A de’Vine Dinner Friday, Aug 8 2014 

Recently I was able to get a rare Thursday night off and decided to head in to the city for dinner with Mr CA4G. It was a bit of a surprise for him as he had forgotten I would be home early. One of our favourite restaurants is de Vine, on the corner of Market and Clarence Streets. As we hadn’t been for a while we decided to head there for dinner.

There are two parts to de Vine, a wine bar at the front and nestled in the back is the cave like restaurant. The room is very cosy with low lighting, candle lit tables, bare brick walls lined with shelves holding empty bottles of some of the worlds’ premier wines and a glass brick light well which covers an entrance in to other parts of the building.

Interior, de'Vine

Interior, de’Vine

The menu offers a great selection of dishes and we seriously contemplated having an entree but thought dessert or cheese might suit us more.

MrCA4G chose the Market fish of the day which happened to be his favourite, John Dory. This was served with creamy spinach and tomato salsa.

John Dory

John Dory

opted for one of the daily specials, fettucine tossed with confit duck, peas and tomato.

Confit duck pasta

Confit duck pasta

We also ordered a side of fantastic, crisp and chunky homestyle fries.

Our wine for the evening was Vie De Romans Maurus, 100% Merlot. Merlot keeps being a surprise for us. We generally don’t like the Australian Merlots but French and Italian Merlots we find enjoyable.

Vie de Romans, Maurus

Vie de Romans, Maurus

We decided we were more in the mood for cheese than dessert, we decided to order the medium sized selection of four cheeses, served with crackers, bread, grapes  and pear.

Cheese plate

Cheese plate

It was a great pleasure to dine again at a restaurant we really enjoy going to and has a wine list that has a great range of interesting and tasty wines to choose from. Thankfully they also have a good selection by the glass.

A sample of the wine list

A sample of the wine list

We are looking forward to the next time we get to visit.

Quince, Pear and Hazelnut Crumble Thursday, May 29 2014 

The cooler weather is upon us and I got to have play at work. Quince is only available in the cooler months so I thought I would try a using it in a crumble. My previous encounters with quince has mainly been quince paste with cheese. Maybe next year I will have a go at making some as I have a recipe in either Maggie Beer’s cookbooks or Stephanie Alexander’s book.

I have never cooked quince before so after a bit of research I found bizzylizzysgoodthings.com with a recipe for slow cooked quinces.

I also had an inkling to make some salted caramel icecream to go with the crumbles, so a bit more research and I found a recipe on David Lebovitz’ website, davidlebovitz.com.

Time to get cooking. The quince was easy and took about three hours to cook. Next time I think I would use a little more water as the syrup became very thick, but I got the fruit to a beautiful deep red colour.

Quince ready to cook

Quince ready to cook

 

Cooked Quince

Cooked Quince

I poached the pears simply in a little sugar syrup until cooked but still firm. The pears were Williams which were firm and great for cooking. I then diced the pears and quince, mixed them together, divided the mix in to ramekins with some syrup. I added the pear liquid to the thick quince syrup and this loosened it up nicely.

In our family our crumble topping always has rolled oats. I cream butter and brown sugar together, mix in some flour and then the rolled oats. For this crumble topping I also lightly toasted some hazelnuts, removed the skin and broke them up a little. I then added the nuts to the crumble mix and sprinkled the mixture over the fruit.

The crumble topping is

100g Unsalted butter

100g Brown sugar

80g plain flour

80g rolled oats (normal rolled oats not quick, or cut)

30g hazelnuts (or to taste)

Quince and pear crumbles ready for the oven.

Quince and pear crumbles ready for the oven.

To reheat them I preheated a fan forced oven to 180C and cooked them for about 20 minutes until they were hot.

For the icecream I just followed the recipe on David Lebovitz’s site.

The ice cream and the crumble together were a taste sensation!!

Looks like I will be preserving some quince this week ahead of using them for an upcoming wine dinner in September. Our GM loved the crumble and the salted caramel ice cream so much that she really wanted to use it for one of the wine dinners. The next wine dinner was already sorted so we get to do the crumble on the one after.

Thanks for dropping by!!

Harrods and Fortnum and Mason Friday, May 9 2014 

During our trip to London last year we had a walk  to Knightsbridge for lunch. As we were early we had time for a quick visit to Harrods. Talk about busy. Obviously it is now a huge tourist destination and not just a department store, so there were lots of tourists mixed in with the locals.

As it was so busy we only did the ground floor which also included the food hall. I remember watching the mini series A Woman Of Substance waaaaay back in the 1980’s and Harrods was used for Harte’s. So I finally got to see the real thing.

I have to say the food halls are amazing. So many original architectural details are retained. Each hall has a theme and tiles, painting and decor all represent what is being sold in the area of the hall.

