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!

Panna cotta fail

“It’s like cold custard, no, porridge. It tastes like porridge.”

– My boyfriend of my attempt at panna cotta last night.

So my green tea and vanilla panna cotta wasn’t the best dessert I’ve ever made mostly because the consistently was completely off. I read here that panna cotta is meant to have the “quiver of a 17th century courtesan’s inner thigh”. Mine was more like the thighs of a heptathlete.

I followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for green tea and vanilla panna cotta, which, might I add, is actually a really lovely combination of flavors, but instead of using gelatin, I opted for agar agar. It’s obviously not used in the same amounts as gelatin and from some research, I’ve found that agar agar sets quicker and stronger than gelatin. I used 1/2 teaspoon of agar agar and I think that was too much, given that it started setting before I’d even put it into the ramekins (I don’t actually know if that was the real reason it set so quickly but just hazarding a guess).

The taste was fine but the consistency did sort of resemble porridge. I’ve had panna cotta once and it was really smooth, whereas my one was a bit grainy.

Anyway, no pictures because it looked crap. I’ll try it again soon and hopefully get it right…