Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fiona Uyema 2013 Review

I decided to make a short video to celebrate all the wonderful things that happened in 2013. It certainly was an eventful year and I want to say a big THANK YOU to all my followers for your support. I love getting your emails, messages, comments and especially photos of my recipes that you tried at home.  Fiona's Japanese Cooking blog is about bringing Japanese food into your kitchens and creating easy to follow recipes that you will try at home. I'd love to see more and more people trying Japanese cooking at home in 2014.

Here's are some of the biggest highlights of 2013:
- Winning the Easy Food Home-Cook Hero Awards 2013 (cáca milis category) with my pandan roulade recipe. When I spoke to Catherine Fulvio she said that I brought a new Asian ingredient to the competition and that’s what made me stand out. The Awards were aired on TV3 in November 2013 and my recipe was published in the Jan/Feb 2014 Easy Food Magazine

- My recipe will be featured in Powercourt 5 star hotel in Co Wicklow in early 2014.  

- Opening the main stage of one of Ireland’s leading food festivals, Savour Kilkenny with a Japanese cooking demonstration. It felt amazing to see how intrigued the audience of 200 people were to learn about Japanese cooking. It was an honour to be included in the same line-up as Edward Hayden and Kevin Dundon. 

- Moving my Japanese cooking classes from my home in Kildare to Miele Gallery in Citywest, Dublin. Thanks to all my food blogging friends for attending my cooking classes at my house in 2013.

- Meeting John and Sally McKenna and being interviewed with them on the Sue Nunn show on KCLR 96FM.

- Being interviewed by Fiona Dillon on Kilkenny radio and bringing my story and Japanese food into households around Kilkenny.

- Giving demonstrations at different festivals and events including Food & Wine Christmas Show in the RDS in November 2013. 

- Spending time in the Wagamama kitchen with head chef Juan Manteca and in the kitchen of Raw Sushi in the Sky (Radisson hotel in Galway) with head chef Hisashi Kumagai. 

 - Fiona's Japanese Cooking blog being shortlisted for the Irish Blog Awards 2013 in the food category (www.fionasjapanesecooking.blogspot.ie). 

- My audience/ followers growing from my circle of family and friends to people around the world.

Happy New Year and wishing you health and happiness in 2014. Fiona Uyema x  

Monday, 16 December 2013

Meeting sushi master Hisashi Kumagai

Last month I went to Galway to spend time with Hisashi Kumagai (Kuma) who is the head chef of sushi restaurant "Raw Sushi in the Sky". It's located on the 4th floor of the Radisson Hotel in Galway city with amazing views of Galway Bay.

Kuma kindly let me spend the day with him in his kitchen to learn about the art of sushi making from a professional chef's perspective. Kuma has worked in restaurants all over the world in countries including Japan, Austria, Canada, America and Ireland for over 35 years. 
Although I only spent one day with him I learned so much in that short space of time. While we were prepping the food for that night's bookings we chatted about Japanese food and culture and how one can't be separated from the other. We talked about sourcing ingredients in Ireland for Japanese dishes. I had lots of questions for him throughout the day and he was very patient answering them all.

At the end of the day, my family and I sat down to enjoy Kuma's sushi with miso soup and a really cold Japanese beer! If you're looking for a place to eat sushi in the Galway area I would highly recommend it. You'll see Kuma at the sushi counter freshly rolling your sushi as you order it.  

People often ask me about raw fish on my blog and at my cooking classes. So I had to include this as a point to talk about with Kuma. I've listed some important points below to remember when buying, preparing and eating raw fish. Kuma serves salmon, tuna, seabass, seabream, swordfish and halibut as sashimi in the restaurant.

Buying fish suitable to eat raw as sashimi:
- Try to buy from a reputable fish monger and call them in advance so they can pre-order fish that can be eaten raw or tell you in advance if they have any in store
- Be aware that staff in some shops may not be trained to advise what fish can be eaten raw and therefore in some cases can tell you it's ok when they don't really know!
- Find out as much as you can about the fish you're going to eat raw i.e. where the fish came from, when it was caught and how old is it now
- If in doubt, use a few simple checks to make sure the fish is really fresh i.e. the fish should smell pleasant and not foul, the fish skin should be shiny and the fish eyes bright 

Preparing raw fish:
-  If you are concerned about eating fish raw then you should freeze it as this will get rid of any harmful bacteria etc
- Kuma told me that all restaurants are required to freeze fish for at least 24 hours and then defrost before serving to customers to eat raw in order to meet EU regulations
- Use a very sharp knife to cut the fish

Eating raw fish
- Serve with soy sauce and wasabi
- A Japanese vegetable called daikon goes really well with sashimi as it helps to cleanse your palate

Raw Sushi in the Sky also provide a local sushi take-away service.

Raw Sushi in the Sky contact details

Notes: I was not asked by the Radisson Hotel or Raw Sushi in the Sky to write this post. I wrote it because I wanted to share my experience with you.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce & Soy Glazed Cocktail Sausages

I got inspiration for this recipe from Nigella Lawson's Christmas book called "Nigella Christmas". However, I'm just using three ingredients for the glaze. Try to source good quality sausages if possible with a high meat content (usually over 80%).

This is a great recipe for entertaining at home.

25 cocktail sausages
50ml soy sauce
2 heaped tablespoons Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce
1 tsp brown sugar

1. Preheat a fan oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Line a baking tin with tin foil.

3. Mix the cranberry sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar in a large bowl.

4. Toss in the cocktail sausages and make sure to completely cover all the sausages in the sauce.

5. Place in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes tossing occasionally.

Make sure to line your baking tin with tin foil as the sauce will really stick to the baking tin and it's a nightmare to clean!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Sushi - the ultimate Christmas canapé

Every year I love spending time in the kitchen creating Christmas themed recipes. This year I was delighted to be able to demonstrate some of these recipes at the Food & Wine Christmas Show in the RDS.

At my Masterclass, I demonstrated a few different types of sushi rolls and added a Christmas twist by filling the sushi rolls with ingredients that are typically eaten during Christmas time and also using colours associated with Christmas such as red and green.

I made a very simple temaki roll filled with fresh green lettuce, wasabi mayo prawn cocktail topped with Goatsbridge Trout Caviar.

Everyone at the class got to taste my hosomaki roll made with cucumber and red pepper.

Finally, I made an uramaki roll with roasted red peppers, asparagus and wasabi mayo trout (poached in sake and water) garnished with Goatsbridge Trout Caviar. I also sprinkled chopped chives on the rice.

Sushi is the ideal Christmas canapé however if you're entertaining at home and serving sushi to guests make sure that you've practised a couple of times before you serve you own little masterpieces!

I hope this post gives you a little inspiration to start making sushi and other Christmas themed recipes at home!

Thanks to Food & Wine and photographer Paul Sheerwood for giving me the photos for this post.

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