A really great way to learn about Japanese cooking, great for those of us who love cooking but are nervous about this cuisine.
Reiko is a very warm and welcoming host and also has a great teaching style - meticilous and thorough but also ensuring that each student gets practical hands-on experience with tricky techniques and has opportunities to ask lots of questions.
Would highly recommend it.
London's Best Cookery Schools Hashi Cooking
Hashi Cooking - Pictures @ The London Foodie
I first met Reiko Hashimoto for her Sushi & Sashimi Class in May 07. Since that first fateful encounter, I have attended most of Reiko's classes, met the most delightful people and learnt a great deal about Japanese cuisine and culture.
All classes are held at Reiko's beautiful home in Wimbledon Park for a small number of people. Sitting by her spacious kitchen island with other Japanese food aficionados, Reiko demonstrates in great detail all dishes to be cooked on the day. The informal and friendly setting, coupled with Reiko's contagious enthusiasm, gets everyone talking and asking questions, more like a cooking party at a friend's house.
Ingredients are already prepared, and no time is taken washing or chopping them. Involvement is highly encouraged, but attention is focussed mostly on learning the various techniques, like the different ways of rolling sushi, preparing Japanese omelette (tamago), or assembling and frying tempura.
In addition to the Sushi & Sashimi Class on Saturdays, Reiko also runs 4-session evening courses. These are designed for students who would like to learn about Japanese food in greater depth and are held at all levels from Beginners, Home Cooking and Gourmet, to Master Chef.
Classes are not necessarily taken in this order starting at the Gourmet level, I then took the Home Cooking and Master Chef courses - all very different in nature but equally enjoyable. At the end of the four courses, participants will have learnt how to prepare more than 60 delicious Japanese dishes which can easily be recreated in their own kitchen. All classes' menus can be found at Hashi Cooking's website.
I recently returned to Hashi Cooking and was lucky enough to take part in the last session of this season's Gourmet Course. As usual I was welcomed by an eclectic group of students the gorgeous Bann (a dentist of Iraqi descent), Amy (a charming Malaysian architect), Alex (the Law student), who at 21, was given Reiko's course as a gift and was thoroughly enjoying himself, and Arly, a Norwegian fellow who lived in Japan for years and can speak fluent Japanese.
We started the evening with a demonstration of one of my favourite dishes Cha Soba Green Tea Flavoured Noodles with Squid and Spicy Yakumi Sauce. The Yakumi Sauce had just right amount of spiciness and the combination of squid, coriander and the green tea noodles was delicious.
The Tofu Steak with Japanese Mushrooms in Soy Butter Sauce is, in my opinion, an excellent introduction to Tofu: a wonderful Japanese ingredient, sadly unloved by the Western palate. Reiko's recipe uses buttered Japanese mushrooms, like enoki, shimeji and shiitake, and crisply fried tofu steaks to convert even the most sceptical of foodies.
An interesting addition to this season's menu was Roasted Butterflied Chicken Marinated with White Miso & Ginger Paste the meat soaked up the sweet white miso and ginger paste beautifully as it roasted, also helping to keep the meat moist and tender.
The star of the evening however was Reiko's signature dish Grilled Scallops on Sushi Rice with Creamy Spicy Sauce. I have made this dish many times at home whenever I am cooking Japanese food for friends - it is one of the best dishes of all her courses. The flying fish roe, seaweed, scallops in sushi rice topped with the creamy, spicy sauce combine very well together. A real winner.
As a half-Japanese, I always felt I knew the food of my ancestors Reiko made me re-consider this while helping me to replicate some of the flavours of my childhood I had long lost.
I have great respect for what Reiko has achieved over the years, which is to de-mystify what to so many people wrongly seems an overly sophisticated and expensive cuisine based solely on raw fish, while making real Japanese cuisine available to thousands of people in the UK.
I would highly recommend Hashi Cooking to anyone wanting to learn more about Japanese food and culture, meet some fascinating people on the way and eat the most scrumptious food!
