Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tetsuya...oh Captain, my Captain

Tetsuya Wakuda arived in Australia from his native Japan in 1982. He started work as a kitchenhand and worked his way up to become a master chef. He is now considered one of Australia's most respected chefs. You must book a month in advance to get a table at his Sydney restaurant Tetsuya's.

His simply titled cookery book Tetsuya was published in 1999 to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the opening of the restaurant. This is one book that won't sit gathering dust on my shelf when I buy it. For the moment I have the local library copy to read and enjoy.

I have already planned the menu I will cook from it when I'm back in the kitchen full time.

I shall choose a fine Sunday in summer and invite two good friends to share the experience with us. We will begin with a Tian of Marinated Scampi with Pawpaw, Cucumber and Tonburi. Followed by Lobster Ravioli with Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. For a sweet finish to end the meal, the Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Sauterne Jelly.

We shall then leave the table and move outside to sit in the afternoon sun and muse over our lives as one does after a good meal and a few glasses of wine, and then a few more glasses of wine. A little later in the day I shall serve coffee with small slices of Tetsuya's Flourless Chocolate Cake. Tetsuya spent 8 months perfecting this recipe. I can only admire him - I once spent a week experimenting to come up with the perfect flourless chocolate cake for a friend's birthday and never did get it right.

Tetsuya has a love of seafood and many of the recipes in the book use the wonderful seafoood Australia is known for. He combines the Japanese philosphy of natural flavours with traditional French cooking techniques and the best Australian produce available.

The recipes are not complicated, the layout is easy to follow and the pictures are oh so inviting. Each recipe comes with a suggested wine to serve to compliment the dish.

I love this book. If Tetsuya is not already an Australia National Treasure he should be - the man is a genius.........

............and now from the book.......

Tian of Marinated Scampi with pawpaw, Cucumber and Tonburi
2 small scampi, halved
1/4 teaspoon walnut oil
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1 drop Banyuls vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 pinch salt
1/4 pinch white pepper
1/4 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
4 tablespoons finely diced pawpaw
4 tablespoons finely diced cucumber
4 heaped teaspoons tonburi (mountain caviar) or standard caviar

Take the meat out of the scampi and finely dice. Mix the scampi with the walnut oil, grapeseed oil, vinegar, chives, salt, white pepper, lemon juice.

Put a round mould (a PVC ring of 5cm diameter is a suitable mould) on each serving plate. Fill first with a layer of pawpaw, followed by a layer of cucumber, scampi, caviar. Remove the ring and serve.

Tetsuya suggests you serve it with an aromatic dry white wine such as a Viognier.

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