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Step away from the fridge!

“Step away from the fridge! ” I barked at my husband.  “It’s wired!” I continued.

“You’ve just picked up the bottle of water.  We’ve got five seconds before we’re charged.  We can still salvage the situation.  Put the bottle down and slowly close the fridge.” I added.

And this begins our first day in Paris.

(more…)

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Spicy Scallops

The other day I met two of my workmates on their way to lunch.  I asked them where they were off to.

“We’re going to have Thai at the food court,”

“Have you ever tried the Indian there?” I asked.

“Yes but I’ll never go back there.” One of them told me.

“Why not? Is the food that bad?”I asked.

“No… the food’s okay but the lady there – she is so miserly, she doesn’t make you feel welcome.” He replied.

His companion pitched in “Yes, she doesn’t seem to enjoy what she does.  Not like the people in the sandwich place.”

I knew what they were talking about.  I’ve eaten in the Indian eatery once but have heard the same comments from other colleagues.  The lady is stingy on portions and barely smiles, almost snickers when serving.  There are hardly any lunch queues when I walk by.

The sandwich eatery on the other hand, is always packed.  The coffee isn’t particularly good, and the sandwiches are by no means gourmet, they are standard sandwiches which you would expect to get from most places.  But the servings are huge, in fact, even the most voracious of eaters can only finish half a sandwich!  The owner and his wife greet you by name every morning as they start to prepare your coffee even before you ask for a cappuccino with one sugar.   They seem genuinely happy to see you and serve you their food.  It’s no wonder people keep coming back.

I guess, when we cook with love, it shows. (more…)

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My take on Tetsuya's Signature Dish

From: Lopez, Trissa
Sent: Monday, 2 November 2009 3:43 PM
To: ‘XXXXXXX@tetsuyas.com
Subject: Query on Tetsuya Book

Dear Mr. Tetsuya,

So sorry to bother you – I have a book of yours and since I am not able to get a booking at your fabulous restaurant until next year, I wanted to try and recreate the Confit Ocean Trout at home. The recipe asks for konbu – but the konbu I found doesn’t look like it is for the recipe (ie a large sheet when I think the recipe requires a powder??).
I have been asking the Japanese shops close by if they know what this is but they said there is so many products that they don’t know where to begin.

Are you able to tell me what the konbu you are referring to? Is there a particular brand?

Kind regards

Trissa

I emailed Tetsuya. I really did! I know, my husband must be wanting to go into hiding right now. He thinks I have no shame. Truth is, he’s probably right!

Let me back up a little bit. For those that don’t know who/what is Tetsuya. Tetsuya is a three hat restaurant in Sydney owned by Tetsuya Wakuda. They have been consistently awarded the highest rating in Sydney’s Good Food Guide since 1992 and has been named one of the top restaurants in the world by S Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

While his accomplishments are many, he is a very humble man and so approachable. I still remember when I went there with my Mom about a year ago. Mr. Tetsuya went to our table and I introduced myself and my Mom to him. I told him that we had waited 3 months to get a table at his restaurant. He chatted with us awhile and then before he left he gave my Mom a piece of paper and said “Mrs. Lopez, this is for you so that you never have to wait three months again.” It was his business card with a “secret phone number” for special reservations! On top of that, on our way home they gave her a cookbook too!

Well, anyway, my Mom took the card with her and I was never able to use the “secret phone number”. So I had to try to get a booking like the rest of us mortals. However, every time I would call, I’d get told that the earliest available table on a weekend was three months or four months away…

So I said to myself, if I can’t get a table, I’ll just make the dish myself. Which is why I emailed Mr. Tetsuya – I wanted to recreate the most famous dish in Australia, some say, the most photographed dish in the world. It’s not hard to see why, not only does it taste delicious, it’s a really beautiful dish. Imagine a fillet of ocean trout a top a salad of fennel, barely cooked so that it still maintains it bright orangey red colour, topped with konbu shavings and a sprinkling of chives. It is surrounded by a parsley caper oil and dots of ocean trout caviar… it’s just genius!

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Strands of konbu

That afternoon I got a call from his personal assistant – she was kind enough to tell me that yes, it was the same konbu but they had staff that were skilled enough to cut the konbu up into tiny tiny pieces. While we were chatting I tried again, “was there a table available?” and miraculously she said yes! Did I want a lunch or dinner booking?

So that’s how I got my reservation for Tetsuya on a Saturday lunch – and that’s where the inspiration for this blog came from.

So finally, how did I deal with the konbu? Well, I bought some konbu strands (but I am sure you can use sheets to the same effect) and I ground them up with a spice grinder!

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Make your own konbu powder with a spice grinder!

The final result? Delicious! If I wanted to eat this dish again, there is no need for me to ask my mom for that “secret number”!

Recipe (Adapted from Tetsuya’s cookbook)

Note: The dish is so gorgeous that I initially expected it was very difficult to make. It’s not. Really. I promise. You just need a good fish monger that will fillet the fish for you…. and a spice grinder is helpful too!

