Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

Having a long journey ahead of us we picked up something to eat at the train station and arrived in Matsumoto ready to wonder around and find Matsumoto Castle sitting atop a reflective lake.

Matsumoto Castle

Before we knew it, evening had turned to dusk and dusk to twighlight and then darkness.  We quickly looked around for a place for dinner and ended up asking a couple for directions.  We showed them a photo of the entrance to the restaurant we wanted to go to; they discussed between themselves where they thought it was, and walked us to the restaurant!

We chose a local, family-run restaurant where we ordered horsemeat sashimi – which I have to say was absolutely delicious, if we hadn’t known that it was horsemeat we would have been none the wiser, we probably we have enjoyed it as beef carpaccio!  This was followed by a pork cutlet served over rice with once again the ubiquitous miso soup.  The cutlet was juicy and tender and coated in an omelette loaded with spring onions – very tasty.

Hida Beef was on the menu in Takayama.  The first of my two Hida beef experiences was as a Hida beef sizzler.  Beef served in strips on a scorching hot sizzler, the waiter instructing us to turn the slices over until we were happy with how they were cooked.  This restaurant had a diner kind of feel, with pictures of food and their prices on the walls and blueish fluorescent lighting, however, the beef was delicious.  The second experience was more innovative.  We walked to Trip Advisor’s #1 Restaurant in Takayama – if you’re not careful, you miss it!  A shop-front full of chintzy relics from the past in total disarray greets you, however walk through the shop, pushing an old gate open at the back of the shop, to find – Center4Hamburgers; also covered in chintzy relics from the past.  Fully booked for lunchtime we booked a table for that evening.

And yes, I thought to myself, I should be eating sushi and sashimi NOT hamburgers in Japan.

But Hida beef being a delicacy of the region and trying to experience different foods we had previously agreed to try and give everything a go.  The burgers were amazing, the Hida beef cooked pink with a savoury seasoning coating the crispy, sweet meat and covered in melted cheese; served with spicy mayo on crisp lettuce in a toasted sesame bun.  Each bite a feast for the mouth.

At the traditional Japanese Ryokan that we were staying at I opted to have a Japanese breakfast.  We had booked our breakfast for a specific time and made our way to the dining room.  Set before us as we walked up to the table were all the constituents of the meal:

Miso soup, cooked salmon, coddled egg, pickles, dumplings in syrup, yoghurt and seasonal fruits, all arranged in little bowls.  On either side of the tray stood a burner with, spicy tofu soup on the left burner and slices of Hida beef with miso paste on the right for me to cook to my liking.  Served with as much rice as I wanted; all to be washed down with jasmine tea.

For those that ordered a Western Style breakfast there was a burner on the go ready for diners to fry their eggs or to make an omelette, a salad, yoghurt and seasonal fruits.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience – dressed in my Yukata, sat cross legged at the table, sampling all the delicious components that made my extremely, healthy and well-balanced breakfast.  A great way to start another hectic day of sight seeing and travelling.  My only advice if having a Japanese breakfast is that you cannot be in a rush.  There are so many parts of the breakfast to get through you need time to enjoy them all!

After Takayama it was onto Kyoto…

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Before any of you ask, this was not a student creation from my University days gone by!

Kedgeree is at its most basic, a dish consisting of boiled rice, flaked fish, curry powder and hard boiled eggs.  It is thought to have originated from an Indian rice and bean/lentil dish called Khichri, and widely believed that the dish was introduced to the Uk by returning British soldiers who enjoyed it in India whilst serving there during the British Raj.

During Victorian times it was served as a breakfast dish, as part of the very fashionable colonial Anglo-Indian cuisine that was sweeping Victorian Britain.

It is one of many breakfast dishes that, in the days before refrigeration

“converted yesterday’s leftovers into warm, hearty and appealing breakfast dishes.”

Kedgeree can take on many guises; some people fry onions until crisp to scatter over top before serving, others add sultanas into the mix, some use a variety of fish (e.g. smoked haddock).  Celebrity chefs have turned the recipe from a simple putting together of ingredients into a much more decadent dish by using every ingredient in your spice rack or by using ingredients that you need to spend your lunch break searching for!

My advice: keep it simple

Kedgeree

1st: Boil eggs until they are hard boiled.  Set aside and allow to cool.

2nd: Place a salmon fillet per person into a saucepan.  Cover with water and add peppercorns, salt and bay leaves.  If you’re feeling adventurous add a few crushed cardamom pods.  Simmer gently for 10mins.  Allow to cool in the liquid.

3rd: Chop a medium sized onion and fry in some butter.

4th: Once the onion is soft, add a couple of teaspoons of curry powder to the saucepan and stir.

5th: Add the rice (I use basmati) and coat the grains with the buttery, curried onions.

6th: Use the poaching liquid and top up with any extra water to cook your rice using the 2:1 method.  For depth of flavour I always use a stock cube – if you leave this out check for seasoning later.

7th: Once everything is cooked* it is just a case of assembling the dish:

a) remove the skin off the salmon and flake into pieces (take care with any bones)

b) sprinkle with fresh parsely

c) mix everything with the back of 2 wooden spoons and serve

d) squeeze a lemon over the rice

e) peel the eggs and chop into quarters but serve these equally to avoid argument!

*I like mine to have peas, so once the rice is cooked and whilst assembling the dish, I add frozen peas to the saucepan to cook them quickly in the residual heat.

Even though its intention was to be a breakfast dish, and it is relatively simple to make, it is just not practical for me to want to cook this for breakfast – not even at the weekend!  But it does make for a great light supper or a fantastic weekend brunch; especially a late-Saturday-morning-hangover-looming-brunch!  However, let’s simplify this even more: dispense with stages 1 & 2, don’t bother with the hard boiled eggs and poached, flaked salmon and just open a can of tuna into the boiled, curried rice.