Confectionary

Confectionary

Seafood area with Steakhouse in the back

Seafood area with Steakhouse in the back

Oyster and crustacean display

Oyster and crustacean display

Ceiling of the Game area

Ceiling of the Game area

Fruit and vegetable area

Fruit and vegetable area

Charcuterie

Charcuterie

Fromagerie

Fromagerie

Of course I saved the best till last. The Bakery OMG I think there were 16 types of donuts, about the same of croissant variations and just a mind boggling selection of breads. But we didn’t try as it was just before lunch and we didn’t want to ruin our appetites.

Bakery

Bakery

Bakery

Bakery

Of course we also stopped in to the wine department. WOW such an amazing selection of wines from all corners of the world. I was particularly interested in identifying wines from Burgundy that I had heard of, and checking out what Bourdeaux wines they had. Sadly no photos of the wines, but if you are ever in London make sure you head to Harrods.

Wandering around Piccadilly late one afternoon, we decided to have an early dinner and picked The Fountain Restaurant, in Fortnum and Mason. With a 300 year history, Fortnum and Mason have been supplying Londoners (and visitors) with a high quality selection of fresh produce, prepared food items and luxury goods of all descriptions.

Menu cover

Menu cover

Mr CA4G had lunch here way back in 2007 when on a business trip so we had to go so I could experience it. Wonderful attentive service, beautiful elegant room with lots of soothing pastel colours, crystal and mirrors. Furnishings were in medium woods with chairs in cream leather.

The Fountain dining room

The Fountain dining room

Mr. CA4G had beer battered fish and chips , which from memory was haddock. It was huge, didn’t even fit on the plate it was so long. The chips came ina Silver plated tumbler, mushy peas, tartare sauce and muslin wrapped lemon were on the plate.

Beer battered fish and chips

Beer battered fish and chips

I had a roasted chicken breast with bread sauce. Now it was fancy chicken breast as the growing location was specified on the menu, but silly me forgot to note it down. it was however very delicious and moist, and I enjoyed my first try of bread sauce.

Chicken breast with bread sauce

Chicken breast with bread sauce

Next time we visit London we will definitely head back to both Harrods and Fortnum and Mason for a better look around.

Thanks for dropping by!!

Easter Cake Friday, May 2 2014 

A bit of family tradition I have missed over the years was the Easter Cake. Each year Mum would make a cake and decorate it with chocolate eggs and little fluffy chickens. While shopping before Easter I stumbled upon the fluffy chickens and decided to bake a cake. I was being a bit lazy so bought a cake mix, Devils Food Cake from Duncan Hines. Al lthe measurement were in Imperial so I had to do a little conversion before starting the cake. I was happy with the result of the cake.

I also made a ganache to ice it with Lindt 70% dark chocolate and thick cream( the type you dollop and is 45%fat). So rich and practically set just sitting on the bench.

photo (3)

Along with the fluffy chooks, I also finished it with Kinder bunnies, Lindt bunnies and caramello eggs(too sweet). As there was only myself and Mr. CA4G at home, I took the rest of the cake in to work and shared it around. Mr CA4G’s Easter eggs are still uneaten, I think the amount of chocolate in his two slices of cake was sufficient for 3 months.

Do you have a family Easter tradition?

Thanks for dropping by!

Dinner at Home Friday, May 2 2014 

I was feeling like cooking something a little more special for dinner on a recent day off so decided to do a two course dinner for Mr. CA4G and myself.

Had a cauliflower in the fridge so I knew I wanted to do a cauliflower souffle with a blue cheese sauce. That sorted out the entree.

Cauliflower souffle with roquefort sauce

Cauliflower souffle with roquefort sauce

I also wanted to tweak the pistachio crust for our upcoming wine dinner at work, so decided to crust a pork fillet with it, along with Hasselback potatoes and asparagus wrapped in Jamon Serrano. Just a quick sauce of reduced stock with a French Merlot that happened to be open.

Pork with pistachio crust, hasselback poatoes and asparagus wrapped in Jamon

Pork with pistachio crust, hasselback poatoes and asparagus wrapped in Jamon

The asparagus wrapped in jamon is nice and easy to do and makes a fancy accompaniment to a meal. simply trim your asparagus, lightly cook and then refresh in iced water. Remove once chilled and the dry on paper towel. Lay your slice of jamon (or proscuitto) out fold in half along the length, place asparagus at one end and roll tightly. Place on lightly greased oven tray and bake until jamon crisps up and asparagus is hot. My rolls had 6 spears in them.

Asparagus wrapped in jamon.

Asparagus wrapped in jamon.

Sometimes a little treat of a two course meal at home is called for and this hit the spot.

Thanksfor droping by!

