Over the bank holiday weekend, we went over to our friends C & J's for an evening of Japanese hotpot ("Shabu Shabu") and Taboo.
As I mention on my about page, I'm 100% Japanese, despite writing, talking and often acting like a native Brit. One of the many things I'm most proud of when it comes to my home country is, of course, the amazing food.
Although Japanese food is widely loved by lots of people everywhere, I find that people aren't very familiar with the home-style cooking of the cuisine. Shabu Shabu is a hotpot meal that we often have in the colder months, but since it's not too heavy or rich, it's perfectly good for the summer too.
Here's how we went about it.
My lovely friend C is half Japanese, so she has a beautiful collection of pots and dishes for this kind of thing, as well as the portable gas cooker that we used at the table.
We heated the stock (or what we call "Dashi", we used it in powder form), and prepared chopped vegetables & other additions for the pot. We used leeks, carrots, mooli, chinese leaf, beansprouts, tofu, shirataki noodles and shiitake & enoki mushrooms.
Once we added some of the vegetables in and the stock has come to a boil, we got started on the meat. You have to get specific meat for Shabu Shabu, normally available at an Asian food shop, which are sliced very thinly and is usually beef or pork. We had a pack of both, which we put in the pot for about 20-30 seconds to cook, then dipped in either the sesame sauce or ponzu sauce before eating.
Such a simple concept, very delicious and perfect to enjoy with a few friends. The idea of a meal like this is to keep eating slowly while gradually adding more veg/meat/etc. to the pot, and enjoying the long meal with good conversation.
We had E's favourite for dessert - matcha green tea ice cream. It's a favourite of mine too, but not easy to get hold of in the UK. Luckily, C has a very clever and simple way of remedying this: she adds a generous amount of good quality matcha powder to vanilla ice cream, mixes it like crazy, and you get a beautifully green and delicious result!
Our evening only got better/crazier as we cracked open our brand new game of
. The day we were in
, we had actually gone to 3 different stores to try and get our hands on this game, and we finally succeeded in Harrods. And it was definitely worth the trek, because we had far too much fun with it.
E made mojitos, the girls thrashed the boys, and we were up until the crack of dawn playing this horribly addictive and stressful game. The boys tried to get revenge with a few rounds of Pictionary, but that goal went unfulfilled. What can I say? I love winning, I love winning against my husband even more, and I love it the most when girls win against boys. When it comes to games, maturity is far overrated!