So for the Green & Black's 15:15 Challenge ("use a budget of £15 to make a dish in 15 minutes"), I decided on an old faithful - Japanese aka Wafu Pasuta.
As I said this was for two reasons - it's easy as pie to throw together, and it captures all five of the tastes Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami aka Savoury.
I had no set recipe in mind, and just wanted to find ingredients that complement and contrast each other - so before turning up to the challenge, I went to the Japan Centre on Lower Regent Street to see what appealed. I considered umeboshi, a type of pickled Japanese apricot, for the sour element; katsuobushi hanakatsuo, the flakes of bonito that dance about madly on top of okonimyaki pancakes, for the savoury; and strips of nori seaweed for the salt.
Eventually, I went for buna-shimeji mushrooms, dashi, mirin wine, soy, ikura, shiso leaves and negi onion, and handed over my £15 (ikura particularly is a pricey treat, though worth every penny.
- 100g linguine (I like De Cecco)
- 1 clump of buna-shimeji mushrooms (aka beech mushrooms)
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tsp dashi
- 2 shiso leaves (aka perilla or beefsteak plant)
- 1 negi (a type of fat spring onion)
- Handful of ikura (salmon roe)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Put the pasta on to boil.
Slice a half-inch off the bottom of the mushroom clump and discard this piece. Break the mushrooms into small clusters.
Roll the shiso leaves into a "cigar" and shred finely. Shred the spring onion as well.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and sear the mushroom clusters till they brown and crisp slightly on one side only.
Add the soy sauce, dashi, mirin and 2 tbsp of the pasta cooking water and sizzle for another couple of minutes.
Drain the pasta, chuck the mushrooms and their sauce on top, scatter with the salmon roe and the shredded shiso and spring onions. Serve.
[THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED]
So as you know, I won the 15:15 Challenge and the Chocolate Taste Test so was rewarded with a beautiful red KitchenAid mixer and also a set of Kyle Cathie books. One of the books was the new Green & Black's Ultimate Cookbook which I already owned, so I thought I'd spread the love and run a little competition to win the book and some other chocolate prizes.
Edited by Micar Carr-Hill their Head of Taste, "Ultimate" has recipes for cakes and cookies, cupcakes and cheescakes, puddings and pies, ice creams and even sweets. Contributors include Micah, as well as chefs such as Jose Pizarro, Allegra McEvedy, Omar Allibhoy, and Gizzi Erskine, and top blogger The Ginger Gourmand.
For more on just how fab this book is, see the post by The Catty Life.
Enter this competition to win the prize pictured above comprising:
- A copy of the new Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook
- An official Green & Black's Apron
- A bar of Green & Black's 85% Dark Chocolate
- A bar of Green & Black's Smooth and Creamy Milk Chocolate
- A bar of Green & Black's Dark Cook's Chocolate
- A bar of Green & Black's White Cook's Chocolate
To win this glamourous prize, answer the following question in a comment below.
Q: Is white chocolate chocolate?
Answer using science, pseudo-science, flippancy or humour, and leave your twitter name or email address in the body of the comment.
Closing date for entries is midday on Monday 29 November - UK ENTRANTS ONLY (sorry!).
I'll pick a winner randomly.