Friday 25 November 2022

Japanese-Style Seasoning AKA Shichimi Togarashi The Sherry Way

This is the Sherry version of this Japanese seasoning.  Am I going quite mad, talking about myself in the third person?  Yep, already down that path, my friends.  What's that The Cheshire Cat says?: 'We're all mad here', and 'You're entirely bonkers.'  Yep, I'm there.

I've been buying packets of this from my fave online herb store (called Herbie's) for yonks, but I decided to give it a go as I had a rather large packet of nori to use up!  Half a sheet down, nine and a half to go :=)  

Did I mention how much I love Alice in Wonderland?  I have a 1946 copy that was my mum's, then mine.  And they spell 'cannot' as 'ca'n't'!  Have you noticed how people spell 'can not' as two words these days?  What's with that, my friends?  Why make it harder to spell?  How it irks me! :=)  "That's because you're a writer!," said a very kind friend.     

a tasty seasoning for all sorts of dishes

This recipe is a mish-mash of one from The Daring Gourmet and another from Wandercooks, (but mostly from TDG).  It makes one wee jar of seasoning.


1-1.5 Tbs dried orange peel/powder (not sweetened) see Notes

half a sheet of yaki nori (toasted seaweed)

1-2 heaped Tbs chilli flakes (I used gochugaru) see Notes

1/2-2/3 tsp sea salt (optional)

1/2 tsp lemon myrtle powder (optional) see Notes

2 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

2 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted

1 tsp szechuan peppers, toasted

1/2 tsp poppy seeds, toasted

1 tsp ground ginger


Toast your seeds, and break up/snip the nori into tiny, wee pieces!

Chuck the orange peel into a small food processor, and blitz/pulse  away till tiny (no need to blitz if you have dried orange powder)

Then add all the other ingredients and blitz/pulse some more, till you have a texture that you're happy with - mine was fairly fine

Tip/pour the mixture into a small jar, and sprinkle lavishly on anything and everything - omelettes, tuna sandwiches, fried rice etc etc


I could only buy dried orange slices, so I broke off the peel and blitzed it myself till I had tiny pieces

Some recipes suggest using 2 Tbs of chilli flakes; I like mine a bit milder, but go for it if you are a chilli fiend

I toasted the seeds in a small, dry skillet for a few minutes till fragrant, and I bashed the szechuan peppers in my Jamie Oliver thingy/flavour shaker before toasting.  Oh yes, and I put the poppy seeds into the skillet last, after I'd toasted the other seeds for a couple of minutes; they are smaller and will burn more readily

Lemon myrtle is endemic to Queensland so you may not be able to get it where you are! so just leave it out


ingredients gathered

(Dried orange slices and szechuan peppers from our mate Lucy's Providore Store Mumbleberry in our local village)

snip off the orange peel

and snip up the nori into small pieces

zap the orange peel and nori together

toast your seeds

and shake your goodies in your Jamie Oliver shaker (not necessary but fun!)

blitz everything up, and tip into a small jar

and here she be!

sprinkled on my Corn Thins with tuna, boiled egg and kewpie

'we're all mad here!'

szechuan peppers and orange slices

Thursday 17 November 2022

Cheesy Baked Broccoli Fritters

Yep, another cookbook and another recipe for our online Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club (on Facebook).  This is from Dinner by Nagi Maehashi, a very popular Japanese-Australian cook, blogger and author.  Her blog Recipe Tin Eats is a big success (her Insta account alone has 990k followers, and her Facebook page has 3.5M!).  

So here we have one of her recipes that I made recently, as I had broccoli to use up.  This is my adaptation of her recipe, using my pantry and fridge, so not exactly like hers.  I love broccoli, unlike a certain former world leader.  And it's so good for you.  

But I don't like dried garlic powder, or onion powder, or dried Italian mixed herbs (eek!) - all things which Nagi says to add to this recipe.  Nuh uh, no thanks!  So I strongly suggest using fresh as I did, and regular onion rather than spring onions/scallions.  She also says to spray the fritters with olive oil before baking, but I didn't!  I am terrified of frying, so this baked version is perfect for me!     

golden, herby and spicy ...

