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My banana bread recipe

My favourite recipe to use up those super ripe bananas in my fruit bowl. 

Ingredients:
– 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
– 2 eggs
– 125g soft light brown sugar
– 225g flour
– Pinch of salt
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 3-4 ripe bananas – mashed with a fork
– Handful of chopped walnuts

Get baking:
Heat oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter with electric beaters / stand mixer until white & fluffy (around 3 minutes).
Add the sugar and mix well.
Mix each egg in seperately and make sure they are mixed in properly.
Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix in well.
Fold the mashed bananas in followed by the chopped walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and level out.
Bake for around 45 minutes.
Insert a skewer into the middle – the cake is ready when the skewer comes out clean.
Cool cake in the tin for 10 min, remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
Enjoy!

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Quick chickpea, kale & chorizo soup

What’s a better belly winter warmer than a steaming bowl of soup? 
I’ve been making this one for years – it’s just so quick, easy and super yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • 100g cured unsliced chorizo sausage – chopped into cubes
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 150g kale or cabbage – shredded

Get cooking:

Empty the can of tomatoes into a pot, add a can of water and heat up.
Once hot and slightly bubbling, add the chorizo cubes, chickpeas and a sprinkling of chilli flakes.
Crumble the stock cube into the mixture, cover and let everything bubble away for around 8 min.
Add the kale/cabbage and take off the heat once wilted.

Voila! All done!
Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy. 

P.S. The tea towel in the photo is available in my online store 🙂

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This month I’m … January 2021

WATCHING
Schitt’s Creek

I know, I know – we are a bit late to the party. Schitt’s Creek has been out there for a loooong time. Hilariously funny and great escapism from the real world.

COOKING
Comfort food


Is there anything better than yummy comfort food on a cold winter’s day? I’ll share some recipes later in the month.

READING
A Burning” by Megha Majumdar 

This book has been on my list for a while now – can’t wait to get into it!

GETTING
Cozy indoors

’cause lets face it: we are not going anywhere anytime soon…

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Glühwein (mulled wine) recipe

Right. Here it is. My Glühwein recipe.
I usually ‘freestyle’ it when I make mulled wine so I took notes when I made it again on Sunday 😅

  • 1 bottle of cheap red wine (honestly: don’t waste the good stuff on mulled wine)
  • 50-80ml brown rum (depending on how strong you like it)
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 star anis
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 7-8 whole cloves
  • Brown sugar

Juice two oranges and slice the third one. Heat the wine with all ingredients apart from the sugar in a pot on low heat. Add sugar to taste. Let it simmer for at least 30min, preferably longer. Don’t boil it!  Serve hot and be merry.

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THAT Butternut Squash Lasagne

I don’t think I ever had that many comments on any of my Instagram stories as when I posted a picture of the butternut squash lasagne I had just made. 😅

I’ve been promising to write up the recipe and share it with you ever since so here you go!

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Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 sausages – remove skins
  • 1 small onion – chop finely
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh basil – large handful roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp cream or sour cream
  • Large butternut squash – peel, scoop seeds out and slice thinly
  • Lasagne sheets
  • 1 ball of mozzarella – slice
  • 25g parmesan – grate finely

Make sauce:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan
  2. Break sausage meat into pieces and brown them all over, breaking up while it cooks
  3. Add onion and cook until the onion starts to soften
  4. Add paprika, season with salt and pepper and cook for a minute
  5. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Add basil and let it wilt into the sauce
  7. Stir in cream/sour cream and remove from the heat

Make lasagne:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce into a baking dish, top with a layer of lasagne sheets, followed by a layer of butternut squash slices, followed by sauce and mozzarella. Repeat and make sure you end with sauce.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes then sprinkle with grated parmesan and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is nicely browned.

Vegetarian option:
You can easily omit the sausage for a yummy vegetarian version.

