Friday, July 08, 2005

Sunday Dinner with friends

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These pictures really don't do justice to the food. It's so hard taking presentable pictures when it's hastily taken in front of guests (which i still tend to get a little embarassed about) - harsh flash, blurred image from close ups - no setting up of nice background etc.
Anyway, this was a dinner for 4 at my place - for 2 girlfriends, one of whom i had only met once but had discovered was my neighbour and someone whom I had immediately wanted to get to know better.
It was one of my first weekends in a month where I didn't have to work, and i was ecstatic! I had decided on the outset that the weekend was going to be spent indulging in my 'art'.

Here was the planned menu:

Japanese Eggplant topped with chopped prawns, grilled with a Sake Miso Sauce
Cold soft tofu with grated ginger and a lemon soya sauce topped with spring onions

Grilled Salmon with Otsu


Lemon Delicious Pudding

I wanted to try my hand at a new recipe. The salmon and otsu i had made before (it's truly one of my favourite home made dishes), but the eggplant and the lemon pudding were 'virgin recipes'.

I have to say everything turned out fantastic. Otsu is one of the most amazing dishes i have ever had the pleasure of tasting (and making). It's taken from 101cookbooks.com under the same title. Heidi of 101cookbooks had started her entry for Otsu with the following sentence: 'Listen up close, because I am going to tell you about the best recipe I've come across all year.'

She was not exaggerating.

I would strongly urge ANYONE with an inclination to eat a light noodle dish to make this at least once. It's easy and has an amazing combination of flavours. The salmon - i had made before (as seen in my posting Wednesday night dinner).

The eggplant recipe was taken from the Nobu cookbook i had borrowed from a friend of mine over the weekend. I had watched a chef i was helping out 2 nights before make a beautiful black cod with sake miso sauce and had asked him how he had made the sauce?
He asked me to look it up in the Nobu cookbook, and so when I discovered my girlfriend had the very cookbook sitting on her shelf, I rushed out to borrow it from her.

This eggplant dish is beautiful. And the sauce is really easy to make.
White Miso Paste
Granulated sugar

Heat all ingredients over a pan until the sugar has dissolved.
set aside to cool.

The Lemon Delish Pudding, I made with my girlfriend in mind, who has a totally soft spot for lemon desserts. I also thought a light lemon sweet to finish off a fairly fresh and uncomplicated meal would be the perfect end not. I was convinced this was going to be a disaster, because as I put them into the oven in their respective ramekins, I discovered i had forgotten to add the milk into the batter!
No wonder the batter had looked so strange and eggy.

I quickly retrieved them, poured them back into the mixing bowl, hastily threw in the milk, and hoped for the best. The result was light, 'souffle' like but substantial enough to satisfy the palate for a tangy warm dessert.
The recipe was taken from Donna Hay's cookbook.