DINE WITH US – Festive starters infused with Japanese flavours.

As part of our "Dine With Us" series, London-based food writer Mizue Kanazawa shares two delightful recipes for easy entertaining.

Persimmon and Watercress with Sesame Sauce

Serves 4

Indulge in an elegantly light and refreshing course, striking the ideal balance alongside rich, traditional Christmas cooking.


  • 40g watercress
  • 1 persimmon
  • 1 tbsp dashi (Japanese soup stock). If you can’t get this use cooking sake or water instead
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds


  • Chop the watercress into 3cm lengths.
  • Peel the persimmon and slice into 5mm pieces.
  • For the sesame sauce, mix dashi, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame seeds.
  • Spoon a bit of sesame sauce into each serving glass (reserve some for topping). Arrange watercress and persimmon, topping with the reserved sauce just before serving.


Smoked Mackerel and Cream Cheese Canapés

Enough to make 8 crackers.

Experience a bitesize Christmas classic with a Japanese twist.


  • 50g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi
  • 40g smoked mackerel
  • 10g ginger, finely cut into strips
  • Nori seaweed, torn
  • 8 crackers of your choice (sourdough crackers recommended)


  • Peel off mackerel skin, breaking it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Mix together the mackerel and cream cheese, soy sauce, spring onion, and wasabi.
  • Spread the mixture on the crackers, then top with nori seaweed, ginger and extra spring onion if you like.

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