Party menu 2: Steamed mushroom rice wrapped with bamboo leaf (Chimaki), Ikebana

When I invite guests, I often make this chimaki. It never missed the appreciation. 

It is served in the bamboo steamer-container on the table. When I open the lid, the cute bamboo chimaki appeared in the steam! 

This dish takes time and effort, however, is worth to do so.

The bamboo scent is transfereed to the rice.

Everyone falls in love with chimaki in a bite. 

It is tasty and fun to entertain guests!! 

Ingredients of 15-18 pieces of chimaki

  • Sweet rice/Glutinous rice*: 2 cups (400-450cc) 
  • Bamboo leaves**: 15-18 pieces
  • Shimeji mushroom: 150g (1pack)
  • Enoki mushroom: 150g (1pack)
  • Shiitake mushroom: 7-8 pieces
  • Pine nuts: 3 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil: 1 tablespoon 
  • Soy sauce: 3 tablespoons
  • Mirin: 3  tablespoons
  • Salt:1 teaspoon
  • Sugar:1 tablespoon
*Chimaki is made of Sweet rice/Glutinous rice. You can find it in Asian food stores. It looks bit more whitish than other kinds of rice.
**Bamboo leaves can be found in Chinese shop. They can be replaced with sheet of aluminium foil (though less cute looking but much easier to wrap the stuff).


1. (This process should be done in the previous night) Wash sweet rice and soak in water. In a separate bowl, soak bamboo leaves in water. Leave them over night.

2. Drain the water of rice through a net, leave it for 30-40 mins

3. While resting the rice, wash each leave with a sponge to remove dirt

4. Fill water until half depth of a pan which got a similar diameter of the bamboo steamer's and start to heat it up. If you don't use the bamboo steamer, fill water in a steamer and heat it up over high temperature. 

Place a double-layered kitchen paper in the bottom of a steamer-container, fill the rice carefully and cover with a kitchen paper 

5. Steam the rice for 25 mins over high temperature

6. While steaming the rice, prepare the mushroom stuffing. 
Slice shiitake into thin, remove the bottom part of enoki and cut it into half length. 
Remove the bottom part of shimeji and tear it into pieces

7. Heat up a large frying pan over medium temperature, grease it with vegetable oil and fry all mushrooms. Once they get slightly tender, add all seasonings and pine nuts and keep frying for 2-3 mins. Put them in a large heat-resist bowl

8. Once the rice steamed, put the steamer-container straight from the pan in the sink and sprinkle 1 cup of cold water (be careful when you move the bamboo container. It is very hot!)

9. Add steamed rice into the bowl and combine it with mushrooms well

10. <Wrap the rice with bamboo leaves>
There are two sides in each bamboo leaf: coarse and smooth. Please make sure to use the smooth one inside and the coarse one out. The coarse leaf vein helps to hold the folded leaf surfaces when you wrap it up.

10-1. To start, make a triangle shape with the edge of a leaf and then stuff one tablespoonful of the rice

10-2. Press the surface of rice portion with the bottom of the spoon to make the rice is tightly stuffed

10-3.  Cover the rice portion with the leaf and turn it to the next triangle dimension. Keep wrapping up the portion tightly until the end of the leaf 

10-4. Put the end of the leaf under the nearest side of the leaf to close

11. Steam chimaki pieces another 10 mins to serve.

In addition to mushrooms, I like to add pieces of chicken, fried tofu and chestnuts to be fried with mushrooms.

I know all procedures look complicated. However, it is worth to try. It is very tasty and warming dish.


When I receive guests, I usually decorate our living-dinning room and bathroom with flowers. 

I do this in the previous night.

After putting some flowers, I feel more lifted up and enjoy imagining guests' arrivals to the room. Then the perfume of flowers enhances my cooking energy. 

After guests' arrival, I am usually busy preparing food while Mr. Husband serves drinks. I think nicely decorated flower will help to entertain guests in place for me.

Holding a dinning party is the thing to create the entire landscape and atmosphere by the host and the gusts, I think. 

