I soon realised that food is quite a big deal in Kochi. Kochi is by the Pacific and they have wonderful seafood as well as game from the mountains. The climate means that they have lots of citrus fruit as well. I passed lots of Yuzu fruit orchards.
On Monday evening Mio took me for dinner in her favourite restaurant. She ordered some food she thought I would like and I really did! Flame grilled bonito, beautiful prawn rolls and vegetable tempura over rice which was accompanied by a broth which was poured over. It was all really good! Just as we were finished Mio spotted her friend Naoko and a lady called Marie who was visiting from France. Naoko owns a restaurant in Kochi called Nooks Kitchen which specialises in game. We were then joined by another friend called Ayako and her brother, so it was a party! During the conversation Naoko asked Marie and I if we could cook anything French or English. Of course I had to accept the challenge. I have always wanted to do a Masterchef challenge, who knew I would have to travel to Japan to make it happen. After much discussion on Facebook I decided to make roast chicken with roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings with gravy. Naoko did request fish and chips but I am not that great with deep fat fryers (must remember to learn!).
The next day I arrived at Naoko’s restaurant at 4.30 to start roasting the chickens. I put lemon inside the chickens and rubbed rosemary into the skins. I made the Yorkshire pudding mix, unfortunately Naoko didn’t have any muffin tins so we had to use Madeline tins instead. Some of them looked more like Madelines than Yorkshire puddings but they did rise so I was pleased about that. They don’t have ready-made gravy in Japan but luckily I usually make gravy from scratch at home with the meat juices, flour and stock. The potatoes are slightly different than in the U.K., more waxy than floury so I had to shake up the pan so that they would crisp up.Marie craved up the chickens for me.
Everyone brought really yummy things for me to try and Naoko made a wild boar salad with mushrooms, avocado and yummy pink dressing and she baked some venison which was amazing! Marie made us some butternutsquash soup with coconut milk.
Rikako brought a salad with egg and fish cake and a green vegetable I had never seen, which was delicious. She also brought some tofu which had been fermented in miso called Misozuke. I really recommend trying this if you ever get chance. It looked a bit like pate and had this amazing salty flavour like a really good cheese.
I also tried my first Oden stew, which was really nice. In the stew there were whole eggs with big chunks of vegetable and tofu. Chizuru brought some Sake for use to drink which was great to try and I hadn’t had any since being in Japan!
All in all, my food went down well and I loved meeting everyone and trying their food. Everyone was so kind and wonderful. I really enjoyed cooking for people and it was a great way to share cultures. Lesson learned, I think cooking has to be involved in my future plans.