Life Hack: Using an electric kettle as an instant noodle-maker

TU 0

RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Cooking udon, or any other kind of fresh pasta, just got a whole lot easier.

Excluding the pot of leftover curry and can of Ebisu sitting in my fridge, I think my T-fal electric kettle might be the most wonderful thing in my kitchen. All I have to do is fill it from the tap, flip the switch, and in seconds I’ve got a pot of boiling water with which to make tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

It also comes in handy if I’m craving noodles, since the spout makes it easy to pour into cup ramen. But it turns out an electric kettle can be useful even for making noodles of the non-instant variety, as shown by Japanese Twitter user @aya_royal_1025.

@aya_royal_1025 hails from Kagawa, which is so famous for udon noodles that it’s jokingly called “Udon Prefecture.” As a staple food of the region, Kagawa’s residents of course spend a lot of time every year cooking udon, which would ordinarily entail boiling a pot of water, tossing in the noodles, then stirring them as they cook.

At some point, though, @aya_royal_1025 came up with a quicker way of getting things done: just toss the uncooked noodles into the kettle along with the necessary amount of water and flash cook them with the press of a button.

TU 1

TU 2

TU 3

Despite the unorthodox cooking method, @aya_royal_1025 says the resulting noodles aren’t soggy or mushy, an also promises that they taste just as good as udon made in the traditional manner.

There are a couple of things to be aware of. For starters, @aya_royal_1025 doesn’t mention one way or another whether using the kettle for a purpose it clearly wasn’t originally designed for has any effect on its longevity. Also, since you’re now using the kettle to cook instead of just boil water, you’ll want to wash the apparatus out when you’re done, so that no udon residue sticks to its inside (just like you would after making noodles in a regular pot). Finally, a normal-sized kettle is only going to have room to make a single-person-sized portion.

But if you’re in the mood for some actual udon (or any other kind of noodle) even though you’re strapped for time, this sounds like an amazingly convenient way to speed things up in the kitchen.

Sharpening master turns rusted blade back into brand new knife

RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

The Japanese have a knack for doing things in such a way that are just satisfying to watch. Check out this video of a Japanese knife-sharpening master turning a rusted kitchen knife into what could pass for a brand new tool.

Watch how this master craftsman turns something that looks like an object you’d find in a decaying cabin in Fallout 4 into something you’d be happy to see a sushi chef slicing and dicing your dinner with.

Easy-Bake Oven meets its match with the Easy-Make Ramen maker!

ramen 7

RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

A gift that has always been popular is the Easy-Bake Oven, which is one of the coolest presents ever and a great way to get young ones interested in the joy of cooking.

Baking isn’t an especially big pastime in Japan since very few households have a proper oven, but this product from Mega House is the perfect way to get kids interested and involved with cooking. It probably won’t be just kids clamoring for this kitchen aid either; adults are certainly going to want this as well because it teaches us a skill every grownup gourmand will appreciate: how to make homemade ramen noodles!

Officially called the O-Uchi de Ramenya (“Ramen Restaurant in your Home”), this Easy-Make Ramen toy is perfect for those who don’t feel too confident in their kitchen skills. For many of us, the thought of making our own ramen is daunting, but with this kit everything from the assembly to literally cranking out the noodles is really simple!

▼ The noodle cutter, tray and main part

ramen 2

ramen 6The kit comes with three types of cutters to give your homemade noodles various sizes of thickness. There is also a way to turn your very straight noodles into curly noodles. Additionally, if you’re craving some wonton or gyoza to go with your ramen, you can make the skins for those as well.

ramen 1

For those who are worried about special ingredients that might be required by this “machine”, you don’t have to fret; it’s already stuff you should have in your kitchen. A video from Mega House details the exact ingredients and provides a step-by-step guide to making delicious ramen noodles.

▼ Hard flour/bread flour (300 grams), soft flour/pastry flour (100 grams), water (about 190 grams), salt (8 grams), eggs (2). Using all-purpose flour (400 grams) would definitely work as well.

ramen 3

You can buy one of these handy toys online from Amazon for $49.25 to enjoy in your own home with your family. Though this may be marketed as a kids’ toy, we think it’s a product that’ll really get adults excited too.

ramen 4

Supermodel Jourdan Dunn heads to Thailand for her new cooking series “How It’s Dunn”

Hypebeast:

Supermodel Jourdan Dunn has teamed up with Amuse to create a cooking program titled How It’s Dunn.

