A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way

Having spent most of the times in lockdown watching TV lazily at home (mostly food programs lol! πŸ˜‚), I have been missing being able to go outside to visit different foodie places and sample great food. 😞 One of my favourite cuisines is Japanese cuisine, and I have been trying to create a little bit of the magic at home. πŸ˜‹ Though that mostly equates to making big pots of miso soups, today I have tried to create a savoury Japanese fusion bake! πŸ˜‰β€οΈ

These savoury eclairs are based on some savoury choux bites I have done a while ago (See link hereπŸ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/07/31/fusion-confusion-πŸ€”/), and they are infused with sushi nori (roasted seaweed) and filled with tuna mayo. I gulped down the whole thing in minutes! They were so delicious! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹ But maybe I am biased? πŸ˜›

Nori Eclairs with Tuna Mayo

Quantity: 4 Eclairs

Ingredients:

For the choux pastry:

25g unsalted butter

75ml water

33g strong white flour

1 egg, beaten

Β½ large sheet of sushi nori

For the filling:

1 small, canned tuna

2 tbsp mayonnaise, to taste

A pinch of salt, to taste

A pinch of black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Place the butter in the water in a saucepan. Heat until the butter has completely melted and the water is boiling.

2. Keep the saucepan over heat and tip in the flour in one go. Beat vigorously until a smooth dough is formed. Remove it from heat.

3. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, until you have a smooth, soft batter. Take care as you may not need all of the egg. The batter must not be too stiff or too runny. You can check if you have the right consistency by lifting a bit of the batter up with a spoon, and it should just hang off it, holding a V-shape.

4. Cut up the nori finely. Add the nori to the choux batter and mix until well-combined.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Sprinkle droplets of water over it. Pipe the choux batter into 4 straight lines of equal lengths, leaving enough room between them for them to rise.

7. Bake the eclairs for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden and fully cooked inside. (Reduce the oven temperature if they start to brown too quickly.) As soon as they are taken out to cool, use a sharp knife to slice them across in halves. Cool the eclairs on a wire rack. (You may return them to the oven for a few more minutes to dry them out more if you need to.)

8. While the eclairs are baking, prepare the filling by mixing the canned tuna with mayonnaise, and seasoned with salt and black pepper to your taste.

9. Once the ecalairs are cooled, fill them with the tuna mayo before serving.

Would you like to give it a try? πŸ˜‰

This Might Sound Cheesy… πŸ§€ πŸ§€

Last day of my holiday today, and I am testing my new mixer (which I bought after breaking my electric whisk… πŸ˜–πŸ˜–) Sometimes, you really do just feel an urge to bake something you’ve been craving, and today, cheesecake was my choice.

I opted for a Japanese soufflΓ© cheesecake, which is a very light baked cheesecake that has a fluffy texture of a soufflΓ©. It is traditionally baked in a bain-marie. When I visited Japan many years ago, this was one of those sweet treats I would actively look for, and I once had what I thought was the best cheesecake of my lifetime lol. πŸ˜‹

I chose to top mine with fruits to add some acidity and freshness to the cake, but it’s just as good to eat as a plain cake! πŸ‘

Japanese SoufflΓ© Cheesecake

Quantity: 1 cake

Ingredients:

200g cream cheese

3 eggs, separated

90g caster sugar

30g cornflour

50g milk

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

2. Beat the cream cheese until light and creamy.

3. Add the yolks, half of the sugar, cornflour, milk, lemon juice and salt to the cream cheese. Fold gently until well combined.

4. Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg white. Add the remaining sugar a little a time as you are whisking. Whisk until white egg is stiff.

5. Fold the egg white gently into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.

6. Line your cake tin with baking parchment and secure with paper clips. Pour your cake mixture into the tin.

7. Place the cake on a tray filled with hot water and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden and well-risen.

8. Cool and remove baking parchment before serving.

Short But Sweet

Having been swamped by work this week, I, like a lot of people, can find it difficult to truly relax and separate myself from the stress and business of work life. This also unfortunately kept me away from blogging in the past week, but I am determined to hopefully balance between two and continue to update here whenever I can. πŸ’ͺ Honestly, this Friday feeling could not have come sooner! 😝

For me, autumn is the season of beginnings. Whether starting a new school, new college or new job, this time of year signifies the turning of a fresh page in many people’s chapters. As the weather becomes chillier after the long heat wave that was last month, I always craved for something warm and hearty. And, for me, no other food is better than a proper bowl of Japanese ramen in that retrospective. πŸ˜‹

Tonkatsu Ramen

It’s a short and sweet moment of comfort which we all need in this busy time. And, speaking of sweet, I also dropped by to my favourite ice cream shop in London. πŸ˜‰ (I wrote a post about the place months ago which you can see hereπŸ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/05/29/its-never-too-cold-for-ice-cream/) If you’re looking for some unique, new or Asian-inspired ice cream flavours, do pay this place a visit if you happen to be in London!I promise you would not be disappointed! 😁