Makes 18-20:


1 head of broccoli, cut into florets - see Notes

250g./9 oz cauliflower rice, boiled in the broccoli water for 1 minute

1/2 large onion, or one small (red or brown), finely chopped or grated

2-3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried garlic granules (not powder)

30g./0.5 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 packet (250g/9 oz) pre-cooked brown rice and quinoa - see Notes

200g/3.5 oz/2 cups vintage tasty cheese, grated

75g./0.5 cup of wholemeal self-raising flour (use a bit more if your mixture looks too wet)

1-2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

1-2 tsp gochugaru or chilli flakes of your choice (optional)

4 large eggs, lightly whisked

a few happy handfuls of herbs - chives, parsley, oregano, etc.

1 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp cracked black pepper, or more if you like


Pre-heat your oven to 220C/430F

Line two baking trays with baking paper

Boil or steam the florets till very tender, cool for a few minutes then mash or chop them till you have marble-sized pieces

Now grab a huge mixing bowl, and chuck EVERYTHING into it

I get Mr P. to mix it all up for me by hand, but use a big spoon, or your own hands if you don't have a Mr P.

Spoon on 3 Tbs amounts onto the trays, pat them into fritters, and flatten with an egg-lifter (these babies are thin!) so they end up about a fat 1 cm/0.5 inch thick

Bake at 220C/430F for 18 mins, then flip the fritters over, swap trays around, and bake for another seven minutes - though you may need another five minutes to get them all golden and crunchy if you have a sad, skittery old oven like mine

Serve with the sauce of your choosing - a yoghurt one, or just some mayo, or a chilli sauce ...


Nagi's recipe calls for 350 grams/12.5 oz of broccoli florets (about 2 heads/5 heaped cups); I only had one head (tee hee) so I used the 250 grams of frozen cauliflower rice in my freezer (you can buy fresh cauli rice - i.e. not frozen - in our supermarket so try that 

You could do a cheat, and use 350 grams of frozen, thawed broccoli!  And why not, my friends? :=)

Use 260g./9 oz cooked white rice, or brown rice or just quinoa if you prefer

Nagi says to bake these at 240C/470F, but I found the lower temp. just fine

ingredients ready for mixing

half-baked; ready for flipping

and baked!

just as delicious cold the next day

time for a cappuccino and a read at a local café

Broccoli and a cheese grater

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Hunza Pie - The Australian Women's Weekly Way

You may remember that I'm in an online cookbook club, and also as of this month, a new, real-life one too.  Our book last month was any of the Australian Women's Weekly Cookbooks - of which there are many!  This recipe is from the Cooking Class Cookbook (no publishing date but from the '80s I think).  I chose to make this Hunza Pie, which was popular in my student, vego days.

There's a version of this recipe on their website, which fancies it up for the modern cook, adding in chicken and other goodies.  So I decided to fancy it up a wee bit, too.  The recipe in the book is very spartan though, just the way I remember it :=)  This pie is named after the Hunza Valley in the Himalayas (supposedly), where people are said to live till well over one hundred!  So give this a try, my friends, and longevity will be yours.

slather with relish if you fancy

Serves 6:


For the pastry:

280g/2 cups wholemeal plain flour

1 tsp sea salt

100g./1 cup wheatgerm

1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

1/2 tsp vegetable or chicken stock powder

250g./8 oz cold butter, chopped into chunks

1/4 cup (62 mL) cold water (+ 2-3 tsp more if needed)

2 Tbs milk for glazing the pastry


300g./10.5 oz chicken tenderloins 

720g./25 oz washed potatoes

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (optional)

150g./5.5 oz baby spinach leaves, snipped into pieces

180g./6.5 oz fetta, chopped into chunks

1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbs EV olive oil

2 tsp dried chives

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1-2 Tbs lightly dried (or fresh) parsley, chopped roughly


For the pastry:

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl

Whisk the wheatgerm, yeast flakes and stock powder into the flour mix

Rub the butter in with your fingertips till your bowl looks like it's full of breadcrumbs (or use your food processor)

Add in the 1/4 cup of water, and mix (by hand) or process till you have a firm dough (use the extra water if needed)

Knead lightly on a floured surface, pat into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for twenty minutes - I suggest you get onto the filling while you wait!