The model talks about her experiences with cooking and her taste for spicy food and in the first installment of the new series, Dunn takes to the streets of Thailand to explore the country’s local cuisine and test the boundaries of her own tolerance to spice. From sauntering through fresh-food markets to braving cow’s blood noodle soup, this is only just the beginning of Dunn’s culinary pursuits.

Stay tuned for future episodes as they become available.

Soho House Interview: Chef May Chow and Little Bao (Hong Kong)

May_chow_2

Soho House: 

Chef May Chow pairs traditional ingredients from Hong Kong with Western cooking techniques to create her stuffed, steamed buns – fans queue around the block for the slow-braised pork belly bao, served with leek and shiso red onion salad and hoisin ketchup.

We sat down with Chow to find out more:

Q: Where’s the best place to eat in Hong Kong right now and what is your favorite dish on the menu?

A: I love The Chairman because of my favourite dish, which is steamed crab with aged Shoaxing wine, chicken oil and flat rice noodles.

Q: How did you get to where you are today and who inspired you?

A: I had a very singular vision about the kind of food I wanted to cook and who I wanted to be very early on in my career. I have to thank Matt Abergel (owner of Hong Kong’s Yardbird) because without his guidance during my restaurant development, Little Bao wouldn’t have been possible. He was honest when he believed something wasn’t good enough and I trusted his opinion.

Q: Tell us about Little Bao and the inspiration behind it.

A: Little Bao is my life translated into a restaurant. It takes inspiration from the best of both Chinese and American culture but most importantly it’s a place to have fun – so expect good food; loud, upbeat music and great cocktails.

Selected-preview-0061

Q: How has your background influenced your cooking?

A: I grew up in a traditional Chinese family and I’m influenced by Chinese culture. When I moved to the US, I was influenced by the freedom of speech and, of course, the food. My cooking draws on both cultures and I love taking traditional ingredients and putting an original spin on them.

Q: What made you decide to open your own restaurant and how did you go about launching it, finding funding and finding the perfect venue?

A: I always knew that I wanted to be a restaurant owner because I felt I had a story to tell through food. The opportunity came when I was offered a booth at a market. The response was great and I started to daydream about opening a restaurant.

I developed a business plan and gained financial support from my family and friends. We scouted for a Hong Kong location for over six months and I ended up taking over a space that was occupied by a hideous Thai restaurant. That was the first right decision I made because it was in my favorite neighborhood in Hong Kong.

Q: Have you ever faced any sexism in the industry?

A: I’m such a positive and happy person that I don’t feel that I’ve ever felt discriminated against, especially in a city like Hong Kong. I am quite an empowered woman and I generally see sexism as ignorance but I don’t experience much of it.

Q: What advice would you give to other pop-ups who are looking to launch their own restaurant?

A: I started as a chef working in restaurants, so my story is slightly different because I already had a basic understanding of the DNA needed for a successful restaurant.

The first step is to develop a detailed business plan and have legitimate solutions for all the questions that crop up. How do you make sure there is consistency in your service, food and experience? Have you developed your service manual? How will you make sure food and drink cost is controlled? Where is the best location for your target market? Who is your target market? Who is your competitor? What is your PR and marketing strategy? What music should you play? How much funding do you need?

Most importantly, though, listen to the people who will provide you smart insight.

Q: How do you think the London food scene measures up to Hong Kong?

A: Both Hong Kong and London have great food scenes but I think while Hong Kong offers the best of every type of Chinese cuisine, London has a bigger array, from great modern British food like St. John and Gordon Ramsey to fantastic Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. London also has a wonderful farmer driven open market that Hong Kong doesn’t have.

Foodbeast: Watch this fhef’s intense method for seasoning a carbon steel wok

Carbon-Steel-Wok

FoodBeast (by Peter Pham):

There have been many suggested ways to season cooking equipment. In order to create a non-stick surface, a proper combination of heat and oil must be incorporated to correctly season a pan, skillet, or even a wok.

Watch this chef’s intense technique when it comes to seasoning a new carbon steel wok. Definitely not something we can do at home, but still fascinating to watch.

