Friday, November 18, 2005
Chiri--, an izakaya off the Kawaramachi-Shijo junction and a popular student hangout. And you get student's portions too: pictured here is the house special, the party-sized udon. Wash down with umeshusoda (you guessed! sparkly plum wine!) and a roll-call of oily finger foods: deep-fried octopus legs, agedashi tofu, soft egg roll, stewed beef tendons. Going back there again tonight - what the gut needs after an evening of throwing clay.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
This was a lot of fun - my sensei Akiko was a real darling and she was taking the opportunity to speak English while teaching me how to beat, fold and bake the sponge, and roll it all up. Throughout the lesson I was hastily annotating my Japanese notes - she looked at it and went, "Can you read your handwriting?" The jam syrup spread was a syrup-cassis liquer-raspberry jam concoction, and the filling cream a complicated (ok, more complicated than yours truly has ever a-rolled up!) working together of Philly cream cheese, yoghurt, honey, fresh cream. Now this is cream!
This was definitely one heck of a good cake - the cream cheese filling gave such an burst of flavour and innovation in a Swiss Roll. The kind of cream that stuck to your guts and sent you off to pretty dreams post-dinner.
The cooking studio, like our pottery place, was like a bubble of sorts where women (men aren't allowed to join) come to cook together and in groups, forming an air of sweet acquiescent solidarity that can only happen in Japan. Little signs stuck to walls, refrigerators, gently instructed you do wash like this, put like that. The studio had three little colonies - bread, cake and cooking. The cooks were whipping up steaming pots of coconut curry, the smell of which wafted through the studio and into my hair and out into the lanes of the department store (Loft) that our studio was attached to. On your way out you can take a pleasurable ramble outside in the kitchen shopping lanes, where you'll find imported and Japanese fine and funky cooking ware - spatulas, cookware, mandolines, garlic peelers, teapots for all kinds of tea, sake sets, funky salad spoons.
Next up - an intriguing cafe au lait bread, and then the sample lessons are over - I've got a quick decision whether to take up the bread-making course at half price - sadly without Akiko's tutelage, as bread isn't her speciality.