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Trout is left to marinate in herbs, spices, garlic and a mixture of grapeseed and olive oil

Serves 4

  • 350 grams ocean trout (or use salmon if unavailable in your area), skinned and filleted
  • 100 ml grapeseed oil
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 10 whole basil leaves
  • 3 stalks thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons konbu, finely chopped (if you are not inclined to do so, grind them using a spice grinder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ocean trout caviar (or salmon caviar if unavailable)

Fennel Salad

  • 1/4 bulb fennel, shaved (use a mandolin for best results)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Parsley Oil

  • leaved from 1/4 bunch italian/flat leaf parsley
  • 50 ml olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and drained
  1. Ask your fish monger to skin and cut the trout into four pieces. Each should not weigh more than 100 grams each. Marinate the ocean trout in the grapeseed oil, olive oil, ground coriander, pepper, basil leave, thyme stalks, and garlic.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (I left mine overnight).
  3. To cook the fish, preheat the oven to 65c and take the fish out and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Then, lay the fish on a bed of celery and carrots and place in the oven. Paint the surface of the fish every few minutes with the oil marinade.
  5. Depending on the size of the fish, Tetsuya recommends this should take no longer than 7 or 8 minutes with the door of the oven open. I found that with the door closed, mine took 25 minutes before I was happy with the texture. The fish should remain pink but be be cooked enough that you can use a very sharp knife to cut all the way through the fish.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  7. To make the salad, slice the fennel on a mandolin (you can also use apples and daikon together). Toss with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and oil.
  8. To make the parsley oil, puree the parsley, olive oil and capers in a blender. Strain.
  9. To serve, plate some fennel salad on the base of the plate. Add the ocean trout and sprinkle with the konbu, chives and some salt.
  10. Drizzle the parsley oil around the edges and dot some ocean trout caviar around the trout and regular intervals.

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Stumble It!

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l’os a moelle
3, rue vasco de gama
75015 paris
tel : 01 45 57 27 27

Average Meal (without wine) 35 Euro
Front of Restaurant

Amuse Bouche


Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Lentil Soup with Foie Gras Cream

Fresh Oysters

Fillets of sole with celery mousse


Braised Beef with Potatoes

Fruit Sabayon

Chocolate Mousse

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Chez Michel

10 Rue de Belzunce (10th arr)
Metro : Gare du Nord
Tel: 01 44 53 06 20

Average Meal (without wine) 35 Euro

Scallop and oyster tartare with cream

Fish Soup with croutons

Roast Cod with Jerusalem Artichokes

Panna Cotta and a Madeleine


Paris Brest

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Aux Lyonnais

32, rue St-Marc (2nd arr)
75002 Paris
Tel.: 01 42 96 65 04
http://www.auxlyonnais.com/

Average Meal (without wine) 35 Euro
Front of Restaurant
Charcuterie Plate (Planche de charcuterie lyonnaise)

Tripes with a cream sauce and spring vegetables (Tripes a notre facon)

Fish Quenelles with Nantua Sauce

Chicken with cream sauce and spring vegetables (Fricasse de volaille fermiere ala creme, legumes primeurs mijotes)


Entrecote Steak in a red wine sauce (Entrecote non paree ala beaujolais, pomme Macaire)

Fish with capers and lemon in a brown butter sauce (Troncon de carrelet a la grenobloise)

Souffle a la verveine de Velay, Cremeux au chocolate

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Colline Emiliane

“You wanna learn to make da pasta?” Asked our waiter at Colline Emiliane, a tiny, family run restaurant serving cuisine from Emilia Romanga. To those interested in Italian cuisine, Emilia Romagna is sometimes referred to as “Italy’s food basket” and is home to many speciality foods (such as Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar) that makes Italy, well… Italy.

For me, the crowning glory of cuisine from the region has to be the fresh pasta in the Emilia Romanga style.

So, I shamelessly asked for a quick 101 on pasta making. “Le-mee ask da chef.” A minute or two later the waiter is back to take me on a quick tour around the kitchen. “Ees beesee tonight bat I will take you on a tour.”

“Dees ees da pasta drawer”, he said, where they store the pasta that is made daily.

I also managed to meet Guilio, and Rocco who were part of the kitchen crew (and Fonz from the front of the house). Guilio’s speciality of the night was a leg of veal in a creamy sauce. Apparently the secret was that the veal was slow cooked in milk until the veal was meltingly tender and the milk had curdled into a rich creamy sauce.

The pasta however is what everyone comes back for. It is exquisite and heavenly and for me, another masterpiece in Rome that is not to be missed!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Tortelli di Zucca (Pasta stuffed with Pumpkin)


Tortellini in a Cream Sauce

If you have room for dessert and they have it that day, try the Tiramisu.

It is a great ending to a great meal.

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