One of my favourite types of cuisine that I rarely cook at home is Japanese, which is odd considering how much I love it. If you're familiar with Japanese and Asian food - it's not all sushi. There are fantastic healthy and vegetarian options and more decadent dishes like steamed buns and glorious noodle soups.
I have tried and failed with a few cookery books, trying to recreate dishes at home and failing miserably. That is until I came across 'Cooking with Dog'. As the tag line says, 'It's not what you think'.
'Cooking with Dog' is a channel on YouTube where you will find over 100 recipes ready available and really easy to follow with full ingredients lists. All of this is over seen by a small, black Poodle named Francis who narrates the show, while his human companion, a calm Japanese lady simply known as Chef, cooks.
It sounds a little unusual right? It may seem a strange concept, but you quickly become entranced by Chef as she prepares and cooks with ease, and the narration from Francis is almost hypnotic. I find the online show terribly relaxing, compared to our highly stylised celebrity chef offerings. There are no egos here. Merely a small poodle and the Japanese Auntie you never had.
What I love about these videos is that even if I don't have all the ingredients available to me, I can easily substitute them. Plus, I am lucky enough to have several Asian food stores nearby where the prices work out way cheaper than the specialised food section in supermarkets.
Recipes that I am making a point of trying are Nikuman, a Chinese style steamed pork bun which looks wonderful, - I don't know how Francis stops himself from nabbing the bun from Chef's hands at the end of the video!
If you're looking for a way to use up any leftover Christmas turkey, or any other leftovers, try the Yakisoba Noodle recipe and just substitute the pork for your chosen meat. It also requires cabbage and carrots if you have any of those lying around the fridge. This is wonderfully warming soup and ideal for feeding a crowd as a great alternative to cold turkey sandwiches.
For a healthy seasoned salad, try Ninjin Shirishiri - a light carrot and tuna dish which would make a great accompaniment to a meal or as a light lunch.
'Cooking with Dog' has helped me to be less fearful of making Japanese food. and I also have a better understanding of food preparation and cooking techniques. Also, it just makes fantastic viewing and you soon accept the small black poodle as he patiently watches Chef as just an everyday part of cooking, especially if you are a dog owner yourself.