Seated at the long wooden table in Yuki’s Kitchen, sipping steaming Japanese tea and admiring the high ceiling of her spacious classroom, I was delighted I’d made the journey to Crystal Palace. Yuki does teach at a variety of other venues (Soho Kitchen Club, Battersea, etc.) but the leafy outlook from her bay windows on a bright March day made me feel pleasantly relaxed – and open to re-invigorating my fading cooking skills. I loved the calm aesthetic.
My tummy was grumbling already as Yuki went through the ‘Meat & Poultry’ lesson outline. The menu had a simple, clever mix & match appeal, ideal for people short on time and rapidly losing interest / confidence in cooking (me!). I could definitely see these dishes becoming part of my workday evening repertoire. With a minimum of ingredients, the unfussy ingredients list was a tonic. Even so, taken as a whole, the menu would indeed be impressive for a dinner party. But each dish can handily also be prepared on its own to jazz up, say, a simple piece of steamed salmon, or some stir-fried vegetables for a homely weekday supper. Easy peasy!
- Marinated Pork with Miso
- Green Beans with Black Sesame Sauce
- Roasted Aubergine with Chicken Hatcho Miso Sauce
- Wakame and Egg Drop Soup
- Shiitake Mushroom Rice
Yuki’s friendly banter and detailed explanations kept the small class hooked as she demonstrated the techniques for preparing and cooking at a cooking station at the front of the classroom. We relaxed around the table, drank tea and took notes. She offered us a sniff and taste of key ingredients, such as the miso, as appropriate and suggested alternatives to make the simple, hearty home-style Japanese menu even more adaptable to what you might have in the fridge! Lamb, for example, can be used as a tasty substitute in the pork recipe (the lamb version a favourite of Yuki’s former employer, Miriam Stoppard, apparently!).
We were tickled to learn that egg is best added to egg drop soup through a sieve (who knew?) and that a simple, healthy dashi for cooking rice can be made by simply soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in cold water overnight. Umami-rich and vegan no less! Overall: a practical, fun and delicious way to spend a few hours – Yuki’s Kitchen cooking classes are highly recommended.
Visit Yuki’s Kitchen website for detailed information about all her classes, as well as interesting blog articles. You can see a video of Yuki explaining how to make sushi here. And check out her book ‘Sushi at Home’!