Mini Okonomiyaki

I suspect that it is going to be quite some time until our next overseas holiday. In recent years we’ve been to Fiji, and to Japan, and we had hoped to travel to Vietnam this year. But sadly that is looking highly unlikely.

So while we cannot travel to indulge in authentic international dishes, we can attempt a little international fare at home. With that in mind, we created our very own Japanese-themed dinner on the weekend which was rather fun. The girls helped make sushi, and we decorated the table with paper cranes that we learned to make from an origami book.

For main course we made a chicken curry in the slow-cooker, which we served with rice and a cabbage-style salad. To start – we had our homemade sushi (a post for another day) as well as a mini version of one of my favourite Japanese dishes – okonomiyaki!

This version was slightly different to the original in that we added zucchini along with the usual cabbage. Pulled together with egg and flour, and pan-fried to perfection.

We actually made these in advance, so when it was time to serve we reheated them in the oven before topping with okonomiyaki sauce and kewpie mayonnaise. Finished with a sprinkle of coriander (or you can use spring onions) and togarashi seasoning.

These mini versions worked beautifully as a starter – akin to a fritter. In fact, we loved them so much that we made another batch the next day for lunch!

Now where in the world to take the MCP kitchen next??

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Mini Okonomiyaki
Course Appetiser
Course Appetiser
  1. Place the grated zucchini, onion and a sprinkle of salt in a bowl, and set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the zucchini mix as possible.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the egg and a few tablespoons of cold water to make a batter (not too thick).
  4. Add the cabbage and the zucchini mixture, and stir to combine.
  5. Heat some olive oil in a large frypan. Drop spoonfuls of the batter in and shape into a circle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Remove and place on some paper towel. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
  6. To serve, drizzle the sauce and mayonnaise over the top of the fritters, and sprinke with spring onions and togarashi seasoning.
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Sweet potato and zucchini frittata

IMG_2579 This tasty little dinner, has been sitting in my photo archives for too long. Just waiting to be shared  with the bloggy world. Sadly – I cannot find where I recorded the recipe anywhere. So I will have to go from memory (yes a little risky, I know). IMG_2569 What I do recall – is that it was easy to throw together. Especially when you have a grater attachment on your food processor – to grate the vegetables in a matter of moments. No elbow grease required. IMG_2571IMG_2573 The dish also called for ricotta – in place of its heavier cream counterpart – making for a lightened up dinner all round. IMG_2575 Baked in a round cake pan – the end result being quite the sight to see! IMG_2576 And, my friends, I seem to recall that the meal was toddler approved – without any suspicion of the vegetables hidden within. IMG_2578 A winner dinner indeed! IMG_2584 Sweet potato and zucchini frittata

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 large sweet potato, grated
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 1 zucchini grated
  • 2 tbs semi dried tomatoes, sliced
  • Handful mint leaves, shredded
  • A sprinkle of dried thyme
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g ricotta
    1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a round cake tin.
    2. Spray a frypan with a little olive oil, and cook sweet potato and onion until starting to soften (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, then add zucchini, tomatoes and herbs.
    3. Meanwhile – whisk eggs and ricotta in a medium bowl.  Add vegetable mix, and stir well to combine.
    4. Pour into prepared tin, and bake for 30-40 minutes – or until cooked through.
    5. Allow to stand in tin for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

    What about you? How do you keep track of new recipes?

    Chorizo, ricotta and zucchini casarecce

    Let’s not focus on the fact that I made this meal back in February and am only getting around to posting about it now. No…let’s focus on the tasty little dish that it turned out to be – using a variety of pasta that was new to me. IMG_7406 Casarecce! IMG_7408 Something akin to a thin twisted penne – that ended up being quite perfect for the meal itself. IMG_7411 Simply – chorizo, garlic, peas and zucchini. Finished with white wine, lemon juice and a sprinkle of ricotta and basil. IMG_7413 Overall – this was a beautifully light and fresh pasta – and a perfect dish for those of us who are not big fans of a heavy creamy sauce. IMG_7414 And perfect for the Summery evening on which it was served. What about you? Ever tried cassarece?

