For me, a bad food day is akin to thirty bad hair days or three days of cold showers; I strenuously avoid them. Which is why I keep my cupboards stocked with everyday tins, packets and jars that I can combine to create dishes that are much more than the sum of their parts.
In my kitchen, even having no money in the run-up to pay-day is no excuse for a week of cheese toasties, stir-fries and beans on toast – those student days are well behind me. These days, I’m all about quick, healthy and inspiring platefuls of food – so it pays to get organised before this month’s wages run out.
Now, I understand that ingredients such as nori sheets and sushi rice might seem a touch lah-di-dah, but I promise they are legitimate store-cupboard staples. Just like when you make a curry for the first time and have to stump up for all those spices, if you invest in sushi basics when you’re flush, they will sit in your kitchen quite happily for months and outlast many a pay-day.
Juan and I have only recently started making sushi (and badly, might I add), but it is fun, quick (if you cook and cool the rice in advance), and surprisingly easy. Plus, salty nori and hot wasabi make even the lamest fillings taste fab – from odds and ends scraped together from the vegetable crisper to smoked mackerel and even leftover curry. You don’t even need to turn on the oven.
- 200g sushi rice
- 1 tbsp sushi vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1-2 tsp wasabi paste, plus extra to serve
- 4 sheets nori
- ½ avocado, stone and skin removed, julienned
- ¼ cucumber, peeled, julienned
- ½ red pepper, seeds removed, julienned
- soy sauce, to serve
- Cover the sushi rice in 400ml of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Pour over the vinegar, sprinkle over the sugar and stir, then set aside to cool. Once cool, chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- When the rice is chilled, smear a little wasabi horizontally along each piece of nori, about one-quarter of the way up the sheets.
- Use your hands to mould the cooked rice into a sausage at the same level as the wasabi paste.
- Arrange a line each of avocado, cucumber and pepper just above the rice.
- Roll each nori sheet up and cut into pieces (use a sharp knife).
- Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.