Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pat Whelan brings wagyu beef to Ireland

I've previously written about Avoca on this blog as it's one of my favourite shops to visit. It's an Irish family run business with a selection of clothing, gifts, homeware, food and cafes/restaurants. They also have a fantastic range of Japanese basic ingredients including seaweed and miso. 

Last week I visited the Pat Whelan butcher shop in Avoca Rathcoole. It's such an experience to go there and see the wonderful selection of meat available and chat to the butchers. 

Pat Whelan is a well-known Irish butcher from the same county as me Tipperary! He was Ireland's first online butcher and recently wrote a book called "An Irish Butcher Shop".  

In recent years Pat Whelan brought Japanese Wagyu to Ireland by cross breeding it with his own Aberdeen Angus and creating his own "Whelan Wagyu" here in Ireland. According to Pat Whelan "The cross breeding has maintained the integrity of the intense marbling associated with the Wagyu beef and marries the best qualities of both breeds to create a unique product". 

Wagyu beef (also referred to as Kobe beef) is a Japanese breed of beef well known across the world for it's intense marbling, great taste and higher price tag. Recent studies have proved that the monounsaturated fats in Wagyu beef can actually help lower cholesterol making Wagyu far healthier than any other beef product. 

When I lived in Japan I remember my Japanese friends telling me about Kobe beef and how the farmers use different techniques to help make the meat more tender and tasty such as massaging, adding Japanese beer or sake to the feed and seemingly playing music to the cows!

Although it's priced a little higher I think it's worth it considering all the hard work that goes into creating this beef. You have to try this for a special occasion or just to spoil yourself. Let me know what you think :)


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Chirashi-zushi (home-style sushi) with prawn & avocado

This recipe has been very popular in my house over the summer months since it takes less time to prepare than rolled sushi. It can be served for lunch or dinner and also works well when entertaining at home. Try it and let me know how you get on. 

Ingredients:
For the sushi rice
2 cups of Japanese rice (320g)
2 cups of cold water
100ml rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
Half tsp salt

For the sushi fillings and toppings:
2 eggs (preferably free range or organic), beaten
Half a yellow pepper & half a red pepper (cut into small cubes)
1 avocado (cut into small cubes)
8 large prawns (cut into bite size pieces)

Vegetable oil (for frying)
Sesame oil and soy sauce (to garnish)

Instructions:

1. Click here to see how to make sushi rice.

2. To make the egg crepe, lightly oil a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat. Depending on the size of your pan place about half the egg mix on the frying pan so you have a very thin layer of egg like a crepe. Now adjust the heat to low and leave the egg on the pan until the edges of the egg crepe start to break away from the pan. Set aside on a large plate. Continue to do this until all the egg mix is cooked. Place the egg crepes on top of each other as you cook them. When you're finished roll the pile of egg crepes together. Then using a sharp knife cut into thin strips to get shredded egg crepe.

3. Allow the seasoned sushi rice to cool to room temperature, and then mix half of the peppers, avocado and prawns into the rice. Place in a large serving dish. 

4. Scatter the remaining ingredients on top of the rice mix including the shredded egg crepe.

5. For extra flavour lightly drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce all over.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sushi Demo at Taste of Dublin 2014

Here's some photos from my weekend at one of Dublin's most popular foodie festivals, Taste of Dublin. I gave sushi demos throughout the weekend in the FOOD&WINE Magazine Chef's Skillery area. The festival was really successful this year with an extended list of attractions, large crowds and fantastic weather.

If you're interested in attending a hands-on sushi making class or demo in the Dublin/ Kildare area please get in touch with me at fionasjapanesecooking@gmail.com

The timetable of demonstrations at the Chef's Skillery including Darina Allen and Clodagh McKenna.


Photographer Harry Weir taking a photo of me with my sushi on the cover of FOOD&WINE Magazine.


Electrolux Taste Theatre which had cooking demos everyday. I really enjoyed the demo pictured below with Michel Roux Jr.

 One of the food areas including the best of Dublin's restaurants.


The crab cake from Clodagh's Kitchen was really fresh and tasty.


Taste of Thailand area with plenty of room to sit around and enjoy the atmosphere.


The Bite Project - Photography Exhibition including a photo of Dee Laffan editor of EasyFood Magazine.


 The Brazilian Carnival Quarter to support the World Cup 2014 taking place in Brazil.



Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Japanese Cooking Class at Ballyknocken Cookery School


Apologies for my lack of blog posts in recent weeks, I've been really busy giving Japanese cooking demonstrations at food festivals and events around Ireland. At these demonstrations, I love chatting to people and learning about how they became interested in Japanese cooking. Many people living in Ireland have connections with Japan and Japanese food either through a short visit to Japan or a relative living over there and this sparks an interest in Japanese cooking for them. 

Now, I want to share some exciting news with you! I've teamed up with Catherine Fulvio (TV chef and food writer) to give a hands-on Japanese cooking class at Ballyknocken Cookery School in Co. Wicklow on Sunday September 28th from 9:30am to 1:30pm. This 4 hour class will give you a unique insight into Japanese cooking and also time to grasp the recipes by trying them yourself during the class. 

If you're interested in hearing more about the class or booking a place please book through the link below or contact me directly (fionasjapanesecooking@gmail.com). 



Thursday, 12 June 2014

My Pandan Roulade on Powerscourt Hotel Afternoon Tea menu


 In April 14 my Pandan Roulade recipe was launched on the Afternoon Tea menu of Powerscourt 5 star Hotel in Co. Wicklow as part of my prize for winning the EasyFood Home-Cook Hero Awards 2013. 


Powerscourt Hotel is one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland as you immediately feel removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life when you arrive there. It's located in County Wicklow and next to the well-known Powerscourt Estate


My family and I had a really enjoyable day at Powerscourt wandering around admiring the amazing views and of course sampling my dessert alongside Dee Laffan and Caroline Gray from Easy Food magazine. If you haven't visited Powerscourt Hotel you should include it on your list of places to visit this summer.

 

The EasyFood Home-Cook Hero Awards 2014 is now open for entries so if you think you have a winner recipe that you cook at home you should apply. I really enjoyed the whole experience last year from participating in the cook-off in Cooks Academy cookery school in Dublin to attending the Awards ceremony in the Shelbourne hotel.   


Notes:
The copyright of the photos used in the post belongs to Fiona Uyema. Please ask for permission if you'd like to use them.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Bloom in the Park 2014 - Fiona Uyema's demo



One of the biggest highlights for me this year was the opportunity to give a Japanese cooking demonstration on the Bord Bia Quality Food Stage at Bloom alongside well-known chefs such as Neven McGuire, Donal Skehan and Catherine Fulvio


My demo was scheduled after Catherine Fulvio so I was delighted to get a chance to catch up with her after meeting at Ballymaloe Lit Fest in May.


The large crowds were intimidating but once my demo started my nerves turned into excitement and I really enjoyed giving the demonstration to such a great audience. Although I was demonstrating Japanese dishes most of the ingredients I used were from local Irish producers. Since Ireland is an island nation like Japan we are fortunate to have an abundance of ingredients used in Japanese cooking such as fresh fish and seaweed.



During the day I got a chance to wander around, I would recommend arriving early and giving yourself most of the day to go around to the different areas because there's so much to see. I really enjoyed checking out all the Irish artisan producer stalls and sampling their amazing products.


The following day I started to work in my own garden after being inspired by all the beautiful gardens at Bloom.


If you haven't been to Bloom you should definitely include it in the top of your events to go to next year. I promise you won't be disappointed.


Notes:
The copyright of the photos used in the post belongs to Fiona Uyema. Please ask for permission if you'd like to use them. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Hanami in the Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens


Last month my family and I went to the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens to practice the Japanese custom of hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Natalia from Smiles! Photography also came along to capture the beauty of the flowers and surroundings so I can share them here with you. 

When I lived in Japan I got a real insight into how Japanese people celebrate hanami by taking part in it with my Japanese friends and also my work colleagues. I remember the most junior member of staff had to sit under a tree most of the day to make sure we had the best spot for hanami after work. Hanami is enjoyed by sitting under a cherry blossom tree or nearby and appreciating the beauty of them while eating a packed bento with drinks. Here's a picture of our dog, Jackie enjoying hanami!! 


This is the perfect place to spend time with family or friends. I'd recommend bringing a picnic along and enjoying it on the benches in the car-park as you drive in or pack a picnic blanket to sit on the grass. We brought along a packed bento including homemade panko coated fish goujons, onigiri (rice balls) sprinkled with furikake and a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.


Notes:
- To see more about the Irish National Stud & Japanese gardens click on the link below:
http://irishnationalstud.ie/
- Thanks to Smiles! Photography for taking the photos of our family day in the Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens. The copyright for these photos belongs to Smiles! Photography and Fiona Uyema so please ask for permission if you'd like to use them. 

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