    15 minute meal – Crispy parma pork

    IMG_6904 Another evening, another Jamie Oliver inspired meal from his 15 minute meals cookbook. This time? IMG_6898 Crispy parma pork with minted zucchini and brown rice. The pork, was stuffed with feta, seasoned, then wrapped in parma ham. IMG_6889IMG_6891 Grilled until cooked through. The zucchinis were simply sautéed in garlic, mint and chilli, while the brown rice was seasoned with tomato paste and lemon juice. IMG_6897 All together now…. IMG_6905 (finished with minted yoghurt). Another tasty meal – (even if it did take me more than 15 minutes to make!) IMG_6906 While the pork was beautifully tender, my favourite part was actually the spicy zucchinis. IMG_6911 And the flavoured rice was also a nice addition. IMG_6910 Most of the recipes in the book serve 4 – so I have been halving them seeing as there is just the two of us for dinner. One thing that has surprised me about the recipes, though, is that even when halved, they yield quite a bit. Mr BBB and I have quite good appetites at dinner time, but the portion sizes are generous even by our standards! What about you? Do you have a good appetite come dinner time?

    Plate of random – take 4

    I am no stranger when it comes to creating a ‘plate of random’ for dinner.

    These plates generally seem appear when stocks in our fridge are getting low, or when there are leftovers that need to be eaten but those leftovers are not enough to create a full meal. Such as tonight. IMG_4381 Haloumi. IMG_4385 Asparagus and zucchini. IMG_4384 Brown / white rice. IMG_4387 And … cornchips??? IMG_4386 Yes, cornchips. Poppy seed and cheddar cornchips to be precise. For no other reason than the bag was open, and I find them rather delicious. IMG_4382 A tasty, albeit random, dinner indeed! What about you? Eaten anything ‘random’ lately?

    Lightened Up Choc-cini friands

    I just realised that I forgot to share my recent baking endeavour with you! IMG_9561  It is no secret that I love friands (see here and here). Small, gluten free, and quick and easy to make. Oh and did I mention delicious? The only issue I have with friands is that they are pretty jam packed with sugar and butter, and definitely a treat to enjoy in moderation. Until I decided to make a ‘lightened up’ version that is. And the secret ingredient??? IMG_9560 Zucchini! Into a bowl went zucchini, egg whites, apple sauce, vegetable oil, almond meal, oat flour, cocoa powder, agave and stevia. IMG_9564 Divided amongst my friand pan. IMG_9565 And baked for 15 minutes.  IMG_9566 The first thing I noticed was that these friands did not rise as well as their butter/sugar counterparts.  IMG_9584 They were, however, light….   IMG_9589 Fluffy… IMG_9590 With a hint of cocoa… IMG_9591 And sweet without being too sweet!    IMG_9598 A ‘lightened up’ version of a recent favourite. IMG_9595 Enjoy one or six today 😉 Lightened up Choc-cini Friands (makes 12)

    • 6 egg whites
    • 1 zucchini, shredded (and squeeze out the moisture)
    • 1/2 cup apple sauce
    • 1 tbs vegetable oil
    • 1 cup almond meal, sifted
    • 1/4 cup oat flour *
    • 1.5 tbs cocoa powder
    • 1 tbs agave nectar
    • 2 tbs stevia
    1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan forced) and grease a friand pan lightly with oil.
    2. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy.
    3. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until just combined.
    4. Spoon into the friand pan, and bake for 15 to 16 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean).
    5. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
    6. * To make the oat flour, I simply processed rolled oats in my food processor until fine.

    What about you? What is your favourite way to ‘lighten’ up baked treats?

    Lovin’ the loaf…

    It seems the last few days of workouts + gardening + moving furniture have well and truly caught up with me! My shoulders and back were so very stiff and sore when I woke up this morning, and 9+ hours sitting at my desk at work did nothing to help. I think I need to book myself a massage. STAT. Dinner In lieu of sore muscles, a protein packed dinner was just what I was craving. I had a small amount of lean beef mince in the fridge, a heap of veggies and a can of lentils in the pantry. IMG_4186  IMG_4188  Hence this tasty little beef and vegetable loaf was born. IMG_4196 IMG_4198 IMG_4200 Although I guess you could also call it meatloaf, BBB style 😉 IMG_4233 This dish pretty much has all the telltale signs of a weekday BBB dinner. IMG_4235    Easy, fuss-free, but packed to the brim with healthy ingredients.  IMG_4246    And, the best part…. Leftovers for future lunch and dinners!  IMG_4254 We served slices of the loaf with steamed carrots and asparagus. And a good spoonful of homemade tomato and chilli relish. IMG_4252  But you will have to stay tuned for my easy relish recipe. I’ll be sharing it with you in the next few days… BBB’s Beef and Vegetable loaf (GF)