After the twenty minutes, grab a 23cm/9 inch pie plate/tin, butter the base lightly, roll out HALF of the dough (I had 2 halves x 350g.), and push it gently over the base and sides of the pie tin

And back it goes into the fridge for another 20 minutes to settle down

For the filling:

Cook up the chicken by baking at 185C/365F for about twelve minutes, then put aside 

Peel the spuds (potatoes), cut them into large chunks, boil till tender, then drain them

Let them cool for a few minutes, tip into a large bowl, mash lightly and add the chicken

And in goes the mustard seeds, spinach, fetta, salt, olive oil, chives, pepper, oregano and parsley

Give it all a firm but kindly mix till well combined

Spoon the filling into the pastry case, give it a bit of a gentle press down, roll out the other pastry half,  place it over the top of the filling, seal the edges with your fingers or a fork, and brush the pie with milk to glaze

Oh, don't forget to cut a few slits in the top of the pie so it can breathe while baking

Bake at 200C/390F for fifteen to twenty minutes, then lower the oven to 180C/355F and bake for another fifteen to twenty minutes till golden brown (mine took 25 mins. at 180C 'cos my gas oven is soooo slow)

Serve with relish - as in, tomato relish etc, and as much gusto as you like, and maybe a salad


I am going with their measurements, even tho' modern day ones are a bit different! as in - 250 grams is really closer to 9 ounces, etc

Use chicken breasts if you prefer, and slice them thinly

I actually baked the chicken the day before!  And I whizzed the pastry in my food processor till it formed a ball, then tipped it onto the bench to press into a ball

Back in the day, we used silverbeet (Swiss chard) as English spinach was not really a thing then.  I suggest you buy pre-washed baby spinach as it is soooo much easier, as you just snip and tip into the filling

bake @185C for around 12 minutes

potato and chicken

snip your spinach

push half the pastry into the tin

and fill the pastry with your healthy mix

glazed and ready for baking

golden brown and gorgeous

thin, crispy pastry and a hearty filling

This pie really brings back the memories!  Of living with many and varied people, in houses that had no locked doors, where we lived on cheap foods like mountains of potatoes and huge tubs of yoghurt.  Where feral possums would climb into the kitchen window in search of fruit, where the lawn was cut with kitchen scissors and knives (no mower!), and nudity, and a lively sex life was the norm.  Not me, not me! :=)  Tee hee...

potatoes and baby spinach

Tuesday 1 November 2022

In My Kitchen - November 2022

Will I say it?  Will I say it?  Yes, I will - just under eight weeks till Christmas!!  OMG!  This year flew by, didn't it?  I won't be sorry when it ends; it has not been a great year for the Pickings' household, or for various friends.  But the least said about that the better.  You know the old saying: "Least said, soonest mended?"  So my lips are sealed :=)

Am I the only one who doesn't like Octobers and Augusts?  I mean, I don't like them in general.  Am I nuts?  Mr P. said 2023 has to be good because it's a prime number!  Well, interesting - here's hoping.  Anyways, onwards, my friends.  Let's take a look back at October, the month that was.  Please join us, my virtual, global friends.  All welcome.

In My Kitchen:

yep a garlic crusher and a cute little cup
I quite like the garlic crusher, but I think it will work better on fresh garlic rather than the frozen cloves I use.  Love the little cup from Pottery For The Planet!

there was another big batch of tomato and capsicum relish

and another Japanese tumbler for my morning coffee

I can't resist Japanese foods or homewares.  I bought this miso cup online from a store in Sydney.  It's by a Japanese ceramicist Mr. Kotsuji.  I love drinking my morning coffee from its smooth, beautiful surface.

a purple-tinged handmade Murasaki glass tumbler

This is handmade in Japan by Toyo-Sasaki Glass; a beautiful lead-free crystal enhanced with a Japanese violet colour.  So lovely.

and organic lemons and a lime from Tassie friends

Our mates from Tasmania were up, bringing organic lemons (Meyer I think) and a lime from their trees.  I have made preserved lemons and a chicken with lemon dish.  So wonderful with their soft, pliant, thin skins.  Yep, gotta say it - the fruit, not the friends :=)

and a surprise gift from my oldest friend

This was a marvellous gift from my oldest (longest-known) friend who lives over one thousand kilometres away.  We usually catch up once a year but due to the global pestilence, we haven't seen each other for quite a while.  Soon I hope ...

lemons preserved with bay leaves and peppercorns

And into the fridge they go, to mature.  I added some native pepperberries too for a bit more flavour.

and finally my curveball - a sculpture by John Shaw

This wonderful piece by John Shaw (a former pilot with Royal Brunei Airlines) is carved from a piece of maranti driftwood that he found on a beach.  I call her Twiggy!

So please join in everyone!  And here's how to:

Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

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