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Japanese Pasta Recipe + WIN the New Green & Black's Ultimate Cookbook [COMPETITION CLOSED]

Green and Blacks 1515 Cook-off (06)

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

Buna Shimeji Mushrooms

Green & Black's 15:15 Challenge Winner - Shimeji Shiso Pasta

Serves one

  • 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.


Green & Black's Competition Prize - meemalee's kitchen


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.


Food Urchin said…
White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk, sugar and dandruff that has been procured from young blonde boys who wear cowboy outfits and spectacles.

So in actual fact it is not chocolate.
Mimi, that japanese pasta dish looks absolutley delish.

oh and by the way, white chocolate is, as everyone knows, a confection made from sugar, cocoa butter and the harvested milk of the three blind mice!
Matt x
Hollow Legs said…
I need this in my life. Immediately.
Yes! Smooth, clean and creamy, White chocolate is the new (Green &) Black!

Twitter: @LynnCherylEde
Jo said…
White chocolate is not actually chocolate as it is not made with cocoa solids. It is made with cocoa butter, which although it has some chocolate flavour, is not actually chocolate.

Great post and great dish Mimi. Hope to see you again

Jo (@Jos_Kitchen)
mandy said…
nope .. white chocolate`s what you give toddlers so they dont get in an almighty chocolatey mess...
Of choose it's chocolate, i won't hear anybody say anything different do your hear lol It's yummy !!
oh forgot to say i'm @CHOCOAJ
Anonymous said…
The milky bar kid would say it is!!

Would love to win!

Michelle said…
Boooo Mimi, I can't take part :-(

The dish looks gorgeus, am going out to source the ingredients for next weekend!!
josordoni said…
well to some people white chocolate isn't chocolate.

But if it isn't chocolate, ask yourself this.. Why would Green & Black make it if it wasn't chocolate? Hmm?? Well? Answer that then clever clogs...

And anyway, can't it just be delicious? Isn't that enough?

(BTW did I say that I love white chocolate?)
josordoni said…
ooopsss I am of course @josordoni. And you can reach me at forums (at)
Wendy said…
I love white choclate - even though if we are being accurate it isnt really choclate

love your recipe too

In my book white chcolate is chocolate. In my chap's view it is an abomination that should be banned.
Miss Whiplash said…
Your p'sgetti is making my mouth water - I love ikura...

I'm pretty sure white chocolate *kind* of is chocolate, since it's made of cocoa butter, if not actually any cocoa solids...
Or maybe from the drained life-blood of wee bespectacled blonde boys.
Or something.

You still have to (stupid) temper it too...

Twitter @misswhiplash
NorthcoteBeers said…
Tsk, everyone knows that white chocolate if made from unicorn tears harvested under a hunter's moon by mermaids.
ChrisIoM said…
White Chocolate is as we all know is a culmination of bleaching good quality cocoa nibs by grinding on the thighs of a thousand virgins, roasting in the fires of vesuvius, before the teardrop of a hormonal unicorn completes the ethereal transformation and produces what we have all come to love 'white chocolate' What is white chocolate Hhmph!

Your recipe looks fantastic as well.
mhoc said…
white chocolate, whatever next, of no earthly use, not even as a vest
all the cocoa goodness sucked out
only fit for goats without a doubt
Personally I'm finding this "is white chocolate chocolate" debate very disturbing. It's a racist slippery slope. Next thing you know, green bean noodles will be left all strung out by other noodles and black cod will be barred admission from schools of cod. And where will that all end, other than on my plate?

Yes, it's chocolate but I think of the white stuff as being more akin to solid vanilla custard. So still yum!
Your pasta dish looked too, though I hadn't even heard of half the ingredients.....

Think you know who I am! DrI xx
Choclette said…
Of course it's chocolate, it's got cocoa butter in it - that's my belief anyway and I'm sticking to it. @Choclette8
mel butcher said…
Strictly speaking it's not really chocolate, however it still gives me that chocolate buzz and satisfaction, that's what counts for me. I'm @melspur on twitter
Suz said…
Different things to different people. To me it's a sort of chocolate and to my friend it's a powerful laxative.

I don't crave it in the same way (i.e. I wouldn't punch a shark to get some), so I say no - it's not chocolate chocolate.

p.s. gorgeous looking pasta! :)
Sanchita said…
Love your recipe :) not only because I am a fan of pasta, also it is a quick and easy Japanese take on Italian recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Now about white chocolate, to me it is half chocolate because by standards, it needs to have at least 20% cocoa butter which is an integral part of cacao beans :)

Twitter: @easy2cookrecipe

P.S. Glad to follow you :)
White Chocolate is to chocolate what 'I can't believe it's not butter" is to Kerrygold.
Anonymous said…
Not actually chocolate no, but does have a much longer shelf life, which is down to the high content of dust bunnies in it! I am @missingsleep x
Aussie_Foodie said…
White Chocolate is not chocolate. It is the Milli Vanilli of the chocolate world.

BTW: I love ume-boshi. I especially love the look on peoples faces when they try and eat a whole one for their first taste ever. It makes me laugh. Why? Beacuse I caused so much merriment when it was done to me this first time I have to pay it forward!

Hugz - Elisa
Joe Cassels said…
I think white chocolate is actually just really, really thick condensed milk. I have no evidence to support this, just a vague affinity for conspiracy theories.
Oisin Rogers said…
White chocolate used to be chocolate. It has, unfortunately, had the chocolate taken out of it. So it should technically be described just as "White". It is just white, not chocolate. QED.
lou said…
white chocolate may not be technically chocolate, but if it's ok for a cute blonde kid with glasses it's good enough for me ... or should that be "they're on me!"

Louise x
Betty Herbert said…
These discussions of the contents of white chocolate do not matter. The point is this: would you ever turn to white chocolate to ease heartache? Would you guiltlessly break a diet to let the tiniest sliver of it dissolve on your tongue? Would you squeeze in a square of it even though you are so full you fear you'll burst? Of course you wouldn't.These are the things that real chocolate makes you do. Therefore, white chocolate doesn't count.
meemalee said…
Thank you for all your entries everyone!

Will pick a winner by the end of today using and will then get in touch to find out where to send the prize :)
Jen said…
Very amusing posts.

Oh dear… caught up at work and this is post noon. I only want the book. ;)

Still want to put in m two pence. Ahem...

I think white chocolate is chocolate when it’s made with just cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla. The cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean and it has the texture of dark chocolate and a similar taste to dark chocolate. What else would you call it? Whocolat? Not very appetising… :)

Thanks for sharing the recipe Mimi!

meemalee said…
@chocolateguide - Ooh, like dark chocolate? Crazy.

EVERYONE - The Winner is ... SUZLER \(^_^)/
That looks absolutely amazing! I'm drooling!