Monday, 23 November 2015

not-quite-traditional lazy easy tuna onigiri for non-crafty people

These easy Japanese rice balls make a nice simple meal or snack.

 "What's with the cow-patch design?" Simon asked, amused, upon laying his eyes on my onigiri creations.

Since we live out in Perth Hills these days, there isn't really an abundance of dining options, particularly international cuisine. It seems that the lack of a vibrant food scene may be starting to show its effects, as Simon has recently expressed a strong interest in making sushi, which I take to mean that I'll be doing most of the work.

As a compromise, I decided to make tuna onigiri. To keep things easy, instead of trying to wrap the rice around the tuna, and then wrap the nori around the rice, I just tossed everything together. And as it turns out, yes, my onigiris have a cow-patch design. Whatever, it's really kind of cute, don't you think? Also, they tasted pretty good - Simon was quick to devour most of it!

not-quite-traditional lazy easy tuna onigiri for non-crafty people
(serves: 2 as a light meal, or more as a snack)

1 1/3 cups sushi rice (uncooked)
2 cups water
1 can tuna packed in oil, about 150g or 5oz
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used wasabi mayo)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large sheets roasted nori (seaweed), torn into small pieces (I used a spicy seasoned nori)

Rinse the sushi rice, drain well, place it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, and bring to boil.
Lower the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from heat. Wait for 5 minutes before transferring the rice to a large bowl.
Drain the tuna, thoroughly combine it with all the condiments, and mix it into the rice. Fold in the torn nori.
Put a piece of cling wrap on the table, and place a dollop of the rice mixture into the center. The size is up to you. Small ones can be cute and good for snacking and sharing, but take a bit more time.
Gather the ends of the cling wrap to enclose the mixture, and gently shape it into a rice ball. Set the rice ball aside on a plate. Repeat this step until all the rice mixture is used up.
Ta-da! You, too, can have your very own cow-patch-style onigiri.

Onigiri with a cow-patch nori pattern. Don't knock it till you try it.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

blueberry-chocolate smoothie with mint and celery

Blueberry-chocolate smoothie with mint and celery.

With all the travel posts in the last couple of months, I thought it might be time to get back into recipes for a while. But if you like reading about fun destinations, fret not - I'll come back to them next year. I've still got to tell you all about our trip to Thailand and Taiwan! If you really want your wanderlust fix, then go on and follow the Purring Around the World travel Instagram account or Facebook page that I started up recently - it has photos from Simon and me (mostly Simon, because he's the better photographer) - we're working our way through our photo archives so there is plenty to see!

But for now, hello smoothies! Before we went travelling last year, I had gotten into a happy and diligent habit of having smoothies almost everyday for breakfast. Sometimes I even whiz up smoothies at night! Since I moved interstate, however, I seem to have lost my smoothie mojo. Today's delightful blueberry smoothie is, thus, my attempt to get back on track.

But this is no ordinary blueberry smoothie. I'm not talking about the inclusion of banana, which makes it naturally sweet and creamy - that's par for course. It has the chocolate touch, and it has the slight tingle of mint, but I'm not talking about that, either. What I'm talking about is the gentle, teasing suggestion of celery that I've stealthily nudged into the list of ingredients. However, be assured that, rather than creating dissonance, the celery provides a soothing background note to the proceedings. Try it and you'll see.

Blueberry, chocolate and mint go well together - and surprisingly, a bit of celery doesn't go astray, either!

blueberry-chocolate smoothie with mint and celery
(serves 1)

2/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup chopped celery stalk
1 ripe banana (medium-sized)
10 mint leaves
1 tablespoon cocoa/cacao powder (unsweetened)
3/4 cup water
4 ice cubes (if you're not using any frozen fruit, but would like a cold smoothie)

TIP: I'd suggest using either frozen blueberries, or chopped-up and frozen banana in this smoothie. I love using frozen fruits in smoothies, as I find that they create a pleasantly thick texture, and I love my smoothies refreshingly cold.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
Serve, and enjoy immediately!

A luscious blueberry smoothie with banana, cacao, mint and celery.

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