Friday, December 13, 2013

Pan Fried Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce

 This is probably the best pan fried tofu you will have ever have. The secret is soaking the tofu in boiling salted water before frying. It makes for the most delicious and crispy dish which is light and nutritious. I have added a Korean style sauce with garlic for a zip and zing. 
By the way these recipes are teasers from my upcoming book.
Enjoy and happy holidays! Love Chef Mel x
















Pan Fried Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce


½ block firm tofu cut into rectangles – about 10
½ cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt


1 clove of minced garlic
1 scallion finely sliced
1 teaspoon rice syrup
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 heaping teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


Place the tofu into a bowl and add the salt.
Mix gently with hands.
Bring the water to a boil and pour over the tofu. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the tofu from the water and place on a plate. Dry each piece of tofu with an unbleached paper towel.
Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a pan. When hot, add the tofu.
Fry on one side for about 3-4 minutes.
Turn over and repeat on the other side for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove and place on a serving dish.
Place garlic, rice syrup, shoyu and sesame oil into a bowl and mix together.
Add a generous shake of shichimi. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then put through a small strainer to remove the garlic pieces.
Add the scallions.
Pour the sauce over the tofu and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wintery Salad

With all the lovely, rich and nourishing dishes we can prepare in the colder weather, it is wonderful to add a beautiful refreshing salad to the table. This one has such a bright and colorful quality that I wanted to share it before the coming festivities. 

Enjoy and happy holidays to all. Love Chef Mel x







Wintery Salad


4 cups of kale finely sliced
2 cups arugula finely sliced
Few basil leaves finely sliced
½ cucumber cut into matchsticks
4 radishes finely sliced and mixed with a little ume vinegar
1/2 pomegranate
1 apple finely sliced – tangerines work well too
Toasted walnuts chopped


2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt & pepper


Lightly blanch the kale in boiling water. Remove and place into a serving dish. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. (See below for directions)
Place the dressing ingredients, except salt and pepper, into a small bowl and thoroughly mix together.  Season lightly with the salt and pepper.
Place the remaining salad ingredients with the kale and mix.
Add the dressing and mix through. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
Mix again and serve.

To take out the seeds from a pomegranate, cut a small circle in the top and remove. Take out as much of the white pith as possible . Cut three slits through the skin, following the lines of pith from the top to the bottom of the fruit. Place the pomegranate into a bowl of cool water and gently pull apart into three sections. Remove the seeds with your hands. They will naturally fall to the bottom of the bowl and any pith will rise to the top. Remove all the pith with a skimmer and them drain off the water. Add the seeds into the salad.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Medley of Marinated Vegetables

This recipe is a lovely and simple way to enjoy a variety of colorful vegetables. Feel free to use your favorites. Love Chef Mel xx

1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
½ cup snap peas or string beans
2 carrots finely sliced on the angle
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
6 button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish

Dressing Ingredients:
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
pinch dried oregano
pinch dried rosemary
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, lightly blanch the carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas, bell pepper, and mushrooms until the vegetables are slightly tender but still a little crisp. Blanch each vegetable separately.
Remove the vegetables and place into a large bowl.
Place the dressing ingredients into another bowl and whisk until smooth.
Add the olives, fresh basil and artichokes to the salad.
Add the dressing and mix gently.
Let sit for at least 15 minutes mixing from time to time.
Serve garnished with fresh basil.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cumin Seed and Corn Soup

This scrumptuous, light and relaxing miso soup provides an immune boosting kick with the added inclusion of ginger, cilantro, turmeric and cumin seeds. A lovely combination of ethnic ingredients and a delicious treat on a sunny fall day with a nip in the air.

Love Chef Mel xx



4-6 cups spring water
1 onion cut into half moons
1 cup fresh or frozen organic corn kernels
1 clove garlic sliced
1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley finely chopped
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2  tablespoons white miso diluted in a little water
1-2 tablespoons brown rice miso diluted in a little water
1 tablespoon wakame soaked and sliced 
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ block firm tofu diced
Coriander sprigs for garnish
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger


Warm the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. Sauté until the seeds begin to crackle.
Add the garlic and onion, and continue to sauté for a few minutes
Add the water and wakame, and bring to a boil.
Add the parsley, turmeric, tofu and the sweet corn. Simmer for a 5 minutes and turn off the flame.
Add the diluted misos and let sit for a few minutes.
Serve garnished with springs of coriander and grated ginger.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Moroccan Style Couscous

One of the first places I went to on my foray into the then hidden world of macrobiotics was the Petit Prince restaurant in Kentish Town, London, which I think is still open today. The owners were French and the place was teeming with the atmosphere of a little dark cafe/restaurant . To this day I can still remember the skillet style servings of couscous which, in its basic creation - the grain plus a soupy stew of vegetables and chilli-hot peppery sauce - cost a mere £1. Now that was back in 1980 and I am sure the prices have shot up somewhat today. However, I have never forgotten the subtle and fantastic blend of flavors in that simple but marvelous dish. So here is a version I just whipped up for my lunch. I didn't make the soupy veggies and am sure that would have added another dimension. Instead I served it with the wonderful Cabbage Slaw that is in an earlier post on my blog. By the way, the  recipe works a treat with any bean stew but I would leave out the chickpeas in that case. Love Chef Mel x