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This month I’m … September 2020

LISTENING TO
Ladies, we need to talk” – a great podcast for women, by women, that isn’t afraid to dive head first into the tricky topics we often avoid talking about.

TRYING TO GET
my cooking mojo back 😅
I love cooking and baking, but it’s been a bit much during the last few months. Fingers crossed! 

READING
The Mountains Sing
by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT
creating the next home styling video with Cherie Jones of Cherie Jones Design. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all a great month!

Alex x

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Are you over endlessly cooking meals? I am…

Are you still cooking up a storm? Well, I don’t…
I lost my cooking mojo at some stage during the last few weeks and whilst I’m waiting to somehow retrieve it again I thought I’ll share some of my favourite Tokyo takeaway restaurants with you. 

What is your favourite takeout?? Let me know!

Keep smiling,
Alex x

Ginger Jars now available online

Fav Tokyo takeaway restaurants

BURGERS … Burger Mania, Shirokane (also in Ebisu & Hiroo)

The Rosemary Lemon Burger is a dream.

Delivery (Fine Dine) available

ISRAELI … Ta-im, Ebisu

We were in heaven when we first discovered Ta-im. Great Israeli / Middle Eastern food is hard to come by in this town!

Delivery (Uber Eats) available

INDIAN … Ahilya, Meguro (also in Osaki, Aoyama & Yoyogi)

I confess: I’m a snob when it comes to Indian food. We lived in an Indian neighbourhood for a few years back in London and we are spoiled. It took quite a few attempts to find great Indian food in Tokyo.

Delivery (Uber Eats) available

PIZZA … Gonzo, Meguro

We LOVE Gonzo’s pizza! The restaurant opened not so long ago and we have been regulars ever since. The prosciutto pizza is my fav.

Delivery (Uber Eats) available

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Eat & cook your heart out … July 2020

I tried a new gnocchi recipe the other day as I had some ricotta to use up and it was so yum I had to include it in this blog 😋

Homemade lemonade

Summer time = Lemonade time!
I prefer my lemonade to be less sweet – just make more syrup if you have a sweet tooth 🙂

Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Lemonade:
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 cups cold water

  • Make the syrup by boiling sugar and 1/2 cup of water to until sugar is dissolved (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  • Combine syrup, lemon juice and cold water until well mixed.
  • Keep in bottles in the fridge and consume within 2 days.

Fried gnocchi with broad beans, parma ham, ricotta and sage

I tried this recipe for the first time yesterday as I had some ricotta to use up – it was super yum, quick & easy. I used frozen broad beans, it probably works well with peas or edamame too.

Recipe 

Grilled lemongrass chicken

Vietnam on a plate.
Pretty easy to make and goes down a treat every single time. 

Recipe

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Headbands, fritters & a fake Russian choir 😃

It was fab to see some of my lovely customers last week at my first Showroom Open Day in ages! I was a bit worried about my rusty communication skills after not having seen people in the flesh for quite some time 😉

Lovely Victoria from Bikudesigns dropped off some new stock a few days ago – scroll down for a peek!

Also included in my update today are my favorite links from the last couple of weeks as well as a couple of recipes I enjoyed.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

Some of my favorite links

Can’t travel this summer? Here are some armchair travel ideas
Travel the world with 11 of far-flung TV shows

The Foo Fighters are my fav band ever and I’m loving this all-star version of “Times like these” 
Live Lounge Allstars – Times Like These

Fancy a bit of quick & easy DIY?
4 low-cost ideas to update your home this weekend

The impact of the global pandemic on interior design
How is COVID-19 shaping design trends?

This cracked me up! 😀
How Australia’s ‘fake genuine Russian choir’ Dustyesky went viral during the coronavirus pandemic

A bit of fun! I scored 68%
How perfect is your colour vision?

