The Humble Potato

Prepared a really yummy dinner for a group of friends last night, and while they requested the usual Beer Battered Tacos (see recipe in previous post), I decided to test out something I’ve been wanting to try for ages — and oh my goodness they were delicious.

The Smashed Potato 

Super easy to make, and super super yummy!

Small potatoes (e.g. Baby Yellow Dutch, Small Gold Yukon)

Olive oil

Rosemary

Sea Salt

2 Cloves Garlic

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Place potatoes in bowl and coat with oil

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Place poatoes and garlic cloves on lined baking tray and sprinkle generously with sea salt

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Poke each potato with a fork and sprinkle very generously with rosemary. Place in oven (200C) for 30 minutes

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Remove potatoes from the oven, press down with the back of a fork. Be careful not to press too hard too quickly or they may crumple

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Place in oven for a further 30 minutes (or until skin is golden brown and crispy)

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The result is a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside potato dish

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Beer Batter – Enough Said

Theres not too much I can say about these tacos that will really do them justice, its really just an explosion of flavours in your mouth. It’s just a general consensus that as soon as something is ‘beer battered’ it becomes that much more delicious — and this couldn’t be more true for these tacos (which i think I’ve had every second day over this week).

I first made them for my parents who after a prolonged silence informed me that this was a dish they’d return to a restaurant for (and who doesn’t love hearing that!), I then made them for my very carnivorous friends who literally demolished them (was the perfect way to introduce them to the world of tofu).

The best part about this post is that you can use the beer batter recipe for just about anything (I’m absolutely going to be making some beer battered chips next)

Beer Batter

1 Cup Beer 

1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour 

1 Block Firm Tofu

Rice Bran Oil

1 Teaspoon Paprika 

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Pour beer in to a large bowl and add the flour. Mix well until smooth. The consistency should be that of thick paint

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Stir in paprika and salt and let the mix sit for 10 minutes

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While the beer batter is sitting, Cut your tofu in to .5 cm thick and 2-3 cm wide strips.

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Lie the tofu strips between two pieces of paper towel and apply pressure to absorb the excess liquid (this will stop the batter from going soggy)

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Heat a very very very generous amount of oil in to a frying pan ( super healthy, i know)

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Dip each strip of tofu in to the batter and coat generously

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Place the battered tofu in the hot oil (be really careful with the oil!) and make sure to leave space between each strip, otherwise they’ll stick together. Flip over the tofu when it is golden brown — will take a few minutes.

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When both sides are golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a sheet of paper towel to absorb the oil

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Tacos

Tacos (Obviously) 

Beans 

Avocado

Rocket 

Sundried Tomatos 

Red Onion 

Coriander 

Cashew Cream (I added extra water so it was easy to drizzle)

Sriracha

I decided to make mini tacos, so if you’re wanting to make full size tacos then skip this step. Find a bowl which is approximately the size you want your taco to be (mine was about 15cm diameter), place the bowl upside down on your taco and cut around. Repeat until you have desired number of tacos.

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Cover eat taco with your been mix and avocado. Squeeze with a little lime juice and some salt.

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Place sundried tomatos down, followed by the battered tofu. Sprinkle with diced red onion, coriander, and some more lemon juice.
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Drizzle the cashew cream and Sriracha over the tacos generously

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Winter Wonton Soup

Yay!! So ridiculously relieved that my blog is working again, and that I can get back to posting….I have so many goodies coming up for you guys!

Tonight I was feeling like dumplings, and then I kinda felt like soup – so I figured why the hell not have both. Ended up creating the most incredibly delicious dumpling filling, so much so that my sister scooped a whole heap in to a bowl and ate it as a salad. This recipe is really easy, packed with flavour, and perfect for a cold winter night (which sadly Melbourne has been experiencing a lot of)

Dumpling Ingredients: 

1/2 cup shredded bokchoy

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms (can use any mushrooms. I used portobello mushrooms as I didn’t have any exotic mushrooms left)

1 1/2 cups diced firm tofu

1/4 cup coriander

1/4 cup spring chopped spring onion

Large thumb of ginger

1/8 cup stock

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

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Place the bokchoy, spring onion, ginger, coriander, stock, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a food processor and pulse

