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Everything posted by AdrianB

  1. Hello all I apologise if this is a bit off topic but where does art end and food begin ? At Mankamero 『萬亀楼』restaurant in Kyoto there was in 2010 I think a special 'scroll' 『雪中松図屏風』 of some important on display at times. I think this is a YouTube video of it: It would be very helpful to know roughly the significance of this piece and how it relates to Mankamero and their very long history (1722). My very basic Japanese is not helping me at all. Kind regards Adrian
  2. Thank you for the helpful replies. The problem was only experienced at Kikinoi and other more modern places. No problem at Mankamerou (one of my personal favourites in Kyoto especially the 'ryo-ryori').
  3. Good day all What is the etiquette when it comes to being unable to finish a kaiseki meal (when it gets to the rice course)? Often I've found myself unable to eat more than a token amount (as I am very full). Is it acceptable to do this or am I 'obligated' to eat more and accept as it's offered? Is there a way to avoid embarassement or awkwardness in this situation? What do the locals do? Kind regards Adrian
  4. Makaibari Tea Estate 'Silver Tips Imperial'.
  5. Thank you for the welcome. I enjoy a broad range of tea - the hardest problem is finding reliable, quality suppliers locally. The Internet is certainly helping that but Australia is a smaller market. The purveyors of tea locally are fine for your average leaf but finding anything more interesting or of higher quality (or freshness when appropriate) is tricky. Importing direct from the estates or tea-growing countries seems to be the best bet. Some friends also have a few very special Oolongs from Taiwan they bring in (Oshmanthus Autumn etc. from an estate I always forget the name of!). Green, black, white or in between doesn't bother me depending on the mood and situation. Favourites include: pu-erh (especially after a rich meal), gyokoro from Kyoto - but watch out for the caffeine; and Darjeeling of all sorts. Oolong is very special but I know so little of it apart from the one mentioned earlier; also great memories of great cups in Korea and Singapore with tea-loving hosts. As for the Makaibari Tea Estate Bai-mu-Dan, it's not an expensive tea ($2.50USD for 25g) but offers a refined rustic honesty I find pleasing when I seek a delicate drink. You can find out more about Makaibari at: http://makaibari.com/ . I look forward to reading this forum, learning plenty and sharing what I can.
  6. Too loud is very annoying. At a pub I don't mind a little noise / music but not at a restaurant! There's a few places I frequent only in quiet periods (lunch mid-week et) just to avoid the deafening levels on a Fri/Sat night.
  7. Makaibari Tea Estate (Darjeeling) Bai-mu-Dan (white tea). 80oC, 9 minutes first infusion, subsquents longer. No trace of bitterness. Golden, ethereal and a delight. Not sure it's going to help my beauty however!
  8. You may also like to visit: http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/ - that's the bustling Mark Squires Bulletin Board on eRobertParker. It's full of wine buffs and plenty of New York folk with a love for grower Champagne and plenty more.
  9. Do you know what the grade of the beef is? With striploin I either: a) Slice finely (3mm slices aprox.) and grill for the briefest of times on charcoal both sides. Add a pinch of sea salt, squeeze of lemon and you're in wagyu heaven. b) Slice into 6cm (circa 2") portions and grill for 2 minutes each side on charcoal (I'm sure a broiler would do in a pinch). Rest in a warm spot for 5 mins. Sprinkle with sea salt. Slice and serve with lemon wedge on the side. You may need to experiment with the thicker grilling - non-fullblood wagyu seems to cook slower than full blood and lower grades (less than 9+) need a little more.
  10. Home made steamed buns (boa zi) filled with spiced pork and beansprouts with a side of long beans with sesame sauce. It sure beats cereal!