HYPEBEAST Eats: Boomshack (Hong Kong)

Mimi Thorisson, the Chinese-French food blogger causing a stir

Mimi at home in Médoc: 'We are finally laying our foundation here'

Mimi at home in Médoc: ‘We are finally laying our foundation here’

An article about a person Team-Yellow founder knew in Hong Kong!

South China Morning Post:

For Hong Kong-born, global fame began simply, and sweetly – with a vanilla-cream iced cake. One spring evening, the mother of five walked out of her centuries-old farmhouse in France’s Médoc region to find a surprise.

Shaking off a long winter, dozens of miniature white daisies were blooming in the garden. Inspired, she hurried into the kitchen and whipped up a meringue cake, artfully decorating it with flowers, leaves and berries.

I wanted this cake to be a celebration of spring, of the garden, a fairy tale,” she says in a delicate accent that is equal parts Chinese, French and British. When it was ready, she posted a photo of her “Garden Cake” online.

Her seasonal concoction was pinned, posted and tweeted all over the world. She started that night with 69 followers – “they were all my friends”, she says – but within a couple of weeks the numbers exploded, Martha Stewart Living and O magazines contacted her, as did a literary agent who suggested she write a book. That was when her blog, Manger, was born. “It was a gift from spring and I am forever grateful,” she says.

Thorisson has found much to be grateful for since she and her husband, Icelandic photographer Oddur, relocated their family to Médoc from Paris in 2010.

Manger, which features favourite classic recipes for coq au vin and slow-cooked lamb, and a few wildcards such as wonton soup, is followed by foodies worldwide. The photographs, snapped by Oddur, capture her friendship with farmers and villagers in Médoc, and life with their children.

Coq au vin

Thorisson has also been tapped to star in two cooking shows on French television.

It’s not hard to see the appeal. The 40-year-old lives the life many people fantasise about – one afternoon she is chopping vine tomatoes in her farmhouse kitchen and looking smashing in a floral sundress, on another she’s plucking peaches from the garden, chatting with a fishmonger about his secret bouillabaisse recipe, and so on.

No wonder many have described her as the most envied blogger in the world.

The year ended with even more success for the former Happy Valley resident. She published her first book, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse, which soon topped the ranks of Amazon’s bestselling book in two categories: seasonal cooking and French cooking.

Today, life revolves around her family and her blog, which has become her family business.

Most days, she wakes early to walk the dogs – 14 and counting – and get her five young children off to school.

Then she makes her rounds of the markets, picking up the catch of the day from a fishmonger, or pears from a farmer.

I don’t plan,” she says. “I get my inspiration from what I find.”

Returning home, she writes her blog and catches up with fans and editors. Then she heads to her kitchen and, she says, laughing, “I simply cook all day. With so many children and dogs and cooking, you can imagine it’s quite busy. I don’t have time for a manicure.”

Some might see the endless chopping, measuring, mixing and frying as drudgery, but cooking is a joy for Thorisson.

Spending the whole day doing this never feels like work,” she says. “I want to do it. I wake up in the morning and tell Oddur, ‘I want artichokes today’. It is not a job. It is who we are. It is me expressing my soul.”

Food has always been a big part of Thorisson’s life. Growing up an only child, she and her Qingdao-born father would scour Hong Kong for the best noodles and dim sum.

My favourite dumpling restaurant was around the corner from our flat,” she says. “If my parents couldn’t find me around the house, they knew to look for me there.”

Her French mother didn’t cook much but during summer holidays in France her grandmother and aunt would make classic meals for her.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

My parents taught me to enjoy life and food, but it was my grandmother and aunt who taught me about cooking,” she says. “My aunt can whip up anything from scratch. Give her tomatoes and leftover sausages and she will take the butter, garlic and wine she always has in her cupboards and make stuffed tomatoes. She is the kind of cook I want to be.”

Thorisson always looks forward to the New Year because it conjures up deep memories of the wonderful meals she has had in Hong Kong and France.

She and her husband typically start New Year’s Day with a glass of bubbly, before she prepares a huge seafood platter, with the freshest oysters, langoustine and crab. Or in a nod to her Hong Kong roots, she might make e-fu noodles with lobster, her favorite food. “I mix everything because of my heritage,” she says.