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Add in the tofu, and mushrooms. Only pulse for a second or two, so that the mixture is combined, but not long enough that it has become a puree

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Note: You should still be able to see larger pieces of tofu, and mushroom

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Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture in to the centre of your dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and wet the perimeter of the wrapper

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Fold the dumpling wrapper in half, and press down on the edges to ensure it is stuck down. Bring the corners of the dumpling together and press hard to join. If you’re finding that it wont stick, wet the corners and press firmly again

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Soup Ingredients: 

10 cups of boiling water

1 brown onion

2 thumbs of ginger

3 tablespoons ABC sauce

4 teaspoons stock powder

Ramen noodles

Sriracha sauce to taste

Spring onions to taste

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Fry the onion and ginger in a saucepan with a bit of oil

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Add in the rest of the ingredients. Taste the soup as you go, as these are estimates of the quantities I used, I ended up adding a bit more of each. You can also add in bokchoy, and carrot.

While the soup is simmering, steam you dumplings in a bamboo basket, and prepare the Ramen noodles

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To serve place some soup in a bowl, add the bokchoy, carrot, wontons, spring onion, and a squeeze of lime

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The Perfect Way to Start a Week

I got home from work today and naturally went straight to the fridge to assess the situation. After seeing the bowl of cooked quinoa I figured I’d quickly knock up a quinoa salad, however, once I started pulling various vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grain out I quickly realised that my ‘simple’ salad would not be so simple after all.

After taking stock of what was in front of me on the chopping board and some deliberation I decided to go for somewhat of a ‘superfood’ salad….which essentially meant throwing a whole heap of healthy and delicious ingredients in to a bowl

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup french lentils

1 cup chopped broccoli

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup roasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons LSA

1/4 cup parsley

1/4 cup corriander

1/4 dill

juice of 1/2 lemon

seeds of half a pomegranate

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

Directions:

Cook brown rice (I used my rice cooker). When it’s ready fluff with a fork

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Prepare French Lentils by placing 1 part lentils and 2 parts boiling water in a saucepan and boiling for about 20 minutes (or until soft)

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Drain excess water when the lentils are ready

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While the lentils and brown rice are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients:

Chop broccoli

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Roast pine nuts by heating 2 teaspoons of rice bran oil. Pour the pine nuts in and remove from heat when they start to turn golden brown

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When the lentils, brown rice, and quinoa are ready place the appropriate amounts in a bowl and mix well

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Stir in sunflower seeds, broccoli, cranberries, and slivered almonds

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Mix in the herbs and pine nuts

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Squeeze half a lemon in. Mix in the rice vinegar, and sesame oil

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Top with pomegranate seeds

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Just as I served the salad, my sister successfully finished her first attempt at spiced almond milk (you could say that she was feeling very inspired by Pressed Juices amazing almond milks!)

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The Best Kind of Sushi

Sushi has always been one of my favourite things to eat, however because I try  to avoid white rice it’s never easy being able to find good brown rice sushi. So, I figured why not just make it. Most people seem pretty intimidated by the actual process of rolling sushi, and to be honest I definitely was as well. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s such a great skill to have because it means you can prepare this super healthy snack really quickly.

Sushi: 

Ingredients: 

1 cup cooked rice (Note: works best with warm rice, so if you are using left over rice make sure you heat it up as warm brown rice sticks together much better than if it was cool)

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon mirin

1 cucumber thinly slice

1 carrot thinly sliced

Glazed tofu (see instructions below)

Note: I’d usually add avocado as well but sadly we had run out

Directions: 

Combine the rice, vinegar and mirin in a small bowl and let sit while you prepare the glazed tofu (instructions below)

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Glazed Tofu: 

1/4 cup rice bran oil

1/4 cup ABC sauce

Firm Tofu

Directions: 

Thinly slice the tofu and lay flat on paper towel

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Place another sheet of paper towel over the tofu and press down firmly, allowing the moisture in the tofu to be absorbed

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Heath the oil and sauce in a pan over medium heat.

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Add the tofu slices and toss in the sauce, letting each side sit in the bubbling sauce for a couple of minutes

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Remove from the pan and place on baking paper to cool while you prepare the rest of the sushi.

