Monday, 9 July 2012

Sushi Date Night

Date nights with my husband are usually the highlight of my week (I say "usually" because sometimes my big sister comes to visit, and we all know how excited I get about that!). Things can get a little hectic, so knowing we have a night to look forward to when we can slow things down a little and actually catch up beyond "Good day?" and "Dinner will be ready in ten" and "I'll be in at 9, what time will you get done?" is pretty exciting. If I'm honest, we can sometimes be a little lazy and fall back on the old faithful formula of dinner and a DVD (well if it aint broke...), but every now and then one of us has a brainwave. Our sushi date night was one of those.

Ok, so confession time. This date night was.... um.... about a year ago (I promise we've had other date nights since then!), but I'm feeling a little poorly sick today and am sitting on the sofa feeling all sorry for myself which inevitably leads to me being a little nostalgic. Please forgive the quality of the photos- a year ago this wee blog wasn't even a twinkle in my eye!

We love cooking together- the boy makes for a very obliging 'sous chef' (unless we're making curry, in which case I am more than happy to bow to his superior skills) and we love pottering around while chattering away, and we usually enjoy eating the results (we all have off days.... remind me to post about the "Crab Open Lasagna" debacle sometime). We used a simple basic sushi recipe to fix the rice, made one or two simple fillings and then a couple of short cut fillings.

Below is the simple sushi recipe we used, the recipes we made and a note of the couple of things we bought. As for the combinations- just make it up as you go along, go a little crazy, we did! Such fun... maybe I should pencil in another Sushi date night soon :)

For the rice:
2 cups sushi rice
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tspn salt

For the fillings:
2 eggs
1 tuna steak (seasoned with black pepper)
3 sheets of seaweed sushi paper
Crab/ seafood sticks
1 yellow pepper
1 cucumber
Smoked salmon scraps
soy sauce and wasabi, to serve

For the Sauce:
(this was borrowed from that lovely Jamie Oliver, you can find the original recipe here)
3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar or sushi vinegar
1 tsp icing sugar
1 lime

For the fillings:
- The eggs: gently beat them in a bowl then cook, pour them into a medium hot frying pan and gently cook until set. The finished product should look like a seriously flat omelet! Let it cool then slice into long thin strips.
- The cucumber: slice in half, scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon, then slice into long thin strips.
- Yellow pepper: Slice off the top, scoop out the seeds, slice into... you guessed it! Long thin strips!
- Sear the tuna steak in a non stick pan for 30 seconds on each side- leave to cool before slicing.... you know the drill....
- Take as many crab/ seafood sticks as you like (My husband loooooves them, so we probably used way more than necessary) and pull them apart into thinner strands (hey! I didn't say long strips!).
- I'm not sure the smoked salmon needs much more than taking out of its packet and placing on the plate, but I'm sure you'll do that with such style. To keep the cost down, don't worry about getting the beautiful large pieces of smoked salmon- most supermarkets sell small packets of, for want of a better term, scraps of smoked salmon which are just as yummy and beautiful but flaked off from the larger pieces. The bonus is, it's a fraction of the price!

I'm pretty sure sushi purists will be pretty upset with some (maybe all) of my suggestions, but this was our date night and we wanted budget friendly, easy to make and yummy food, and this did it for us :) Please please please feel free to add or subtract to the list to suit your tastes! We're not really avocado people (unless smushed into yummy guacamole) but I can imagine a lot of people are questioning its absence, so go for it- it's your meal!

For the rice:
Wash the rice with running water for 2 minutes until there is no more starch coming out of it. After you are done washing, place it gently in a pot, add a water until it is just covering the rice. Don't put too much water, or you'll get dough instead of rice. The rice should be cooked on high heat at first, stir every minute or two, until the water boils. Then, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot. Stop stirring. After 6-8 minutes, check the water level - If there is no more water, only bigger grains of rice in the pot, that means the rice is ready. If not, check back every minute, making sure not to burn the rice at the bottom. Be careful when taking the rice out of the pot. I'm not kidding! Don't scrape the rice out from the bottom of the pot- if it comes out easily, good, if not, it's because the rice at the bottom is dry and burned so we really don't want it anyway. Mix together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in small pot, heat gently until combined and then pour the mixture onto the rice and stir well. Spread the rice over a tray and let it cool down.

For Rolling the Sushi:
1. If you have a bamboo mat then great, but please don't worry if not! You can use a clean tea towel, cling film (plastic wrap) or wax paper instead. Whatever you use, lay it on the surface in front of you and put a sheet of seaweed on it with the rough side facing up.
2.Take a small handful of rice and make it into a ball. Make sure your hands are wet, to stop the rice sticking, but dry your hands before handling the seaweed!

3. Place the ball of rice in the middle of your seaweed sheet, then spread it equally until you have a layer that almost covers it but leaving about 2cm at the top and bottom ends bare- you'll need this to seal the roll.

4. Now go crazy with the fillings! Ok, not too crazy, you need to be able to roll it and you don't want it to fall apart... but at least put a little thought into the combinations. Place your fillings in one long thin line on top of the rice along one edge. 

5. Next comes the fun bit. Using the edge of your mat/ tea towel etc nearest you, fold the seaweed sheet over on the filling making a rectangular shaped hill and fit it in tight. Roll it forward, keeping it tight with each roll until you reach the end.
6. Use a sharp knife to cut the sushi roll into individual bites - we got 6 from each of our rolls.

7. That's it! Dig in and enjoy :)

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