As you know, I still don't have a kitchen, so there was only thing for it. Take over someone else's. And learn how to make sushi at the same time. Why not?
No, I mean at So. A jolly good Japanese resto close to Piccadilly Circus in London. I've eaten there a few times, and the food has always been outstanding. And that's even compared with what I've eaten in Japan.
Learn how to make sushi? Yeah, why not. It seemed like a good idea at the time I booked. I love sushi and can eat bucketloads of the stuff. By the time of the class, though, it was about 25C, and the prospect of standing over whiffy* fish didn't seem quite so enticing. Fortunately, the cost of the class included a free glass of wine - at which point, learning to make sushi suddenly became irresistible again.
* it wasn't, actually. But it might have been.
OK, so we (3 of us) were going learn how to make California rolls and nigiri sushi. A prospect which seemed altogether easier after a few gulpfuls of vino.
First, find a willing chef, and get him to demonstrate. Something like this:
If you haven't got enough rice on your hands at this point, now cover them with roe as well. Alternatively, you can scatter-spread it over the rice:
Or, in my case, like this:
No, I don't think it'll win any awards, either.
Then you place a piece of avocado in the centre, along with a smattering of lovely crab meat, and carefully roll up your nori/rice square, like this....
Have a celebratory slurp of wine. But don't take too long, because Chef wants you to make another roll. Oh, and now he's onto the art of making nigiri sushi. Strewth. I've barely swallowed my wine.
OK, so nigiri sushi. Should be simple. It's just a piece of fish slapped onto a ball of rice, right?
Ah, apparently not.
In your right hand, pick up and shape your 13g ball of rice. Yes, really. 13g. That's what it says here.
With the tip of your index finger on the same hand (and without dropping the rice), scoop up some wasabi. With your other hand, pick up a piece of fish (which, as you will know, should be 15g). You'll now look something like this:
Then you do some mysterious sushi-origami.
And I quote:
'Whilst gently pinching the rice between the thumb and the middle finger of the right had, make a slight indent in the rice ball using the left thumb... Turn over in hand and lay across fingers on the left hand. Using the right thumb and forefinger, stroke the edges of the fish over the rice and pinch at the sides. Use the left thumb to again stroke the fish end over the rice and gently apply pressure. Turn the nigiri in your hand 180 degrees and repeat the previous step at the other end. Whilst gently gripping the sushi between palm and finger, apply pressure to the top of the fish with the right forefinger. Repeat the stages until you have the desired shape.'
Watching the chef doesn't necessarily help much, either...
... after which, you'll have (along with your incredibly impressive California rolls) something like this:
All we have to do now is to learn how to cut the California rolls. Because, despite the fact that I could happily eat mine in log form, I'm told it would be a bit rude to do so.
For this, you need a sharp knife and a bowl of water. Dip the tip of the knife in the water, invert it (the knife, not the water) and wait until the water has run down the length of the blade and is dripping off the other end. No, I don't know why, either. Best just to do as you're told and ask questions later. Chef has a very sharp knife. You don't.
Then cut the roll.
And, if you behave, do what Chef says, and smile sweetly, you end up with your very own plate of sushi made with your own fair hand:
Which, of course, calls for another glass of wine... And yes, I did eat it all, thank you.
Good. Your turn now.