Lychee-Raspberry Sorbet and Sweetcorn Ice Cream

As I enjoy every spoonful of my sweet treat in the bright street of Central London, I wish you all the best in the weeks to come! πŸ˜‰

Day 1 in Glasgow: Road Trip in the Rain

In the Hobbit, Gandalf said to Bilbo Baggins, β€˜The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.’ There is something about travelling to different places that is vastly different and so much more exciting than simply seeing or hearing about them on TV and on the internet. Compare to the old me who preferred the comfort of staying at home, I now often find myself not being able to stay still on the same spot!

Hence, yesterday, my mum and I headed out for a brief 2-day trip to Glasgow by taking a bus from home. (It was quite last minute as we only decided for sure a few days ago.) The weather, however, was not on our side as the roads were all drenched by the heavy rain all day. But we still made sure that we made the most of it after we arrived.

In Glasgow… 🌧🌧

Marching our way through the rain β˜”οΈ , we dropped by Lychee Oriental for lunch. It is a renowned Chinese restaurant in the area run by Jimmy Lee who once appeared in the Great British Menu on BBC. The restaurant offer a nice two-course lunch every day for a very reasonable price of Β£11.90. No surprises here except it was a nice, rustic, homey meal that quickly filled us up for the day. (I personally quite liked the chicken satay and the fried noodles.)

Lunch in Lychee Oriental

The weather though really wasn’t appealing enough for us to stay any longer outside, so we decided to check into the hotel and rest a bit first before the evening.

easyHotel (on the right) where we stayed

We stayed at easyHotel which was a very cheap stay, costing under Β£44 for a twin room for one night. When we arrived though, we were still an hour too early for the official check-in time (3pm). This meant we ended up wondering some more in the rain before hiding inside the hotel opposite to it for the time to pass! πŸ˜‚

Though the room was generally pleasant and very clean, the shower was very tiny (there was no actual cubicle and the curtains kept sticking to me as I was showering πŸ˜…), and also annoyingly (which I only noticed after booking…) WiFi and even the TV are all extra charges. However, for those of you who may be just looking for a quick night of sleep, this is the ideal place for it!

Dinner in Ichiban

While I was napping, my mum was looking at the tourist information leaflet she got from the hotel reception and found this Japanese restaurant called Ichiban. We decided to head there for dinner, squeezing together under one umbrella β˜‚ (the rain was even worse at that time… πŸ˜“πŸ˜“) We ordered the signature ramen and a mixed sushi platter, plus some char siu (roasted pork) on the side. The ramen was good with a hefty portion and a good broth, and the sushi was also well-made. The char siu though we found was a touch too salty.

Yee Kwan Ice Creams πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

It would be unlike me (or rather us lol) that we didn’t have some desserts after meal. The restaurant also offers Yee Kwan ice creams on their menu (which I knew before from watching Dragons’ Den πŸ˜‚ ). We ordered the black sesame seed ice cream and pink guava & passion fruit sorbet. The sorbet was perfect with its lightness and sweetness with a slight tang, and the black sesame was very flavourful with the nuttiness from the seeds. (My mum was loving them both lol.) If you see these ice creams for sales anywhere, I would strongly recommend you to grab one! πŸ˜‹ πŸ˜‚

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel just as the rain thankfully died down. My mum especially was ready for bed after a long day, but it seemed that our day was not over yet when we discovered there was no hot water in the shower… πŸ˜“βŒβŒ (P.S. we ended up moving to the room next door. πŸ˜›)

Fusion Confusion? πŸ€”

I am always very intrigued by fusion cuisines. Being an Asian that grew up in Britain, I often found myself being inspired by the cooking on both sides. Even when I was baking, I often found an urge of being drawn to using Asian ingredients.

A couple of weeks ago, I made some deliciously classic chocolate profiteroles for a BBQ. (The link to that is here πŸ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/07/06/barbecue-and-strawberries-πŸ“/) But do you know that choux pastry is also often used for savoury recipes, especially in canapΓ©s? A while ago, I created these bite-size treats of Japanese nori choux buns with tuna tartare and avocado. I can tell you that savoury is just as good as sweet! So why don’t you give it a try too? πŸ˜‰

Japanese Nori Choux Buns with Tuna Tartare and Avocado

Quantity: 15-20 choux buns

Ingredients:

For the choux pastry:

50g unsalted butter

150ml water

65g strong white flour

2 large eggs, beaten

1 large sheet of sushi nori

For the filling:

200g fresh sashimi tuna, diced

2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise

1 large avocado, slightly mashed

1 lemon, juice only

Chives, diced finely

A pinch of salt

Method:

1. Place the butter in the water in a saucepan. Heat until the butter has completely melted and the water is boiling.

2. Keep the saucepan over heat and tip in the flour in one go. Beat vigorously until a smooth dough is formed. Remove it from heat.

3. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, until you have a smooth, soft batter. Take care as you may not need all the eggs. The batter should not be too stiff or too runny. You can check if you have the right consistency by lifting a bit of the batter up with a spoon, and it should just hang off it, holding a V-shape.

4. Chop up the nori finely. (Make sure you save some for decorations.) Add the nori to the choux batter and mix until well-combined.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Sprinkle droplets of water over it. Pipe the choux batter onto it in small circles, leaving enough room between them for the choux to rise. Cut the remaining nori to thin stripes, and place them in a cross pattern on top of the choux.

7. Bake the choux for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden and fully cooked inside. As soon as they are taken out to cool, use a sharp knife to slice them across in halves. Cool the choux on a wire rack.

8. While the choux are baking, prepare the filling. Add the chives and half the lemon juice to the mashed avocado. Season with salt and mix. For the tuna tartare, add the remaining lemon juice and mayonnaise to the raw tuna. Mix and season with salt.

9. Once the choux is cooled, fill the choux buns with the tuna tartare and avocado before serving.

Made in Chelsea

Isn’t it always nice to be able to catch up friends after a long day? Yesterday, I was very excited to visit Sumosan Twiga in Knightsbridge by the Chelsea area with two of my close friends and enjoyed some fusion Italian and Japanese fine dining. (And pretending we are people from the Made in Chelsea cast talking about ‘ dramatic person lives. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)

Inside the restaurant
Deep-fried Calamari with Chilli-Mayo Sauce
Billionaire Maki Rolls (top) and Rock Shrimps Maki Rolls (bottom)

For starters, we enjoyed some delicious sushi and calamari. The calamari was crispy, and I was having fun biting them with the green chilli they came with. (Yeah, I like a bit of kick haha.) The Billionaire sushi rolls I ordered was composed of raw Wagyu beef, asparagus, mushroom, and topped with fresh truffles. That’s one very luxurious plate for anyone to savour! πŸ˜‹

Serving the pasta πŸ˜‹
Lobster Paccheri (topped with some Parmesan cheese of course!)

As for the mains, I had decided to enjoy their lobster Paccheri. I got to say the portion was much bigger than I imagined, and I really liked the idea that they served the pasta in a hot pan before plating it in front of you by the table. The pasta was well cooked to al dente, and the lobster was sweet and perfectly cooked– absolutely delicious!

There is a smart dress code in this restaurant, so you can make sure you are dressed up and all ready to hit the night! πŸ˜‰

Some Like It Hot Hot Hot

I think I may be on a meat and grill obsession at the moment, since my lunch choice today meant that I obviously had not had enough in the barbecue yesterday. Taking the bus to Angel, I visited a Japanese steak and sushi bar called Hot Stone that had been plaguing my social media in the past month (and tormenting me with delicious food! πŸ˜‚)

I tried to visit one Sunday evening a while ago, but the place was unfortunately full at the time. (Mind you, the place isn’t massive either.) So, this time around, I came at the earliest time during their lunch hours, and my strategy worked 😁! (Got to also say the place did fill up quite quickly afterwards.) As the name of the restaurant implies, it specialises in hot stone cooking. Customers who order this will be given a hot stone with choices of steak and/or seafood which they will be cooking themselves over the hot stone. I ordered a sirloin steak paired with tiger king prawns. (Would have loved to try the Wagyu beef, but it’s too expensive for me eat by myself…) It’s great fun to do and you would be given premium ingredients, though just be mindful you may be let down by your own cooking. πŸ˜…

Think I overcooked my steak slightly…. πŸ˜“

I also ordered the scallop tataki, which is scallops that were quickly seared at the sides but mostly raw at the centre. It was absolutely delicious, in fact I wished there were even more! πŸ˜‚ For those of you who may be looking for alternatives to the hot stone, there are plenty of choices of sushi and other kind Japanese dishes there. (In fact, I was awkwardly staring at the dishes the tables next to me were ordering… Definitely tempted to order more if I weren’t worried about a hefty bill! πŸ˜‚)

And, to finish, some vanilla ice cream mochi.

Doctors, Pharmacies and a Bento Box

So I might have jinxed myself with my last post, since I have been nothing but a ‘busy bee’ 🐝 this past week with a funny cheek infection. Initially, I thought it was just a minor scratch who turned out to have worsened over the weekend. Walking into work on Monday, I was bombarded by questions about whether I had gotten into a fight or burnt myself, and with that I realised maybe I should seek some helps about it.

