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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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

 

Seafood and Sashimi lovers from Germany, Oct 2017

Many of my German guests prefer meat dishes to seafood… that was my narrow perception until I welcomed this couple from Northern Germany.

In fact, the lady told me that she does not eat much sausages nor Sauerkraut but loves Sushi and Sashimi.  So the main dish for her and husband was Sushi rolls with fresh quality salmon and tuna of course!

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I have also suggested a few choices for side dishes and here again, she preferred vegetable and fruit dishes rather than meaty ones. It was mid Autumn and Kaki, persimmon was in season. So I really liked to introduce one side dish of Kaki, Shimeji mushroom and greens with creamy Tofu sauce.

But why Kaki is so special?

Today we have a great variety of fruits available at super market in Japan and many of them are domestic  harvest.  However, when you look back the history of Japan, most of our fruits were brought to our islands from overseas at some stage.

Yet Kaki is considered to be one of few indigenous species that have been around the land of Japan for years and years.

If you have a chance to travel around Japan in Autumn, you may notice the trees with almost no leaves but some ripe, orange fruits in gardens and even in some wild fields, that are Kaki trees and it is a loved symbol of Autumn for us.

It makes a nice salad, or simple dessert as it  is, or you may put a slice of prosciutto on top of a small cut of Kaki and serve as a starter.

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I hope my guests enjoyed their Autumn taste as well as our quality seafood!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

Sushi roll class with couples from Ireland and Canada-September 2017

I received a request for Sushi Rolls from a Canadian couple, then another couple on honeymoon from Ireland joined our class.

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Since Sushi Rolls are widely eaten overseas now and all of my guest for this class seemed pretty accustomed to eating seafood, I wanted to try something different as Sushi fillings.  At the nearby supermarket I decided to pick up SUJIKO, along other regular ingredients such as tuna, salmon, cucumber, Shiso leaves etc.

Sujiko is salmon eggs, protected in thin membranes inside salmon mother’s belly. When salted as it is, we call it Sujiko. When membranes are removed and each eggs are separated like cavier, we call it Ikura.  Both are  scarlet in colour, full of rich oily taste,  and quite salty.

They are one of my favorite Sushi ingredients but I was not sure if my guests from overseas would like Sujiko or not.  Still I thought  its colour and taste gives a nice twist to Sushi rolls so I showed them my Sujiko.  I was very happy that my guests were all adventurous enough to accept my recommendation.  Actually some of them  have already tried them  before and found them just fine.  Small world !

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So I failed to surprise my guests but we all enjoyed our hand made Sushi rolls and other side dishes, including miso soup of course.

I hope my guests enjoyed their time at my kitchen,

Many thakns for coming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramen & Gyoza class for a future food business owner -September 2017

This was a calss for a solo traveller from Australia who is willing to cook Ramen and Gyoza. At first I thought he is one of many Ramen & Gyoza lovers but as we talk preparing our lunch, I learned that he is already working at an Asian food business and hope to be independent some day.

In fact he is so serious that he took 3 cooking classes during his short stay in Tokyo! I was honored to be a little part of  these opportunities during his limited time in my country.

I love good food but never worked as a chef by the way, still I  hope he found his experience with Japanese Mum & home cooking at my kitchen worth his time & effort…

The way he mixed the chopped vegetables and minced pork meat for Gyoza filling was super!  It requires a good strong pressure so each separate ingredients become together.

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One thing he liked very much was our Japanese style eggs.  As one of the Ramen toppings, we often prepare flavoured boiled eggs. it is tasty as a topping for simple steamed rice, too.

For its flavour, I use soy sauce, Mirin and smoked bonito if my guest is OK with seafood. You need to keep it in a fridge for a few days so the eggs turn brown outside but inside is till bright yellow. They add a nice colour in a Ramen bowl.

I hope my guest had a good time and wish him the best of luck for his future in Asian food business, I am sure he will be very successful!

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

 

 

Seafood ramen class on August 24th

I welcomed a couple from Australia this morning.   They requested ramen as a main dish.

Since I got their booking the day before evening, so I din’t have  enough time to prepare for braised pork for ramen which regularly accompanied with ramen topping.  However, I could prepare for  seafood ramen, the recipe calls salmon and shrimp, that doesn’t need so much time but produce nice testes.

