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Friday 30 October 2015

Experiment - Recipe: Sushi Rice (& various Maki Rolls)

I love sushi! 

I’m a grazer, I like variety in my food, I like to make lots of different types of roll, which inevitable means I end up with rather more than I could possibly eat myself!!  That's why I make it when I have friends around. It’s nice to get everyone involved in the rolling . .  
S U S H I   P A R T Y ! ! , or maybe a little rolling competition : )

What I’ve found is that if you give folk a set of ingredients and let everyone freestyle, you invariably get some pretty random stuff, and it’s quite often very good!! I always take notes!!! : )

In this post: crunchy tipped chicken and mango rolls, mushroom rolls, soused cucumber and cream cheese, red pepper and mayo, sweet lemon lettuce and egg pancake roll.

OK first the basics: the rice
One of the most important things to get right is the rice, you don't want it too wet or mushy or too hard!

So first you need the right kind of rice: Sushi rice has a grain in between pudding rice and risotto rice, very similar to paella rice.
The next thing to get right is the ratio of water to rice which is 1.3 by weight. So for example 500g rice to 650g water.

For other types of rice you can have a quick check on the Quick Ref tab on this blog : )

How do I cook sushi rice?  Wash the rice by rinsing it in a sieve under the cold tap, cook it with or without seasoning seaweed (EG kombu), one cooked turn it out onto a tray. Spread out gently to season it. Season with sweet vinegar, do not allow to go cold (makes the rice hard).

What ratio of water to rice? 1 : 1.35  rice : water  by weight will give you mid ground bite. 1.3 to go more al dente 1.4 for a softer touch

How much rice vinegar & sugar to rice? 
After it’s cooked: 60g seasoning per 600g uncooked rice - 10% by weight (add as soon as the rice is cooked & turned out)
Before it’s cooked: 60g seasoning per 300g uncooked rice - 20% by weight (add as soon as the rice is cooked & turned out)

How much sugar in the sweetened vinegar?
Rice vinegar : Sugar : Salt = 6 : 6 : 1

Nori: Shiny side in or out? Shiny side out rook nice! (also rice sticks to the rough side better, so assemble rice onto rough side)

What now? Get rolling Daniel-san aye.

What to go inside? Man the variety and spectacular presentation and combination of flavours of sushi masters is truly beguiling!
Best learn how to roll before you go native since some of the ingredients are delicate and expensive!

I believe Japanese food to be both the most fun and the most f8cking serious you’ll ever encounter! (and very rewarding)

This post is very much about fun : )

ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)

2 large rolls - chicken and mango rolls (6 pieces x 2 types)
3 small rolls - mushroom rolls (18 pieces)
2 small rolls - soused cucumber and cream cheese (12 pieces)
2 small rolls - red pepper and mayo (12 pieces)
2 large rolls - sweet lemon lettuce and egg (8-12 pieces)

For which you'll need 7 sheets of nori. (plus any practice spares)

for the sushi rice
When working out how much rice you'll need calculate with 50g cooked rice per small roll
and 100g cooked rice per large roll (more quantities here: Quick Ref Tab
250g uncooked rice rice makes 550g cooked rice

large x2 100g x2 200g
small x9 50g x10 500g
need at least 700g

for the rice (1kg)
450g sushi rice 
585g water
2 sheets kombu (optional)

for the sushi vinegar (100ml  10% of weight of the cooked rice!) 
46g rice wine vinegar
46g sugar
8g salt

for the egg roll w/ sweet lemon & shredded lettuce
2 eggs
15g flour
50g milk
1/2 tsp sugar 
pinch of salt
1/3 iceberg lettuce (shredded)
1/2 lemon 
1 tbsp sugar

for the mushroom sushi
250g mushrooms (duxelles)
1tsp soft cheese
1/2 tsp all purpose

for the crispy chicken and mango salsa sushi
2 chicken thighs chopped into strips
1/2 mango (fine diced)
1/2 red onion (fine diced)
1/2 chilli
coriander (torn)
50g bread crumbs
50g egg roll mix (see below)

for the soused cucumber sushi
1 tsp soft cheese
1 tsp mayo
1/3 cucumber (cut into strips)
250ml white wine vinegar
125ml sugar
125ml water
12g salt

for the red pepper sushi
red pepper (julienne)
1tbsp mayo

for the accompaniments
pickled ginger

apparatus / equipment
sushi rolling mat
nimble fingers 
square frying pan (for pancakos)

rolling method
When spreading the rice onto the nori (seaweed sheets) have a bowl of water with a little vinegar in it. Dip your fingers in it every time you grab some rice so they don't completely covered in rice and stop you right in your tracks!!