When I visited the pharmacy for some creams/ointments after work on Tuesday, I was a bit taken back to hear the pharmacist to tell me that it may be an infection and I should see a doctor about it. Now, as much as I appreciate the work of NHS in the UK, I can’t help but get annoyed at times. Since moving to London, making an appointment with GP have been quite literally a nightmare for me with their long waiting times. After I was told there won’t be a free appointment until after 2 weeks (and I struggle with the ‘walk in’ times as they are during work in the morning), I hung up with a huff. 😀

After speaking to NHS on 111, I was suggested to go into a ‘walk in’ centre for a appointment. However, after spending a good 20 minutes on the bus to get to the medical centre nearby, I was told they have reached maximum capacity for the day and was turned away! πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ This left me having to take another 20 minutes of underground going back to the opposite direction to a hospital which also has walk in services. πŸ˜• Thankfully it wasn’t much of a long wait and the doctor was very attentive and helpful (who also had someone who was training with him which was quite nice to see.) They both told me my cheek infection was nothing too serious, and with some ointment and antibiotics, it would heal very soon. 😊

I thought my day was finally over as I headed to the hospital pharmacy for my prescriptions. But it turned out it was closed by that point! 😭 With no other choices, I thought this wasn’t too bad and I could just head to a pharmacy nearby. Because it was 6pm, almost all pharmacies in the area nearby were closed so I stopped by King’s Cross Station on my way home, which had a pharmacy open until late. But adding salt to the wounds, I was told the prescription form they wrote for me was a specific one for the hospital pharmacy so it would be illegal for them to give me any prescriptions! 😫😑 (Literally felt like I wanted to bang my head against the wall by that point…)

So I ended up going back to the hospital the next day after work (I took an Uber too because my work place was quite a distance from the hospital and I didn’t finish work until after 4 when the pharmacy was going to be closed by half 5.) But at least now, I finally got my prescription and ate at a nice Japanese restaurant nearby. πŸ˜πŸ˜‹ I found often bento boxes in Japanese restaurants in the UK consisted of either a selection of teriyaki chicken or salmon. I usually prefer the latter, but sometimes do get disappointed by the salmon being too overcooked. But this one was nicely cooked, and I really enjoyed the tempuras and the simple avocado sushi rolls.

Have you also had problems with health services before? Feel free to share in the comments below.

An 1-Hour Trip To Tokyo

After a few days of less than ideal weather, London finally welcomed back the sun. In fact it was so hot today, I had been constantly filling myself up with cold drinks and ice creams! πŸ˜…

Despite the heat in the underground threatened to melt me alive, I continued my search for good food and arrived in Eat Tokyo. Those of you who lived in the city might be somewhat familiar with it as they do have a handful of branches dotted around London. Japanese cuisine is definitely one my favourites to eat. Before it has become such a mainstream cuisine internationally, it used to be quite a high end thing to eat back in the days. During my childhood whilst growing up in Hong Kong, my family and I used to spend ages queueing to eat in Japanese restaurants. It was quite a luxurious treat to me back then!

The one thing I like about Eat Tokyo is that, besides big, bold flavours, they serve large portions for around the same price you will get in similar restaurants. My first dish was a yellowtail sushi. Yellowtail is one of the best fish to eat raw in my opinion. It has a very tender and light texture, and pairs very well with the pickled ginger that accompanied the sushi. I must confess I have an obsession with pickled ginger, which my grandmother used to make regularly when she was still with us.

The second dish was a foie gras with daikon. Most people when they think of foie gras, their mind immediately jump to French cuisine but it’s actually also a fairly commonly used ingredient in Japanese cuisine as well. Daikon, for those of you who are not sure, is a Japanese radish. This radish is famous for its juiciness and sweetness, and it is best served after cooking for a long time in a broth or sauce, where the daikon will become very soft and flavourful. (My family is obsessed with daikon and used to fight over who gets to eat the last pieces!) In this dish, the richness of the foie gras contrasts very well with the lightness of the daikon, though I do think the sauce is slightly on the heavy side.

The last dish was what they called a katsu sara, which to me was a katsudon with rice served separately. Katsudon is a classic Japanese dish consisting of breaded pork cutlets cooked in eggs, vegetables and a sweet soy sauce, and then served over a bowl of rice. It is also an old favourite of mine since I was young. I had so many happy memories eating this dish as a kid.

I wasn’t able to finish it however, so I got a doggy bag with me when I left. At least that’s my lunch set for tomorrow!

(P.S. As if it wasn’t enough to fill me up already, I also went for a gelato afterwards…. πŸ˜‚ You heard of the saying that “you always have room for desserts”?)

Anyway, you can NEVER have too much ice creams!