ginger then partially cover the pot with aluminium foil and let boil on low heat for 90 mins. 3) Add the peeled eggs, bottom half of chopped leek, soy sauce and mirin to the pot and boil for further 20 mins. 4) Lastly put in the spinach until it wilts then transfer the dish to a big serving bowl
The recipe of Mrs Kobayashi miso soup is available here. Chiho has added firm silken tofu, enoki and oyster mushroom and sliced tofu puffs for a more substantial version.
- Who: Chiho Kobayashi
- Home is: Nara, Japan
- Family origin: Japanese
- I can’t live without: Salsa dancing
- Occupation: Mother and Florist
- Dream Job: Flower exhibitor
- Currently I am obsessed with: Japanese drama
- Childhood taste: Japanese hamburger and rice & yoghurt cake made by my mother
- I will always have in my pantry: Senbei (rice cracker)
- I learnt to cook from: My mother
- What I’m listening to: Bossa Nova mix CD
- The one place I must visit: Brazil for the Carnival
- Go to meal: Sushi
- The unforgettable meal: Toro Sushi (blue fin tuna belly). It melts in my mouth
- My piece of Sydney: Flemington Market
- Guilty Pleasure: Clothes shopping
- Who does the dishes: I do
The Kobayashi residence is filled with Mrs Kobayashi’s personal touches. From her Japanese & English gardens to the intricate wood carving, embroidery craftwork and of course her delicious recipes. What she has left behind for us in this world strengthens our appreciation of the harmonious connection between art and life. Whether it be art in gardening, art in craft, or art in cooking. Her memory and legacy will be treasured forever.
Having watched Mum flower arranging since he was a very little boy, Kai seems to have developed the talent
Using the greenery and flowers from her Mother’s gardens, Chiho put together a couple of Ikebana (flower arrangements) to adorn the dining room
Chiho’s Ikebana on her mother’s intricate embroidery
The camelia flower on the right is from the tree Chiho’s father planted when she was born
After lunch we headed to the nearby Tōdai-ji temple, fed the deers and enjoy Nara’s lovely spring afternoon. Since it was the weekend, the temple was flooded with school excursion groups from all over Japan and locals dressed up in kimono embracing the spring season.
The hole in the pillar represents the size of the Buddha’s nostril. If you could pass through it then good luck is upon you!
Burdock Salad (Gobō Sarada ごぼうサラダ)
Ingredients - Serves 4
- 1 Burdock root or Jerusalem Artichoke coarsely grated or julienned
- 1 big carrot coarsely grated or julienned
- 6 pieces of ham julienned
- 4 tsp roasted sesame seed
- 2 tbs Japanese mayonaise
- 2 tbs sesame seed paste (Tahini)
- 1 tbs white vinegar
- 3 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbs sugar
- To prepare the burdock root (or Jerusalem Artichoke), pill the outer skin and grate into coarse strips or julienne then soak in water for about half an hour with a bit of vinegar to stop discolouring and enhance crunchiness after parboiling.
- Rinse the soaked burdock root and parboil with the carrot for about 5 mins then drain and toss well with julienned ham.
- For the dressing, whisk together the mayonaise, tahini, white vinegar, light soy sauce and sugar.
- Mix well with the salad and garnish with roasted sesame seed.
Japanese Braised Pork Belly (Buta No Kakuni 豚の角煮)
Ingredients - Serves 4
- 450g Pork belly rashes
- 1 medium size leek
- 1 bunch of spinach or choy sum
- 4 - 6 peeled boiled eggs
- 5 thick slices of ginger
- 1.5 cup of sake
- 3 tbs dark soy sauce
- 4 tbs mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1.5 tbs sugar
- 6 cup water
- Cut the pork belly rashes into big cubes and boil it with the top half of coarsely chopped leek for about 3 mins then skim out the surfacing fat. At the same time boil the eggs like usual.
- Drain out the water and add new 6 cup of water, 1.5 cup of sake, sliced ginger then partially cover the pot with aluminium foil and let boil on low heat for 90 mins.
- Add the peeled eggs, bottom half of chopped leek, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the pot and boil for further 20 mins.
- Lastly put in the spinach or choy sum until it wilts, season to taste then transfer the dish to a big serving bowl.
Apr 4 2013
Manuela created this quick ‘n’ easy ravioli dish with a fusion of Italian and Cypriot flavours. This recipe uses wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta, a great alternative when you are time poor and don’t have a pasta machine. The result is still delicious!