When cutting the rolls make sure your knife is clean (and keep it clean with a damp cloth during the whole process) and sharp!

sushi vinegar
Mix all the ingredients together until the salt and sugar are dissolved. (Warm if required)

sushi rice
Wash the sushi rice, then cook it in a rice cooker ratio of 1.3 water to 1 rice by weight.
Once cooked turn the rice out onto a tray and season it with sushi vinegar. Sprinkle the vinegar over a paddle, flicking the paddle back an forth to evenly distribute the vinegar. When mixing the seasoning in take care not to squash the rice.

mushroom sushi
This is a simple mushroom duxelles in a small roll, great umami flavour and not too much mushroom texture, which for some people is a real bonus!

crispy chicken and mango salsa sushi
This flavour profile had nothing to do with Japanese cuisine, it’s more equatorial Brazilian kinda vibe but it works well in a sushi roll, this is what experimenting is all about!

soused cucumber sushi
Fairly standard roll contents but pickled. Mix the sousing vinegar ingredients (salt, sugar, water, vinegar) until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Pickle the cucumber for 60 mins. Mix the mayo and the cheese, and combine the the drained cucumber and mayo in to a roll.

Quite nice a nice combo is plain cucumber with a little wasabi mayo wrapped in pickled ginger in the centre of a roll.
Ahem, before any of the purists have a pop, it’s worth nothing that pickled ginger is traditionally used as a between sushi rounds palette cleanser.

red pepper sushi
Again another bog standard ingredient in its raw form. Roasted red pepper and beef tartare or charred beef are a great combo

egg roll w/ sweet lemon & shredded lettuce
Swiss roll style with and extra inch at the end to hold the wrap, filled in the centre shredded iceberg lettuce dressed with lemon syrup.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Leftovers - Recipe: Special Fried Rice or Duck and Apple Haggis

I use all manner of variations of special fried rice to use up leftovers!  This one came about when I was running a duck menu last summer. 

Once all the development is done comes scaling it up for a banquet. It was the first time we’d scaled it up in anger, you always have to make alterations to ingredients, quantities and the process. On this particular occasion I totally miss-judged the amount of duck we needed (always have more than you need, hungry banqueters ain’t a pretty site!), and as it happens we had a giant haggis leftover too!! Secretly thinking RESULT!! : )

The key elements in this recipe are the caramelised apple and the haggis, they make a great backdrop of the duck and the cavolo nero. After the onions, which deepen the flavour and also add some lighter notes (spring onion), the rest is completely optional!

One note I will make is that the Braeburn apples that I used weren’t quite ripe which meant they had a good bite to them so they put up well with the caramelising process, staying in chunks and adding a sharp note when they were bit into, perfect against the haggis and the duck!!! Still I don’t think I’d use cooking apples!

Unusual, minimal effort and really really good!!!

ingredients (serves 6)
for the caramelised apple 
4 Braeburn apples (3/4 cm dice)
1 lemon (juiced)
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

for the duck and apple haggis
300g picked duck (picked form carcass)
300g caramelised apple (from above)
700g haggis (cooked and broken up)
cavolo nero (1cm slices)
1 leek (cleaned and small dice)
1 large onion (medium dice)
6 spring onion (chopped)
1 pepper (deseeded, medium dice)
2 carrots (medium dice - 1/2cm)
2 eggs
200g boiled rice
2 roast potatoes (coarse chop)

for the garnish
5g chives (chopped)

caramelised apple 
Juice the lemon into a bowl big enough to hold the apples 
Peel and dice the apples about 3/4 cm dice. Add them to the lemon juice and toss to coat them and stop them going brown.
You want them to release a burst of flavour when you bite into the chunks, smaller than this and they’ll turn to mush!
Once they’re all dice put them into a medium hot pan and allow them to release juice without moving them about too much.
Once they’ve stopped releasing juice and there’s almost none left add the cinnamon and the sugar and toss them to coat well.
Leave them until the sugar stars to caramelise the apple chunks, once done put them aside until needed.

for the duck and apple haggis
Add a little oil and the eggs to a hot pan then add the boiled rice and chopped roast potatoes and mix well, one the egg is cooked put the mix into a large mixing bowl. This step is optional, I was just using up leftovers, that is after all the point or the exercise!

