THE art of Zen is practiced all over Japan. This way of living, which has its origins in the Mahayana Buddhism of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, includes self- restraint and deep meditation, making the body a temple to all things good, calming and wholesome.
Sushi For Amateurs
Ingredients (serves 4) 250g sushi rice 2 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar 1 tsp caster sugar 4 sheets nori seaweed 16 king prawns, defrosted if frozen ¼ cucumber, cut into thin sticks Method Rinse the sushi rice and place in a pan. Pour over the water.
Bring to bubbling, then simmer gently until the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Watch the water levels so the pan doesn’t dry out and burn on the bottom. Stir occasionally.
Alternatively, use a rice cooker, following the instructions for sushi rice.
When the rice is cooked, stir in vinegar and sugar. Leave to cool completely.
To make the sushi, cut the nori sheets in half lengthways. Each sheet makes two rolls per person.
Take one half sheet and place some rice at the top narrow end. Pat it out evenly to cover about one third of the sheet.
Halve prawns lengthways. Arrange prawn halves and cucumber sticks lengthways across the width of the sheet, on top of the rice.
Carefully roll the nori sheet up tightly, to enclose rice and fillings.
Dampen edge of sheet to secure. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make eight rolls.
Rolls can now be eaten straight away or wrapped tightly in clingfilm and chilled till ready to use.
Serve with a pot of soy sauce for dipping and some kimchi or pickled ginger and wasabi sauce, as preferred.
Banana and Pineapple Salad with Sweet Sour Dressing
Ingredients (serves 4) 1/2 ripe pineapple 1 ripe mango 4 bananas 2 tbsp runny honey Juice and zest of 2 lemons Dried coconut flakes for decoration (optional) Method Peel and core pineapple halve and cut flesh into slivers. Place in a serving bowl.
Peel and stone the mango by holding the fruit flat on a board and running the blade of a sharp knife horizontally against the large flat stone.
Turn over to repeat on other side then slice off any remaining flesh on the stone.
Cut mango flesh into slices and to pineapple in bowl.
Finally. peel and slice bananas on the diagonal. Add to bowl.
Heat honey lemon juice and zest over low heat till honey is runny.
Pour over fruit in bowl and toss. Add a little more honey to taste if necessary.
Leave to infuse for 10 minutes before serving in bowls with dried coconut flakes scattered over for decoration.