Sachie’s Kitchen

Sachie’s kitchen

Ever since I was a little girl I remember loving Japanese food. My very first memory of it was being introduced to sushi by my aunt, uncle and cousins at a little sushi stand in a local shopping center in Melbourne, Australia. I must have been about twelve years old but I’ll never forget the experience; Popping the tiny little pink parcel of salmon nigiri into my mouth with a dot of wasabi some pickled ginger and soy. I remember the smooth silky texture of the fresh raw pretty pink salmon and the sweetness of the fluffy white rice. I remember my cousin showing me how to snap the wooden chopsticks apart and mix the wasabi into the soy. This was the start of my obsession with sushi and Asian cuisine. As a twelve year old, sushi was not only very tasty but also a lot of fun and still to this day I find the same enjoyment when I go to a Sushi restaurant.

Over the last ten years in Israel sushi has taken off and grown to become one of the most popular cuisines eaten by Israelis in a restaurant setting. Back in 2005 there was only a handful of sushi restaurants in Jerusalem, and nothing to write home about either (literally, as I was on my year abroad in Israel after school)- and yet just a little less than ten years later there are more than ten different sushi restaurants in the city, the majority of them being kosher. Tel-Aviv too can boast well over one-hundred restaurants that serve sushi with around 20% being kosher.

 Super Sushi- Dizengoff st Tel Aviv (kosher)

Sushi Rehavia- Emek Refaim Jerusalem (Kosher)

Israel in-fact has the third highest per capita consumption of Sushi in the World! That’s huge! In laymen’s terms basically in order of highest sushi consumption Japan is first, followed by New York and then Tel-Aviv!

Eat your sushi-filled hearts out rest-of-the-World!

Israelis just love eating sushi,  so much so  that to celebrate the sushi-eating culture that’s been cultivated here, Israel hosts an annual sushi making competition with around 30 Israeli sushi restaurants competing for the top prize. Over 500 people attend the competition every year including Japan’s ambassador to Israel Ambassador Shigeo Matsutomi.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wpKFYQFQO0

It with this obsession that Israelis seem to have with Sushi and Asian cuisine that The Food Channel has introduced the latest cooking show and celebrity chef to its viewing repertoire; Sachie’s kitchen.

 

Image: Sachie on set

Sachie is a Japanese born chef who lives in New Zealand and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing her all about Japanese food and her personal food Journey.

Sachie’s food obsession began at a young age but it wasn’t until she moved to New Zealand where she found herself sharing an apartment with some Japanese chefs that things started to really take off. There they taught her ‘a variety of invaluable techniques’ and particularly ‘how to be creative using domestic appliances and ingredients’.

On her show, Sachie goes through different Japanese recipes, mainly noodles and fish and beef dishes but occasionally Sushi makes an appearance. I asked Sachie if Sushi is considered an everyday food in Japan. She explained to me that growing up she would only eat sushi ‘3-4 times a year because it was very expensive and usually was eaten to celebrate an occasion.’ In Israel many people would consume Sushi 3-4 times in one month! Sachie believes that sushi has become a kind of ‘healthy fast food’- A trend that is reflected all over the World and Israel is no exception!

Sachie’s show is really all about making Japanese food simple. She believes that ‘the biggest myth about Japanese cuisine is that it’s complicated- because of the beautiful presentation’. Her ‘whole mission is demystifying Asian food for people so they can cook at home and enjoy the meal with friends and family’. Personally I love watching Sachie cook up a storm with her Japanese- New Zealand accent which reflects the style of cooking which is often a mix of Asian and Western recipes.

Every show starts with an adventure to a market or factory in Japan, followed by a trip to the local supermarket in New Zealand and then finally an explanation of how to assemble the dish at home. With her beautiful bubbly personality as passion for food and life that comes through the screen of the TV (her philosophy is ‘Happy food-happy home’) Sachie is slowly taking over and becoming one of the first mainstream celebrity chefs to grace our screens with Japanese cuisine- and I for one love it!

Sachie now owns the largest Asian cooking school in Australisia (That’s Australia and New Zealand for those who were wondering) with over 13,000 students in the last five years alone!

Sachie celebrating the release of her cook book

As for her career aspirations there seems to be a lot in the works.

Sachie’s cooking school in New Zealand is doubling in size and she also plans to host more TV shows featuring different Asian cuisines. She also has ‘something very exciting in the way of consumer products range’ but when I asked her what exactly she told me with a figurative wink ‘I can’t tell you too much about that just yet….shhh’.

As for coming to visit us over here in Israel she said she’d never been but it was ‘on her list of things to do’ and if an opportunity came up she wouldn’t say no!  Perhaps we could convince her to come and help judge the next Kikkoman Sushi Master competition here!

We wish Sachie the best of luck in all her endeavors! I for one will continue to enjoy Sachie’s easy no fuss approach to simplifying Japanese cuisine with her warmth and effervescence coming through the screen while I put my feet up at the end of a long day!

