SALMON NAMEROU – Another Tataki

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Tataki is one of the Japanese cooking methods. Here in Australia, “beef Tataki” or “tuna tataki” are very common, which is that a piece of protein is seared and the inside is almost raw.

However, today, I would like to introduce another Tataki. This Tataki includes a completely different cooking technique from the seared Tataki. Tataki means “beat” or “slap” in Japanese. To make this Tataki, you need to beat the ingredients with 2 knives (that’s why it’s called Tataki!). And, when you mix the beated version of Tataki with miso, it’s called Namerou.

I cooked my Salmon Namerou for The Chef’s Line, along with my seared Beef Tataki… Well…, Executive Chef Dan Hong seems to not have enjoyed this dish as much as I do…. But I am still a big believer in this dish. Maybe you can try it out and to see if you enjoy the dish as much as I do?

 

Ingredients  (Serving 2-4)

120g of Salmon Fillet ( Sashimi grade, deboned, skin off

1 + 1/2 Teaspoons of Red miso (japanese shinshu red miso)

2 Teaspoons of Soy sauce

1cm cube of Ginger – finely chopped

1 Spring Onion – finely chopped

Method:

  1. Cut up Salmon and Ginger into very small pieces with 2 knives on a chopping board.
  2. Mix the salmon with other ingredients until it becomes sticky,
  3. Serve the salmon in lettuce cups (optional)

 

 

This is how to chop the Salmon!daaaa!!

 

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Lotus Root Kimpira – Renkon no Kinpira

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I was so excited to find fresh Lotus Roots in a shot the other day. In Japan, Lotus Roots are very common and can be purchased throughout the seasons. Since they are so common over there, to be honest, I did not know when Lotus Roots were in season before…, whoops….

Why am I so exited? It is because not only they are rare to find here in Australia, but they are also my father’s favourite vegetable. Especially this recipe, Lotus Roots Kimpira, was his favourite veggie dish. When I cooked it for him, I remember him praising me saying “Yours is better than your mum’s”. which was the best praise you could get from him.

In the shop, I put a small fresh Lotus Root in my basket without hesitation, just to make this dish. I went to the cashier and realised that the small lady cost me $9.00…. Well…, there was no option for me not to buy it, but I felt just little nostalgic….

Here is my father’s favourite recipe. Really hope you enjoy it.

 

Ingredients (Serving 4 as a side dish)

300g Lotus Root (Renkon) – peeled and sliced into thin rounds. Soak the slices in water for 5 minutes. This is to avoid them discolouring.

15ml Dashi stock

2 Tablespoons of Cooking Sake

½ Tablespoon of Sugar

½ Tablespoon of Mirin

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Seeds

 

Method:

  1. Drain and dry the Lotus slices with paper towels. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the ingredients’ lost above) in a fry pan on medium heat. Stir-fry the Lotus for a couple of minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add Dashi Stock, Cooking Sake, Sugar and Mirin. Cooking them for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid is half gone.
  3. Add Soy Sauce and cook them for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid is almost gone.
  4. Turn heat off and sprinkle Sesame Seeds over the lotus. It can be served both warm and cold.

 

 

His Birthday Weekend – 2017

January 2017. It was a busy and interesting start to the year. After eating and drinking throughout the festive period, we headed to Adelaide to celebrate our father (my father-in-law)’s 70th birthday. We came back and moved to a new apartment and then we headed to Sydney separately. It was for business for my husband, and for me it was a kind of business/leisure/experimentation. Time flew and we realised that the weekend was truly the last weekend of this month.

I have enjoyed this crazy month, but the worst thing was that he had to have the business trip on his birthday. Yes I normally do a “Birthday Week” for me, but I thought it is fair to apply this concept to my poor husband this year.

Thursday: I baked his birthday cake.

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I tried to bake this one….

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/chocolate-mousse-cake/d12b92e5-d1ef-4fd7-8d62-1e4462047424?r=recipes/top10chocolatecakerecipes&c=1080a64b-a5e8-4567-a50c-265eeb0d4439/Top%2010%20chocolate%20cake%20recipes

Well, we just moved here and I haven’t made friends with the oven yet. It was cooked too long and the centre was not particularly “mousse”…. A recovery was made by the Coffee Mascarpone frosting. I added a magic ingredient – BRANDY!