1 cup couscous - I used a wonderful barley couscous for my dish
2 cups water
Sea Salt
1 heaping tablespoon raisins
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
Pinch cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion diced
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup peas
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds or slivered almonds
1 tablespoon chopped parsley


Saute the onion in the olive oil for a minute or so.
Add the raisins, spices and mix through.
Add the water and bring to a boil.
Add the peas, salt and the cous cous.
Mix gently, cover with a lid, and cook on a low flame for 4 minutes.
Turn off the heat and fluff the couscous.
Mix in the chickpeas, parsley and seeds.
Let sit for a few minutes and serve.

2 cups instant couscous 2 cups water 1/4 cup olive oil 1 large onion, minced 2 med. carrots, peeled and diced 2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 large can chick peas, drained 1/3 cup dark seedless raisins 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsely or mint salt to taste - See more at:
2 cups instant couscous 2 cups water 1/4 cup olive oil 1 large onion, minced 2 med. carrots, peeled and diced 2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 large can chick peas, drained 1/3 cup dark seedless raisins 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsely or mint salt to taste - See more at:
2 cups instant couscous 2 cups water 1/4 cup olive oil 1 large onion, minced 2 med. carrots, peeled and diced 2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 large can chick peas, drained 1/3 cup dark seedless raisins 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsely or mint salt to taste - See more at:
2 cups instant couscous 2 cups water 1/4 cup olive oil 1 large onion, minced 2 med. carrots, peeled and diced 2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 large can chick peas, drained 1/3 cup dark seedless raisins 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsely or mint salt to taste - See more at:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pink Watermelon Lemonade

This wonderful, and refreshing drink is ideal for the scorching days of summer. Often it seems that I buy a whole watermelon and the leftovers end up sitting in the fridge. I wanted to come up with an easy and yummy way to use those extra pieces.  This lovely drink is the result and it makes you feel cool, before you even take a sip. Pink Watermelon Lemonade is a fab addition to any relaxing afternoon. And the added benefits are that watermelon is very relaxing and great for heart and kidney health. Enjoy xx


1 cup strawberries
Pinch sea salt
8 cups watermelon cut into pieces
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Dash maple syrup or to taste
1/2 cup water
Stick celery


Place the salt, strawberries, watermelon, water and lemon into a blender.
Blender until smooth. Add a dash or maple syrup and continue to blend.
Serve chilled with a stick of celery and mint.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Carrot Cake with Orange Cashew Cream

I was so super excited with the results of my cake baking that I wanted to share this with you. I used pineapple instead of raisins but you could use either or a little of both.

It tasted absolutely scrumptious along with a tall glass of green tea – the leaves are the best in China and given to me as a gift from Kelly’s (my daughter in law) parents. Simply delish and dairy and sugar-free too!





I cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup chestnut flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon all-spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup coconut oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup soymilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups finely grated carrot
½ cup pineapple crushed
1 cup walnuts toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a bowl.
Mix oil, maple syrup, soymilk, and vanilla extract in a bowl with a whisk.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together to form a batter. Add the walnuts, carrots and pineapple and mix gently.
Pour the batter into 2, 8 inch, oiled cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Put some of the orange frosting  on top of one layer and place the other layer on top. Cover top of cake with the rest of the frosting and garnish with toasted walnuts and grated carrot.

Orange Cashew Cream


2 cups cashews soaked overnight
2 ½ teaspoons orange zest
Juice of a lemon
½ cup almond milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt

Drain the cashews.
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Lemony Pasta

I just finished giving a Summer Cooking Class and thought I would share one of the recipes with everyone. I found this pasta dish, light, refreshing, simple and delicious. I suggested baby arugula as the greens but actually used some wonderful baby kale which was fabulous. 

Enjoy and happy summer!












1 packet whole-wheat pasta (spaghetti or angel hair would work best)
Swig of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger grated
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
3 cups baby arugula or greens of choice
Salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  • Heat a swig of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is just lightly browned and the oil is infused. Stir in the lemon zest and ginger, and remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place the arugula in a large bowl. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and immediately pour it over the arugula. Add the infused oil, pasta water, and season with salt and pepper. Toss until some of the arugula is just slightly wilted and then add the lemon juice.
  • Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds and basil.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Black Soybean Stew

Black Soybean Stew

I made these in a cooking class recently and they were so delicious, I thought I would share the recipe with you. Black soybeans are a super food as they can help to keep our bones, joints, bladder, reproductive and kidneys strong. They are also very good for any lung issues especially asthma and coughs. This dish is packed with protein and is nourishing and relaxing. Black soybean juice, it is also soothing to those vocal chords so if you love to sing have an extra serving. Enjoy!


