Japanese hot dogs

5 Oct

Japanese hotdog
On our trip to Vancouver last summer, Japadog was on my list of things to do/try while we were in town.

For various reasons, I didn’t manage to eat one until we were at the airport, about to fly home. Probably just as well…

Japanese hot dogs are delicious, extremely moreish, and could definitely see myself working my way through their kurogoma kimuchi dog (turkey sausage with kimchi and black sesame seeds), ebi tempura dog (prawn tempura on rice) and yakisoba dog (“popular Japanese noodles and aribiki sausage”).

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Pita bread

1 Oct

pita bread

Despite doing a science degree at university (or maybe because of it), I find regular moments of magic in cooking.

Egg whites stiffening into peaks, eggs and oil transforming themselves into mayonnaise, sugar melting into caramel – these things bring me genuine, uncomplicated pleasure.

Watching pita breads blowing themselves up like little balloons through the glass door of the oven is another one.

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Spinach and water chestnut dip

27 Sep

spinach and water chestnut dip

Spinach and water chestnut dip was all the rage in the 1970s, and I adored it.

An unlikely cast of ingredients – spinach, water chestnuts, powdered soup mix and mayonnaise – come together in the most silky, savoury, crunchy way imaginable.

As I remember, it was usually served in a hollowed out bread loaf, surrounded by chunks of bread for dipping. Continue reading

Lasagne

23 Sep

lasagne

A well-made lasagne is a delightful thing. Unfortunately, the dish that passed for lasagne in my childhood did not fit this description.

According to the index card, mum got the recipe from a neighbour on our block. It calls for an entire tin of tomato paste, Kraft cheese slices, and a large tub of sour cream.

It was years before I ate lasagne again, and was happily surprised to discover how good it can be. Continue reading

Lotus salad

17 Sep

Lotus salad

Years ago, my cousin part-owned a funky café-gallery called The Whip, in what was then a pretty scruffy part of east Vancouver.

The first time I ate there, I ordered the intriguingly named lotus salad – baby spinach tossed with blue cheese, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, drizzled in a blackberry vinaigrette.

It was love at first bite, and I’ve been making my own version ever since. Continue reading

Plum butter (pflaumenmus)

13 Sep

pflaumenmus

Plum butter – or pflaumenmus  – is a German plum spread. Unlike the other jams I make, pflaumenmus is baked slowly in a low oven, which seems to intensify the flavour.

I made pflaumenmus for the first time last autumn. We hoovered up the first batch so fast, I had time to make a second one before the plum season ended.

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Spinach mushroom kitchri

9 Sep

spinach mushroom kitchri

This thick porridge of mung beans and rice might look like something Oliver Twist would have declined, but for me, a warm bowl of khitchri is pure comfort food. Continue reading