Shrimp & clam Ramen & Gyoza class

 

The menu was;

Seafood Ramen with shrimp, clam & Japanese Dashi soup stock

Seafood Gyoza with shrimp & vegetables

spinach with sesame sauce

No chicken, pork but lots of seafood!  My guest couple from Ohio, USA,  really surprised me that they are enjoying various fish including Bonito & Hamachi (young yellow tail tuna) as Sashimi back home, thanks to a local seafood market with a good selection of seafood.

But it was their first time to handle the Katsuo bushi,  Smoked Bonito in a whole piece. Here they are shredding a piece of dry Bonito at my place. It looks like a wooden kitchen utensil but it is a half body of Bonito, who could have weighed more than 2kg when he was in the ocean.

My guest couple also tried another very Japanese ingredient called Niboshi/ dried sardins.  For soup stock, I rip off the head and soaked them in water, then simmer.  But we also enjoy eating them as it is, a very good snack for your bones if you care. My guests crunched a piece of Niboshi and actually liked them OK, which pleased me a lot of course!

It was a gloomy rainy day but just perfect for a cookig class event, inside home and lots of good smells!

I hope my guest liked their experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

Seafood & Nuka-zuke class

The menu was seafood(Swordfish & Salmon) Nanban-zuke, eggplant with sweet Miso sauce, fresh seasonal Bonito marinade with garlic & ginger, Miso soup with fried Tofu and Choy Sum greens.

At this class, I welcomed young Swedish boys from Stockholm, a couple from Chicago, USA and a Canadian traveller from Ottawa .

A lady from US is very knowledgeble about fermented foods and she is making her own Kimchee, Sauerkraut etc. Naturally she was very interested in our fermented pickles i.e. Tsukemono. I was very happy to have a chance to show my Nuka bed and  we all tasted my Nuka Zuke-ed cucumbers and carrots.

A gentleman from Canada asked me what kind of wood chips Japanese use in making Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito). That was an unusual question but later he turned out to be a semi-professional chef and makes his own smoked food. No wonder!

Congratulations my team  our lunch turned out really yummy !

At our lunch table, my Swedish guests also told us about their exotic fermented food, a kind of canned fish but my old brain hasn’t got enough memory to store this Swedish  name…

He told us that some Swedish people were trying to export this product to Japan at one stage, as we are known as  seafood crazy but not quite succeeded yet.

Thank you all for lots of interesting stories, many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

Pork Ramen & Gyoza class

My guest for this class was a group of Galician and French couples. It was their annual reunion trip and I was honored to be part of their vacation in Tokyo.

Our lunch menu:

Pork Ramen with Miso meat sauce, stir fried vegetables, soy sauce flavored egg, pork slice as toppings

Pork and vegetable Gyoza

Crushed cucmber salad

Lots of questions and lots of fun talks! My male guests were very keen to use Japanese vegetable knives and I love the way they paused for a photo, Spanish Samurai at my kitchen!?

Ramen soup has 3 components, pork bone soup stock, Japanese Dashi stock with smoked bonito, dried sardine and sun-dried Shiitake mushroom, and simmered pork sauce of soysauce & Mirin. We also prepare a variety of topping so it tales a lot of work and preparation to make this simple bowl of hot noodles.

At the class we also made Japanese style pork dumplings, Gyoza. The recipe is originally from China like Ramen,  but it is now a very common food for all Japanese families to cook & eat at home. We mainly grill the dumplings, then put the lid and steam to finish up our Gyoza.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bento Box & Gyoza Class ~May 2018~

My kids go to school with their Bento Box every day. In Japan, it is very common to bring your own box for lunch. Some mothers make such a pretty Bento Box and it is now a popular item on SNS, that is where my French guests from Luxemburg got an idea of making Bento Box in Tokyo.

 

We actually have a variety of Bento boxes accordingly to seasons, occasions etc. At this class, I chose a bamboo-made box of rectangular shape, nice for early summer entertainment table.

 

Inside of the Box are:

Onigiri(rice balls with Nori-seaweed)

Beef and Shiso(minty herb) roll with grated Daiokn radish sauce

Sweet egg roll etc….

 

For Bento Box, every item needs to be tiny and easy to handle. The menu required a lot of hand works but my guests did everything very neat & beautiful!

My guest couple also prepared Gyoza, Japanese style pork dumplings.

 

All turned out really delicious but hot sizzling Gyoza was definitely one of the best tastes for my guests.

 

Many thanks for coming & Merci Beaucoup!

Akik

Swordfish Nanban and more ~May 2018~

The menu for  the class was;

<Main dish>

Swordfish & Salmon  Nanbanzuke sauce (fried and marinade with soysauce, vinegar & fresh vegetables)

<Side dish>

Eggplamt with sweet Miso sauce

Spinach with sesame sauce

chicken Karaage

Miso soup with clams & rice

I tend to spend a lot of time explaining about basic ingredients we use for Japanese cooking, such as Katsuo Bushi (Smoked Bonito fish), Konbu, Mirin etc.  Sometimes the tastes of them  are too different for first timers to my country but my two beautiful guests on this day were doing very good.

With Katsuo and Konbu, we made soup stock and used it for Miso soup, as well as spinach sauce and swordfish marinade. They all worked out nicely  &  my guest completed our delicious and authentic lunch!

Later  I learnd that one of my guests was a professional model, another was a title-holder of marathon ( in business suit!?!?  )

Japanese food are rich in nutrition, low in calories so isn’t our food just perfct for them?

