What's For Dinner Jon?

Wednesday 27/7/2005

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Diary and Notes

We sit, zazen, still
Scent on the breeze awakens.
Nabemono for tea.

The best thing about cooking Japanese food (apart from it is usually delicious) is that nobody else I talk to has any idea what is going on. It's fantastic, like learning some ancient mystical art with secret nods and handshakes, or a form of alchemy, turning bizarely named and packaged foodstuffs into something everybody can recognise as purest gold.

Today's stew was pretty damn fine. I think partly because of the massive tiger prawns which my friend Fran seems to have a secret supplier of (see 1/7). I don't know where she gets them from but they are quite the best prawns I've ever had.

I've also discovered a new ingredient - sansho (Japanese pepper). It's a bit like szechuan pepper in that it has an odd anaesthetic effect on the mouth but has a slightly different taste - excellent, I love discovering new things.

And when people say "So what did you have for dinner yesterday." I can say:

"Oh, just a nabemono, made with prawns and clams - nothing unusual."

Cake Blog

Almond Torte from Café Nero: I'm sure they used to call these Bakewell tarts at café Nero. Perhaps they read my blog of 5/4/2005


  • Japanese Style Seafood Stew
  • Fresh Ramen
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Wasabi


    Japanese Style Seafood Stew
    1 Tbsp Miso Paste
    1 Tbsp Shoyu Sauce
    1 cm Ginger (Chopped)
    1 Tbsp Mirin
    3 Sheets Nori
    Handful Dried Bonito Flakes
    1 Carrot
    1/2 Courgette
    1 Stick Celery
    1 tsp Ginger Juice (from the Pickled Ginger)
    1/2 tsp Sansho (Japanese Pepper)
    250g Small Shell on Prawns
    9 Large Tiger Prawns
    2 Cans Baby Clams
    Few Celery Leaves (for garnish)


  • Make the miso stock by boiling the miso in 3/4 litre of water. Add the ginger, mirin, celery, carrot and courgette (all finely diced) and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Tear the nori into small pieces and add to the pot, then the bonito flakes and the clams. Simmer for another five minutes, add the prawns. When the prawns are cooked, season with shoyu, ginger juice and sansho. Serve on hot fresh ramen noodles.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people