National Day Luncheon - Home Cooking and Tea

Photo from Itohkyuemon's main webpage.

2nd August 2010. Written by Xin Li.
Last Sunday, I decided to have a Green High Tea at my home. I was eager to share the 伊藤久右衛門水出し煎茶 Itohkyuemon Mizuchu Green Tea Leaves that I got from Uji region in Kyoto with my friends after finding it to be particularly refreshing and pleasant to drink back in Singapore.

National Day Luncheon - Yew Ann and Gracia

I was joined by Min Che, Victor, Yew Ann, Vinleon and Liang Wei at home (as well as my playful and equally excited niece). What was meant to be a mini high tea thing became a luncheon or lunch-high-tea-dinner degustation as described by Liang Wei. At first I wanted to prepare some light snacks but since I was in a mood to make something, I baked a cake.

After baking a cake, I was still feeling very excited about the ‘high tea’, so I decided to surf the net and picked up some recipes from BBC Channel 4 and Epicurious.com (my favourite recipe site) and prepared more food.

In response whether the Soy Sauce Fish was edible, I decided to prepare it by getting some Saatchi fillets and calling it Shoyu Fish (with Soy-Mirin sauce) instead.

National Day Luncheon - Tempura

On top of that, since it was a session to sample Japanese tea, I did a little research on making Japanese Tempura and decided to serve some sweets I got from Kyoto and try making tempura to give it a Japanese feel. However, it did not just end there. I was thinking “hey! I dropped by Thailand during my flight, so I should prepare something tropical!” That was why I opted for the Tropical Salmon instead of the intended Teriyaki Salmon.

National Day Luncheon - The Dining Table

To up the mood, I decided to play some Japanese instrumental music ranging from gagaku to the Gion bayashi music. Other music includes some nostalgic military band music by Ernst Mosch as well as some Western classical music to give it a Western high-tea feel and nostalgic music by Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong as well as Edith Piaf (music you would find in a quaint café).

National Day Luncheon - Lemony Potato Salad

I was quite happy about how the Lemony Potato Salad, it was lighter than the classic potato salad with eggs and bacon bits due to the lemon juice and zest added to it.

National Day Luncheon - Tropical Salmon

The Tropical Salmon was another pleasant surprise. The sweet and sour salsa consisting of Thai mango and Hong Kong Papaya (places I have been for the past two trips) turned out to be quite compatible with the grilled salmon.

National Day Luncheon - Shoyu Fish

The Shoyu Fish, if you study the ingredients, they are basically the core ingredients that form the Teriyaki sauce. It consisted of sugar, mirin, sake, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Quite sweet and I find that Saatchi fillet tends to have a springy texture rather a firm flaky flesh. The overall taste was sweet and slightly spicy (due to the ginger and white pepper I added to it).

National Day Luncheon - Cheesecake

The Cheesecake was based on the Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake recipe, but I omitted the sour cream layer when I find to too sour and troublesome to make. It was what I used to baked in the past, turned out quite well even after a long period of idling (thanks to NS)

National Day Luncheon - Petite Fours from Kyoto

What was not pictured includes the Valrhona Jivara Lait 40% Cocoa Chocolates and Dried Fruits I got from Thailand King Power DFS which I served during the dessert segment. The Valrhona chocolates were velvet smooth and melt pleasantly on the tongue.

National Day Luncheon - Vinny Jones

Min Che also brought along some tea leaves from Taiwan which was very fragrant! The tea we had was brown in colour and it was flavorful yet not too heavy with a fragrant aftertaste, even the aroma was irresistible.

National Day Luncheon - Vegetable Soup

At the end of the meal, we were so full after consuming so much food. It was a meal of simple dishes, some first-time attempts for me and a whole lot of fun in trying something new, nothing complex like “truffle-infused emulsion” or “balsamic reduction” etc. Nonetheless, I had a great company for the day and we enjoyed ourselves (my niece as well – with Liang Wei and Yew Ann).

This was our Menu:

BEVERAGE
伊藤久右衛門水出し煎茶
Itohkyuemon Mizuchu Green Tea Leaves were being harvested in Minamiyamashiro located within the tea-growing region of Uji located in Southern Kyoto. The tea is hugely popular during the spring and summer seasons and its flavor is most fragrant when it is being served chilled after being kept in the fridge for 8 hours after brewing.

APPETIZERS
Gummy and the Peanuts
Gummy Bears and Peanuts to kill time with you..

Assortment of Pastries from Four Leaves
An assortment of mini pastries from Four Leaves : Sausage Croissant, Cheese Triangle, Danish Chocolate Pastry, Kaya Croissant and Ham and Cheese Croissant..

Homemade Vegetable Soup
Homemade Vegetable Soup of cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and celery in chicken stock.

Lemony Potato Salad
Potato salad with a lemony zing.

MAINS
Tropical Salmon
Grilled Salmon with Papaya and Mango Salsa

Shoyu Fish
Saatchi Fillet in Soy-Mirin Sauce

Assortment of Vegetable Tempura
Japanese style-Tempura featuring pumpkin, eggplant, shitake mushrooms and enoki mushrooms served with dipping sauce.

DESSERTS
Suvarnabhumi Dried Fruits
An Assortment of Dried Fruits from Thailand consisting of Honey Dew, Mangoes and Pineapples.

Duo of Yasuhashi八ツ橋
A kind of Japanese confectionery made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon.
The flavours are matcha and red bean.


Petite Fours from Kyoto
Sesame Cake and Japanese Sweets with Red Bean

Two Cities of Spain Cheesecake
A creamy and rich cheesecake, a modified version of the Three Cities of Spain Café’s Cheesecake.

Chocolate
Valrhona Jivara Lait 40% Cocoa

9 comments:

  1. I'm impressed. It's not often that I see guys who can cook and whats more bake a cheesecake!! Your tropical salmon sure looks yummy though :)

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  2. Awesome! I like the presentation! Especially the salmon and the salsa!

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  3. The salsa looks delicious. (:

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  4. Xin Li! I didn't know you're not only an artist but a chef too! Amazing! Kudos to your cooking and presentation...I wish I had the same chef-ness you have. :D

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  5. to Bella V: thanks! =D I started baking cheesecake because my sister likes cheesecakes =d then I started baking for my friends as well!

    to Glenn: Hee, a little something I picked up from the Kyoto trip.

    to ice: It is! However, the original recipe got more mangoes, I decided to add more papayas when I realize the mangoes are too sour.

    to HungryTrotters: haha I'm flattered! Thanks to the internet, there are some recipes around that are quite easy to execute. Epicurious.com is a nice place to check them out =) Cheese dishes should cost cheaper in Europe =)

    This is where I got the recipe for the Tropical Salmon: http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/occasions/bbq/bbq-fish-recipes/griddled-salmon-with-papaya-and-mango-salsa-recipe_p_1.html

    I added more papaya instead of mango to balance the flavour.

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  6. Looks like an awesome meal!

    I do something similar to your Shoyu Fish using Saba fish with Kikkoman soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Try it if you like oily fish! :D

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  7. to Hungry Cow: thanks! =)

    wow you cook too? =d I think my brother-in-law will love it!

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  8. haha it was =) pity you weren't around, we shall meet up one day when you are free (:

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