久しぶりですね？ Long time, no see.
You may have noticed that the blog has been a little quiet over the last few months. This is because we’ve been in a rather roundabout process of moving home and starting new jobs. In short, we ended up in London, capital of excitement and the UK.
In numbers, our situation is as follows:
Weeks since we got our own kitchen: 4
Weeks since all our kitchen implements arrived: 3
Weeks since we got an internet connection: 1
As you can deduce from the above, our #Londonlife began with a week of cooking without spoons followed by two weeks of having only spoons for entertainment.
Thankfully, those days are over. From now on, I can return to blogging about home-cooked Japanese meals on a hopefully regular basis. Click ‘read more’ below to find out about this one!
what’s on my (really small) table?
This was one of the first meals I cobbled together in our under-equipped kitchen. It doesn’t look like much, but it was filling enough for a light dinner. The tiny, well-worn folding table pictured was pretty much our only piece of furniture at the time.
miso soup with daikon, satsuma-imo and mange-tout
For a really vegetable-laden soup, I simmered together batons of daikon and chunks of satsuma-imo with the skin intact (well-scrubbed, of course). Both were available from my local grocer under the usual aliases of ‘mooli’ and ‘red sweet potato’. I could have found both at Tesco, but the produce there was a lot smaller.
Tesco seems to sell satsuma-imo as ‘white-fleshed sweet potatoes’ to distinguish them from the more familiar orange-fleshed kind. The key difference is that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes turn to mush if simmered or roasted in their skins, whereas satsuma-imo have a texture closer to that of ordinary spuds. Just before the miso, I added slivers of mange-tout cut on the diagonal to round out the colour palette of this soup. You can just about see them above.
warm tofu with mushrooms and spring onions
Of all the things to like about London, I’m most pleased with the ready availability of good, firm tofu. Another exciting find was a jar of namekake (tiny, thread-like enoki mushrooms cooked down in a a syrupy soy-based sauce). This is excellent as a topping for warm tofu. If you see it, buy it.
Ever the urban gardener, I kept the roots of the spring onions I used here and potted them on my balcony. A month later, they’ve already given me a couple of crops completely free of charge. Yes, it really works! The joke’s on you, supermarket.
daikon miso pickles
Cut daikon into rounds, cut the rounds into quarters, then bag them up with a smear of miso, sake and citrus zest. After a couple of days’ curing in the fridge, the daikon pieces firm up to a lovely crunch and shrivel into little mountain shapes. Great with rice.
cucumber and daikon sunomono
A palate-cleansing salad with a similar vinegar dressing to the one I shared here.
To get the thinnest possible threads of daikon, you need to take a cylindrical section of the root, remove the skin and shave a thin, continuous sheet while rotating it. To do this easily, you really need a thin, flat-edged nakiri knife or similar. You can then fold up your translucent daikon sheet and chop it as finely as you desire.
Sunomono are nice with multiple ingredients, as long as the flavours harmonise. If you think ahead, you can even use chilled protein elements such as cooked prawns or shredded chicken. Particularly when using proteins, remember to dress the salad at the last moment. A long acidic marinade will change the texture of these ingredients in a bad way.
Lots more dishes in small bowls, with full recipes, will feature on the blog in the weeks to come. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram. Your requests and suggestions are welcome.