New clouds are gathering around me… one thought of a new restaurant brought lots of fresh flavours and ideas in my mind… i `ve already created a crazy vision of a british-asian fusion kitchen in a tapas way… smells just like an unimaginable and unreachable Mr. Michelin Star. So i started to read. Read a lot. About everything – different cultures in Asia, soooo different cooking methods and proccesses, spices, herbs, meat, veg… good playground to your mind what could you combine and whats the effect at the end!?!
For a second, i stopped next to Japan. So far far far away, and we know nothing about it. Fortunately, our lovely landlady had been living in Japan for years, so she stuffed her little flat with all sort of japanese things from beautiful plates and glasses to idiot `have no idea what the f*ck is this for` things. We are still discovering boxes with funny-funky stuff (Marty`s favourite a little wind-up geisha doll which is singing and dancing). When i stepped in the kitchen at first time to `make it clear` i had to realize that it was full with really special gastronomic ingredients. And i started to read to build up an authentic meal.
Dashi – the basic stock soup. So easy to make and so fast – and so hard to get good quality of the two main things for it: seaweed ( kombu, kelp, wakame etc…) and dried bonito flakes (hana katsuo). U do nothing else, just warm up some water with the seaweed (dont boil up, it loose the flavour) skimming the top of it, discard the green stuff and add the your `fish crisp` :) same, stir it for a while, dont let it boil… and thats it. Strain with a muslin, so u gonna get `tea cleared` umami consomme at the end. After u can season it, make it crazy with smoked bacon, just have to be careful with the fat, in this case u need to chill down and discard the grease from the top. Or infuse your soup with dried posh mushrooms or other vegetables, or i would vote for a dark Guiness beer (Thanx Will :) so the slightly bitterness helps the umami make your palette absolutely satisfied.
Miso – fermented soy beans, nowadays u can buy it in every forms – get some paste and stir in your dashi – making a miso soup, season with soy sauce, sake, mirin…
Tofu (soy bean curd) – cut into pieces and make a sexy marinade (palm sugar, sesame oil and seeds, oyster sauce, mirin, yuzu juice, chilli…yummmmmmmy :) leave it for a few hours and warm up with your miso soup – really nice garnish.
Soba (japanese buckwheat noodles) – u can find in any color and flavour made of almost everything (rice, potato, beetroot etc…), boil a bit and gonna get a silky texture with lots of love and shine. Eat with vegetables for breakfast, make a rich soup for lunch and use as a carbohydrate garnish for dinner to accompany your half barbecued beef. I suggest everyone to check it out, how is this thing working (in theory, u need around 4 and half year to learn it: here’s a video about how to make noodles (f*ck me, this guy is awesome! – M.)
Dumplings (dim sum, won ton, gyoza, spring rolls etc…) are the real asian tapas. Good to eat them and cool to make them. U dont even need to worry about the pastry – every proper asian shop sells frozen stuff for steaming or frying. The stuffing can be anything – just trust in your imagination. Im producing dumpling as a `factory` for the last 2 weeks, and i tried a lots of different type… my favourites are: wakame cured white fish + smoked brown fish with fresh coriander, lime and coconut sauce, brandy marinated liver and almond dumpling with apple and salted caramel… not mentioned the sweety ones… just play with it a bit and think about… make a nice espresso + caramel + yolk mix, freeze it down as a shape of little balls, then fill your pastry with it, so when u are going to steam it, the mix will melt and the yolk gonna cook the whole thing thru to a custard which can appear as a proper flood on your plate.
(editor’s note: Kat, here’s the dumpling photo, enjoy!
I demand you to make this espresso one for me next time!!! x)