Tag Archives: dinner

Japanese share platter for family movie night


We love Japanese food. It’s delicious!  I made this for our family movie night at home. There are a few components, but they are all easy to prepare. Stacked together on a big board looks very nice too.

So basically, you make the sushi rice first, then the accompaniments, then pile it on a board for serving. Note: this recipe will feed a family of four with leftovers to go into lunchboxes.

Sushi rice
To make sushi rice add 2 cups of sushi rice and 3 cups of boiled water to medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Turn off heat, keeping the lid on. Let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in about 4 tbsp of mirin. Fluff with a fork to combine.

Edamame (on inari)
I buy these beans frozen. Boil one cup of frozen, shelled edamame  (soy beans) in salted water for up to 4 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold tap water and set aside.


Tofu strips
For the next three components, just use the same large non-stick frypan. Cut about 250 gm tofu into long strips. Add to large frypan on medium high heat in 1 or 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Drizzle generous amount of premade Japanese sauce over tofu. This time I used tonkatsu sauce (available in Asian section of supermarket). Rotate until most sides are browned. Set aside.

Slice/dice 3 cups of mushrooms and fry in large saucepan with vegan margarine and soy sauce. Fry until lightly browned. Set aside in a bowl.

Saute 3 cups of sliced cabbage in 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil, drizzle of sesame oil and sprinklle of salt. Pile onto serving board.


Fill inari pockets
Fill desired number of pockets 2/3 to 3/4 full with rice. Top with edamame, then mushrooms. Place on board. Press down so these stay upright.

Make sushi
Sushi is very easy to prepare once you get the hang of it. You need a bamboo rolling mat (from supermarket).


Strips of cucumber, red capsicum, prepared tofu, pre-purchased seaweed salad, 2 inari pockets, vegan Japanese mayonnaise. You can use whatever salad vegetables you have. I have made 2 versions in this meal, but many variations come out of our kitchen!

Lay a seaweed wrap on the roling mat. Press a thin layer (less than a cm) of rice on the seaweed wrap. Note. The thicker the rice layer, the more filling needed and larger diameter the sushi roll will be. Go easy on the rice (ideally 5mm) but ensure it is even to the edges. Leave a 2 cm strip of seaweed at the far side of wrap. This you will spread with water and will form the seal.

Across the centre line add your fillings fairly evenly. One version has 2 inari pockets oened up and filled with seaweed salad. Roll firmly, cover 2 cm strip with water and roll to close. The second version repeat rice method then lay tofu and vegetables across, squeeze vegan mayo along mixture, then roll as before.

Slice rolls in half, then repeat cutting in half until you have 8 pieces. Place on serving board.


Pile extra vegetables, seaweed salad, tofu strips and any pickled cabbage you might have.

Serve with soy sauce. I hope you like this. We demolished this platter with just enough left over for snacking and lunches 🙂



Creamy basil pasta sauce (vegan deliciousness)

This pasta sauce is so easy. Just process and stir through cooked pasta. This meal takes as long as the pasta takes to cook! This is a new weeknight dinner for us. Our whole family gobbled this and had seconds.

3 loose handfuls of raw cashews (not soaked)
1 bunch of basil
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 lime juiced + zest of whole lime
2 cm slice of vegusto mild aromatic vegan cheese
1/3 tub tofutti dairy free cream cheese
5 tbsp rice bran oil
4 tbsp water

Place 500 gm dry pasta on to cook.
In a food processor, process cashews to fairly fine crumbs.
Add remaining ingredients, excluding water, about 1 tbsp oil and zest. Process until fairly smooth. Add zest and pulse briefly to combine.
With processor running on low, dribble in oil followed by slowly adding oil to emulsify the mixture.
Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
Strain pasta, retaining a cup of hot cooking water. Return pasta to cooking pot.
Stir sauce through pasta gently to combine, adding cooking water to combine if required.
Serve with halved cherry tomato and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

I made a half batch for our family’s dinner and gave a jar of sauce to my brother because he’s a wonderful person. He’s a chef by trade and people rarely cook for him. I like to though. I added these preparation instructions with the jar.

Maybe you could make a batch to share with someone you value too?




Paella with almonds

This is a delicious recipe. It’s very easy, satisfying and it looks beautiful when served. Every time this is served, the dinner plates are left empty. I am working my way through and adapting recipes from this recipe book.

I never use exact measurements for this dish. In fact, today I made this based on jasmine rice! I didn’t have any saffron so just used turmeric. My only variations to the recipe are that:
– I add mushrooms and snow peas to the rice
– I usually add a layer of fresh spinach in between the rice and vegetables
– I use whatever nuts I have on hand.