    • 450g lean beef mince
    • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
    • 1.5 cups cooked lentils*
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 carrot, grated
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 2 tbs chia seeds
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 60ml  organic tomato sauce
    • 30ml  GF worcestershire sauce
    • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
    • olive oil cooking spray
    1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease base and sides of a loaf pan, and line with baking paper (allowing the paper to overhang at both long ends)
    2. Heat spinach in a frypan until wilted. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible and finely chop.
    3. In a large bowl, combine spinach, mince, lentils, onion, garlic, carrot, corn and chia seeds.
    4. Add eggs, herbs and sauces and mix until well combined (you might want to use your hands for this!)
    5. Press into the prepared loaf tin.
    6. Place zucchini strips in a separate bowl and spray with a little olive oil spray. Toss to coat then spoon atop the loaf.
    7. Bake for 60 minutes or until meatloaf is firm.  Stand for 10 minutes then slice and serve.

    * I cheated and used the canned variety, well rinsed and drained. If you had the time, you could, of course, use dried lentils simmered in water until soft. What about you? Do you like meatloaf? I am not the hugest fan of meatloaf when in its ‘traditional’ form, but when it’s packed with veggies and herbs I am a convert! Happy Baking 🙂

    It must be a full moon…..

    Happy Monday! Wow – my start to the week was in one word……strange. I wont bore you with the details but let’s just say that from the weather, to my work day, to my home life…..I would not be at all surprised if there is a full moon tonight…. IMG_2004 (The view from our front deck this evening….) One thing that was not strange, however, was the tasty little zucchini slice we had for dinner. IMG_1995 Not to mention it was super easy to make. I sautéed grated zucchini, onion and garlic. IMG_1970 Then added it to a mixture of pureed chickpeas, cumin, curry powder, eggs and GF flour. IMG_1973 Combined and then poured into a lined loaf pan. IMG_1977 Topped with chia seeds and grated cheese, then baked for 40 minutes. IMG_1984 While the slice was baking, I made a simple salad of mixed greens, apple, walnuts and dried cranberries.  IMG_1989  IMG_1990IMG_1986   Then it was simply a matter of slice and serve. IMG_1996 IMG_1998    My ‘full moon’ zucchini slice. IMG_2010 I really enjoyed this little slice and I think it would also work well if cooled and packed into a picnic hamper. IMG_2009 An easy and healthy end to  a very strange day! Happy Baking 🙂

    Muffin Monday

    Hello there and welcome to the start of a new week! I don’t know whether it was the trail run on Saturday or the afternoon of painting / renovating, or perhaps it was both, but I woke up yesterday with some delightfully sore leg / butt muscles. I say delightful because it was the kind of sore that you just know means you had a killer workout. I can only imagine how I will feel after 16kms of trail running next weekend … but bring it on I say! The weekend disappeared before I knew it – although Mr BBB and I did have time yesterday to fit in a 10km bike ride, a lovely lunch at a local cafe, and finish the weekend with a Sunday roast. Trail run + family time + biking + great food = a perfect weekend  really. Tonight my legs asked for a rest, and although my mind was itching to head out for a run, I obliged and opted for a rest day. So, finding myself with some time to spare, I decided to indulge my other hobby….baking! I had seen this recipe for Zucchini muffins a while ago on Ashley’s blog, and knowing I had most of the ingredients on hand, set about making a batch. IMG_8902  I switched the wheat flour for spelt flour, and stevia for sucanat. I also used a combination of cashew nut and sunflower nut butter, together with rice milk. IMG_8913 I topped some with walnuts… IMG_8906 Some with sultanas… IMG_8908 And the remainder with shredded coconut. IMG_8917 Oh my – talk about light and moist! IMG_8911 A delightful muffin that will be sure to make another appearance, in some shape or form, sometime soon. I must say that muffin making before dinner is quite dangerous. It seems the aroma of freshly baking muffins can test even the strongest of wills! So, as soon as the muffins were out of the oven I set about making a quick and easy dinner to keep the hunger pangs at bay (and in an attempt to refrain from eating half the batch fresh out of the oven!). During a pantry “raid” I came across this jar of goodness hiding up the back. IMG_8923       Mmmmm Chilli Jam. Smeared on tofu and baked for 40 minutes. IMG_8927 Spicy and sweet. Served on a slice of GF olive bread, with some fresh basil and a slice of mozzarella. IMG_8932 With a good heap of sweet potato garlic mash. IMG_8931 And peas, carrots and brussels. IMG_8930 Another tasty, albeit random, dinner. The chilli jam tofu will certainly be repeated sometime soon. But right now a muffin is calling my name! Happy Baking 🙂