The bowl is not optional!! The rice and potatoes are!! K?

Next make a kind of mirepoix from the onion, leek, pepper, carrots and cavolo nero, season and once cooked add this to the mixing bowl.

Add a little more oil to the pan and ad the picked duck pieces toss to coat them (a smidgen of hoisin sauce at this point doesn’t hurt but it’s optional) and then leave them a few minutes to crisp up a little. Add them to the mix.

Right, time to release the Haggis! Add some more oil to the pan and add the crumbled (already cooked haggis) and warm through. Add this to the mix and mix in well.

Then mix in the raw chopped spring onion and lastly gently fold in the caramelised apple

to serve
Chuck some chopped chives over the top and serve immediately!! I served this with some larger duck pieces and hoisin sauce and some soused cucumber and mange tout.

It really doesn’t need the rice or roast potatoes! The haggis is a good stogy substance and will put up with being loaded with quite a lot of vegetable! Pick what every you want! Pork goes well with this too instead of duck. . . 

It ain’t going to get any Michelin Stars but it’s a good feed if there are a few of you!! : )

Saturday 10 October 2015

Recipe: (a nod to) Salad Nicoise (using Preserved Salted Sardine or Anchovy)

I made this at Halloween last year, crazy talk I know!! The weather was so nice  the dish just seemed to suit! It was 22C in London!! Barking! It’s cobbled together from stuff that was in the kitchen that day and some preserved sardines I made earlier in the year.

Boiled potatoes sautéed with chorizo make a nice addition to this classic salad . . . 

ingredients (serves 2, 4 as a starter)

for the salad
100g mixed salad leaves (the curly type are nice, bit of rocket too)
125g chorizo sausage (diced chunky)
3 medium potatoes (2cm dice, boiled)
2 slices white bread (1.5cm thick, toasted and buttered 
both sides)
2 fillets salted sardine (or 16 anchovies)
2 free range eggs (soft boiled)
4 small beetroot (pickled)
2 large ripe tomatoes
3 tbsp vinaigrette (35% vinegar 65% EVO)

for the sardine sauce
4 fillets salted sardines (fine dice, or 32 anchovies)
2 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1/4 cucumber (peeled & juiced)
1/2 lemon (zest & juice)

apparatus / equipment
stick blender (optional)

for the sardine sauce
Mix the fine diced sardine w/ the rest of the ingredients. I used 4 but you can use less is you like it a little less salty.
The cucumber gives it such a light summery flavour that goes so well with this salad. 
If you don’t have a juicer just grate the cucumber into the mix.

for the salad
To hard boil a couple of eggs boil them for 6 minutes then put them into cold water straight after, 4 minutes for soft.
Pat dry preserved sardines (or anchovies - 8 anchovies per sardine fillet). 
Make sure they don’t have any scales on them, scrape the back of your knife along the fillet of the fish to remove.
Cut 2 of the fillets into medium dice to mix with the tomatoes.
Cut 4 of them into fine dice for the sauce.

Add the chorizo to a pan on a medium heat and once it’s started to release fat, add a touch more veg oil and the boiled potatoes. 
If you rough the boiled potatoes up a little before adding them to the pan they’ll crisp up nicely, try it out!

Sauté until golden brown.

Toast a doorstop and butter it on both sides, then cut into croutons. (fast and tasty cheats croutons!!)

Peel and quarter the eggs.
Mix the coarse diced sardine in with some chopped tomatoes and add a little vinaigrette.
Mix some sweet pickled beetroot and salad leaves.
Assemble to create a feast for the eye and the palette!!


Now that's a salad!!

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