Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things I'm going to do when I go back to Japan

Go to Fuji Rock!

Visit Kyoto.

Eat at R Burger in Roppongi.

Hit up Golden Gai in Shinjuku (near where the photo was taken).

Pretend I'm Scarlett Johansson with a cocktail in the Park Hyatt bar.

Sing karaoke til sunrise.

And, if I don't run out of time, relax at an onsen.... aaah...

Fried Mozzarella Balls

  • About 3 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)
  • 500g bocconcini cheese (drained & patted dry; roughly 2 small tubs)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups plain, fine, dry breadcrumbs

  1. Triple coat the bocconcini by dipping in the eggs, then breadcrumbs, and repeating. Transfer to a bowl as you go (they can stack on top of each other).
  2. When all the cheese is battered, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan, being super careful not to let it spatter on you when it gets hot (this took about 5 minutes on high heat for me, until a breadcrumb dropped in will sizzle immediately).
  3. Fry in batches of 4-5 balls at a time, lowering in on a slotted spoon until golden brown, turning occasionally.
  4. Lift out and place on paper towel until ready to serve.

We also made a simple tomato sauce to go with these, by frying up 1/2 a brown onion (chopped), one clove garlic (crushed), 1-2 cups passata (tomato puree; a can of diced tomatoes would be fine too), and a splash of red wine.

Adapted from Epicurious iPhone App (credited to Gourmet, January 2009)

Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

  • 1 onion
  • 275g small desiree potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 large eggs

  1. Peel and cut the onion in half, then thinly slice each half and separate the layers into half-moon shapes
  2. Thinly pare the potatoes using a potato peeler and slice them into thin rounds, working quickly so they don't brown
  3. Once sliced, rub in a clean tea towel so they're as dry as possible
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frypan
  5. When it's smoking hot, add the potatoes and onions
  6. Toss them around to coat in the oil, then reduce to the lowest heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put a lid on the pan
  7. Allow them to cook gently for 20 minutes or so, turning halfway and shaking the pan occasionally to stop them from browning (they should just stew in the oil).
  8. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl and lightly whisk with a fork (don't overmix)
  9. When the onions and potatoes are cooked, add them to the egg bowl
  10. Return the frypan to the heat, add remaining oil, then thoroughly mix the potatoes, eggs and onion before pouring the whole lot into the frypan
  11. Keep on the lowest heat and let cook slowly, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes
  12. Every now and then, draw the edge in gently with a palette knife to give it a nice rounded edge
  13. When there's virtually no liquid egg left on the surface, place a flat lid or plate over the pan and invert it, turning the pan over, then return pan to the heat and use the palette knife to transfer the omelette back into the pan.
  14. Let it cook for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes. It should be cooked through but still moist in the centre.
  15. Serve hot or cold, cut in wedges.

Adapted from Delia's How to Cook Book One (published by BBC Worldwide Publishing)

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Salad

This is the first in a series of recipes all made for my housemate's Spanish fiesta birthday dinner back in January. Unfortunately the photos aren't wonderful, but they're all I have!

  • 2 large fennel bulbs with fronds attached
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • Pinch of oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 can cannellini beans

  1. Preheat oven to 200 Celcius.
  2. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/2 cup and set aside.
  3. Trim fennel bulbs and cut in half vertically, then into 1/2 inch wide wedges.
  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan until very hot then add fennel wedges and sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, stirring occasionally; about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic and stir.
  7. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and put in the over for about 30 minutes, or until fennel and tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.
  8. Mix in cannellini beans and chopped fennel fronds, then bake for another 5 minutes to heat through.
  9. Serve warm or room temperature.
Adapted from Epicurious iPhone App (credited to Bon Appetit, August 2010)