Invoking some food envy

Thought I’d invoke a little food envy with pics from my dinner last night at Tatsumi. I have to admit it was really embarrassing being “that person” taking photos of my food with my DSLR, but doesn’t it all look so pretty?? 🙂

Grilled prawns, wasabi aioli, roasted pumpkin and chorizo entree. Photo: Tao Lin

Grilled prawns, wasabi aioli, roasted pumpkin and chorizo entree. Photo: Tao Lin

Beef tataki. Photo: Tao Lin

Beef tataki. Photo: Tao Lin


Assorted nigiri. Photo: Tao Lin

Assorted nigiri. Photo: Tao Lin

Green tea fondant. Photo: Tao Lin

Green tea fondant. Photo: Tao Lin

Let’s talk green tea and dessert

Last night I went out with Andrew and my parents to a relatively new Japanese restaurant, Tatsumi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Bar, to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. My dad’s pockets were considerably lighter after the meal but the food, service and surroundings were really well worth it.

Everything we had was fantastic, from the beef tataki entree to the green tea fondant. Yes, green tea. Fondant.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Before booking at Tatsumi I read a lot of reviews about the restaurant and I remember one person writing that the green tea fondant was amazing, which got me all excited – so much so that I turned a blind eye to the black sesame creme brulee (if you don’t already know, creme brulee is my most favourite dessert of all time). By the way, for anyone living or visiting Auckland, Frasers has one of the best creme brulee (brulees?) I’ve had in New Zealand. And I’ve had creme brulee in Paris. Just sayin’ 😉

I digress, back to green tea. When I think about it, it is a bit strange that green tea isn’t meant to be drunk with milk but when you put it in something like ice cream, it’s pretty much just serving up cold green tea with milk and a lot of sugar.

I’ve seen and heard a lot of people cringe and exclaim, “EW!” when they hear about green tea being used in dessert. Each to their own but personally, I don’t understand what the disgust it all about. Maybe it’s the unappealing colour? The taste? I’m an avid green tea drinker though, so it might be the same the other way around when someone makes Earl Grey ice cream? Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad either…:)

The only dessert I’ve tried making with green tea is a green tea panna cotta, which failed a bit because I used too much setting agent but the flavour was pretty spot on. Other recipes using green tea:

For a full blog of recipes using green tea visit Cooking with Japanese Green Tea. Okay so I admit, matcha mashed potatoes does sound a little bit off but who knows, it might be surprisingly good??

Finally, I just came across matcha Kit Kat; apparently it’s only available in Japan during cherry blossom season. I was already dying to go to Japan during that time of year and now, the desire has been heightened too-many-fold.

In other, non-green tea related news, the staff at Tatsumi were very kind in presenting my parents with a special message for dessert (black sesame creme brulee):

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

A huge thanks to all the staff for making the night special. I ❤ Japanese!

Saw this while at work…

31 “crazy” fast food menu items you can only get in Japan. Considering how crazy stuff gets in Japan – you only have to watch one of their game shows to know – and the fact that some of this stuff is kinda normal in fast food chains in Asia, I’m actually not that surprised with the items on here.

I did enjoy looking through them though and I really like the panda-stamped burger buns – so cute! Also wouldn’t mind some of that Mega-Potato, even if it’s a ridiculous amount of calories…Mmmm potato…

Photos of food and such

I’m one of those weird and annoying people who loves to take several photos of their food from as many different angles as possible before finally eating it – I blog about food so what do you expect?? People like me get mocked and ridiculed everywhere in society for this behaviour and I’m sure someone, somewhere has written about how this is evidence of some sort of personality disorder/evidence of narcissism (aren’t we all a little bit narcissistic?). But, I don’t actually care because I love it: I love food, I love taking photos of food and I love showing it all off.

I call these photos: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Because, well, they are 🙂

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Some sort of egg thing. Pretty much started with fried eggs but decided I didn’t want fried eggs anymore so scrambled them up instead.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

One of my absolute favourite things to eat: udon noodle soup. It’s incredibly easy to make as well. Water, stock, noodles, soy bean paste, spring onions, done. If you really wanted to make it fancy you could even cook up some tofu and chuck that in there too.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Teriyaki beef strips and capsicum. Yeah, I like Japanese food.

Teriyaki chicken norimaki

There is perhaps nothing more synonymous with Japanese food than sushi and today, with the help of some online recipes and my Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking School cookbook, I managed to pull off, in a relatively painless fashion, teriyaki chicken norimaki, or sushi rolls.

My previous post covered the sushi rice aspect of this recipe and I found a very easy and tasty teriyaki sauce recipe here. The one thing I did different to the recipe was that I omitted the ginger but it still tasted fantastic.

Once the chicken was done and I had the rice covered with a wet cloth ready to be used, I went on to carve up some cucumber and avocado before starting on the sushi rolls.

Now, this was the first time that I had made sushi rolls and I ended up really over-filling the first one:

Sushi 1

Sushi 2

Being the stubborn person that I am though, I managed to squeeze it all together!

I followed the method from my cookbook which instructs, as follows:

Add rice vinegar to medium bowl of cold water. Place one nori sheet, shiny-side down, lengthways across bamboo mat about 2cm from edge of mat closest to you. Dip fingers of one hand into bowl of vinegared water, shake off excess; pick up a third of the rice, place across centre of nori sheet…

…working from left to right, gently rake rice evenly over nori, leaving 2cm strip on far side of nori uncovered. Build up rice in front of uncovered strip to form a mound to keep filling in place.

Next step was placing ingredients into the centre of the rice and then the instructions for rolling:

Starting with edge closest to you, pick up mat using thumb and forefingers of both hands; use remaining fingers to hold filling in place as you roll mat away from you. Roll forward, pressing gently but tightly, wrapping nori around rice and filling.

At times I found it really fiddly trying to hold in all the filling and sometimes the end of the nori didn’t stick but somehow I managed to get it all together! Once all the rolling was done, I cut them up as thick, or as thin, as I wanted and served with light soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

Sushi 4


Amazing sushi rice recipe

After so many years of eating countless rolls of sushi, I think that one of the most important components is the rice and how it tastes. I’ve just spent a good part of my afternoon making sushi (more on that experience later!) and I made a point of getting the rice right. Luckily, I came across an awesome sushi rice recipe:

Unfortunately I didn’t have any short grain rice or sushi rice so I mixed together jasmine rice and glutinous rice (approximately 1.5 cups of jasmine with half a cup of glutinous – I kind of just guessed). That might sound horrific and laughable but after following the cooking instructions exactly, it turned out surprisingly good.

The taste of the vinegar mix was fantastic and spot on with some of the better sushi I’ve had and I finally got to put the hand fan I bought from China to good use!

Sushi rice 2