1 cup black soybeans soaked overnight with a pinch of sea salt
1 dried shiitake soaked and diced
1 burdock washed and diced
1 carrot washed and diced
1 stick celery washed and diced
1 onion diced
1 cup winter squash cut into cubes
3 inch piece kombu rinsed
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon kuzu diluted in a little cold water
Spring water
Parsley for garnish


Layer the following ingredients in the pressure cooker; kombu, shiitake, onions, celery, squash, carrot, burdock, and beans. Make sure there is enough water to just cover the beans; use the soaking water and any additional water as needed.
Pressure cook the beans for an hour, remove from the heat and take down the pressure.
Add the salt and return to a medium flame.
Cook for three minutes and then add the shoyu and  maplesyrup. Add more if desired.
Cook for a further five minutes and then add the ginger and kuzu. Gently mix the beans and place a large bowl and serve garnished with parsley.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Orange Glazed Tempeh Over a Bed of Kale

This delicious side dish is perfect for this time of year as the burst of color is a reminder of warmer days to come. The fried tempeh is deeply nourishing and the zippy flavors add a sensory delight. Enjoy xx.


Freshly squeezed orange juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 inch strip kombu
Few slices ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ cup frozen organic sweet corn
1 packet tempeh cooked for 10 minutes in water, shoyu and a few slices of ginger
2 cups kale finely sliced
1 heaping tablespoon kuzu diluted in a little cold water
A handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves finely sliced


Place the tempeh into a pan. Add 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons shoyu, the kombu and a few slices of ginger.
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh and save the liquid for the sauce.
Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add a dash of shoyu, mirin, and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.
Warm the safflower oil in a small pan. Turn the flame to medium high when deep frying.
Cut the tempeh into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and deep fry for about 3 minutes or until golden. You can also pan fry the tempeh if you prefer. 
When pan frying, cut the tempeh in half. Pan fry on each side for about 3 minutes. Remove and cut into smaller slices.
Add the orange juice mixture to the tempeh broth. Bring to a boil on a medium flame. Add the diluted kuzu and stir until thickened.  Add the sweet corn and heat gently.
Meanwhile lightly blanch the kale. 
Place the kale into a serving dish.
Serve the tempeh on top of the kale. Pour the sauce over the top and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Nabe Style Cooking

Exert from Eat Me Now - One Pot Cooking

Often we feel that we have little time to cook healthy foods. We fill our lives with so many activities that we forget to nourish ourselves.  ‘One Pot’ Cooking is a great answer to those busy times and a fantastic way to put top quality fuel in our ‘gas tank’.. This style of cooking is considered to be one of the oldest and dates back many centuries. It has also been used throughout the world. One Pot Cooking is a quick and easy way to set hearty, satisfying meals on the table.
Another benefit to all-in-one cooking is that it saves time. It takes away some of the anxiety of trying to get many dishes finished at once. One pot cooking is a complete meal although a fresh salad or hot brown rice can add an extra dimension.
One-pot meals can vary from savory stews and spicy noodles to heartwarming skillet dinners. Plus, one-pot meals are a great way to use up leftovers and the combinations are endless.
Think about the clean up!  You don’t have to wash every pot in the kitchen. Furthermore, many one-pot meals are not particularly 'sensitive,' so you don't have to stand over them to make sure they cook 'on the dot.'

Nabe Style Cooking

Nabe meaning cooking pot is a complete meal because it contains noodles, tofu and vegetables.  It is a relaxing and nourishing dish that helps you to feel soothed after a busy day.  Nabe is also good for improving circulation and is very warming.


 1 packet udon noodles lightly cooked for 1 minute and rinsed
 1 bunch watercress rinsed and sliced
1 cup winter squash finely sliced
 2 cups Chinese cabbage rinsed and sliced
 1 carrot washed and finely sliced
 2 shiitake rinsed, soaked for 10 minutes and finely sliced
 1 cup snow peas washed
 1/2 block tofu cut into rectangles
 1 inch piece kombu rinsed
 6 cups spring water

Dipping sauce:
 3 tablespoons shoyu
 2 tablespoons mirin
 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
 1/2 cup spring water
 Shichimi 5 spice seasoning (optional)
Drop hot sesame oil (optional)
Garlic finely chopped (optional)
Ginger finely grated (optional)

Utensils: Traditional nabe pot or sturdy, deep pot with lid

Place the water and kombu in the pot and bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Remove the kombu and save for use in another dish. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables.
Arrange the vegetables (except for the watercress), noodles and tofu attractively in sections around the pot.
Cover with a lid.
Bring to a boil on a high flame. As soon as it boils, turn off the flame and add the watercress.
Mix the shoyu, mirin, vinegar and water in  a small bowl. This is the dipping sauce.
Serve from the pot: To serve, place a little dipping sauce in individual bowls. Add a selection of noodles, tofu and vegetables and pour the hot broth over the top. Garnish with a little 5 spice seasoning, garlic or hot sesame oil, if desired.

Note: A great variety of vegetables can be used. Try winter squash, summer squash, daikon, cauliflower, pieces of fresh sweet corn or string beans. The tofu can be deep-fried for a richer taste. Oysters or white fish can also be cooked in nabe.