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Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family

Month

December 2013

Tokyo Coffee Culture

Generally you think of Japan as being a big tea drinking country, but on our first trip to Japan in 2008 we were quite surprised at the sophistication of the Japanese coffee culture. Prior to our trip we had only been exposed to the traditional coffees here in Australia, drip, cappuccinos, espresso, flat white, flat black, bad instant etc. Then along came the Nespresso style pod machines. So, seeing some new ways of brewing coffee was an eye opener.

When we have a holiday in Tokyo, we have a little tradition of visiting three of our favourite cafes, one located behind Ginza Alley in Ginza (brick building very European looking), Ko’hikan in Asakusa and Miyama in Nakano

Our very first coffee in Tokyo in 2008 was in Ginza, on a very cold and damp spring afternoon. We stumbled upon a very European looking coffee shop (wooden door and window surrounds, exposed brick, brass revolving door, elegant frosted windows, baby grand piano, you get the picture?). A menu was presented to us in English with pictures so we decided on a cointreau coffee (it was COLD, we needed the warmth from the cointreau). The waitress bought our order along with a rich slice of chocolate cake.

Cooffee and cake in Ginza
Coffee and cake in Ginza

The cups and saucers were a very elegant surprise and of course I had to peak and see who they were made by, naturally Noritake. Just so you know I am slightly (ok, extremely) partial to Noritake crockery, having been bought up with my Nan’s set that came out every special occasion.

Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop
Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop

Our next visit we ordered milk coffees. Wow talk about a bit of theatre for service. Our cups came out first, then, the waitress bought over two silver coffee pots. We thought there was one for each of us, but one had coffee and the other was hot milk. Starting low to the cups, the waitress poured equal quantities of milk and coffee, raising the pot as she did so which created a little froth on top. Of course we needed a little sweet thing to go with our coffee, a light and fluffy cheesecake.

Coffee with cheesecake Ginza
Coffee with cheesecake Ginza

Mr CA4G snuck in a visit by himself when he went for a solo visit between jobs in 2010 and had a black coffee with milk and his favourite dessert Mont Blanc.

Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza
Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza

In Asakusa we discovered Ko’hikan while walking over to Kappabashi Dori from Senso-Ji Temple. It was the first place we ever tried Syphon filter coffee. The first time we visited the water for the coffee was heated using a methylated spirit flame and this year when we went we discovered they no longer use a flame but a really high heat lamp. The coffee is placed in the upper portion of the syphon, the water is heated in the bottom globe section until it goes up the central tube into the upper section, the heat is removed and the coffee brews. As it cools the brewed coffee flows back down the tube in to the lower half of the unit and is then poured into cups and served with little glass jugs of milk. Very scientific looking.

Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

We go to Nakano for some very specific shops for Mr CA4G, but we find we need a coffee for some fortitude. Miyama is located in the shopping centre and what caught our eye on our first visit was the cold water filter system that they use ( another very scientific looking contraption). Water slowly drips through the ground beans into a carafe underneath. The coffee is then warmed as needed. This form of filtering provides a smoother coffee without the bitterness that is often present in hot brewed coffee.

Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Coffee, Miyama, Nakano

It is great to be amongst the locals, I can’t recall seeing any foreigners when we have been. This year we also had lunch which comes as a set (sandwich with coffee). Mr. CA4G had a burger and I had a sandwich. Very tasty and that fluffy white bread they make in Japan is so light.

And of course on Kappabashi Dori amongst all the kitchenware shops is a specialist coffee shop along with a several specialist roasters and providores of coffee beans/ground coffee. They seem to be really in to their single origins and fair trade coffees in Japan.

Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa
Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa
Cold filters
Cold filters
Interior Union Coffee supplies
Interior Union Coffee supplies
Syphon filters
Syphon filters
Cold filter close up
Cold filter close up
Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori
Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori

I think the only time we have had a cappuccino or latte in Tokyo was when we have breakfast in the Park Hyatt, The Conrad, or at our favourite little cafe/bakery Vie de France. When we stay at the Park Hotel Shiodome we love the over cup drip filter they have in the rooms, from Key Coffee.

Key Coffee,
Key Coffee,
Drip On by Key Coffee
Drip On by Key Coffee

Have you had a great coffee somewhere other than here in Australia? I would love to here about it!

 

 

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!!

To all my readers and followers, I wish you and all your families a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year in 2014 filled with lots of love, adventure and good times.

ipad mini christmas wallpaper 001

This Christmas I managed to make my first Christmas puddings in many years, one was split between two work colleagues and one will be going to my sister in law’s for the four of us tomorrow. Will post about it when things quieten down a little.

Have a safe and happy break and many thanks for stopping by to read my little blog!

 

Pickled Cherries and Grapes

For our French wine dinner at work the other week we had Duck liver Pate, chicken and mushroom terrine and salmon rillettes for the entree. When we did the tasting for the dinner a week before, I realised that we needed some kind of pickled items to go with all that rich, fatty goodness that we were serving. A few years ago I pickled some white grapes to go with a chicken liver parfait, which set my mind in motion and noticing some red grapes in the coolroom I decided to pickle those. I also remember seeing somewhere pickled cherries, conveniently we had cherries in the coolroom so I decided to pickle them as well.

I only used a basic pickle mix of sugar, vinegar, water, cinnamon, whole cloves, coriander seeds, bay leaves, salt. I was only able to let them sit for around a week so could imagine they would taste better with a bit more time to sit and pickle. I used the same mix for both the grapes and the cherries.

The pickled grapes went really well with the salmon rillettes, while the cherries were a hit with the pate.

Pickle Mix

625ml White Vinegar(use one with 5% acidity)

500g white sugar(or for some variety raw caster sugar)

2 Tablespoons Maldon Sea Salt

15 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

6 whole cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick

10 coriander seeds

Place all in pot and bring to boil. This is enough for around 1.3kg of fruit.

Deseed and destem your cherries by cutting them in half (warning you will stain your fingers, use disposable gloves if  you can) or cut seedless grapes in half place in to pickle jars.Pour the hot brine over cherries or grapes, leaving 1.5cm of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings (mason jar) process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.Using tongs, take them out of the water and leave to rest on a towel  for 24 hours.

Store in cool, dark place until ready to use.

The pickling leaches some of the colour from the red grapes and cherries, giving an attractive colour to the pickling liquid in the jar. Drain when ready to use. I could also picture using  the pickled cherries with a nice roasted duck or goose and the grapes warmed through with a piece of panfried salmon.

Unfortunately no photo as I only got the entree before the cherries and grapes went on.

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