Up until recently, I had never taken any cooking or baking lessons, not even one. I’m not too bad for an amateur, but I wanted to improve my technique and make cakes that not only taste good but look perfect too. I was unwilling to jump head-in, however, and begin formal training. So before shelling out major dough and enroll in Le Cordon Bleu, I wanted to find out if I really am passionate about patisserie, so I thought I’d enroll in a less intensive course first. A school visit and two trial lessons later, I found myself enrolled in 24 cooking lessons, 26 bread lessons, and 18 patisserie lessons at ABC cooking studio.
It had actually never crossed my mind to take the bread course. Why, I already make pretty good bread, don’t I? Except for sourdough, of course. But this is what suckered me into signing up for bread too. It’s so cute and fragrant. How could I resist?
Café Aulait bread
And I signed up for the cooking lessons because I wanted to learn how to make these.
They are temawari-zushi, eaten at Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) on March 3rd. They are sometimes called hina-zushi too and are distinct due to their round shape. I made four different types (clockwise from top: unagi, ham, smoked salmon, tuna). My favorite, however, was the kabu (a white round radish) salad with yuzu dressing, very fragrant and refreshing. The sakura liquor flavored pudding was also delicious and very easy to make. Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Japanese meal without a soup: asari and daikon clear soup in this case.
For my second cooking lesson, I chose the so-called Asian Taste menu.
The rice with beef and bean sprouts has a Korean flavor while the steamed egg with jumbo shrimp and scallop tasted distinctly Chinese. For dessert, we made pumpkin filled spring roll with cinnamon sugar coating. My favorite, however, was the Yannyom (sauce) for the rice made with two different types of onions; and the Chonamuru (salad) with a Korean dressing.
Last, but not the least, is this crepe cake with cheese and blueberry filling.
Impressed? Don’t be. If you know how to make crepes, the cake was a breeze to make. What I AM proud of, however, is bringing this cake home in one piece, precariously balancing the cake box on the handle bar of my mountain bike with one hand and steering the bike to dodge Shibuya traffic and pedestrian. After I am done with the 18 cakes, I think I will be able to qualify as a bicycle ramen deliveryman. You know, those guys on bikes that sometimes don’t even have functioning brakes, weaving in and out of traffic carrying a wooden tray with anywhere from two to six bowls of hot soupy ramen, delivering to offices and residences. Yup, eighteen years of formal education and a doctorate later, my aspiration is to be a ramen delivery woman!