I hope they will enjoy cooking our food again in US.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Private Seafood Class with Japanese wine ~February 2018~

The menu was;
Swordfish and salmon with Nanban-zuke sauce
Lotus with Mentaiko(salted Cod roe with red chili)
Eggplant with sweet & savory Miso sauce
Mis soup with clams
Rice, Pickled vegetables (Nuka zuke)

My guest for this class was a foodie lady from Boston, USA, who was interested in trying some Japanese wine (not Sake but wine produced at vineyards here) with Japanese home-cooking meals.

That was a very rare request as we usually choose Sake along with Japanese cooking. Some typical Japanese favorite like Siokara (salted squid) are so yummy with our Sake, but it will be a nightmare to pair it with wine.

On the other hand, there are various seafood dishes in our traditional meals and I love drinking wines from various parts of the world, so why not?

Here we are two happy girls being adventurous and we tried a few pairing! (I am very sorry our food were almost gone in this picture but please kindly think of this as a good sign!?)

I picked up a bottle from Yamanashi prefecture and another from Nagano pref. My guest told me that she has been studying not just wine tasting but also wine making at wineries! It was a perfect opportunity for me to get an authority’s opinion about pairing Japanese dishes with our domestic wines, how she like or not-like each pairing, how she would describe each taste, etc.

The words my guest chose to express her feelings, various aromas and tastes were truly impressive but all I remember now is that it was just a very happy few hours. Next time she is here, I swear I take notes.

Many thanks for coming!
Akiko

Deco- style Sushi Rolls with Singaporean artist couple, Nov. 2017

This late November class was a bit tough one for me, as I received a request for a special Sushi Roll.

It was the beginning of winter season when everybody would start thinking about Christmas and new year holiday, so my young guest from Singapore suggested me if we could challenge to make a sushi rolls with Xmas tree or snow man patterns!

I have never tried Xmas tree nor Snow man sushi, but I knew one very pretty pattern called ‘star’, with an egg-roll inside. No fresh seafood inside so a little disappointing if you are a Sashimi lover, but her husband does not eat Sashimi so in this case, it worked out even better.

So the menu for this class was fixed as follows;

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Deco Sushi Rolls ‘Star’

Chicken Nanban (sweet and sour, Japanese fusion style deep-fried chicken)

Spinach with sesame sauce

White Miso soup with potato & cabbage

At the kitchen, my guest was very patient and she never got tired until we finally made everything successfully, including home-made egg roll and sweet & sour Nanban sauce ! Her husband also liked the taste of chicken Nanban and the sauce for it, made with mayo, fresh chopped onion & boiled egg.

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Deco Sushi Rolls with star was a time-consuming recipe and it takes a lot of hand works, then you would end up eating a lot of rice, colored and seasoned with a few different ingredients, but it really had an appealing look. Truly ideal for your gathering tables.

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After a few weeks, I heard from my guest that she had made Deco Sushi Rolls back in Singapore! It was such a huge joy to hear and she even created her own design this time, I would call it a plum flower maybe. Here is her photo!

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Isn’t it just gorgeous!  I was so happy to hear that her guests also loved this Maki(Rolls).

Many thanks for coming and your photo!

Akiko

 

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Chicken & Gyoza class with Aussie Danish foodies, Oct 2017

The main dish for this early October class was  Chicken Teriyaki, side dishes as a small portion of  Gyoza with pork & vegetables, as well as spinach with sesame sauce.

It was a lucky class as one of my guests happened to be a cooking teacher at primary school, so everything proceeded very smoothly. Lucky for me too, as I could exchange some interesting recipes with her after the class! My twin daughters are looking forward to trying  them very soon during their winter vacation.

People gathered at my kitchen on this day were a lovely family from Denmark and a talented couple from Perth, Australia. So naturally the conversation got started about the Danish royal family and a bride from Australia! What a small world.

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Chicken Teriyaki dish was a request and the Dad  was particularly patient to learn the recipe. With authentic Mirin and Shoyu simmered together, Teriyaki sauce would naturally turn thick and shiny.

If you like it sweeter, you may add more Mirin or sugar. If you prefer savory, maybe reduce the amount of these sweet seasonings. Home cooking is always simple once you understand the  basic formula.

I hope my guest enjoyed their experience at my kitchen as much as I did.

Many thanks for coming!

 

 

Ramen class; what really are inside this irresistible bowl? Nov 2017

Our beautiful season of Autumn was almost gone and the request from my American guest on this day was a bowl of Ramen, a perfect hot noodle dish for a chilly day.

He explained  that he was not really planning to prepare Ramen on his own after returning home, but he loved this food so much that he was curious to find out what ingredients and cooking method are used.  He said he wanted to understand what Ramen is exactly.

I was impressed that is a very nice approach and happy to share what little knowledge I have learned about Ramen.

We also made Gyoza, everybody’s favorite companion with Ramen, as well as simple cucumber & sesame oil salad.

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I buy my noodles from supermarket but soup stock is 100% home made. Pork leg bones are the main ingredients for my base soup stock and  some chicken wing tips and seafood Dashi stock are combined together. Then of course finish up the soup with soy sauce &  Mirin  used for simmering pork slice.

My American guest has been travelling several Asian countries such as Cambodia, Korea etc.  Japan was his final destination before flying back home and the day he visited my kitchen was his final full day in Tokyo so I really  hope he was happy  spending  his last hours cooking with us.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko