I have never been one for doing the cryptic crossword. Generally, once the clues are explained I do get them, but I have never had the time, inclination and dedication to sit down and teach myself to do The Time Crossword. I quite admire those that can, and I am in awe of the few that complete the puzzle in 5 minutes.
My father’s favourite clue (he also does not do the cryptic crossword) is “Shiny Trousers? (15)”, the answer of course is “Notwithstanding”. I was once very chuffed with myself when I sussed that “It’s a sad little motorcycle (5)” was “Moped”, but on the whole word games are not really my thing, although whilst cooking this I did come up with “This Asian fungus really has a laugh at your expense (8)”.
“Shiitake” Yes – I know really not a good clue, but my thinking was that taking the shiitake was a step beyond taking the piss… As I said word games are not my thing, and I am not expecting a glittering career as a crossword compiler on the strength of this blog post.
This dish came about last weekend when Radio 4’s Food Programme featured seaweed, which I adore, but have never really mentioned on the blog. I suspect the nearest most people get to seaweed is as a sheet of nori around their sushi rolls and it is something that does not really feature in most diets, which is a shame. If you have not tried seaweed then do give it a go, I am certain you will be surprised.
Seaweed or (a more digestible sounding) sea vegetables are packed with nutrients and minerals. My favourite pick me up is a mug of miso soup sprinkled with sea vegetables and a dash of soy sauce, which I find incredibly restorative, and is just the ticket for the morning after the night before.
I get most of my Japanese ingredients from Clearspring, I find them top quality, the products are organic where they can be, and the misos and tamaris are delicious and made by Japanese artisans with centuries old methods. They have a fairly comprehensive guide to the benefits of sea vegetables on their website too.
This dish is inspired by this tamari pasta with pak choi that I blogged almost two years ago, after having first met the Clearspring team at a food show. I used Clearspring’s Sea Salad – a mix of dulse, sea lettuce and nori. It rehydrates almost instantly and is also wonderful sprinkled over a green salad with a miso dressing.
Recipe: Shiitake Mushroom and Seaweed Noodles
10 dried shiitake mushrooms – pre soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes, drained and sliced
2 bundles of noodles – cooked as per packet instructions
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
2 spring onions sliced
1 tbs tamari or dark soy sauce
1 tbs dried seaweed flakes
In a large pan fry the sliced shiitake mushrooms and spring onions in the sesame oil. When softened add the tamari and cooked noodles and stir until the noodles are coated.
Stir through the seaweed and serve immediately.
Season with extra soy sauce or tamari to taste.