You can stay updated with Sachie’s adventures via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sachieskitchen and watch her show most days at around 4pm on The Food Channel.

 

 

 

 

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Fuss Free Food

There’s a new player in town on the Jerusalem eateries menu and they are serving up delicious, rustic, fuss-free food. Just what this passionista loves!

Bardak is Jerusalem’s newest Pizzeria and boy, are they good! At Bardak, what you see is what you get; delicious fresh pizza (with the perfect crust) and locally brewed beers served by some of the friendliest staff in Jerusalem. A good honest meal in a casual environment, what’s not to love about that?

Last Sunday night my Husband (Who will henceforth be referred to as Jason) took me out to Bardak for rare date in between studying for exams. As we sat down at the bar we were greeted with warm smiles and menus straight away. We then began deliberating on which beer to order.

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Bardak has a selection of six different beers on tap from local breweries. To assist us in our deliberations we were presented with a tasters plate of all six options (free of charge) -nice touch! We sampled Shapira’s Pale Ale, some lagers and finally settled on the Blonde brew which was light and fruity.

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We then began browsing the pizza menu. Jason had already been to Bardak a few weeks ago with some mates while I was in Australia. He told me about the delicious salmon and ginger pizza that his mate Suddy had ordered.

Honestly, as much of a foodie as I am, this did not sound appealing, but I am willing to try pretty much any food once, just for the experience. I ordered a ‘Romema’ pizza with Tuna, anchovy, olives, chili and Kavshaval Cheese and Jason ordered his salmon ginger pizza.

Both pizzas were delicious but the salmon and ginger pizza was something else! I highly recommend it…talk about fusion cuisine! The concoction is reminiscent of a mix between Napolitano pasta and sushi, my two favourite foods. It sounds repulsive I know, but for some reason this pizza works. It just does. Don’t argue.

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There are other delicious combinations like the ‘Rehavia’ with Alfredo sauce, root vegetables, olives pesto, Satureja (some kind of herb related to Rosemary) and Kavshavl Cheese. Or the ‘Musrara’ with Shakshukah sauce, egg, chili….

 

TO CONTINUE READING PLEASE VISIT http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/281694/

 

 

Jerusalem comes of age- well nearly!

The scene: Ben Yehudah street Jerusalem, Israel- a new café has popped up on the ‘midrechov’…

As an Interior Designer and and Olah from Australia (quite a stylish country- if I don’t say so myself!) I have a somewhat critical eye when it comes design and style in Jerusalem. Not to say that Jerusalem isn’t stylish- its is- it just has a different style, a more rustic mid 18th century Arabic style lets say…

But Jerusalem is starting to come of age in the style department whether it be in boutique hotels or cafes on the street- Jerusalem is starting to draw inspiration from its European neighbours when it comes to styling (and hopefully service too- but perhaps we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves on this one just yet…).

As my Husband and I were walking along Ben Yehudah Wednesday afternoon on ‘chol hamoed’ Pesach, we came across a new and seemingly stylish (and from the looks of it-delicious) café called De Masa- which loosely translates to- well Im not sure and seeing as Google translate couldn’t figure it out for me lets just say that its probably something like ‘The Dough’.

The café appears to be some kind of mix between a French patisserie- with its beautiful marble countertops, light stained timber and lovely glass case of scrumptious looking cakes and pastries crossed between and Italian Bistro and a Spanish style tapas bar- not a bad mix of elements if you ask me!

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The owner (who claims he designed the place himself- and whose wife strangely reminded me of Heidi Fleiss- the famous American madame from the 90’s) has really done a lovely job of creating the right ‘vibe’- when it comes to choices of materials and fittings. I particularly liked the 4 meter wall of shelving behind the servery that was stacked with all kinds of European delicacies and the punchy pendant lighting in what looked like a brass finish which contrasted wonderfully against the Carrera marble tops..

The menu also read a treat- with all kinds of indulgent breakfast combos -different than what you’d find a Tal bagels (alavah shalom..) or anywhere else on emek refaim- some very interesting Pesach pasta options, sandwiches and robust salads.

The only negative word I have to say about the whole place is that the waiters and hostesses were terrible- too terrible for words in fact- which im hoping that I’ll have to excuse as teething problems, seeing as they’ve only been open for a month.  We actually ended up walking out because after 20 minutes of no one taking our order and the host (who previously moved us to a smaller table so a larger family of four could sit down) told us that their order was taken before our because WE moved-we were about ready to eat our own hands off and eventually had enough.

And where did we end up? Tmol shilshom- a GOOD OLD Jerusalem establishment…one of those lovely Mid 18th Century Arabic types…

All in all Its lovely and refreshing to see new and exciting design and ideas in Jerusalem but at the end of the day, while they are figuring out EXACTLY how its done the tried and tested establishments that typify Jerusalem’s style are just fine by me.