I always appreciate my guests and my family to make my cooking idea realise at the table and share it with me. 

Party menu 1: Juicy roast beef with Wasabi, Soy and Trouffle Sauce, Shortcake

Roast beef is one of the best menus for special occasions. To add a Japanese infusion, I always serve it with wasabi&soy sauce. 

I believe that a successful roast beef is determined through the following processes:

  • enough seasoning time (longer than 3 hours)
  • frying process of meat surface
  • temperature controlling in the oven
  • using an alarm to prevent over cooking
  • resting time after grilling (longer than 30 mins) before serving.
Roast beef with wasabi&soy sauce served at my supervisor's place 
(23 August, 2013)


Block of sirloin or rib: 1.5k -2k (I usually get it from a cool butcher, Ginger Pig)
Sea Salt: 3 tablespoons
Black pepper: 2 tablespoons
Sake (if available): 2 tablespoons 

Wasabi: 1.5 tablespoons
Soy sauce: 2.5 tablespoons

+ spring onion, coriander for garnishing 


1. Tie the beef with string to hold the shape. Season the beef by rubbing salt and pepper over the surface thoroughly with hands. I use sake to make this process easy.
Wrap the beef with zip bag and leave it at least for 3 hours (desirably over a night)

2. Heat up a large frying pan over high temperature. Fry the fat side to let the oil come out then do the same with other surfaces until they get nice brown. This takes about 5-6 mins

The pan-fried beef looks like the following picture. Place it in an oven tray
3. Heat up oven over 160 C, cover the tray with aluminium foil (I used a baking tray). Set the alarm in 25 mins and start to grill it.

4. After 25 mins, take the beef out and pierce it into the beef with a long stick until the beef's middle depth. After 5 seconds, take it out and put it on your lips.

It is depends on the beef size but you might feel a bit cold. 25 mins is usually not enough.
Then turn the beef over to the other side, cover it with foil again and put it back to the oven another 7-10 mins (please control the time according to the temperature of the stick)

5. After 7-10 mints, repeat the process 4. 
If you feel the stick as warm as body temperature on your lips, it is the sign of "perfect pink".
Instead for using your lips or Angelina Jolie's, of course a thermometer might be useful.
In that case, it would be up to 40 C. 

6. Rest the beef at least for 30 mins-1hour in the tray.
If the beef were cut and served straight from the oven, all juice were gone! It will be the dry, chewy and sad piece of meat

7.  Store the gravy from the tray, separate it from the fat. Add soy sauce and wasabi to the gravy then combine all ingredients well. 
Slice the beef to thin and serve it with sauce and garnishes (shredded spring onion and coriander).

Shortcake decoration tip

The latest party held at my place was the occasion to celebrate our cool friends' engagement, Bryony&Konrad. 
I made a shortcake with some loves.

 In the large heart, it says "congratulations Bryony and Konrad" drawn by this young artist. 
In the small, Bryony's engagement ring made of black rubies and diamonds was appeared. 
The real one was much more beautiful that was shinning on her left ring finger!!

The sponge was made by referring Lego Cake's coffee sponge.
I made it without coffee melted in milk.

When you make a cake decorated with whipped cream,
there is a tip to make a smooth surface. 

It often happens that when you spread the hard whipped cream over the surface of a baked cake, annoying lines and air bubbles are traced in each stroke from the spatula. 
However, when you put the spatula (desirably a long metal one) in warm water for a while before spreading the cream, it dramatically makes your strokes smooth.
Once the spatula got cool, repeat the warming process.
It is convenient to place a bowl filled with warm water and a wipe in the side of the cake.

Preparation time of roast beef: 3hs for Seasoning, 40mins for cooking and 30 mins for resting

Easy, quick Japanese style spare ribs, kimuchi hot pot, Soda Crystals 

Spare ribs, kimuchi hot pot, salad, rice

By using a pressure cooker, this spare ribs takes only 20 mins to prepare. 
The combination of sweet-salty ribs and melting onion is wonderful match to white rice. 