Mix together grated Haloumi, Ricotta, and sliced asparagus until combined, add beaten egg and mix thoroughly
Using the tip of your finger or a thin pastry brush, brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water then place a second wrapper on top of the first, carefully pressing down the filling and removing as much air as possible, sealing the edges. Using a ravioli cutter, roll around the sides of the ravioli to seal
Toast the pinenuts until golden and set aside. Place butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until butter just starts to turn brown. Add sage and cook for 1 minute or until crisp. Add asparagus tips and toasted pinenuts. Continue to cook butter until golden brown
- Who: Manuela Vasington
- Home is: Clovelly, Sydney
- Family origin: Urbino, Italy
- I can’t live without my: Pillow and mattress
- Occupation: Graphic Designer
- Dream Job: To open a wine bar or do something involving food. I love entertaining!
- Currently I am obsessed with: Argentinian Malbec and Swedish clogs. And West German pottery – but that’s a continuous obsession
- Childhood taste: Cresce with Prosciutto. It’s a thin and flaky flatbread that is a specialty of Urbino. My 3 brothers and I are so excited when Mum makes it to this day, which isn’t often as it’s time consuming
- I will always have in my pantry: Tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, capers and olive oil
- I learnt to cook from: My mum. When I was small, It was my job to turn the pasta machine and finish off the tortellini and ravioli. I then discovered baking and it took off from there
- What I’m listening to: The Lumineers, Cat Power, Ben Howard and James Blake
- The one place I must visit: Costa Rica. I’ve heard it’s amazing
- Go to meal: Penne with Puttanesca Sauce
- The unforgettable meal: Was in Cuba. It was more the circumstances that made it unforgettable. It was a black market affair – we were going to eat a 4 course meal for around $10 which included illegal lobster. Getting to the house was very cloak and dagger. Literally hiding behind corners and darting off one at a time to the next corner. On arriving, we sat in the front room watching ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ by Boney M. I was sitting in a rocking chair rocking back and forth. The family’s 16 year old boy thought we’d like the music! It was a great evening
- My piece of Sydney: The Bronte to Bondi walk. The sea air energises me
- I do my groceries at: Norton Street Grocer, Coles, Woolworths and Daily Fresh (my local supermarket). Anywhere I can grab food quickly to be honest. I shop online a lot cause I don’t really like grocery shopping!
- Guilty Pleasure: Leftover dessert
- Who does the dishes: My flatmate Stephen, and the dishwasher
Manuela’s artwork and her gorgeous West German pottery collections adorning her beautiful home
Haloumi and Asparagus Ravioli with Burnt Butter Sauce
Ingredients - Serves 4-5
- 200g Haloumi cheese, grated
- 100g fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 bunch asparagus, sliced finely (cut off tips for sauce)
- 1 packet of wonton wrappers
- salt & pepper to taste
- 175 unsalted butter
- 3 tbs pine nuts
- 1/3 cup sage leaves
- Mix together grated Haloumi, Ricotta, and sliced asparagus until combined. Add salt & pepper.
- Add beaten egg and mix thoroughly.
- Lay out a square of wonton wrapper. Place about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the square.
- Using the tip of your finger or a thin pastry brush, brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water.
- Place a second wrapper on top of the first, carefully pressing down the filling and removing as much air as possible, sealing the edges. Using a ravioli cutter, roll around the sides of the ravioli to seal.
- Place the completed ravioli on a well-floured board or baking paper. Repeat until all the wrappers are used up, or you have a desired number of ravioli. These can also be frozen and placed in boiling water straight from freezer.
- To cook, gently slide 3-4 ravioli into boiling water for a few minutes until they float to the surface. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain. Repeat until all done.
- Toast pinenuts until golden. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until butter just starts to turn brown. Add sage and cook for 1 minute or until crisp. Add asparagus tips and toasted pinenuts. Continue to cook butter until golden brown.
- To serve, divide ravioli between serving plates and then pour over the butter sauce, dividing asparagus, sage and pinenuts evenly.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Mar 27 2013
The Wilde family collaborate to bake this fun Easter bread
Justus used to eat Osterbrot in Germany each Easter (much the way we would eat hot crossed buns) and Zoe loves to bake and has always wanted to make traditional Italian Easter bread. So they decided to blend the two to start their own tradition with their daughter Heike. Justus and Zoe really want to create strong traditions as they live so far from Heike’s German family.
The original recipe calls for 200g mixed candied fruit. Justus and Zoe have made some adjustment here but you could add it in step 7 before kneading the dough for a more traditional German version. The German version also uses coarse sugar on the glaze – while Justus’ and Zoe’s recipe uses sprinkles for a little more fun and as you can see it here, Heike enjoys every bit of it!
Start by placing the flour in a large mixing bowl and place the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. The aim is to get it warm but most definitely not hot.