Bikudesigns restock

Vintage Kimono Headbands
¥3,500

Large Vintage Kimono Pendants
¥4,000

Small Vintage Kimono Pendants
¥3,000

Vintage Kimono Earrings
¥3,000

Vintage Kimono Cufflinks
¥4,000

Eat (and cook) your heart out

Corn fritters

I love fritters. In any shape and form. These ones feature quite frequently on our weekend brunch menu:

1 egg
1 tbsp water
125g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1 can (410g) creamed corn
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil 

  • Lightly beat egg with the water.
  • Sift in flour and baking powder, add salt and pepper and stir to achieve a medium batter (add more water if needed). Make sure the mixture is not too thin.
  • Add the can of cream corn, season and stir.
  • Heat half the oil in a frying pan to a medium heat and add spoonfuls of the batter in the pan.
  • Flip the fritters when they start to bubble on the top (1-2 min), but test they are cooked through before removing them.
  • You may need to add a little more oil after each lot is taken out of the pan.

I like to serve the fritters with cherry tomatoes, avocados, sour cream & Thai sweet chilli sauce. 

**vegetarian**

Soft baked lemon cookies

So simple
So quick
So yum

Recipe 

**vegetarian**

Roasted carrots with coriander yoghurt & nuts

This one elevates the humble carrot to new heights!
I usually replace the peanuts with chopped and roasted hazelnuts or almonds.

Recipe 

**vegetarian**

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What’s your daily routine these days?

Mr. M and I have been in self-imposed lockdown for over two months now and whilst it was all strange at first, we have a good routine going now. 

I enjoy having a “colleague” (Mr. M working from home) in the “office” for the time being. Working alone can be lonely sometimes, but now I have someone to meet for lunch in the kitchen.  
😀

Thank you so much for your feedback regarding my last blog post! Sounds like you enjoyed my links and recipes – please scroll down to for some more.

Stay healthy & keep the spirits high
Alex x

Some of my favorite links

The world after coronavirus
This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come

A possible positive consequence of the lockdown
Are we witnessing the death of the car?

Very interesting podcast by The New York Times
The next year (of two) of the Pandemic

This aerial film of Japan is mesmerizing
Japan in 8K

I am drooling over #1 😅
10 of the Worlds Most Jaw-Dropping Modern Homes

Yep! This!
Can all the lockdown motivators get lost

The question on many minds
When Will Flying Be Safe Again?

If you have been avoiding popping to the supermarket too often, you might find this useful
Methods for Storing Fresh Herbs

Eat (and cook) your heart out

We get a weekly veggie box delivered to our doorstep and I love the surprise factor – you just never know what’s in it! Swiss chard and collard greens have been included in recent deliveries which gave me the opportunity to try this yummy Swiss Chard Fritters recipe from one of my favourite cook books:  “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi.

400g Swiss chard leaves, stalks removed (I used a mixture of Swiss chard & collard greens)
30g flat leaf parsley
20g fresh coriander
20g fresh dill
1.5 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
80g feta, crumbled
60ml olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and simmer the chard leaves for 5 minutes.
  • Drain and squeeze well until completely dry.
  • Whizz in a food processor with the herbs, nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic, eggs, a third of a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper.
  • Fold in the feta by hand.
  • Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan over medium-high heat and spoon in a heaped tablespoon of the mixture for each fritter.
  • Press down gently to shape into 7cm wide, 1cm thick fritters, and cook for 3-4minutes, turning once, until they take on some colour.
  • Transfer to kitchen paper and repeat with the remaining fritter mix and oil.
  • Serve hot with a wedge of lemon.

**vegetarian**

Chicken in red wine

I must have made this dish a thousand times. Serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread to soak up those juices.
Just. so. yummy!

Recipe 

Swedish cinnamon rolls

Best served fresh and warm from the oven. I make these in batches and freeze them.

Recipe 

**vegetarian*

Spiced chickpea, saffron and cranberry pilau rice

There’s something about the combination of saffron, coriander and basmati rice that makes me come back to this recipe over and over.

Recipe 

**vegan if you use oil instead of ghee*