  11. I believe in the USA the gas used for BBQs is 100% propane. In Australia the fuel can vary from 100% propane to 100% butane depending on the source. If you visit: You'll see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propane "North American barbecue grills powered by propane cannot be used overseas.[citation needed] The "propane" sold overseas is actually a mixture of propane and butane. The warmer the country, the higher the butane content, commonly 50/50 and sometimes reaching 75% butane. Usage is calibrated to the different-sized nozzles found in non-U.S. grills.[citation needed] Americans who take their grills overseas — such as military personnel — can find U.S.-specification propane at AAFES military post exchanges." Depending on your grill will depend on if it's worth dragging over. The BBQ industry here isn't as big as the USA but there's readily available things such as Green Eggs as well as local varients. I'd suggest considering charcoal if you're interested. The gas powered BBQs here can have a bitter edge when used for grilling... but then again I eat plenty of grilled gas food which is good *shrug*
  12. This is the same brand / type of Japanese soy sauce that I use at home! It's unpasteurised.
  13. One of the big differences between Australia and New Zealand is the produce. Australian Lamb is entirely different than NZ Lamb. Australian Lamb has more smell and is often leander (not always a good thing). NZ Lamb is more European - the emphasis is on fat and texture. I prefer the taste of Australian lamb but prefer the texture of NZ lamb. Seafood is also quite different. Australia's seas are quite poor in fish population considering it's huge coastline (old soils = little nutrients) broadly speaking. The fish species have in plentitude we don't eat much of as it's exported to Asia and US. The most common fish we eat is often farmed non-indigenous species like Atlantic Salmon! There are local species of fish in the southern states which are delicious and don't travel well so thankfully we get to enjoy: King George Whiting, Coorong Mullet etc. As for what separates the cooking - I think nothing except local taste and culture. A great NZ Chef who cooked in Sydney would probably produce similar things as a Sydney chef. The local produce is what determines the style as well as what the punters want to eat.
  14. Got my hands on some green rocklobster tails and went Singaporean Chinese style: > Stir fried several dried chillies until just starting to brown, added crush gloves of garlic (around 6), added slices of rocklobster tail in shell and fried until shells turned slightly red. Added 2 cups water, teaspoon chilli fermented black beans, bit of salt and sprinkling of sugar and a bit of cornstarch slurry to thicken. Stired to coat all evently and covered wok to allow tails to cook until shells bright red (about 4 minutes). Once cooked, added a splash of rice wine vinegar (but I might use Japanese ume-vinegar next time!) to bring out the aromatics. Added sliced green onion and snowpeas for some green and colour. Added egg to make threads through dish. Seaweed soup, rice and some pickles rounded it out.
  15. I was my rice until the water runs almost clear (put it in a sieve over a bowl and the lost water is used on the garden). I then rub handfuls of rice for a few minutes to polish a little bit and rinse again. It gives a nice shine to the rice when it's finally cooked. It also feels nice
  16. The shiso leaf was green and very pungent. I'm not sure of the type, it was labelled as "Japanese Basil" from the Chinese-run market stall. The leaves were medium-dark green. It was definitely the same shiso leaf as I've eaten in Japan (and Korea) but it was a little tougher if you chewed it directly. The shiso rice was made by cooking the rice as per usual (but with extra salt, a little bit of sake). Once the rice was cooked, the shiso leaf was chopped up fine, salted and left for 10-15 minutes. Excess juice squeeze out and then the leaves added to the rice and stirred through with a wooden paddle. I also used the some left over shiso leaf to fragrance boiling water for the hot towels through the meal.
  17. Yes, it was daikon (with shoyu poured on top). The leaves in the icebowl were from "marigold" flower (three per bowl). The flower was also a "marigold" used for decoration on the fish. I made sure the fish was facing left (and the skewer was on the hidden side).
  18. The lunch has been and it was a very big success! I was a little un-traditional and had a centrepiece of purple irses and yellow lillies. Placemates were made to look like leaves. The final menu and a few pictures:- ~ Hiya-yakko - cold tofu topped with salmon roe eggs and nori. ~ Avocado sashimi, fried squid legs with citrus, fresh edamame. ~ Suimono - Clear soup with cockles ~ Tataki of Atlantic salmon, swordfish and scallop (the fish was very fresh but I wanted to sear the fish quickly for extra safety for my parents) ~ Yakimono: Charcoal salt-grilled King George Whiting fish ~ Sunomono: Cucumber, wakame and squid. ~ Hiyashi-bachi: Simmered eggplant, okra, baby squash. ~ Shiso/Perilla leaf Gohan, red miso soup and tsukemono ~ Cantaloupe, flame grape and clear jelly All washed down with Hakkaisan and shade-grown green tea from Kyoto (with rice and beyond). The photos don't look very good - they were using a little Canon as my main camera had flat batteries! The shots were taken in the kitchen so please excuse the mess. I did not manage to make the daikon sashimi garnish properly and my cutting was not very expert - I need more practice! Thank you to all for your help... I hope to get better.
