Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair

Wednesday 25/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

Call me Ozymandius!

It's a bit like the opening line to the greatest novel ever written; Moby Dick, which opens with "Call me Ishmael." A line dripping with hidden meaning that sets the tone for the whole book. So today I shout, "Call me Ozymandius."

And then: "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair." And not in the way that Shelley meant (and he said words, not works), not in a 'no matter how great you are, all will turn to dust' sort of a way (although this is of course true).

So today I am boasting of my brilliance. Admittedly it's not really my brilliance, just the simple ability to follow some traditional recipes, have a taste while things are cooking to adjust flavourings and to take care not to do a half arsed job, but this was a fine dinner and although fairly new to Japanese and Korean cooking, I think I did a pretty fine job.

So today I'm all puffed up, all full of my own brilliance. Today I bestride the globe like the Colossus, only slightly more mobile and less made of stone. I suppose the real honour goes to those clever people in Asia, who developed such tasty things in the first place. Without them, miso, mirin, sushi and dashi would be no more than stupid baby words, possibly in a nonsense poem by Lewis Carrol - but today it was me who put them together and it was my hands that rolled the sushi, so I claim the credit. This is the first time I've attempted making sushi and the result was good. I was planning to make some that weren't rolls, but my sculpting skills were lacking and they looked awful so everything came rolled - with a bit of seafood on top. Also, getting hold of fresh seafood was a problem as I only had time to go to Sainsbury's and they were a bit lacking today. Instead I made do with some seafood mix of squid, mussels and big prawns, which are already pre-cooked, so any sashimi concept was a no go. The soup was a coup de cuisine, and my friend Fran said it was one of the best things I'd ever made. The bulgogi (Korean barbecued beef) was also damn fine, damn fine indeed, especially with the mat kimchi I bought in China Town. Even the very odd pandan mochi were better than I had hoped. I only bought them as a joke but they weren't that bad at all.

All in all a glowing success. Kudos to the cook, which is me isn't it. Kudos to me.

And Kudos to Liverpool too!

Cake Blog

Pandan Mochi: According to the ingredients, Mochi are made from glutinous rice, sugar and flavourings (in this case pandan whatever that is). I bought them in China Town where they had about 20 different types. The texture is very odd. I was actually incapable of touching them with my fingers, it was too much like cotton wool. Inside they were stuffed with a dark brown sweet paste. The stuffing was tasty but the green glue on the outside wasn't great. They do look good though.


  • Suchi Rolls
  • Ginger and Spring Onion Dip
  • Chilli and Sesame Dip
  • Wasabi

  • Bonito and Shitake Mushroom Soup

  • Bulgogi
  • Stir Fried Vegetables
  • Mat Kimchi (cabbage kimchi this time, not raddish, see 12/4/2005)

  • Pandan Mochi
  • Green Tea

  • Selction of Cheeses


    Sushi Rolls
    200g Sushi Rice
    4 Sheets Nori
    Tbsp Rice vinegar
    tsp Sugar
    1/4 tsp Salt
    1/2 Cucumber
    50g Pickled Daikon
    150g Seafood Mix

    Ginger and Spring Onion Dip
    2cm Root Ginger
    1 Spring Onion
    tsp Mirin
    Tbsp Shoyu Sauce
    1/2 tsp Sugar
    Chilli and Sesame Dip
    6 Green Chillis
    tsp Sesame Oil
    tsp Kikkoman Soy Sauce
    tsp Shoyu Sauce
    tsp Sesame Seeds
    Bonito and Shitake Soup
    500ml Dashi Stock
    2 Sachets Miso Soup Paste
    1 Bundle Somen Noodles
    15 Shitake Mushrooms
    1 Bunch Spring Onions
    25g Bonito Flakes
    2 Tbsp Shoyu Sauce
    2 tsp Mirin
    500g Lean Beef (top rump)
    1 Asian Pear
    2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
    2cm Ginger Root
    2 Tbsp Shoyu Sauce
    2 Cloves Garlic
    tsp Sugar
    1 tsp Sesame Seeds
    1 Chinese Leaf Cabbage
    1 Bunch Spring Onions
    Stir Fried Vegetables
    1 Can Bamboo Shoots
    1/2 Cucumber
    1 Orange Pepper
    1 tbsp Stir Fry Oil
    (with Garlic, Ginger and Chilli)
    1 tsp Kikkoman Soy Sauce


  • Sushi Rolls: Cook the sushi rice (about 1 1/2 times as much water as rice) until soft. Stir in the rice vinegar, salt and sugar and leave to cool a little. Lay a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat and spread a cupful of rice over the sheet, leaving a 2cm gap away from you. Cut a long strip of cucumber and place on the rice (nearest you) along with some pickled daikon and some seafood. Roll the mat around tightly to form a sausage shaped roll. Cut into 2cm pieces and top with some more seafood.
  • Ginger Dip: Mince the ginger and spring onion and mix all the ingredients together.
  • Chilli Dip: Likewise.
  • Soup: To make the dashi stock boil some bonito flakes and dried kombu (kelp) in water for 10 minutes then strain. Add the miso to the stock and dissolve. Chop the shitake and spring onions and add these. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the bonito flakes, turn the heat up to allow the stock to boil, then add a few somen at a time and stir. When all the somen are in, add some mirin and shoyu, taste to see if it needs more. Cook for 3 minutes to soften the somen.
  • Bulgogi: Slice the beef very thinly. Mash up the pear and mix with the sesame oil, shoyu, minced ginger, minced garlic and sugar. Marinade the beef for 2 hours. Heat a griddle pan until smoking and griddle the beef on each side for about 40 seconds. Serve on a bed of stir fried Chinese leaf with some stir fried spring onions on top and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. And don't forget the kimchi!
  • Stir fired vegetables: Cut into even sized strips and stir fry for 2 minutes in a hot wok.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person