One of the nicest things about this year has been the time I've been able to spend cooking, researching, and learning about food. I've always enjoyed preparing our meals here at home, but it's been a real delight to have a little more time and energy to devote to it.
It also means I've been able to try new cuisines, ingredients and dishes I might not have considered before (I'm so excited to share some soups, salads and smoothies I've been working on over the next few months here on the blog, for example). One of the cuisines I've been learning a lot more about is Japanese cooking; a food I've always enjoyed in restaurants but shied away from making at home.
Imagine my delight then when an invite hit the doormat for my second Japanese food based event in as many months! The invite was from the lovely folk at Clearspring, asking if I'd like to come along to learn more about their range, while enjoying some vegan/vegetarian sushi made by the lovely Mayumi Nishimura. Mayumi is a great cook and has published several cookbooks (including one in English) full of recipes and ideas, and was Madonna's personal chef for many years. If it's good enough for the Queen of Pop...
So off I bimbled to Acton (first time ever!), for a vegetarian smorgasbord and a good old snoop around the Clearspring HQ. I had a lovely time and only embarassed myself once....I had to charge my phone while I was there, and the only plug socket was under a table. From whence I had to re-emerge after plugging in my phone. Knee-height is a weird angle at which to meet PR professionals.
|Best shop ever?|
I loved the look of their ceremonial matcha sets - I'm currently cooking up ideas for a Japanese themed afternoon tea to enjoy alongside this. Who's with me?
|So many gluten free wonders in the mix, for my GF buds!|
The array of teas was quite the thing! I am such a sucker for a new, tasty tea. It was imperceptible, wasn't it, that shift in British culture. One day it was, "Would you like a cup of tea?" The next it was "We've got normal, decaf, peppermint, green, cherry......" I love the range we can now buy and enjoy!
Mayumi was so warm and friendly, and so good at dealing with questions (even when people were pressing on the whole 'Madonna' button! I loved how Mayumi managed to both be lovely about Madonna & avoid saying anything untoward; discretion win). I really enjoyed her demonstrations on how to make the different kinds of sushi.
I must share these - sea salads that you rehydrate and serve. They were absolutely delicious and so easy to prepare. I had one with tofu and I liked it.*
I really enjoyed sampling ingredients from the range. As well as the sea salads I also loved the sweet and tangy roasted pumpkin oil and the little snack packs of nuts and seeds roasted with different flavours. Thank you to Clearspring & to Mayumi for making my Friday lunchtime particularly delicious!
*I can be fussy about tofu. True story.
Disclaimer, because honesty is always the best policy: I was invited along to the event, provided with lunch and a goodie bag. All opinions, stories about emerging from under furniture and tofu based anecdotes are my own.