For photos see the Greedy Diva @http://greedydiva.blogspot.com/2010/05/hashi-japanese-cookery-courses.html
I'm currently reading yet another fabulous book by food and travel writer Michael Booth, this time about culinary travels in Japan ("Sushi and Beyond - What the Japanese Know About Cooking" ). In between the laughs, it only serves to reinforce how much the cooking of Japanese food is still shrouded in mystery for many of us - and the fact that Japanese restaurants tend to specialise, to the point of mastery, in only one type of food (go here for your udon noodles, and somewhere else for your perfect ramen, sushi or tempura) makes the thought of polishing one's kitchen chopsticks seem a daunting task.
This only makes Reiko Hashimoto-Lambert's Hashi Japanese Cookery Courses all the more satisfying. In her straightforward, down to earth style, Reiko has been teaching Japanese cooking in England for over 10 years, and did so before that in Tokyo. She has appeared as a guest on Saturday Kitchen, and is currently writing a cookbook (has anyone else noticed the dearth of accessible, decent Japanese cook books, beyond Wagamama's Westernised account)?
I recently attended a class at Hashi, which was an amalgam of Hashi's Beginners and Advanced classes. The session was a well balanced mix of demonstration and hands on practice, and class sizes are small enough (there were 7 people in mine) to get some much needed personal attention and a good view of the stove top.
Reiko guided us through the making of a mouthwatering beef tataki with creamy sesame sauce - so delicious, but deceptively easy, this would definitely impress the dinner party guests.
We then rolled up our sleeves to make some pork and seafood gyoza, artfully mastering the delicate folding of the gyoza wrappers. Mine went from ugly duckling to beautiful swan surprisingly quickly, but there's definitely a trick to them that requires expert guidance and hands on practice to avoid the elephant man effect.
Reiko's signature dish, scallops with creamy spicy sauce on sushi rice followed next (a more advanced dish, but still most definitely achievable in the home kitchen) and then some gorgeous cold soba noodles with spicy aubergine. Oh, how I love a good bit of aubergine.
All was, of course, eaten on beautiful Japanese plates and bowls - because a chipped white plate (a la Chez Greedy Diva) just won't do for the Japanese.
Reiko's Saturday classes run from 11am - 3pm and cost £120. She is also running an evening canape class for £70, and her 4 class courses - some for beginners, and others becoming more gourmet right up to "Master Chef" level - are £240. You'll pick up lots of tips and tit-bits along the way which will help demystify Japanese cooking, and over the full set of courses you would be well on your way to having a full repertoire of dishes under your sushi belt to replicate at home. Above all, the class has inspired me to be more adventurous in the kitchen, putting Japanese cooking more squarely in my comfort zone. Bring out the dashi, baby.
While Japanese ingredients can be difficult to source, I heartily recommend the new and improved Japan Centre on Lower Regent Street (they even sell fresh wasabi root). Reiko also supplies a long list of suppliers to her course participants.
I checked the website and I noticed that some Japanese Classes and Courses are offered. For me the most interesting classes are the Sushi classes and the Triple dumpling classes. I have some hesitation, but may be I will decide to attend one of them.
(full review, pics and more) Reiko Hashimoto is an impressive Japanese lady that I met on several food related occasions (she for example helped The London Foodie Luiz with the Grazing Asia Supper Club) and I was thrilled to be invited to one of her Gourmet Japanese Cooking Classes in Wimbledon. I have always very much enjoyed Japanese cuisine and this adoration became even stronger after my recent travel to the Kansai region of Japan. Only problem is that since then I have become really fussy about Japanese food and few cheap sushi joints are able to satisfy my craving for Nippon delicacies. So I was even more thrilled to sample Reiko's home cooked Japanese food. Already the front of Reiko's beautiful house in a quiet residential area close to Wimbledon Park tube station took me back,as the black board with a Japanese character reminded me of the subtle way I saw many places advertised in Japan. From the moment I entered Reiko's house,I felt very well taken care of. We were seated around a central bar area in the kitchen,set with beautiful Japanese tableware. I enjoyed a cup of Hojicha tea while waiting for the other students to arrive. Reiko has been doing Japanese cookery classes for many years and to my knowledge she was in fact one of the first people in the capital to offer authentic Japanese cooking demonstrations and courses. This gave her plenty of time to perfect her teaching skills as well as cooking skills and resulted in