I learnt some rudimentary Japanese cooking skills from my very good friend Naoko Abe many years ago and often make simple home-style meals for weekday dinners.
Our passion and confidence for cooking Asiatic cuisine grew manifestly from taking a cooking course at Miss Vy’s cooking school in Hoi An in Vietnam. So when we had pescatarian friends for dinner we decided to go for it.. One of the friends and I have been having a cook-off in recent times – a gentle and warm competition to outdo each other on each subsequent dinner party we have. Since we cooked this meal he blew us away with Lobster Thermidor etc etc.. He and his Mrs do the lovely Salon-London events and the Also Festival if you fancy a night or weekend out for a bit of culture with humour. Still a few tickets left for this year.
I really love the preparation stage. Laying out the various bowls and plates and utensils. Prepping ingredients. Mixing sauces and marinades whereas chef Fergus Henderson likes to say “they can all get to know each other”.
The Tawana market on Chepstow road is good for the majority of the ingredients needed. George’s fishmonger on Ladbroke Grove is, in my opinion, the only place to buy fish in our neighbourhood. Salmon fillets for the main course. Sea bass and tuna for sashimi. There’s something so decadent about making sashimi at home. I say making in the loosest sense of the word as there really is nothing to it other than a sharp knife and some respect for the fish. I love to hold it. Look at it. Let it tell me in which direction to slice it..
The perfect accompaniment to the sashimi for me is cold green tea soba noodles. I first had them on a plane to Tokyo many years ago and since making them a couple of times a month for a weekday supper. You simply boil them till al dente and wash long and hard under very cold water. In a separate bowl put some wasabi, some Tsuyu and a dash of ice-cold water. Serve the noodles on a Japanese mat plate that drains if you have and garnish with chopped spring onion and some toasted nori – just take the nori sheet and wave it over the flame of your cooker or toaster if you don’t have gas till it dries and crisps up a bit, then slice into fingers. Finally, Lucy made a fabulous Nasu Dengaku – miso basted baked aubergine..