We made pieces of gyoza as well as seafood ramen at the class. Amazingly, the lady made fabulous pieces of gyoza! She is like a professional, eventually i learned how to make gyoza.

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Look at this beautiful wrapped gyozas!!

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Ephemerally, the gyoza I made was not on this tray. haha. Now  I got how to do this and I can share how to wrap nicely to class participants.

I heard she grown up in Chinese family and her mother is good at making gyoza. however, she said the wrapper in Japan is thinner than Japanese and the cookery is different from her family recipe.

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She liked Japanese style gyoza very much and that is a relieve!

Hope you enjoy cooking seafood ramen and gyoza.

Many thanks,

Kisshy

Ramen without Dashi broth, still yummy! /June 2017

At this class, one of the guest preferred not to use any seafood. I usually make Dashi stock and pork /chicken stock for making Ramen soup. As you may have heard, Dashi stock  is the backbone for Japanese culinary but it uses smoked bonito fish flakes etc., thus not recommended if you do not like seafood.  But don’t worry, Ramen without Dashi turned out absolutely gorgeous with other seasonings. 

In fact, there are many recipes of Ramen around Japan and the variety just keeps growing all the time.  There are not a few bloggers in Japan who enjoy Ramen shop-hopping and report on each Ramen they tasted.

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Talking about blogs, another guest lady was a food blogger and her page was full of yummy photos. It was a pity I cannot read Spanish or Italian, the language she is writing, but all the photos are really mouth-watering. 

Her lovely daughter was also joining my cooking class. As a youngest participant, she was naturally appointed to hand-mixing of sticky Gyoza fillings, the most tiring part of Gyoza making but she has completed her mission very well.

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The whole family were such foodies that the father, a very skilled vegetable chopper, explained to me some interesting stories about Italian Ravioli making. It was a fun class with lots of food information exchange!

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I hope they enjoyed their time at my kitchen.  Many thanks for coming,

 

Akiko

Seafood Ramen & Gyoza class / June 2017

I received an inquiry for Ramen & Gyoza cooking class from a guest whose fiancee does not eat any meat. She preferred seafood and there were also other participants who liked regular ramen and gyoza with pork, so we prepared 2 types of soup, toppings and fillings at this class. 

I used clams for ramen soup, shrimps & scallops for Gyoza fillings instead of pork. The rest of the recipe is almost the same as regular ones.  If you are a seafood lover, this ‘marinara’ version of Ramen & Gyoza are also very delicious so please try! 

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The only concern was that everybody would be a little busier than usual with more tasks for each, yet all participants were very good at chopping vegetables and measuring seasonings etc.  Two little girls accompanying their Mum also helped us a lot, mixing 2 types of Gyoza fillings using their lovely little hands. IMG_5907

 

I hope my guests liked their food and cooking experience at my kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko

 

Cooked a big lunch! Private Class on May 14th

I had an interesting inquiry from a young Australian couple living in Tokyo.

They were used to cooking with an oven back home, but here in Japan, we do not use it as often. Instead we use stove top and small, lined griller underneath it mainly. This young couple’s tentative house kitchen was not equipped with an oven and they were looking for an opportunity to learn some cooking with Japanese kitchen.

So here they are at my place and we made a big lunch together.

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 The menu includes; Swordfish Nanabanzuke with soy sauce vinegar and vegetables, Maguro (tuna) grilled medium rare with garlic Teriyaki sauce, eggplant with miso Dengaku sauce, spinach with sweet sesame sauce, crushed cucumber, Miso soup with clams and Mitsuba greens…

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Both of my guests were great seafood lovers and I was really happy to hear that they liked everything we cooked. They challenged to try black rice and liked it, too.

I also explained about our griller, which we mainly use for cooking salmon, mackerel and other fishes or chicken wings.

My guest told me she was using it for toasting a piece of bread in the morning!  Well it maybe a good idea but you need to watch your toast frequently to make sure not to burn it.

 I hope my guests are enjoying their life in Tokyo now and cooking at their Japanese kitchen.

Many thanks for coming!

Akiko