Miniature ramen replicas
Why does everything look so much better in miniature?
The first thing I did was grab the camera when I spotted these in the display cabinet at the home of Silverlily and Supermario. Collected from toy stores on a recent trip to Japan, they held pride of place in the cabinet. I was enamoured immediately.
Tiny bowls of ramen with chopsticks suspended mid-air, steaks of wagyu, fluffy golden puffed tempura and dishes of curry rice with gravy jugs tilted above them... these miniature food replicas were works of art. They also made me very hungry...
Tempura on rice
Japanese curry on rice
Apart from the Japanese miniature food display, the blackboard in the kitchen is another giveaway that in this household, the importance of food is paramount:
The best quote from The Lord of the Rings?
Tonight we're gathered for another Stomachs' Eleven dinner. It began with a slab of wagyu, progressed into plans for shabu shabu and ended up as our usual all-out foodathon. We lounge about all afternoon, watching back-to-back episodes of the Japanese anime about bread-making Yakitate!! before our stomachs rumble and dinner is served.
Tsukune grilled chicken meatballs
We start with an entree of tsukune grilled chicken meatballs made by Pig Flyin'. These simple meatballs are flavoursome and moist, studded with chopped shallots and cooked to a caramelised sweetness.
Spinach and almond salad
I never tire of toasted almonds in salads. Their delicate crunch is such a welcome contrast, especially against the satiny leaves of young spinach, tossed through with tuna, slivers of red onion and a light dressing.
Broccoli with mentaiko sauce
Simple florets of steamed broccoli are the perfect vehicle for the salty decadence of mentaiko sauce, a light mayonnaise mixed through with cod roe.
Rolled stuffed tamago
Pig Flyin also reveals a beautiful log of rolled tamago omelette. I don't realise it's stuffed until the first slice is made...
Tamago stuffed with eel
Inside the soft spongy layers of sweet mirin and dashi soaked omelette is a strip of unagi, the buttery flesh of the sticky glazed eel melting in the mouth. It's a simple addition but oh-so-deliciously impressive.
Collecting yuba from boiling soy milk
A claypot of homemade fresh soy milk is put on the boil, and we spend about twenty minutes patiently collecting the yuba skin which forms on top. Picking up the skin with one deft movement using chopsticks is a bit of a delicate artform, but I love the anticipation of waiting for the skin to form, and the convivial atmosphere it creates around the table.
Yuba soybean skin
We take turns to collect the yuba skin, dipping it in soy sauce for extra flavour before eating.
Mushrooms and tofu
Wagyu beef slices
We move onto the shabu shabu next. We used the leftover soy milk to cook slices of pork, mushrooms and Chinese cabbage; the wagyu was cooked in a simple dashi stock.
Shabu shabu time!
Shabu shabu in Japanese translates to "swish swish" in English. Similar to hot pot, it's about quickly cooking thinly sliced meat in broth - generally your meat should be cooked in the time it takes you to utter "shabu shabu".
I've always considered a wagyu steak to be my favourite way of eating this delicately marbled meat, however Pig Flyin' and Mrs Pig Flyin' both like it eaten shabu shabu style - now I can see why. The meat is incredibly tender, the thin slice heated just enough so the fat has started to melt.
Strawberry puree gelee
We're having sushi.
Assembling the sweet sushi roll with strawberry gelee and kiwifruit
Sushi roll overed in chocolate flakes
Slicing the sushi roll
Dessert sushi with kiwifruit, strawberry gelee and mango
To make dessert nigiri, Pig Flyin blowtorches the scored flesh of fresh young coconut so it resembles grilled squid. I can't help thinking of Totoro's belly though.
Pig Flyin' and Mrs Pig Flyin' have also tested out their spherification powders using the molecular gastronomy kit from Texturas. The caviar pearls are beautiful. Silverlily has made the sweet sushi rice and exercises masterful patience to create the final platter.
Assembling the gunkan maki with strawberry and mint caviar
wrapped with strawberry fruit straps
Dessert sushi platter - the "tuna" is sweet poached tomato
Gunkanmaki battleship sushi with caivar made from
mango juice; strawberry & mint; and
cranberry & campari
Fruit nigiri sushi topped with strawberry, coconut,
kiwifruit, mango and poached tomato
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2010 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Teochew feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Mole poblano and pulled pork tacos (Me)
Stomachs Eleven: Pizza and friends (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Ten kilograms of mussels (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Shanghainese banquet (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Wagyu shabu shabu and dessert sushi (Silverlily)
Stomachs Eleven: Stuffed deboned pig's head + nose-to-tail eating (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: French feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Whole suckling pig and Chinese banquet (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Hotpot night (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Crackling roast pork and black sesame cupcakes (me)
Stomachs Eleven: No ordinary steak dinner (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Polish feast (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2009 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Char siu and Hainan chicken (me)
Stomachs Eleven: Amazing impromptu dinner party (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Dumplings and Shanghai soy duck (M&L)
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12/20/2009 03:21:00 am