Sabores de Espana/Flavours of Spain Wine Dinner Friday, Mar 28 2014 

Our first wine dinner for the year was another international one.This time a trip to Spain. This took a bit of research as my prior knowledge of Spanish food was quite limited. Spanish food, it turns out is a real mix of things. The Moors introduced a lot of food styles and ingredients and when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand staked Christopher Columbus’s expedition to the Americas, a whole new chapter was opened in the book of food. So many food products made their way across the Atlantic to Europe over the ensuing centuries. Tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, vanilla, chillies(which then went further east to Asia), sweet potatoes, pineapples, passionfruit and so much more. Another big shift was the enforcment of Christianity on the nation. Thankfully a lot of the Jewish and Moorish cuisines were easily adaptable to pork.

It was quite difficult to decide what to include in the menu as there was so much delicious food to choose from. We ended up doing a selection of four canapes that are also tapas items and for an entree we did a selection of four tapas items that really needed cutlery with them.

Our evening started as usual with canapes which were served with the classic Spanish party drink, Sangria. Our canapes were a shot of gazpacho, albondigas de bacalao(codballs), grilled chorizo and pinchos(little croutons with an asparagus and almond topping).

The tapas plate consisted of gambas al ajillo(garlic prawns spiced with chilli), croquetas de anguila (smoked eel croquette with a tomato relish), tartalitas de pimiento(a tartlet of roasted capsicum topped with jamon) and Tortilla Espagnole(Spanish omelette) . For this course we had a Bodegas La Cana Albarinho 2012 from Rias Baixas in the north west of Spain.

Garlic prawns, Capsicum tarlet with jamon, eel croqutte, Spanish omelette

Garlic prawns, Capsicum tarlet with jamon, eel croquette, Spanish omelette

Our main was a tender slow cooked lamb rump that had been marinated in garlic, paprika, smoky paprika, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of sherry vinegar, thyme and rosemary. This was served along side escalivada(grilled mixed vegetables) and the spicy patatas brava. We finished this with a Pedro Ximenez jus. The wine for this was a delicious from Torres Ibericos Rioja 2010 from Rioja in the north of Spain .

Slow roasted lamb rump, escalivada, patatas brava, Pedro Ximenez jus

Slow roasted lamb rump, escalivada, patatas brava, Pedro Ximenez jus

Of course we always have a mystery wine game which this time was a Bodegas Castano Molino Loco Monastrell 2012 from the Yecla region, in the south east of Spain.

Dessert was Crema Catalana and churros with chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was infused with vanilla, chilli and orange.Just a little chilli to give a little heat but not too much. This was served with a Valdespino Yellow Label Pedro Ximenez from Jerez in the south west of Spain.

Crema Catalana, churros with chocolate

Crema Catalana, churros with chocolate

This event was held in the auditorium as we had 120 guests. Entertainment was also put on for the night, flamenco dancers and a guitarist. Quite an experience to talk with the big speakers behind you.

Another great evening, and I had the best compliment as a guest who  is of Spanish heritage thought an outside chef had come in for the night. But no just the team and I.

Thanks for dropping by.

A Taste of France Wine Dinner Thursday, Mar 27 2014 

Our final wine dinner for 2013 was also our first international  one. Well, if you don’t count New Zealand as international that is.

Our first job was to narrow down a selection of wines for the evening. We managed to cover five French regions, Bordeaux, Rhone, Provence, Loire and Burgundy.

To get the night started the first drink of the night was a Louis Bouillot cremant de Bourgogne, Perle d’ivoire blanc de blanc, from Burgundy.

Pre dinner drinks area

Pre dinner drinks area

Dining table set and ready to go

Dining table set and ready to go

Canapes consisted of garlic snails, chilled vichyssoise soup and gougeres(cheese choux puffs).

 

Garlic snails

Garlic snails

Vichy ssoise

Vichyssoise

Gougeres

Gougeres

Entree was a shared plate of pressed chicken and mushroom terrine, Duck liver pate, and salmon rillettes served with slices of batard loaf, pickled grapes and pickled cherries. The pickled cherries went really well with the pate and terrine and the pickled grapes were a great match with the rillette. The entree was served with a rose wine, Domain de Triennes 2012, from Provence.

Chicken and mushroom terrine, duck liver pate, salmon rillette (in glass)

Chicken and mushroom terrine, duck liver pate, salmon rillette (in glass)

Main was a decontructed beouf Bourguignon. We slow roasted beef eye fillet at 80C to medium rare. We cooked the sauce again at 70C  which left us with a fabulously rich sauce. This was served with a garlic mash, chunks of carrot and some fresh peas. The wine here was a great Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Rouge Reserve 2012, from the Rhone Valley.

Our slightly deconstructed Beouf Bourguignon

Our slightly deconstructed Beouf Bourguignon

Our mystery wine for the evenin was a Marc Bredif Vouvray 2011, from the Loire region. Usually we have a red for the mystery wine but this time we changed it up a bit and gave our diners something a little different.