We went shopping and bought a few things which he wanted. You know what? I did not buy anything for myself. All were for him! Then, we went to the Australia Day Function at Fraser’s but it was unfortunately cancelled. It was quite surreal to see that kind of thing in real time.

Friday: we unfortunately had to go to work, but a good thing was that it was already the weekend. His birthday cake was well received at his work (thanks to the magic ingredient), which was good to hear. For dinner, I cooked Crispy Salmon. Of course, we opened a bottle of red. We just enjoyed a relaxing dinner together which we had not had for a while.

Saturday: Today I was his responsible chauffeur. The destination was Swan Valley. The first stop was Riverbank Winery for his birthday lunch. It was a hot day so we decided to order a bottle of bubble called “White Diamond”. It was pretty nice and we bought 3 bottles. We visited a few wineries after that, and at Houghton (where he found his “Today’s Favourite”), the waiter recommended “Mann Winery” for sparkling wine. This winery only sells 1 think – sparkling, and opens only for 6 months from August. There was no doubt why we had never been there before. When we arrived there, the door was closed so we rang the bell as per the instructions on the entrance door. Mr Mann came out and let us in. the cellar door was a lovely small wooden hut and smelt like a mixture of wine and timber. I loved the smell!. It was not fancy or anything but we loved the authenticity. He told us about his family story: how this place and his wine were established. The sparkling itself was tasty. The colour is slightly pink. We purchased 6 bottles.

Sunday: Well…, the day did not go as well as we planned (e.g. unsuccessful breakfast at Leederville, traffic to the grocery shopping etc.), but we still had a relaxing day. Furthermore, for me, it was just nice to have a normal Sunday after our unusual days.

I hope he enjoyed his birthday weekend as much as I did.

Happy New Year – 2017

Happy New Year. Wising everyone peace, health and a lot of joy throughout the year.

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Again I prepared Osechi. It takes time but it is very rewarding. Most of all, it is delicious…. I love Japanese traditional food.

Menu:

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Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon and carrot)

Ebino Umani (prawns cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin)

Gomame/Tazukuri (dried sardines caramelised with sugar and soy sauce)

Nishime (simmered vegetables)

Kurikinton (chestnuts and sweet potatoes paste)

Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

 

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Koya-dofu (simmered dried tofu)

Simmered Shiitake

Konbu Maki (rolled kelp)

Kuromame (Simmered black beans)

Ozoni (soup with mochi/rice cake)

Grilled Miso Marinaded Salmon

Although Osechi is traditionally meant to be eaten for 3 days from the new year’s day, it did not work like that for us. Most of them are gone now…. They were just so tasty and we (mostly I) kept nibbled them with a glass of white wine!

Well, after the festive season, my stomach certainly became bigger…. I reckon that it is time for me to restart my exercise habit….

How to enjoy Christmas

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Last year, I said that we enjoy Christmas, rather celebrate it. This year, I would like to write how we do that.

For me, enjoyment has to include good food, nice wine and wonderful company. I have already sorted my company out – my husband, the best company I could ever imagine.

So, for food and wine, this is what we got for Christmas. Please note that this is for 2 people.

List of Goodies:

5kg leg of ham

4 kg block of beef scotch fillet

3kg of frozen tiger prawns

A fillet of salmon with its head and flame

Some small goods (blue cheese, pecorino cheese, Italian prosciutto, hot Hungarian salami, chicken liver pate)

Some slices of smoky bacon

2 bottles of procecco

6 bottles of chardonnay – “ Floris” from Domain Naturalist, my current favourite

12 bottles of red – my husband’s choice

 

This is how we enjoyed:

The 23rd: Christmas lunch at work. Salmon Sashimi for a snack at home followed by my husband’s colleague’s house warming party. Her hummus was delicious!

