This is a spectacularly simple dish to prepare. Seriously. I spotted the original recipe,which was inspired by English toad-in-the-hole, in the September issue of Martha Stewart Living and was sold on the one pan meal idea. I imagine it would make for a fabulous breakfast after a big night out, but am way past that point of my life (actually, I might have skipped that stage entirely). It works really well as a simple workday lunch and I can totally see it as part of a weekend brunch spread served with a side salad, peas and onion jam.
When you stay in a traditional ryokan in Japan, it’s almost always assumed that you’ll be having dinner on property. In many cases, the price of your dinner is automatically included as part of your room rate. And you simply don’t have the option of bowing out of the meal. At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, however, because the resort is both more modern and flexible in its packages and because it caters to guests that often stay for multiple days, guests can choose whether or not they wish to dine on premises. In my opinion though, if one stays at this gorgeous property, it would be a travesty not to have dinner in HOSHINOYA’s restaurant and to taste the truly exceptional cuisine of Chef Ichiro Kubota.
Ever since the HOSHINOYA resort opened in the scenic Arashiyama region of Kyoto in December 2009, I’ve been dying to check into this very special property. While Kyoto, one of my favourite cities in the world, is home to both modern (Western) hotels and ultra-pricey, ultra-exclusive traditional ryokans, HOSHINOYA is unique in that it offers the best of both worlds, in a resort setting unlike any other.
A few weeks back, I updated my page in which I list my favourite tools. The list pretty much covers my camera gear (plus the Olympus OM-D I don’t own yet but dream of daily), my favourite knives and knifemakers, and the equipment I use for sous vide cooking. While I previously championed the SousVide Supreme, these days, my wife S and I are lucky enough to be using the coolest, smallest (and comparatively affordable) chamber vacuum packer on the market, the Vacmaster VP112EU, and the Addelice swid, a beautifully designed (and also comparatively affordable) immersion circulator.
If you read The Kitchen Nomads’ blog you will have heard us praising the wide, fantastic variety of food in Hong Kong markets and how this allows us nomads to get an international feast in our tables any day of the week. Well, in all my undying love for the gai see* there is a small thorn that never stops pricking; the lack of real plantain. That glorious plantain like the one that grows by the tons in Colombia and represents not only the base of our cuisine but also a big part of the agriculture that feeds endless families, makes no appearance in the Hong Kong wet markets. I’m puzzled as to why this happens as it grows in the Phillipines and Indonesia the same way it grows in South America and most of Africa.
Everyone loves to try out a product befor
e buying. This is especially so for wines. Fortunately, many retailers today are organising theme-based wine tastings (by varietal, region or same producer across different vintages) so that we can test their wares before committing to purchase. Travellers are also putting scenic winery visits into holiday itineraries; once you’ve worked your way through a cellar door tasting, you’ll find it’s a highly addictive and enjoyable process. In a restaurant setting, however, a tasting is a very different thing. Because –when ordering by the bottle–you can’t just move on to the next wine if the one you tried isn’t to your exact tastes. Every kind of tasting has its own set of rules.
Every morning, I try to squeeze in as much sleep as possible. To do that, I often sacrifice breakfast. So when it comes to meals, breakfast receives the least attention, and is at times even forgotten. I dash out of the house with a poorly slapped together sandwich or simply drown myself with some instant hot drink. Even if I get the rare chance to savour it, it would be hawker fare like mee siam, chwee kueh and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hawker food – but to eat them every day – I am not sure if my arteries would approve.
I’d never really thought about making XO sauce—a deliciously spicy and umami condiment that first gained popularity in Hong Kong in the Eighties—in the past because the process seemed mysteriously complex. Generally consisting of dried scallops and shrimp paired with chillies, and a blend of shallots and garlic, the recipe for most signature XO sauces served at famous Chinese restaurants are closely guarded.