It was a freezing cold Winter night in Tokyo, so we started off the evening with a drink. To be honest, we would have started off with a drink even if it had been Summer, Autumn or Spring, but you get the idea. Guests chose between a selection of Parrot Dog beers from Wellington, two good value Sauvignon Blancs from Malborough (2013 Haymaker & 2012 eight point) and a Delta 2010 Pinot Noir. Rosa helped ensure that no one went thirsty throughout the night, a most important job.
Smoked Salmon with Kiwifruit Sauce
First course for the evening was Smoked Salmon with Kiwifruit Sauce. The salmon was imported by our friends at Nisshin supermarket and was of awesome quality. No one had tried a kiwifruit sauce before, but Yuko followed the recipe carefully and the tart sauce was a great match for the rich salmon.
The seasoning took a little while to get right, but thanks to great work from Miyuki (and help from a very powerful handheld blender), the Pumpkin Soup was as creamy and tasty as if it had come from the kitchen of Monsier Robuchon.
Rack of Lamb
You haven’t lived until you’ve had a New Zealand Rack of Lamb. And now, all the participants can say that they have lived, because boy did we have lamb. There was no room for error in the industrial strength oven we were cooking in, but thanks to excellent preparation from Yoshi with the herbs, spices, salt and pepper and the aluminium foil, and Mr. Jobs for inventing the iPhone and its timer function, the lamb came out almost perfect.
Cream? Check! Cheese? Check! Piping hot on a cold winter’s night? Check! Saeko selflessly volunteered to peel the potatoes, and in a jiffy, we had the layers of potatoes, cream and cheese whipped up. Despite the slight problem of almost forgetting the onions and having to squeeze them in down the sides, the scalloped potatoes were good. If we had just cut the potatoes a little thinner then I think they would have been great, but I guess you can’t be perfect.
We kept the veggies simple – steamed broccoli and steamed cauliflower. Thanks to Maeda-san from Hobilie’s keen eye, we managed to avoid overcooking them (too much) and I know our mums would have been proud of us eating our veggies like grown-ups.
With Yuko on the Nespresso machine, we had the lattes, cappuccinos and espressos ready and served in a jiffy. The Belgian pralines were delicious and at this point in the night, no one was too worried about a few extra calories, especially Rosa who quickly volunteered to take the left over chocolates home with her!
Friends in English
Although English was a first language for only Rosa and me, everyone conversed solely in English, and by ten o’clock when it was time to leave, the room full of strangers had become a room full of friends. I believe everyone had a great time, and I know that they certainly left Hobilie to brave the freezing weather for the trip home with a full stomach and the experience of finding a way to really use English in Tokyo in a fun and easy way!