  19. Concerning o-tsukemono, after reviewing Helen's helpful blog and the recent post about tuskemono I think I'll make: Kyuuri no kyu-chan Posted by Hiroyuki Ingredients: 1 to 1.2 kg cucumbers 50 g ginger White sesame seeds Seasonings: 150 g sugar 300 cc soy sauce 50 cc mirin 50 cc vinegar How to make: <1> Cut cucumbers into 1- to 2-cm length pieces, sprinkle salt, leave for 30 minutes, squeeze. <2> Put finely-cut ginger and all seasonings in a pan, boil for 1 to 2 minutes, put cucumbers, and boil for 2 minutes on high heat. <3> Let cool, mix with sesame seeds, put in refrigerator. Momi-zuke Posted by Helen. About 1 tsp coarse salt for 1/8 of a cabbage. Cut the cabbage into shreds or peices, as you like. Add other vegetables such as wakame or 1/2 a Japanese cucumber or a chunk of daikon, sliced finely (add a little more salt if using a fair amount). Add shreds of fresh ginger or green shiso leaves if you like. Rub in salt. Cut a lemon into quarters vertically and add 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon, finely sliced. Add to mix, put whole thing in a ziplock bag, and toss in fridge for 10 minutes...or half a day... Squeeze gently, toss, and serve. Dress with a little soy sauce or ponzu (soy/citrus juice mix) if desired. Daikon Osaka Zuke posted by Moga Weigh your peeled daikon and measure 2% of the weight in salt (i.e. if you have 300 gms of daikon you need 6 gms salt). Cut the daikon lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices and chop these slices into matchsticks. Soften a dried chilli in warm water and remove seeds, slice it thinly. Put the daikon and chilli together in a container and mix with the salt. Put a weight on top and let it stand for 2 hours. After this, drain the container and squeeze out any excess liquid from the daikon, put it back in the container. Cut up a 4 inch slice of konbu. Place the konbu on top of the daikon, replace the weight on top, daikon will be ready to eat 1-2 hours later. This should give three interesting contrasts. Vinegared cucumber, cabbage + wakame, and daikon (in half moon cut). I'm just trying to now get everything ready and planned... I'll try to take photos and share it with eGullet once it's done!
  20. Thank you very much Hiroyuki, Helen and Erin. Sake will wait until zensai is served. Is a very small 'lid' of plum wine before the zensai is served acceptable? At Kikunoi (Kyoto) (or it may have been Hamadaya (Tokyo) this was done in a waiting/side room before being seated - of course with "kampai". Concerning presentation - the use of flowers, leaves, paper will be important. The Joy of Japanese Cooking by Kuwako Takahashi has some very nice examples, suggestions and traditional cuts/garnishes which I will try to follow. And the inspiration that has been provided elsewhere on this thread and eGullet is also a big help. I've found out my parents have no time restriction for this lunch so I will serve each dish separately which will give more time to focus on each dish. I am now thinking:- Zensai: Hiya-yakko - cold tofu topped with salmon roe eggs and sliced nori. Zuchini flower filled with diced avacado. Fried baby squid leg with citrus. Suimono: Clear soup with clams (cockles) and ginger juice. With lid. Japanese lacquerware soup bowl. Sashimi: Ocean trout, tuna and scallop resting on shredded daikon in a bowl made of ice. Wasabi and soy sauce provided. Yakimono: Charcoal salt-grilled King George Whiting fish (or Garfish depending on what's best). Grated daikon and shoyu on side. This would be skewed "as if it's swimming". Sunomono: Cucumber, wakame and squid. Hiyashi-bachi: Simmered eggplant, green beans, raddish. Gohan: Mame-Gohan. Peas are very good now. I'll cook the rice with peas with a bit of sake and konbu. Otsuyu: Is another clear soup OK here or is it better to go with a miso? I was thinking a clear soup with lobster, scallion and carrot. Tsukemono: I need some help here - can anyone recommend some pickles than can be made within 72 hours? Daikon, celery, okra, zuchhini, egglpant are all good here now. The pickles I can buy from Japanese stores are OK but not in suiting with a more formal meal (bright purple eggplant!) Mizumono: Rockmelon (cantaloupe). How do you pronounce "deshita" as in "Gochisousama deshita"? I say 'Gochisousama' at a Yakitori-bar here and they find it very funny. Is this too polite for a Yakitori bar?