5-8 pieces of spare ribs
3 small round onions
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
<Seasoning 1>

  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1.5-2 cloves of garlic (grated)
  • 2 teaspoons of grated ginger

<Seasoning 2>

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sake
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 100cc of water


1. if spare ribs pieces are large, cut into each bone piece with kitchen scissors or knife. Put spare ribs and the Seasoning 1 in a large reclosable bag and rub all ingredients well over the bag with hands. Close the bag and leave it for 5 mins
2. While seasoning spare ribs, peel the skin of each onion and cut it into two pieces. 
3. Heat up a frying pan over medium temperature, add sesame oil and fry spare ribs and onion until they got nice brown surface about for 2-3 mins
4. Put spare ribs and onion in a pressur cooker, add the Seasoning 2. Close the lid and start to cook over medium temperature
5. Once the cooker gets boiled, turn the heat into small and leave it for 7 mins then turn it off. Leave it until the lid is ready to open
6. Open the lid and gently boil the cooked spare ribs and onion for 3-4 mins more.
In case making this recipe without a pressure cooker, cook the contents gently for 40 mins to serve while add some water if necessary.

Ingredients of kimuchi hot pot

  • 200g of kimuchi 
  • 2 tablespoons of chinese chicken stock (if not, 1 cube of chicken stock)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of korean miso (sweet and chilli miso)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1L of water
  • cabbage or winter cabbage, spring onions, mushrooms, tofu, chinese chives, etc (any veggies found in the fridge)


Add all ingredients into a thick pan and simmer until the veggies get tender. Place the pan on the dinning table to serve. I usually place a thick magazine underneath of the placing mat and the hot pot.

Kimuch hot pot is great winter dish to warm up your body. The chilli soup enhances the blood circulation while we can take lots of veggies.

A tip for cleaning greasy pans

Cleaning a greasy, burnt pan is a pain. It cannot be loaded into the dish washer. In that case, I  use a product called "Soda Crystals" or sodium carbonate.

Just fill some water in the pan and add 2 tablespoons of Soda Crystals. Leave it for a night and wash. Then the pan appeared clean!!

1 Kg of Soda Crystals is offered in 90 pence at any supermarkets. 
Instead for other water softener products, I use Soda Crystals for washing machine, steam iron, humidifier 
everytime time.
This also works for removing limescale.
This is the most effective, efficient and economical 
housekeeping product I've ever met.

Time to prepare spare ribs, kimuchi hot pot, salad and rice: 1 hour
Total cost for main ingredients: 4.82 pounds (1.2 for spare ribs 2 for hot pot veggies, 1.62 for kimuchi)

Dinner invitation: potato & halloumi soup, steak, chocolate fondant

We were invited to dinner helt by a beautiful and young, Karolina and Tom.

Since they have a nice, spacious open kitchen, I could observe the cooking process. 
I was so impressed by their team work! 
It was like a theatre performance as the movements of both were smoothly collaborative. 
I wish Mr. Husband and I were like that at our kitchen.

They started with a fresh amuse of avocado dip. I learnt that this is one of the best ways to enjoy the taste and the texture of avocado.

The first course was potato, leek and mint soup from Jamie Oliver's recipe topped with halloumi cheese and crouton.


Being a big fan of potato and halloumi, 
Mr. Husband fell love with this soup.
He nearly married to the chef, Tom.

The second was nice lean Angus beef steak.
I truly liked the sauce made with sour cream, mustard and the gravy.
The hint of fresh spring onion on the top works well with the sauce.
This encouraged me to try cream sauce for our next steak dinner.

I really liked the dessert, fondant chocolat. 
I think this has beaten the one that I had at the Fortnum & Mason, chocolate master class.
The ratio of the thin crispy surface, the sponge and the chocolate melt in the middle were perfect!!
I also could tell the high quality of chocolate itself. 

It was heaven that such a lovely couple served me (a housewife who is ever the one serving meals) delicious dishes in a homely, cosy atmosphere.
This is a real hospitality and cannot be experienced at any restaurants.

Thank you so much Karolina and Tom!!
We enjoyed everything!!