Everyone then changes into new clothes and the family then takes a long walk in the nearby forest. “In France, the first day of the year has to be impeccable,” she explains. “You must look your best and eat your favourite foods. The way you start the year inspires the rest of the year.”

She wistfully recalls Lunar New Years of her childhood, when her father would take her to visit her cousins in Qingdao. “We would make those amazing dumplings. My father always insisted that we stay in our cousins’ houses, and not in a hotel, so that I would be closer to them. It was so important to him that I was exposed to Chinese culture,” she says.

It was 1979 in Shandong, and it would feel like we had returned to a different century. Now, I have fond memories. It was a special time.

As it is with so many chefs and food writers, Thorisson connects to the beloved people and places in her life through food and cooking.

It has since also given her a chateau of her own. Earlier in 2014, she and Oddur were visiting friends in a village nearby, when one of them suggested they view a grand old house that was for sale.

As it turned out, the house had belonged to a famed female chef in Médoc. “She had been the mistress of the village mayor, and before he died he gave this house to her as a gift.”

The chef turned it into a restaurant and hotel for wine merchants visiting Bordeaux. Now Thorisson finds madame’s notebooks and recipes in the “weirdest” places.

As soon as I walked in, I felt the recipes I want to cook coming through to me. I already have the draft of my second book [scheduled for 2017]. I believe in destiny, and this house is magic. Médoc has truly become my home,” she says.

MIMI THORISSON’S FABULOUS FRENCH RECIPES

Watercress velouté recipe

Duck-confit Parmentier recipe

Mimi Thorisson’s garden cake recipe

Sweet fritters with orange and dark rum recipe

“A Kitchen in France” (Hardie Grant, £25), by Mimi Thorisson, is available from Telegraph Books

Five simple ways to take your Japanese curry rice to the next level

RocketNews 24:

Curry rice is the perfect Japanese comfort food. It’s hearty, filling, sweet and just a little bit spicy, being a much milder version of Indian curry introduced to Japan by way of the British (you’re welcome, Japan!).

One of the best things about curry rice is how easy it is to customize it. You can subtly alter the flavour of the sauce by adding honey, apples, or even chocolate, and you can switch up serving methods by swapping the rice for udon or ramen. You can pour it over deep-fried pork katsu or seafood, or throw in all kinds of vegetables… the possibilities are endless!

But if you’re looking for ways to really step up your curry game, then we recommend trying some of these tips and tricks from professional curry chefs…

The standard formula for making easy curry rice at home is to fry up some onions, veggies and meat, then add water and finally curry roux (solidified curry paste sold in handy blocks that look like yummy chocolate). But there are a number of little things you can do to take even store-bought curry from cheap ‘n’ tasty evening meal to a dish to be genuinely proud of.

Tip 1 for extra-yummy curry rice is to make sure those onions are nice and fried before you add in the rest. Chefs recommend adding just enough water to keep your onions from burning while frying to make sure that the full flavour of the onions is brought out.

Tip 2: Top curry chefs recommend going the extra mile and adding in some spices to your sauce, even if you’re using boxed roux already. For extra colour, add a pinch of turmeric, and for fragrance, cumin or coriander. If you want your curry to have some extra bite, meanwhile, throw in some cayenne pepper.

Tip 3: Don’t stop at just adding water and roux if you want your curry to be extra thick and creamy. Add in some milk, cream or yogurt, too.

Tip 4: Top curry chefs also recommend bringing out the subtle undertones of the curry flavour by adding tomatoes, pickled plums, wine, citrus fruits, or black vinegar.

Tip 5: While this particular “tip” can be found on the back of most boxed roux, apparently hardly anyone tends to actually do it. When you’re adding the curry roux blocks, it’s essential that you remove the pot from the heat first and allow the roux blocks to melt into the already hot pot without applying direct heat. In fact, you don’t need to have the roux in there that long at all, and over-cooking the roux can wind up ruining the taste of the curry. Hmm… the more you know!

We hope that these curry tips will prove useful the next time you’re whipping up a batch of the yummy brown stuff. With its sweet, mild flavour, curry rice is the perfect introduction to Japanese cooking for those who are just getting started. Enjoy!