I hope you love it 🙂

Large pinch saffron threads
80 ml rice bran oil
Pun net cherry tomatoes
2 large handfuls fresh beans sliced
1 large zucchini
3/4 cup peas
1 tsp minced garlic
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 1/2 cups rice
3 1/2 cups vegetarian stock
1/2 cup almonds

Put saffron in a bowl with 1/3 cup hot water and steep.
Heat half the oil to high temp and add tomatoes for a couple of minutes until skins start to split
Remove to a bowl and set aside
Add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes
Set aside with tomatoes


Add rest of oil to pan and stir fry garlic and rosemary. Cook gently for a minute until rice is shiny and opaque.
Add stock and saffron (or turmeric) water to the pan. Add diced mushrooms and sliced snow peas.
Stir once or twice and bring to boil.


When stock has rapidly boiled for a couple of minutes, reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until almost all stock is absorbed.

Top rice with a layer of fresh spinach. Scatter over vegetables, top with cooked tomatoes and sprinkle on almonds/nuts. Note: I add nuts at this stage because I am serving small children so I like them a little softened.
Cover lightly with foil and heat on low for 5 minutes for vegetables to warm through.
Sprinkle with almonds/nuts (if you want crunchy texture contrast) and serve.



Fragrant rice salad with soy dressing

It has been very hot where I live of late. I really like having a few salads pre made in the fridge for when it’s too hot to cook. Just assemble and serve!

I found this recipe on the web and I have modified the base ingredients each time I’ve prepared it. Everyone loves this salad. The dressing is so very good. Enjoy!

2 cups cooked brown/white/jasmine rice
2 spring onions finely sliced
1 red capsicum diced
1 cup sliced snow peas
1 kale leaf finely chopped
Handful flat leaf parsley chopped
3/4 cup sultanas/currants/raisins
3/4 cup chopped cashews
Dressing to suit your preference.

Dressing (this makes more than you need for this salad)
In a sealed jar, shake until well combined and sugar dissolved:
1/2 cup rice bran oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
2 level tsp sugar
1 scant tsp minced garlic
1 cm root ginger chopped
Salt and pepper

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Shake dressing ingredients until well combined.
Add dressing to salad.


Vegetarian larb salad

A country I love is Laos. It a wonderful place in South East Asia, a landlocked haven that until fairly recent years was undeveloped, supporting deep green forests with dappled light, hidden treasures and bamboo gullies, the magnificent Mekong River supporting river dolphins and glorious waterfalls, inland islands dotted with tiny huts, jewelled insects clinging to incredible flowers. The peoples’ culture is sweet, communal and incredibly generous. Spend time in Luang Prabang and you will know what I mean.

Anyhow, larb is served in most restaurants and is regarded as a national dish. It is fresh, spicy, aromatic and delicious served in crisp lettuce leaves. Its usually made with minced meat, generally pork. I don’t eat pork so I made a vegetarian version. We call it “cooked salad” and my children usually have at least two servings at dinner.

Admission: I’m a working mother, so there are two versions to this salad:
1. The “quick my children are walking up the stairs and need to be fed in 10 minutes” version; or
2. The fancy “I can serve this to anyone as a sharing plate on the table” version.

Cook’s note: I make this toddler friendly and then add fresh coriander and chilli seperately afterwards for the adults.


1 packet of Linda McCartney vegetarian mince (frozen)
2 cups of cooked brown rice (more if you like)
4 tbsp rice bran oil
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen sliced green beans
1/2 cup sliced fresh snow peas
1 tbsp Massells chicken stock powder (vegan friendly)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
good amount of fresh cracked pepper
3 cm white section fresh lemongrass finely diced or 1 tsp minced lemongrass
1/2 cup water
fresh lime wedges, coriander and hot chilli to serve.


1. In a non-stick wok, heat 3 tbsp oil. Add cooked rice on high heat for 2 minutes. Add bag of vegetarian mince. Cook on high for another 2 minutes.
2. Turn down heat to medium and add remaining ingredients.
3. Cook for 5  or so minutes until everything is defrosted and hot throughout.
4. Serve immediately to toddlers with a lime wedge. I put a horizontal slice in the flesh to reduce spatter when squeezing.

For the adults, add lime wedge, coriander and chilli.

To make fancy, use fresh ingredients, not frozen. Cook the rice and vegetarian mince combination on high heat for an additional 2 minutes so it becomes a bit crispy before adding remaining ingredients. Adjust to taste and season if required. Serve in baby cos lettuce cups with tiny lime wedges and a sprig of coriander.


Note: Leftovers can be used as a filling for wraps for lunches the next day.

Hope you have a lovely week.

vegan larb salad Vegan larb salad pan