Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fiona Uyema on TV3 Late Lunch Live

It can be quite challenging to cook on live TV but my biggest cooking challenge yet was to cook with the biggest Irish sporting hero, Katie Taylor. I was glad Katie Taylor was cooking with me rather than against me!

This was at TV3 Late Lunch Live show earlier this month and I made a very simple yet tasty combination of chicken teriyaki served with seaweed salad and Japanese rice. See the footage here.



Lucy Kennedy and Martin King host the show. They always provide great laughs and entertainment to the viewers and guests!




Katie Taylor and Lucy Kennedy were a great help in putting the dishes together. They were open to the challenge of cooking something different and weren't phased by some slightly unusual ingredients.




Here's the result of the team effort! It was an honour to meet and cook with Katie Taylor, the best female boxer in the world! She is the reigning Irish, European, World and Olympic boxing Champion.





Watch this space as there will be more Japanese cooking at a TV screen near you!







Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas in Dublin

Last week when I was in Dublin I got to enjoy three of my favourite things all in one day; Andrea Bocelli live in concert, lounging in The Westbury Hotel and Dublin's Christmas lights.


The concert took place in The 3 Arena and it was breaktaking with Andrea Bocelli receiving a standing ovation and ending with the powerful song Nessun Dorma. I've been to concerts with special effects but there was no need for anything like that as Andrea's voice and the live orchestra provided all the entertainment needed. 

Before the concert we enjoyed a festive dinner menu in the Westbury Hotel, the perfect escape from Dublin's hustle and bustle. We were seated by the window looking out onto the busy shopping streets and soaking up the relaxing atmosphere of the hotel. It was the perfect time of the year to go there as the Christmas decorations were just put up and the place was so cosy. 



The Westbury Hotel is my secret haven whenever I want to take a break from shopping, enjoy a lazy afternoon tea or go for a great meal. To really get into the Christmas spirit, I ordered the 3 course festive meal from Wilde the restaurant. Here's some photos of my first Christmas meal and every course was delicious. The standard of the service was excellent as the staff gave great attention to detail ensuring I had everything I needed.


On the way to the concert it was great to see Dublin's magical Christmas lights and officially begin to enjoy the festive season.



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

RTE Guide recipe feature Fiona Uyema


You can find this chicken teriyaki recipe along with other Japanese recipes in this week#s RTE Guide magazine. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 chicken legs or thighs
For the sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water

Instructions:

- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl. Marinate the chicken pieces in the sauce for at least 30 minutes. If you have time leave them in the fridge to marinate for a few hours.

Remove from the fridge at least 15 minutes before putting them in a preheated oven set to 180 degrees Celsius.

Cook for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. While cooking pour the sauce over the chicken pieces 2 to 3 times to ensure the sauce is fully absorbed into the meat.



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chatting to Neven Maguire at MacNean House & Restaurant


Last month my husband Gilmar and I stayed at MacNean House & Restaurant for our wedding anniversary. During our visit we got a chance to chat to one of Ireland's most loved chefs Neven Maguire. 

Neven recently opened his own cookery school beside MacNean House & Restaurant in Blacklion. He teaches all the cooking classes himself and the class sizes are kept small. The kitchen is modern and stylish with Miele appliances and hand painted units. The Chef's Table concept also takes place in the cookery school with the opportunity for a group to watch Neven and his team cook and serve dinner in a private and homely surrounding. 


Neven is a doting father to his 2 year old twins, Connor and Lucia. He believes one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an appreciation for food as his love of cooking came from his mother. I asked Neven about family home-cooking and he explained that he cooks simple food with his family. Both Neven and his wife Amelda are passionate about this topic and are ambassadors for "The First 1,000 Days" which covers nutrition and food during pregnancy, breastfeeding, weaning and toddler's stage.

I spoke about family life to Neven and he talked about how a work-life balance is important to him. He has made a conscious effort to have a controlled work-life balance so he can spend quality time with his family. In his free time he loves to cycle along The Greenway in Westport and some of his favourite places to visit are Kelly's in Rosslare and Newcastle in Co. Down.

Neven's busy schedule includes working at MacNean House & Restaurant, giving public demos across the country, teaching at his cookery school, writing cookbooks and working on different TV projects. He said that he loves the variety and different aspects of his work including meeting customers at MacNean House & Restaurant, teaching in the cookery school, his TV appearances and of course always having the opportunity to talk about food. 

While I was chatting to Neven I had to ask him about Japanese food. I was delighted to hear he visited Japan with Bord Bia a few years ago and is eager to return with his family to learn more about Japan, its food and culture. Neven believes in the concept of always trying to better yourself which is a well-known principle in Japanese culture called "kaizen".  Two of the core principles of Japanese cooking are seasonality and regionality and this is something that Neven is very passionate about. 



Neven's eleventh cookbook is due to be released and I can't wait to get a copy to try some of his new recipes. 

We really enjoyed our stay at MacNean House and Restaurant. The accommodation is modern yet cosy and homely. The set dinner menu is a work of art using only the best quality and locally sourced ingredients. Each course is prepared with the utmost care and attention giving each person a truly unique dining experience. We both thought the breakfast was one of the best we've had to date. On a final note I have to mention Neven's team who make everyone feel welcome and well attended to throughout their stay. 

To see more about MacNean House & Restaurant go to http://www.macneanrestaurant.com/

Friday, 29 August 2014

Getting rid of plastic in your kitchen (bento/ lunchboxes)


It wasn't until I decided to get rid of (or at least minimise) plastic containers in my kitchen that I realised how heavily I relied on them for storage and other uses. If you are thinking of doing the same I've listed some tips below.

Tips:
- Don't attempt to remove all plastic containers at one time as it will cost money to do this. Try to build up your stock of non-plastic containers and reduce your plastic containers over a few months.
- Remember that plastic becomes increasingly dangerous in extreme hot or cold conditions so try to replace this type of storage first i.e. plastic containers in the freezer, plastic containers used in the microwave etc.
- Be creative and think of budget friendly ways to collect non-plastic containers e.g. re-using  jam jars, glass bottles, biscuit tins etc
- Shop around and look out for sales and coupon offers in supermarkets/ petrol stations. It will make a big difference if you can buy these items at a reduced price yet not compromise on quality.
- Talk to family and friends you'll be surprised what you can learn from them. I was motivated to do this after talking to my friend who had started this already.


Where can I buy non-plastic storage containers and lunchboxes (bento):

- ECOlunchboxes.com (stainless steel bento/ lunchboxes)
This company is based in the US. If you order through their website from the EU you will be required to pay import duties and VAT. You can also buy ECOlunchboxes through amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.

- Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com
Have a wide range of stainless steel and glass containers including a brand called Indian-Tiffin bento/ lunchboxes.

- Tefal
Have a range of glass storage containers with a plastic (non-leak) lid.  Although the lid is plastic usually the food doesn't make contact with the lid so it's a nice compromise. Also these containers are ideal for packed lunches if you have liquids such as dressings, sauces etc.

- IKEA
Have a great selection of glass bottles and different sized glass jars.

What's wrong with plastic?
I'm still learning  and don't claim to know everything about this topic so please feel free to educate me! In summary there's a mix of chemicals in plastic containers which can leak into the food stored in these containers. The risk of this happening can increase when plastic is heated (e.g. put in microwave), old & scratched, washed in dishwasher etc.

If you have any tips on this topic or know other places that sell non-plastic containers please let me know via a comment on this post.

Remember that reducing our use of plastic will help the environment too!

Thanks Fiona

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.
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