We are doing a Sushi Munch Crunch Master class at school on Friday. My kids had a try out last night and we had fun making up some new versions and experimenting with toppings such as plum flavoured sesame seeds. Some turned out perfectly, some were a little loose but they were all eaten with great gusto!
I admit to getting a little stressed at the thought of cooking with so many kids – there will be about 75 of them beavering away with their mats in the school hall. There will be mess but that’s cooking for you. We will talk about knife safety and washing hands but really the MOST important thing is that they learn about food, what they are eating and how to cook it! And they really do lap it up literally!
Sweets of the Trees (and plants!)
I will speak to them about eating a rainbow and embracing a world of wonderful foods, vegetables and fruits. Hopefully, it will inspire them to try something new and use some new found skills at home. To help them to understand what they are eating in an increasingly obesigenic world where EVEN sports clubs serve more deep fried foods than fresh and sports drinks have become the crutch of tweens and teens (surely a good cup of freshly ground coffee would be so much better than a can of caffinated, over sugared, over advertised, expensive, hideously sweet drink!) is the main goal.
I do feel a little despair when “rewards” are given to sports teams in the shape of sweets, chocolate bars, crisps, sweetened milks and fizzy drinks. These are not rewards – they have no nutritional value at all. They are completely unnecessary. They are not TREATS! Please give them SWEETS of the TREES instead – plums, apples, apricots, pineapple, grapes or strawberries. Make scones (they are easier than most people realize and can be made with wholemeal flours and cranberries etc). Make Morning Glory muffins with a yoghurt and coconut thread topping. Give them homemade lime-zested popcorn. Now, those things are a treat and made with love. But now to sushi!
Perfect sushi rice for Perfect Parents and Perfect Kids!
Actually, we have to admit we are not all that perfect all the time (no, really!).
With many thanks to Emi for teaching an older cook some new tricks!
First make your sushi dressing. For each cup of uncooked rice mix 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar with a little teaspoon of salt, and 1 tsp of sugar. Or use a rice vinegar without sugar. Experiment and see what suits you. Mix every now and then until sugar is dissolved while rice cooks and rests.
1. This is the method for those who don’t use a rice cooker! Wash and rinse 2 cups of sushi rice in a heavy bottomed cooking pot. Really squeeze the rice and wash until the water runs clear. Keep changing the water until the water is clear. Use a sieve over your pot to wash the rice in.
2. Cook the rice in fresh cold water. The depth of the water above the rice should be up to the first joint of your finger.
3. Put on full heat until there is a rolling boil and mix with a wooden spoon.
4. Place lid on pot and let simmer for 15 minutes at the lowest heat.
5. Turn off heat and remove from stove top. Allow to rest in pot with LID ON for 10 minutes – DO NOT REMOVE LID!
6. Mix again turning from bottom to top. Place rice in a pile on a large tray. Pour the dressing over and mix well – you can use your hands or a fork.
Now prepare your sushi fillings and seaweed (Nori) on the rolling mat. Keep a cup of water nearby to use while putting rice on the mat. Use strips of cucumber, omlette, cooked carrot, salmon, tuna or avocado for the middle of the sushi roll. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce. Lovely!
It will take a little practice but you will get the hang of it. Keep a bowl of water nearby in which to dip you fingers in. This will make it easier to work with the sticky rice. Wet the fingers and take some rice to spread evenly over the nori, leaving some edge at the beginning of the edges. Smooth rice down and add in some thin batons of cucumber (remove seeds and discard). You may also add in some wasabi, sesame seeds ginger or a little mayo. Up to you!
Now, begin to roll. Turn the top of the seaweed sheet over to make sure it is rolling and then tightly roll. Squeeze it tight and set aside while you roll the next one. If you are not eating it immediately, then you can wrap entire roll in clingfilm until you are ready to cut it. Otherwise carefully take the bamboo mat off and get a good sharp knife. Wet the knife and using a gentle sea-sawing motion carefully cut into rounds.
Serve with washed pickled ginger, soy sauce, or a dipping sauce of your making, wasabi (if you like the rush), sesame seeds etc.
Lastly I developed a special recipe for the ACCESS magazine this month based on one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes from his cook book Plenty – a wonderful caramelized garlic tart (possibly one of the best tart’s in the world). Mine is a bit lighter and uses spinach and would make a great picnic food. And the best place for a picnic in the my city – The Sorgvliet park without a doubt – see you there under the green leaves!