On a rainy miserable weekend in London, my significant other and I didn’t feel like spending money on expensive food or venturing out and about in the wet #winteriscoming… amirght? We both adore cooking, and find it very therapeutic. Our happy place if you will. A lot of my favourite times are spent either cooking for or cooking with Tom. So we decided to spread our culinary wings and create a 3 course Asian fusion extravaganza.
ENTREE: Edamame with sweet chilli & Vegetable dumplings
MAIN: Home made sushi
DESSERT: Taiwanese ice cream spring rolls.
The last on that list has a bit of a backstory. A while back, Tom and I visited the most glorious Bao restaurant in Fitzrovia London. For dessert, we were served this bizarre and wonderful creation and we vowed that one day we’d try and recreate it. We thought it was some unicorn dish – a one off – thought up by a chef to push boundaries. It turns out, it’s a really common Taiwanese street food! We were both excited to try it.
We collapsed into bed at 11:30pm exhausted after about 4 1/2 hours of cooking, eating and laughing. Such a fun, creative and bonding way to spend date night. I’ll include our tips below, should you want to follow suit!
Step 1: The Hunt and Gather
The plan was to go to a proper Japanese supermarket for cheap ingredients. But we actually ended up finding everything we needed at Waitrose; sushi mat, sushi rice, miso, wasabi, the various vinegars and sauces and of course beautiful fresh salmon and tuna.
Step two: The Rice
We followed this recipe for the ‘perfect sushi rice’. The flavours were spot on. I was actually surprised by how much sugar was used! I’d always considered sushi a relatively healthy option. Our one hiccup on this step was not reading the ingredients… we poured the 3 cups of water into the flavour mixture and poured it into the cooked rice! We realized pretty quickly once our grains started literally swimming that we’d mis-read something…
Step three: Fish Prep
We took the time to watch this YouTube tutorial on how to best cut our fresh tuna and salmon. It’s quite an artform, and requires you to slice against the grain and in particular directions to get the most out of your fish. Very interesting learning.
Step four: Vege Prep
For our sushi rolls we used cucumber, carrot and avocado. We also followed a tutorial for this step, to practice the proper preparation.
Step five: The Big Roll
We followed this to learn technique. Not trusting our rice enough to attempt the Californian roll version, we stuck to the original, aka seafood on the outside to act as a binding shell. Once you’ve got everything prepped, the actual rolling part is actually pretty easy. It’s just a good idea to take things slowly, to make it as neat as possible.
Step five: Plating Up
To chop your sushi roll a great tip is cling wrap over the roll, a sharp knife, and warm water wipe offs of said knife in between cuts. To garnish our sushi, we fried up the salmon skin we’d cut off in the fish prep stage and sprinkled it on top, and to finish – some Japanese mayonnaise.
TAIWANESE ICE CREAM SPRING ROLL
We followed this recipe to a tee. It took a while to find one that fit our memory, but this was it. We were so shocked when our flour wraps started bubbling in the way we remembered. We did end up probably doubling the amount of water this recipe suggests however, to make our crepes as thin as possible. We used a plain vanilla bean ice cream which was perfect, any stronger flavour I think, would have taken away from the dish. These look and taste impressive, but they’re relatively easy to make. Take a step onto the streets of Taiwan with this local delicacy!