Christmas Eve: Crispy grilled Salmon head and frame for lunch. After that, we went on a night movie picnic with our friends at UWA – PIAF movie (“Julieta” by Petro Almodovar) with Sushi Rolls (made by me) and some small goods with a bottle of procecco. I like Petro Almodovar movies, but we agreed that Julieta was not his best.

Christmas Day: We woke up and opened the Christmas presents. Smoky bacon and egg + salad for breakfast by my husband. After a walk at City Beach, a bottle of bubbles was opened with some cheese, pate and ham. I made Aji Salsa and Lupin Hummus for nibbling. We continued to drink and nibble. Dinner was my husband’s speciality – Roast Beef with gravy, with a side of salad. Desert was a slice of Christmas cake with vanilla ice cream. I baked the cake a month ago and had been feeding it with brandy and white chocolate port (Gralyn Estate, Margaret River). Look at this juicy cake! The cake recipe is from https://www.thehealthychef.com/2014/11/a-healthy-christmas-cake/

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Boxing Day: We woke up (still) full, but ate the left-over salad anyway. We went to swim at City Beach – it was still very rough but manageable. After a swim, a bottle of bubbles was opened with prawns. We continued to drink. Dinner was the left-over Roast Beef with gravy, with a side of salad followed by the Christmas cake with ice cream.

The 27th: I went to dance practice in the morning. Well done me! I came back and had some slices of hams and lupin hummus with a slice of bread. We went for walk to the city and had a glass of bubbles, while my “good” husband had a cup of coffee. While he was cooking for dinner, I watched “About Time” (by Richard Curtis) again with a couple glasses of “Floris”. I love this movie. Dinner was ham and tomato soup. It was delicious. According to my husband, we will go on a soup diet for the rest of the week. Good idea.

The left-over beef, salmon fillets and prawns are in the freezer, small goods are left in the fridge, and I have no doubt that they will be gone soon. The leg of ham would be the only actual “left-over”, but it can be used as a soup stock. Wines? Ha! It is not an issue.

Well…. I just realised that I wanted to write how I enjoy Christmas, but, this sounds like just a list of what we ate over Christmas…. I have to admit though, I had a wonderful time.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas season. Now I have to work on Osechi for New Year.

So many “ME”…. Tablao Night at Casa del Compas – 6 August 2016

Photos @mareelaffan

My husband always says to me that my emotional ups and downs are erratic. I did not believe, or if he were right, I was confident that it did not cause any trouble for him. At least I thought this way until recently.

My flamenco teacher converts her dance studio to “Tablao” (a bar/restaurant where flamenco shows are on) 3-4 times a year. She welcomes any flamenco dancers to perform at her Tablao. Performing flamenco, especially at Tablao, is like a jazz session between the singer, guitarist and dancer, and the dancer is a sort of playing the role of conductor. For me as a trainee dancer, this is a scary but wonderful opportunity as you can imagine.  – “Excited Naoko”

“I have done it before, and I will do it again”, I thought. This time, Solea – beautiful dance which we had been working on in the class last year. Solea is apparently from the word of “Solidad” – Solitude, so it is not a happy dance. The chorography that my teacher gave us is really beautiful. It is like you are in a dark place looking for something to get out of it. When you think you have found it, you feel like you will lose it again. But in the end, you don’t care anymore and just go for it. I don’t know what the actual choro means but, this is what I felt and this is how I dance.  – “Arty Naoko”

There was just one concern. This dance is shockingly difficult. The footwork is ridiculous in the Solea’s slow tempo which makes me easily lose in the compas (like rhythm in flamenco terms). The difficult steps keep coming one after another in a different form and there is no place where I can be relaxed during the 15 minutes dance. On top of the pressure of working with professional musicians, a huge anxiety hit me. After a couple of bad rehearsals, all I could do was sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 every day, as I did not need to think of anything while I slept. – “Stressed Naoko”

However, after all, it is me- positive in nature to the end. It was the morning of Tablao, what could I do? Coincidently, the day was the 6th of August – an important day for us Japanese. I knew what I dance for on this special day. When I thought about it, my mind was sent and ready. – “Determined Naoko”

Yes it was not perfect. Yes there were still many things to develop. But I certainly enjoyed performing on the day. The musicians and palmeras (who make percussion-sound by clapping hands) were creating this vibe which is “THE” flamenco. I was just so happy to be able to perform with them and create this vibe together. I really hope that it delivered to the audience and that they enjoyed it as much as I did.  – “Happy Naoko”

I really appreciate my teacher, my fellow dancers and the musicians. They were wonderfully tolerant with me, encouraged me and helped me a lot. And of course to my husband, yep now I admit my emotional ups and downs, and he is the one who had to handle “ME”s. Hope he does not mind going through this again with me.