While the milk is heating, combine the orange zest and sugar and rub together with fingers until combined
Once the milk is warm to the touch, pour in the sugar and orange zest mixture, stir until dissolved, add the yeast and set aside for 10 mins until it thickens and bubbles
Dying the eggs – Involve your kids (if they are old enough) in this fun tradition while you prepare the dough
May the best dough plaiter win!
Once dough is plaited, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, form into a wreath by joining the end bits and allow to rise for another 45 mins
Lightly brush the dough’s surface with beaten egg yolk, gently place 3 dyed eggs in the centre of the dough and place in the oven on 180˚c for about 30-40 mins
- Who: Justus and Zoe
- Home Is: Balmain
- Family Origin: Justus – German/Dutch, Zoe – Anglo Australian
- I can’t live without my: Daughter
- Occupation: Justus – Online Strategy Director/Business Owner, Zoe – Mother/Marketing Assistant – both work at Amblique
- Dream Job: Justus – Living the dream (!), Zoe – Fashion or Interior stylist & writer
- Childhood taste: Justus – Mum’s Spatzle (German pasta), Zoe – Mum’s Banana Cake/Dad’s freshly caught flathead
- I always have in my pantry: Eggs, Flour, Chilli
- Go to meal: Chilli con Carne
- Currently I’m obsessed with: Rosso Pomodoro Balmain!! There is no such thing as “too much” of their pizza
- I learnt to cook from: Zoe’s Dad (both of us!) and the internet
- One day I must visit: Africa – our dream is to Safari with a brood of kids in tow
- The unforgettable meal: A spontaneous 3-course, wine paired lunch of the chef’s selection at Sean’s Panaroma in Bondi Beach. This set us off on the foodie journey about four years ago
- Currently I am listening to: Justus – Flume, Zoe – Macklemore/Robyn
- My piece of Sydney: How do we pick just one? The beautiful harbour beaches of Vaucluse, the chirpy cafes and parks of Balmain, and Westfield Bondi Junction!!!
- Guilty pleasure: Justus – Expensive scotch, Zoe – Just chocolate
- Who does the dishes: Whoever doesn’t cook
When the dough turns light brown, remove and allow to cool then use a pastry brush to glaze the Osterbrot with milk and sugar mixture
Stunning painted cast iron wall! Wall envy anyone?
Little critters from Herbert and Friends are joining Heike for the Osterbrot afternoon tea
Ingredients - Serves 10
- 8 cups flour
- 1.5 cups milk
- 2 oranges, zested and juiced
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 sachets of yeast
- 1 cup melted margarine
- 8 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp aniseed oil (we used 2 tsp aniseed essence, ratio is 1:4 with oil and essence)
- Icing/Confectioners sugar
- 100s and 1000s (sprinkles)
- Dyed Eggs
- 6 raw eggs
- Food colouring
- Place flour in a large mixing bowl.
- Place the milk in a small saucepan over low heat – the aim is to get it warm but most definitely not hot. While the milk is heating, combine the orange zest and sugar and rub together with fingers until combined.
- Once the milk is warm to the touch, pour in the sugar mixture and stir until dissolved.
- Add the yeast to the milk mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes (it will thicken and bubble).
- Begin mixing the milk mixture with the flour (you can do this by hand or with a mixer and dough attachment). Gradually add the melted butter, then add the orange juice.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, aniseed oil and salt. Add this mixture to the dough and beat to combine.
- At this point you may need to add more flour to get the dough to come together. We used about 1-2 cups more flour! It is really dependent on how much juice you get from the oranges. Use feel/touch here.
- Knead the mixture for five minutes on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to an oiled bowl and let rise for up to 1hr, or until the mixture has double in size.
- Split the dough mixture in half, and then in half again, so you have four balls of dough. Shape each ball into a rope of around 50cm long. Plait two ropes and shape into a hollow circle. Do the same with the remaining two ropes. Place on two baking sheets lined with baking paper, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.
- Now’s the time for egg dying! Place the food colouring of your choice and vinegar in a bowl and turn for around 5 minutes for a nice even coverage, or until desired colour is achieved. Don’t overdo it as it can start to peel away. Place the dyed eggs in the centre of your breads – they will cook through as the bread bakes.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚c then place the breads in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Once they are lightly browned, remove and allow to cool before glazing.
- Once cooled, mix together around 1 cup of icing sugar with ¼ cup of milk – you want a light, runny consistency. Use a pastry brush to paint the glaze onto the tops of your breads, then apply 100s and 1000s to your heart’s desire!
- Serve with tea and butter – Lecker!