Place a sheet of seaweed on a bamboo mat (the shiny side down) and place the rice on the seaweed. Spread the rice out on the seaweed ensuring to leave a couple of cm’s at the end.

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Place a few pieces of the carrot, cucumber and tofu across the first 1/4 of the sushi. Some people choose to place the ingredients in the centre, however I find it easier to roll this way. Note: If you’re not vegan I would suggest squeezing some japanese mayonnaise over the fillings, I added it to the sushi for the rest of my family and they loved it

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Fill a very small bowl with water.

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Use your thumbs and forefingers to pick up the edge of the mat closest to you. Use your other fingers to hold the filling while rolling the mat over to enclose.

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Gently pull the mat as you go to create a firm roll

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To stick down the end of the seaweed (the part you didn’t cover in rice) dip your index and middle finger in the small bowl of water and run along seaweed, ensure to wet the whole ways cross. Roll the sushi in the bamboo mat once more to stick down the seaweed.

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Let the sushi roll sit for a few minutes to allow the seaweed to dry and therefore be completely stuck down. The trick to cutting sushi without it difficulty is to wet the knife before.

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Serve with wasabi, soy and pickled ginger

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The Perfect Lunch

Don’t need to write anything other than: this was absolutely DELICIOUS!!

Asian Quinoa Salad: 

Salad: 

2 cups quinoa

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 1/2 cups carrots julienne

1 cup bean sprouts

3/4 cup spring onion

3/4 cup coriander

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing: 

1/4 cup soy

1/4 peanut butter

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1/8 cup lime juice

2 minced garlic cloves

2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoon ground ginger

Prepare the ingredients for the salad

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Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and mix really well, until fully combined

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To prepare the salad spoon some quinoa in to the bottom of the bowl, then pile on the ingredients!

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Served with strawberry infused water

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The Art of The Rice Paper Roll

 

In my opinion rice paper rolls look a little bit intimidating when you think about actually making them yourself – and when I first attempted them they came out….well…less than perfect.

However, they are one of those things that are easy to get the hang of and eventually just become second nature. The trick isn’t just rolling them properly but also picking the right ingredients to go in them. After playing around a little I’ve found that this combination is pretty damn good. I probably make about 70 or so rice paper rolls a month (could easily be more), because the whole family absolutely loves them. They are just one of those things you can have for lunch, as a starter, or just as a snack.

 

Shredded lettuce

Sliced avocado

Thinly slice carrot

Firm tofu (cut in to narrow strips)

Vietnamese mint

Sweet chilli

Vermicelli noodles

Directions:

Prepare your ingredients
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In a bowl pour boiling water over the noodles and allow them to sit for 5 or so minutes

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Wet a tea towel (this is what you will be preparing your rice paper rolls on – the dampness of the towel ensures the rice paper itself doesn’t stick or tear)

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Pour warm – boiling water in a large bowl. Place your first rice paper sheet in the water until it starts to soften. When this happens remove it from the water and place on the wet tea towel (if there are air pockets, spread out with your hands)

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Start placing your ingredients on the rice paper (just above the centre) ensuring to leave about 4cm on either side. Begin with the noodles, lettuce and carrot.

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Follow with a few pieces of avocado, two pieces of tofu, 2-3 vietnamese mint leaves, and sweet chilli

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To roll the rice paper roll:

Fold both of the sides in to the middle of the rice paper roll

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Fold the top pieces in to the middle (ensuring that it is pulled tightly). Then roll the same as you would a sushi: hold the folded piece with your thumbs and roll the fillings over with your index fingers ensuring to pull tightly.

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Flavour Overload

Today was one of those great mornings. I woke  up to see some sun outside (unfortunately this didn’t mean it was hot, but at least it was the next best thing). After a quick bowl of oats I went with Ish (my older sister) to Pino’s in Prahran Market for a very big fruit and veg restock.

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Probably one of the best feeling having literally every piece of fruit and vegetable that I could want. However, with so much produce came a whole heap of ideas for lunch, and so I spent the next 15 minutes trying to decide exactly what I felt like. In the end I decided to opt for three equally tasty dishes that worked perfectly together: corn fritter, potato wedges, grilled tomatoes and a dill + cashew cream dipping sauce.

