Thursday, August 1, 2013


Absolutely everybody needs to keep a pot of home made kimchi in the fridge for that pick me up some dishes always seem to lack. Making it at home is the easiest thing too, so very rewarding indeed. Dump some on steamed rice for a midweek comforter, pop on the side of a steak for some zing, drop a few bits into your noodles for a laugh.
1 large Chinese cabbage
4 litres water
100g coarse salt
1 small head of garlic, peeled and chopped
6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
60ml fish sauce
80ml chilli paste
1 bunch spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths
1 medium daikon radish, peeled and grated
1 tsp honey
Slice the cabbage lengthwise in half, then slice each half lengthwise into 3 sections. Cut away the tough stem heart chunks.
Dissolve the salt in the water in a very large container, then submerge the cabbage under the water. Put a plate on top to make sure the cabbage stays under water, leave this for 2 hours.
Mix the other ingredients in a very large glass bowl. Drain the cabbage, rinse it, and squeeze it dry. Mix it all up, preferably by hand.
Pack the kimchi in a clean glass jar large enough to hold it all and cover it tightly. Let it stand for one to two days in a cool place, around room temperature to allow the fermentation take hold.
Check the kimchi after a couple of days. If it’s bubbling nice and gently, then it’s ready and should be refrigerated. If not, let it stand another day, when it should be done good and proper.
Once it’s fermenting it is basically ready to go, store in the fridge for another few days at least to allow the full potential to develop.  If you want, add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds over the kimchi for serving. It’s probably prudent to eat the kimchi within about 3 weeks. After that, it can get too fermented.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

no california rolls served here

Not every sushi place you go to are all together happy about knocking up a few California rolls. That said, you master this and make them at home, you quite probably will impress everyone you know.
1 piece Makisu (bamboo rolling mat)

Dark green nori sheets
Sushi rice, cooked and seasoned
Crab sticks
Thinly sliced avocado
Cucumber (Japanese if available), thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds
Japanese mayonnaise
Fine salmon roe
Firstly, and in order to keep your rice from sticking to the Makisu and making a God awful mess, carefully wrap the Makisu in cling film.
Fold the nori sheets in half to break them, then lay them on your work surface and cover each sheet with about half a cup of sushi rice. To do so, first set the rice on the end of the nori sheet closest to you, then working with the fingertips, gently spread the rice over the surface of the nori.
With your California rolls, the rice is generally on the outside, so to continue, flip the rice coated sheet so that the rice side is down, carefully position the sheet horizontally so it will roll lengthwise.
Next, place a single row of crab across the middle of the nori. Then, place slices of avocado end to end right against the crab. It’s best to use an avocado that’s ripe but still quite firm. A generous squeeze of Japanese mayonnaise along the length of the roll comes next. Lastly, lay the very thin cucumber slices end-to-end right alongside the crab and avocado.
To roll the sushi, carefully lift the edge of the mat closest to you and begin rolling away from you, pressing lightly to keep the roll firm. At this point, the nearest edge of the roll has gone upwards and away from you and the pressure should guarantee a tight roll.
Next, lift up the end of the rolling mat and pull it away from you, allowing the roll to roll the rest of the mat. Then carefully remove the roll from the mat and place it on a cutting board. Lay the mat over the top of the roll and exert gentle pressure once more to make sure it’s all secure.
Hold the roll on the mat and sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds. Dredge the roll through the fine salmon roe to complete.
Slice the rolls using a very sharp knife with a smooth wet blade. Begin by slicing perfectly in half. The set the two halves side by side and slice into individual pieces, this ensures each piece is uniform in size.