  21. I do not have much in the way of plates for presentation at the moment. I like an eclectic or varied mix of things and will choose based on my preference. We have a few Japanese-shops that sell Japanese ceramics from various parts of Japan from famous and new artists. But also, I think some European cut-glass which you can find sometimes at antique shops or second-hand stores can be very nice for this kind of thing. There is some lovely kutani porcelain sake cups and bottles (tokuri?) but that's no good for the hot weather this time of year. I think with the meal it will be with sake (jumai daiginjo... maybe Hakkaisan) or o-cha (probably a nice shade grown sencha from Kyoto).
  22. Hello all In Australia it's now summer and I'm hoping to serve a lunch with parents (on both sides of the family) to celebrate the season and open there eyes to the wonder of Japanese food and balance. I am no expert and nothing more than an enthusiast and seek advice from more experienced persons. Partially inspired by "smallworld" and his/her post in 2003, I've settled on serving a meal roughly derived from the philosophy of "kaiseki" but served more in the manner of a multi-course bento (but without the box!). I'm not sure about the table setting. What I have is a dark mahogany table. I'd like to bring a sense of summer to it somehow. I'd prefer placemats of some description vs. table cloth. The courses and general presentation concept: First: hiya-yakko - cold tofu topped with salmon roe eggs and sliced nori. Served in a cut-glass dish. Is this too odd... perhaps something more classic? Second: Suimono - clear soup with clams (cockles). Served in open ceramic bowl. Third: Sashimi - single slice of ocean trout, tuna and scallop resting on shredded daikon in a bowl made of ice. Wasabi and soy sauce provided. Perhaps, all sashimi together in one large ice bowl for the centre of the table and people take what they like onto individual plates? Fourth: I'd like to bring the main part of the meal together for simplicity. Was planning to arrange five dishes on a lacquered tray: 1. Front left – cold noodles (hiyashi chuka) 2. Front right - Sunomono (wakame, squid, cubumber) - small wooden bowl 3. Back left - Nasubi no Nimono 4. Back centre – Fried oyster 5. Back right – Unagi Kabayaki Fifth: Fresh fruit - being summer there's a bounty. Perhaps rock melon (cantaloupe) or honeydew melon. Any advice or suggestions on changes/substitutions, presentation, serving order etc. is greatly appreciated. I do have access to some really good flash-frozen green lip abalone which could be sake steamed - would this work or is live required (which is possible but a long drive)? Kind regards Adrian
  23. Also made this one over the weekend. I used "long beans" and cooked it less than recommended for the string beans (but still until blistery). It was very delicious and the best version I've eaten after trying this dish in many places. I double the amount of chilli for some kick! The zha choi (榨菜) I bought came in a tin from brand "Great Wall". Inside the tin was three whole of the stems (bulbs?). The tin was dry and contained no liquid. I only used part of the smallest one. I'm hoping I can keep the remaining zha choi OK for a week in a plastic 'sandwich' bag in the fridge? I didn't remove the chilli powder it was coated in as it wasn't too hot and the zha choi wasn't salty enough to need soaking. It seems similar to kim chi (but drier as it's not in a liquid bath) and it should keep ok?
  24. Thanks for the step-by-step guide again. Made this one the weekend with fresh shucked oysters... over the top perhaps but it was delicious. Quite tricky getting the oyster coated lightly in the cornflour without it getting soggy. Definitely a quick task to get the perfect "light" fried texture. Flavour and texture was harmonious and I didn't even miss the chilli. Definitely one I'll make again...
  25. For other, the dish usually looks something like this: I ended up making it on the weekend. The taste was right but I'd prefer a stronger pickle taste (and the marinated tofu was too doughy). Perhaps I need to marinate my own? I prefer the flavour of 'Zha cai' (榨菜) over the 'Ma ling' I ended up using. Obviously it's a simple dish than can be tailored to individual preference.
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