Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Cherry Blossom Dinner

Under cherry trees
soup, the salad, fish and all...
seasoned with petals
Mitsuo Basho (1644-94)

For the last couple of years, Paul has been working on developing a Fuji Cherry (prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai') into a bonsai. It's very early days for shaping it, but it already puts out a profusion of blossoms in spring.

To celebrate the blossom this year, we decided to bring it indoors and have a Japanese meal under it. We didn't compose any haiku ourselves, but we thought Basho had already captured the moment perfectly. Even if he didn't mention the additional scattering of petals brought through the house on Urchin's tail.

Our menu:

  • Rice with umeboshi (pickled plums)
  • Miso soup, given an additional fresh kick with lemongrass and ginger (an idea from Deb's Kahakai Kitchen)
  • Crisp, panko-crumbed & deepfried soft-shell crab
  • Salt-grilled sardines
  • Steamed king-crab legs
  • A dipping sauce of ginger, lemon and soy
  • Aubergine simmered in mirin and soy, garnished with spring onions
I drank chilled umeshu (plum wine). Paul drank warm sake. We toasted the arrival of the blossoms and the summer to come.


mscrankypants said...

I wish I was there as the menu sounds beautiful.

Hasn't Urchin got the most magnificent furry shirtfront!

kat said...

what a great excuse for a celebration & what a menu!

Foodycat said...

Cranky - her bib is very impressive. She often ends up chewing the ends because they get stuck in her mouth when she'd licking herself.

Kat - any excuse will do!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

I love your blog title: Foodycat. Awesome. That spread looked amazing. Greta vibrant photography. Good job. Cheers!

Simona said...

I love the photos!

~~louise~~ said...

Oh what a lovely way to celebrate Cherry Blossom season.

Paul's bonsai is simply lovely. I have never tried my hands at bonsai before but after my favorite lavender plant (actually a medium size tree) took a terrible fall the other day, I've decided to do a bit of bonsai experimenting with it. We'll see what happens:)

Thank you so much for sharing your enchanting meal with us:) I must add your Cherry Blossom Dinner link to Week four of March's celebrations.

Pam said...

Great menu! It sounds delicious and your cat is gorgeous!!! I have two black ones. Nice blog!

The Cat's Mother said...


Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Sounds like a wonderfully zen meal! Gorgeous tree and cat :) and I love the sound of the eggplant.

A Year on the Grill said...


An inspiration to all us old married folks!

Gemma said...

This looks beautiful. I adore cherry blossom, well, any bossom really. Bring on the sunshine!

Jude said...

It all looks very beautiful.

Can I ask where you get the soft-shell crab from, and how you cook it.

Foodycat said...

Lazaro - thank you!

Simona - any excuse for pictures of Urchin.

Louise - there are loads of good introductory bonsai tutorials on youtube!

Pam - black cats are so elegant!

Mother - thanks!

Laura - the eggplant was amazing! Deepfried and then simmered.

Dave - yup!

Gemma - it lifts the spirits doesn't it?

Jude - you can get them at Wing Yip but I bought them from The Fish Society. You just rinse them, pat them dry, then egg & panko and into deep oil.

grace said...

why, oh why doesn't seafood taste good to me? i don't understand it. although the menu isn't particularly up my alley, i do appreciate your homage to japanese cuisine! the blossoms are lovely. :)

Joanne said...

I love that you celebrated the blooming of cherry blossoms! Sounds quite inspirational.

Johanna said...

Very nice indeed. The japanese are in loved with their cherry trees and I can definitely see why...

Foodycat said...

Grace - I can understand not liking all seafood - sometimes it is too "fishy" and sometimes the texture is snotty, but crab is so sweet and delicious!

Joanne - we planned it for ages!

Johanna - one day I will go to Japan in sakura season!

Barbara said...

The bonsai is gorgeous and so is Urchin! The most beautiful cat I've seen in ages.
And your meal is perfect!

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous menu--loving every dish.

Urchin is such a beauty posing with the bonsai! ;-)

Foodycat said...

Barbara - thank you! She is beautiful.

Deb - she loves the garden. She thinks plants highlight her features.

Choclette said...

It all sounds wonderful - even though I am a vegetarian - it's the romance of it.


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