Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pictures, and Harumi Kurihara

I've not been blogging for a long while, and have done some lovely things in the meantime:

Went to the New Forest and was nosed by ponies,



tried to grow carrots and failed,



went to a wedding in Bath,



and discovered Harumi Kurihara.



Harumi Kurihara is a Japanese TV chef and homemaker, known as Japan's Martha Stewart. I've recently bought her second book in English, Everyday Harumi.

She lived in London for a few months when researching her book and the result is doable recipes, with ingredients you can get in London (albeit in Japanese or East Asian supermarkets in London). That means no difficult seafood ingredients (she uses mackerel and sea bream), she gives instructions to fix things that are different (eg. English vs Japanese cucumbers), and provides a recipe that uses those tiny prawn cocktail prawns. I find the best thing about the book is the inclusion of easy, quick pickle recipes ('tsukemono'). I like pickles but haven't got the dedication to make a harvestload of pickles in sterilised jam jars - I would slice some cucumbers and shake them with some liquid in a ziploc bag though.

I tried out one of her recipes I found on the internet before buying Everyday Harumi, as a sort of test. It's an easy chicken recipe using mostly storecupboard ingredients: Chicken with soy and balsamic dressing.

I combined two tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman) and two tablespoons balsamic vinegar instead of 1tbsp recommended in the recipe, mixed with 1 sliced garlic clove and ground pepper (I didn't use salt), and marinated the diced chicken breast for half an hour.

Fried that chicken.

I'm using a lovely contraption my mother gave me, a Zojirushi electric frying pan thingy. It has a sliding thing to control the temperature, from simmer to high temperatures, and I don't have to faff about with a flame. When the pan gets hot enough, it stops heating and the little light turns off, so the temperature's kept fairly consistent as well.





I served it on a plate of rocket with a decorative border of cherry tomatoes and we had it with rice, it tasted good and was pretty effortless, except for dicing the chicken. If you bought ready-diced chicken, this recipe's pretty much no work at all.

Result: Tasty chicken, not too strong flavoured. It was really good considering the effort invested in it.

Bonus point: I was able to mix the leftover chicken and 'dressing' with a salad to take to work the next day.



I've been cooking more often and better, so I should be updating this blog more often with things I cook and things. There's a book sale every month or so at the building where I work, and I often get cookbooks from there and have been trying out different recipes. In a bout of excitement I got a pastry book by Michel Roux - I'm very excited about trying to make good pastry. There's a recipe for pizza dough as well but it looks very involved, and instructions include measuring the temperature of the room and the dough and other different things and adding them all up to a specific temperature - and so looks a bit scarier and more exact than I'd trust myself to do, but the pastry ones look a bit more doable.



Greetings from Catfriend.

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