I made Rachels most favourite thing in the world to add to her snacks for her 16th birthday party with 25 of her pals in our house on Saturday night; Sushi.
Then I put away the ornaments, blew up balloons, put the food on the table, lit candles all around the downstairs of the house and went to hide in my bedroom with The Husband and two youngest kids like we were told to.
He ventured down every 40 minutes to make a cup of coffee and check that everything was ok. Which it was. It all went well. I could hear the guitars being taken out, the singing starting and someone keeping beat on my coffee table and at 1.00am The Husband came down and told them the party was a wrap. Time to finish up. And they did.
About 6 slept over and left at about 9.30 next morning and besides the hole in the wall in the lounge, shattered glass in a picture on the wall in the hall, one girls stolen make-up bag and cigarette buts strewn out in the back garden like confetti it went pretty well.
I digress, because that's what I'm best at. Back to the Sushi. I had some recently in the Dundrum Shopping Center, 3 plates with on average 3 pieces of sushi on them and I thought it quite expensive when my bill came to €15+ ESPECIALLY AS I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A BLOODY GLASS OF WINE.
Then I though, no, it's only because I can make it myself for a fraction of the price and that mean, shylocky, scroogy feeling began to emerge as I handed her over the money.
If you've never made Sushi before let me tell you it's very, very easy. Here's how I make it.
Meet the players;
Japanese rice which you can get in Asian Stores and very cheaply. Sometimes Tescos stocks it. This bag is half used and only cost €2.50.
Can you see the difference. The rice on the left is Indian basmati rice, it's a long thin grain compared to the Japanese rice which is a shorter plumper grain.
Japanese Rice Vinegar from Tescos in Dundrum, that is under €2, €1.50 or €1.70 I just remember being surprised it was so cheap.
The green tube is Wasabi. A spicy concentrated horseradish paste, maybe €2.50 or so.
Sheets of Seaweed to roll the rice in. I think that is about €2.50 or €3.50 for 10 sheets.
The jar of pickled ginger is about €3 and the rolling mat I got in the Asian store. I think it was €2 or €3, I cant remember because I bought it over 6 years ago and I'm surprised it's lasted this long.
Now there's a player missing and it's the Mirin. I didn't have time to go to the shop to get some so I made it without any. Not a problem as some recipes leave it out but I actually prefer it so if you can get your hands on some do add it in. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, made with 40-50% sugar and alcohol but very mild.
So, I've done a quick tot up and it comes to about €15-€18 which is great because you can make 2 large plates of sushi with the ten seaweed sheets and still have lots of the remaining ingredients left over for several more sushi making sessions in the future. HOW COOL AND AMAZING AND THRIFTY IS THAT.
Ok, so I didn't take into consideration the filling. That's up to yourself. Here's what I used because Rachels not really into octopus suckers.
Okay, lets start.
Rinse 2 cups of rice under the cold tap
Put it into a saucepan along with 2 cups of cold water, put on the lid and bring it quickly to the boil because if you leave it lying around for a while before you cook it, it will just get soggy. How do I know that? Living in Asia for 4 years helped me find out as did waiting for Bus Eireann when my car was out of action last year.
Right, when it boils turn it down to simmer for 10 minutes and then take it off the heat. Did I mention the lid. DO NOT UNDER PAIN OF DEATH LIFT THE LID FOR 15 MINUTES. There will be nothing in there but the rice. Honestly. Steaming away. So after you take it off the heat let it rest for 15 minutes.
Place the rice into a shallow container
Then pour 4 tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar and, if you are going to use it, 4 tablespoons of the Mirin over the rice. Not a desert spoon. A tablespoon, around the size of a wooden spoon. Use the wooden spoon if your tablespoon, like mine, has been stuck in the muck of someones back garden long ago and forgotten about. And mix.
And if you want to get really fancy you can fan it with a feather boa which will make it nice and shiny or you can be really innovative and use a 'post it' like me.
We've now reached the stage where you place the sheet of seaweed onto the mat, long side facing you and rough side facing you, then with a spoon and knife put a layer of rice over it leaving the top section 'rice free' for easy stickage. Is that a word? Then place a thin line of filling across it.
Can you see the hand grip from my camera there on the right? Well that's there because The husband lost the disk to my Apple Mac AND NOW I CAN'T INSTALL ANYTHING. Like photoshop. But then that wouldn't be keeping it real now would it and I wouldn't be able to make loud and bold statements like I CAN MAKE SUSHI ONE HANDED, BEAT THAT MO FO, now could I?
This bit is where you use a light hand, no need for squeezing or anything exciting like that at this stage, just roll it lightly, enough to get a shape on it. I find cylindrical helps.
And when you've rolled to the end put a little pressure on the bare seaweed which should should grip the roll nicely.
Bring it back to the start and roll again this time using your hands, or hand if you want to be really, really cool, a little stronger this time.
And then with both hands give it a good squeeze all over, come on girls, you can do it
The ends will look a little pathetic but there's nothing wrong with the taste so it's a good idea to chop them off and eat them yourself later and if the seaweed hasn't quite stuck down along the seam just wet your finger with water and run it along the edge.
I stretched the rice out and made six rolls on this occasion. Not bad for two cups of rice.
Now here comes the fun bit. Slicing your nori roll. You're going to use a sharp knife. I like to use a chopping knife because of the substantial blade and I always keep a bowl of water and a basting brush nearby because the blade gets sticky from the rice making the sawing action of the blade feel a little like cutting a thick chunk of cheddar cheese. So baste the blade whenever you feel it sticking.
And chop, chop, chop
I piled them all onto the same plate, one I bought in Tescos for €1.99, I know, I know, it's chipped but hey, 25 16 year olds will probably use it as a frisbee when they've finished eating from it.
Next thing you need is the soya sauce. Oops, I forgot to put that in my list of Players. Also needed is the Wasabi paste and some Pickled Ginger.
I covered the plate in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to keep it fresh for the next night and I tucked into the 10 trimmed ends which I cut off earlier. Yum. Yum.
I suppose you can eat it whatever way you like but personally I like to put a little wasabi and ginger onto the top of the sushi and dip the lot into the soya sauce with two matching chopsticks unlike mine which are both missing their other halves. Stuck in muck beside my tablespoon keeping it company I reckon.
* UPDATE* Did you notice all the missing photographs up above? I blame Blogger. For quite a number of days now it has been impossible to upload more than one photograph at a time and then only small file ones as I believe the Blogger server is still in recovery from a problem they had recently.
I'd like to say that I enjoyed posting this post but I must be honest here and say that it's been painful and took longer to upload and post than it took to make the bloody sushi in the first place. Not to mention the reposting of the fecking photographs ONE AT A TIME ONLY TO HAVE THEM NOT APPEAR AGAIN.
I checked for problems on the Blogger Help Centre and their advice is to be patient.
My advice to them; Feck Off
Right now I am seriously thinking of moving from Blogger because I really couldn't be arsed any more.