Potato Wedges: 

2 russet potatoes

4tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Instead of peeling the potatoes, rinse them under water and brush them well with a vegetable scrub.

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Pat dry with a tea towel or paper towel

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Slice in half

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Continue to slice at about a 30 degree angle, this will create the ‘wedge’ shape.

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In a small bowl combine the oil, thyme and salt. Mix well

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Pour the mix over the potatoes and rub in to ensure they are fully coated.

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Lay out on a lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes on 200C (or until crispy)

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While the wedges are in the oven start on the fritters

Corn Fritters: 

1 cup flour (can use white, wholemeal or oat)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)

1/2 teaspoon ground cummin

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup water

2 cups corn kernels (2 cobs)

1 red onion

1/4 chopped coriander

Directions:

Combine the flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for 5 minutes

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In a large bowl combine the baking powder, flour and cummin

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Stir in the flex egg and water. Stir well. The mix will be thick almost like dough

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Cut the corn kernels from the cob

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Mix the corn into the flour mix

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Cop the red onion, and coriander and add to the corn mix. Mix well until full combined

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Heat some oil on a fry pan (I used canola cooking spray). Take soup spoon amounts of mix, roll in to balls and flatten on the pan. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until golden

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Dill + Cashew Cream dipping sauce:

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons dill

Directions: 

Pulse ingredients in a food processor until combined (i used the magic bullet for this)

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10 minutes before the wedges were ready I sprayed some cherry tomatoes with oil and placed them on the baking tray in the oven with the wedges.

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To construct the corn fritters on the board i place some rocket and avocado between each layer. Topped with cashew cream, dill and chilli

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Served with fig and lemon infused water

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Final Product

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A Whole Lot of Goodness

I should probably start by saying that I’m not one of the people who eat 3 large meals or 5 small meals throughout the day. I probably have 2 big meals and then a whole heaps of small meals…yes, I am one of the people who fall in to the serious snacker category. The impact of this is basically that I don’t usually sit down with a lunch like this – however it was so yum that I may have to start adding it in to my routine!

The meal is essentially a whole lot of delicious side dishes all together on one plate. I’ve broken it down in to each dish so that it’s easier to follow!

Brown Rice: 

Cook brown rice with some chicken stock in the water. When it’s ready top with black sesame seeds

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Beetroot Dip:

1 Beetroot

1/2 clove of garlic

Squeeze of lemon juice

Dash of olive oil

Directions: 

Peel the beetroot and dice in to cubes. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes.

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Drain the water and place the beetroot in the fridge for a couple of minutes to cool slightly. Note: Whenever I boil beetroot I keep the beetroot juice to make a juice with once I’ve finished cooking. 

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Take the beetroot out of the fridge .Place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Be careful not to do this for too long  because it will become a bit too mushy. Note: Most of the time (for small quantities) instead of using a food processor I use the Magic Bullet which is quite possibly my favourite little companion in the kitchen!

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Corn with Sage:

1 Corn

Sage

Directions:

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Remove the corn from the cob

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Heat some oil in a saucepan and add corn. When the corn sounds like its popping remove from heat and sprinkle generously with sage

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Asparagus with Soy and Wasabi Dressing:
1 bunch of asparagus
1 small onion
2 teaspoon soy Sauce
2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Dollop wasabi
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Directions: 
Cut the asparagus on an angle
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Steam the asparagus for 4 minutes
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While the asparagus is steaming, make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl
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When the asparagus is steamed, add to the sauce and coat generously. Let it sit for 10 minutes
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Top with sesame seeds and a little coriander
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Place all ingredients on a large plate. Served with hummus and strawberry infused water
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Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant)

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Directions

1: Cut eggplant in half and cut th cross cross pattern in each side (careful not cut in to the skin underneath)

2: Brush with sesame oil

3: Place face down in oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes on 245C (keep an eye on them you basically just want them to feel soft to touch)

4: Flip them over so criss cross is facing up and cook for 5-10 minutes again (should be very soft to touch when ready. Can burn easily so be careful)

5: while your eggplant is in the oven mix the following ingredients in sauce pan: 1 tablespoon mirin 2 tablespoons miso paste 2 tablespoons sugar

6: Take off stove when boiling and brush generously on eggplant

7: Top with sesame seeds and spring onion