And a Special thanks to Maree Laffan – a wonderful photographer who captured the moment. I actually look like “Solea” there, don’t I?

My Birthday Week – August 2016

Day 1 – Wednesday

Wednesday is my flamenco day. My teacher is very kind and brings a bottle of bubbles if someone’s birthday falls on the day of the class. The first year I did not know the tradition so I just said thank you and enjoyed the kindness. The second year, it was during a workshop (my favorite La Chica!). When I was leaving, they sang Happy Birthday for me. It was really lovely. This year was my third year at this school, so I thought I should prepare. I brought a bottle to enjoy with my flamenco people. After class, we stayed to have a glass of bubbles. It was a lovely, intimate and relaxing time we spent in the middle of the week.

Day 2 – Thursday

Thursday is my ballet day. I started ballet 6 months ago just to help my dance technique – core strength, balance and furthermore to learn how to turn. To be honest, it is not much fun as I do not know what I am doing in the class…. At least what I can do is not drink at dinner and show up at the class every week. So no glass of bubbles for me this day….. But I was proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation!

Day 3 – Friday

This day was my real birthday. My day started with a chocolate biscuit with salted caramel cream and hot chocolate for morning tea. Not a bad start at all. Dinner was sushi at the best Japanese restaurant here – our home. Tonight the chef was my husband. He visited 2 different fish shops on the way home and got my favorites; Coffin Bay Oysters, Tasmanian Salmon, its head and frame, Canadian Scallops and cooked Tiger Prawns.

We started with Coffin Bay Oysters and a glass of cava as entrée. While I was preparing rice for sushi, he prepared all fish for nigiri sushi. Salmon’s head and frame were salted and went to the oven until they became crispy (200 ◦C for 40 mins). AAAAHHHH! Just loved to surround by real food! To be honest, I strongly believe that we cannot find any better in Perth. By dinner time the table filled with sushi, we opened the second bottle – bubbly red. Yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

Day 4 – Saturday

After cleaning the house and doing the laundry, we went for a bike ride to Kings Park. The wild flowers had started blooming here and there. It was beautiful. At the café, my husband ordered me a cup of maccha latte. It was a lovely gesture from him! After a little bit of nap, we headed to Co-Op Dining (http://co-opdining.com.au/) in East Perth for dinner. The restaurant focuses on local produce which is organic and bio-dynamic (Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture). We tried the 5 course degustation with matching wines. All dished were fresh and delicious. I especially liked the first dish – raw vegetables (cauliflower, radish, kabu radish, parsnip) with rhubarb puree and the desert. My husband liked the slow cooked egg yolk with carrot puree topped with puffed buckwheat and garlic chops, and the slow cooked kangaroo tail. The down side was the appearance and décor. Although it was located in a nice area, we could see it was a renovated office. The service was friendly, but not pro. Some were poorly explained (e.g. the first dish was supposed to be eaten by hand but it was not explained, Kabu was introduced as Japanese radish etc). This place was certainly a wonderful bistro, not fine dining though. Having said that, we loved the food and wine. All wines were so nice and unique we had never seen them before.

Day 5 – Sunday

As my husband went to see AFL, I decided to do what I like. A bottle of bubbles was opened at 2pm. I called my mother to chat, ‘line’d with my friends in Japan and watched Osaka’s comedy shows. And most importantly, doing nothing! My husband might call me lazy but why not?! A bottle of bubbles, family and friends and laughing out loud made me happy and was the best way to finish my celebration.