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101 posts in this topic
“… and so it begins!”
Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt. As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
(of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)
Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
Wagyu: "nuff said ...
Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
Miso soup with clams ...
Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …
When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.
One of my local supermarkets recently installed a sesame seed pressing facility and is now producing sesame oil and sesame paste. Their equipment toasts and extracts the oil and the residue is turned into the paste. Of course, I bought some of each.
I have only used the oil so far. It tastes and smells more intensely than any I have bought before. The aroma also seems to last longer in a dish.
These are the white seed versions. They also do black seed oil and paste which I haven't bought yet.
Neither has any brand label - only a bar code on the back so that the check-out staff can deal with it.
I am sorely tempted to try this recipe from Carolyn Philips for celtuce with sesame oil, paste and seeds. I'll let you know how I get on with this or any other recipe. Suggestions welcome, as always.
OK so it's a bit weird, but I need help making some fake animals out of tofu.
It's for a vegetarian party, the tricky thing is i need to make it look like the real thing.
I have a mold ready to use, but it's not really oven safe.
My idea is to use a basic tofu meatloaf recipe, put it in the mold and chill it until it sets, then transfer it to the oven.
Anyone have any helpful ideas, or comments?
I'd appreciate knowing more about 'vegetarian' stocks. (The "hot soups" thread in the Indian forum got me thinking about this.)
I assume basic vegetable stock-making would involve simmering cut vegetables in water and then straining the mixture. But what about the specific combinations and proportions of vegetables, addition of herbs and spices, length of time for simmering, reduction etc.
Beside its obvious use as the base in soups, what other uses could one put this to (assuming that it doesn't possess the thickening property of the meat-based stocks)?
edit: I did try to see if this topic has been covered elsewhere, but didn't get a specific result. I'd appreciate any pointers to previous discussions, if any.
I was at the Vietnamsese shop buying rice papers for my daughter's back-to-school spring-roll dinner, when I found and bought vegetarian intestines. How shall I fix them? The packet recommends stir-frying them or putting them in soup--my daughter doesn't like soup (!), so I'd better fry them. Does anyone have a recipe, preferably SE Asian?
I thought maybe frying them with tomato, chiles, and basil would be good....
We're having the uncooked kind of spring rolls, and peanut sauce, and tomato-tofu salad for the rest of our dinner.
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