absolutely smooth and perfect running of the evening. This particular class I had to pleasure to participate at,was the 4th and last of the Japanese Gourmet course. This course is very much designed for people with some experience in Japanese cooking and ingredients or overall accomplished cooks. Beginners and occasional cooks like myself would probably benefit more some of Reiko's other classes: The beginners'course also consists of 4 sessions and i.e. covers sushi,okonomyaki and tempura. The Japanese home cooking course is for all the Japanese comfort food such as agedashi tofu,donburi or okonomyaki. The Gourmet cooking course is a demonstration class which is just the best after a hard day's work when you can't be asked to cut things into small pieces. All the fiddly work is done by Reiko beforehand and all you have to do is to sit back,maybe scribble some notes into the very detailed recipe handouts,lean back and enjoy the show. It is basically a 4 course dinner with the recipes and ingredients being explained to you not bad really! We (or rather Reiko) cooked: 1,Grilled Scallops on Sushi Rice with Creamy Spicy Sauce. This is Reiko's signature dish and is made out of sushi rice,sashimi quality scallops,Nori and flying fish roe. These ingredients are then topped by home-made Japanese spicy mayonnaise and put into the oven for just a few minutes for the sauce to brown but the scallops to remain raw. 2,Tofu Steak with Mushroom Toppings I thought this was a particularly successful dish.I loved the combination of shiitake and enoki mushrooms with the streaky bacon on the delicious and firm tofu. I learned something crucial here too I had no idea that you had to press tofu to get the water out before you use it 3,Cha Soba (Green Tea Flavoured) Noodles &Squid with Spicy Yakumi Sauce. I am a sucker for all kinds of Japanese noodles but I have never had green tea flavoured ones before. The soba Reiko used costs about 5 pounds,but you can nicely pick up the smell and taste of matcha. Absolutely gorgeous and well worth the money! The soba were prepared with minced pork,high quality squid,cucumber,peppers and Yakumi sauce,which consists of dashi,soy sauce,fish sauce and mirin. I am not a big fan of squid and peppers,so I would make the dish without these 2 ingredients but maybe put some other vegetables in. I think that's a great recipes to experiment with. 4, Duck Breast with Ginger &Apple Sauce This was another very tasty dish that would make you the star of your dinner party,at least if you managed to prepare it to the same standard Reiko did. The perfectly cooked duck was Tin beautiful contrast to the sweet and spicy ginger and apple sauce. The courses are not cheap: 240 pounds for 4 sessions seems quite a lot,but when you consider the price of the ingredients and the fact that you also have a great dinner,pleasant company AND you learn a lot,it seems money well spent. I am definitely considering taking one of the beginners courses as I would love to be able to make real good sushi! (my culinary experiments with sushi so far were a little bit sad to be honest).
For photos see swedishmeatballeatslondo…
A while ago, I attended two Hashi Cooking Gourmet courses. Reiko welcomed the four of us in her beautiful kitchen, and started off by talking briefly about the Japanese ingredients we would be using, and where to find them. And then began the fun!
The beef tataki with sesame sauce, which we cooked on the first evening, was a stunner. Beef fillet was seared to perfection, then removed from the pan and dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin. We made fried garlic chips, a sesame sauce with tahini, the soy and mirin from the beef, sugar, water and some rice vinegar. I could easily drink this sauce every morning instead of my usual cup of tea.
We made a total of four dishes - Reiko's (very) special salmon chirashi (where she showed exactly how to make perfect sushi rice - invaluable), a cloudy soup which was divine, and a monk fish with porcini soy butter.
In the second class, we made an absolutely stunning pork fillet with sweet miso, followed by green tea soba noodles with calamari and yakumi sauce, scallops with creamy spicy sauce (I have no words for how delicious this was), and tofu steak with mushrooms.
All in all, this cooking course taught me so much about Japanese cooking (and cooking techniques in general, too) and I can't recommend it enough. Reiko is a lovely, passionate teacher who answered all my (probably sometimes quite annoying) questions with a smile. In addition to learning a whole lot about Japanese cooking and coming home with some fantastic new recipes, you get to EAT everything you cook in the end of the class, and it tasted so damn good I never wanted to leave. I finished the other people's plates too, which in retrospect is a bit embarrassing. I would gladly have licked the plates too, but that might have been taking it a bit too far.
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