Posts Tagged ‘sushi’

A modern evolution of sushi in Golders Green

The epitome of feasting with your eyesI had the very good fortune of being invited along to a tasting before the opening of Sushi Cafelicious in Golders Green this evening.  I couldn’t think of a better way to finish the week!  There was a wide range of the most exquisite looking sushi I have ever seen.

The philosophy of this cafe and takeaway is healthy sushi with a modern twist.  There is a great selection of vegetarian sushi along with a range of the usual sushi toppings including salmon, prawn and squid.  However, they are all temari sushi which is a perfect, mouthful of sushi formed into a ball.  The sushi rice was cooked to perfection and melts in the mouth. 

There are several other delicous varieties of sushi, an inside out futomaki roll, a cup of brown rice with a selection of toppings including Japanese vegetables, tofu, unagi and pork.  You then get a choice of mouthwateringly Sushi Cafelicious homemade dressings; sesame, basil or teriyaki sauce.

And finally, there was a sushi cake with a tamagoyaki omelette outside and rice mixed with five grains.  If all goes according to plan, you will be able to purchase a slice of healthy and nutritious cake for lunch from 30 July.

Open from 11am – 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday, Sushi Cafelicious is found at 2 North End Road, Golders Green, NW11 7PH right on the junction opposite Golders Green station – it will certainly be worth a visit but be careful, you may just get hooked!

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The best sushi takeaway I’ve eaten in London

I had the great fortune of visiting Japanika for lunch today.  This is a wonderful, small Japanese takeaway down Hanbury Street between Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market.  It is a little off the beaten track but most definitely worth the visit!

You are spoilt for choice with the selection of food on offer including gyoza, karaage, teriyaki, pork tonkatsu curry on rice, salads and vegetable dishes as well as sushi. 

Presentation and quality of cooking is excellent maintaining the Japanese belief of feasting with your eyes.  I only wish I had had a camera with me!  I had a french bean and inari sushi strip salad – the beans had been cooked to perfection so they were still fresh and crunchy.  The ohitashi steamed spinach was beautifully presented and served with a lovely sesame and ponzu sauce.

Their sushi boxes are great value too; the most expensive £6.95 box has 6 different nigiri plus 6 pieces of maki sushi.  All of the sushi is freshly made and you can tell by the quality of the rice – there is none of the cold, dry, chewy rice here due to the quick turnover of sushi on the shelves.  The shelves are constantly restocked throughout lunchtime to meet demand and it shows as the pieces of sushi just melt in your mouth.

I only wish that I worked closer as I could imagine eating their every day!

今日、今までロンドンで食べてきた一番おいしい昼ごはんを食べました。Brick LaneとSpitalfields Marketの間にあるJapanikaという小さいテークアウェイはおいしそうな食べ物がいっぱいあります。寿司だけじゃなくて、ホウレンソウのお浸し・枝豆・餃子・から揚げ・照り焼き・豚カツカレー丼もあります。

ホウレンソウのお浸しはゴマポン酢ソース付きで、おいしかったです。または、莢隠元といなりずしのサラダが歯ごたえがあって、一番おいしかったです。

お寿司の鮮度もいいです。作ったばかりの物しか置いていないので、舎利がまだ温かくて、口の中で溶けます。

もっと近くに働けば、毎日Japanikaの食べ物を食べたいぐらいのおいしさを試しに行きませんか。

Sushi – Food for the eye, the body & the soul

Of all the books out there written in English about sushi, for me this one by Ole Mouritsen is possibly the most interesting.  That is perhaps because I already have a good knowledge of sushi and am looking to study various elements at a more in-depth level.  I also think that my love of sciences at school (which was put on the backburner to pursue the study of languages) has come back with a vengeance!

Not only does this book explore the basic, key ingredients for sushi (such as fish, rice and nori seaweed) it discusses a far wider range of ingredients and Japanese condiments.  It also goes well beyond scratching the surface of many of these ingredients, considering their properties which are beneficial to health and even looks at many of them at a molecular level.  The result – it answers many of the unanswered questions about sushi, for example, why fish tastes so good and why exactly raw fish is so good for you.

I do have some reservations, though, about recommendations for where to buy your fish (with the high likelihood of food poisoning, I strongly recommend only purchasing from fishmongers who sell fish to be eaten raw) and have found some errors in the chapter on rice (although some of this may be due to the fact that this book has been translated from Danish).  Some of the recipes and presentation is obviously not authentic but illustrates how sushi is evolving. 

From a presentational point of view the illustrations and photographs used are of excellent quality and provide an added insight into the variety of ingredients used to make sushi.  Unfortunately, the size of the book is a little unwieldy and heavy making it a book which you have to limit to reading on your sofa and not taking out and about.  I will, however, certainly be consulting it from time to time.

Sushi Making Tips

Edo-mae sushi

Edo-mae nigiri sushi in Otaru, Hokkaido

I was at  Tokyo Day this weekend interpreting for Takanori Kurokawa, a sushi chef at Nobu Berkeley.  Having worked together with him on many occasions now, and having worked in Japanese restaurants for 5 years, some of the questions that we were asked took us by surprise so I thought that I would share with you some of the key points to making sushi:

  • Sushi rice, the essential ingredient for making sushi, is made from short-grained japonica rice which has been cooked with less water than usual.  It is then seasoned with a rice vinegar which has had sugar and salt added to it.  Some already prepared sushi vinegar seasonings are now available in supermarkets. 
  • It is also important to allow the rice to steam after cooking in the latent heat for about 15 minutes before opening the lid to ensure that the rice has been cooked right through to the centre of the grain.
  • The sushi vinegar seasoning should be added to the rice straight after it has finished steaming, so that the vinegar is absorbed into the grains, and “cut” through the rice to break up the clumps of rice and separate the grains.  This is ideally done in a wooden bowl as this will absorb any excess moisture. 
  • The rice should then be swiftly cooled with a fan to around 40 degrees Centigrade (just warmer than body temperature) and kept warm while you get ready to make your sushi.
  • It is strongly recommended that you prepare your sushi rice just before using it and avoid refrigerating it as this dehydrates the grains of rice making them hard, rather than the soft, warm grains which you are aiming for.
  • The ideal temperature of sushi is for the fish to be chilled and the rice to be served at body temperature.  Enjoying the contrast in temperature is part of the pleasure of eating sushi!

The story so far …

After several months of contemplation, and encouragement from LBDesign (thanks, Liam), I am finally putting pen to paper (or should that be finger to keyboard?) to start writing a blog.

A lot has happened in the eight months I have been working as a Japanese Food & Sake Consultant.  It has certainly been a steep learning curve, but the time has been filled with lots of wonderful opportunities and learning experiences.

So far this year, I have interpreted about sushi making, umami, udon making and sake making.  More recently, my time (and fridge) is being filled with sake related things.  In particular, starting to import a small range of sake from Akita has filled my days (evenings & weekends) with promotional activities.  And there is so much more to come, so watch this space …