Dessert was also a mixed plate of delicious French fare. We baked and decorated Buche De Noel, Raspberry and Champagne macarons, Madeleines and petite coffee brulee tarts. A lot of work but well worth it. I was very happy with my first ever Buche De Noel as I have been wanting to make one since Mum bought the Women’s Weekly French cookbook back in the 1980’s. On the night, ours was filled with a chocolate and raspberry butter cream. I also managed to get some traditional sugar mushrooms to decorate the cake with. Dessert was Chateau du Pavillon 2008, which was a nice little Sauternes from Bordeaux.

Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel, Coffee Brulee Tart, madeleines, Macarons

Buche de Noel, Coffee Brulee Tart, madeleines, Macarons

In all a lively night as we had some entertainment this time, a singer and cancan dancers entertained our diners.

Thanks for dropping by!!

Black by Ezard, The Star, Sydney Wednesday, Mar 26 2014 

 

This year I had a slightly early birthday lunch combined with our 20 years together lunch. We were at The Star shopping concourse and had thought of going to Balla Osteria by Stefano Manfredi, alas it was closed. Surprisingly Black by Ezard was open. Surprisingly, because we didn’t think they were open on Sundays.

For Sunday lunch Black By Ezard offers a special, 3 course champagne lunch for $125 per person, which  sounded good to us. Champagne on offer was one of our favourites, Moet& Chandon, so that settled where we were going to eat.

View from the restaurant

View from the restaurant

Pushing through the large front door we entered a very luxurious room. Dark woods, stone flooring, water views, shiny modern chrome lighting, beige leather and beautiful screen panels were a pleasing sight. We were seated in the main area, back from the window but still able to enjoy the view of the bay and brilliant blue sky.

Black By Ezard Menu

Black By Ezard Menu

The concise menu for lunch had a great range of options to choose from along with a good selection of sides. But first, a mini house made brioche loaf was bought to the table.

Brioche loaf

Brioche loaf

Mr CA4G went for one of his favourite dishes, Steak tartare with heirloom beets, spiced herb mayonnaise, mustard ice cream and puffed wild rice. The beets were done in several ways, one of which was a deep purple gel covering the tatare. All together an interesting and delicious dish.

Beef tartare, heirloom beetroots

Beef tartare, heirloom beetroots

I went for a slow cooked, crispy pork hock, apple and pear slaw with chilli caramel. A moist yet crispy piece of deboned hock was topped with the slaw, radish slices and drizzled with the chilli caramel. Great combination of flavours and textures.

Slow cooked, crispy pork hock, apple andpear slaw

Slow cooked, crispy pork hock, apple andpear slaw

Mr. CA4G loves a good steak and particularly a fillet. At Black By Ezard the 30 day, grass fed angus 200g fillet was served with a roasted cauliflower and pearl onion salad and gremolata. A selection of sauces was also bought to the table for Rene to choose from, of which he selected béarnaise sauce and Café de Paris butter. Of course with steaks you need some chips, in this case with garlic, parmesan and rosemary salt.

Angus fillet, roasted cauliflower and pearl onions

Angus fillet, roasted cauliflower and pearl onions

I opted for duck breast which had a salt and pepper crust and was served with a peach and rocket salad and tamarind honey dressing. The dressing had a nice sweet sour touch and the salad was great with the sweetness of the peach and the pepperiness of the rocket going well together.

Salt and pepper crusted duck breast, peachand rocket salad

Salt and pepper crusted duck breast, peachand rocket salad

Desserts of course were a high light. We saw another table with the chocolate dessert, so one of us had to have it. I had Strawberry shortcake, sauternes mascarpone, yoghurt lime sorbet and strawberry jelly. Nice and summery and not too heavy.

Strawberry shortcake, sauternes mascarpone, yoghurt lime sorbet

Strawberry shortcake, sauternes mascarpone, yoghurt lime sorbet

Mr. CA4G was the one who ordered  the decadent chocolate sphere (reminiscent of our chocolate dessert at Gordon Ramsey @ Claridges), topped with edible gold leaf. Warm ganache was poured over the top of the sphere which melted to reveal the fresh mint ice cream, raspberry mousse and chocolate cookie. Nothing like a bit of performance with food.

Chocolate sphere filled with mint icecream, raspberry mousse

Chocolate sphere filled with mint icecream, raspberry mousse

Pouring the ganache

Pouring the ganache

Going, going...

Going, going…

The revelation

The revelation

Black by Ezard surpassed our expectations and we will definitely be heading back again. Hopefully our next visit will also be on a spectacularly sunny day.

Christmas Pudding Friday, Jan 3 2014 

For the first time in 10 or so years I decided to make our Christmas Pudding to take to Mr. CA4G’s sisters place for Christmas Lunch.

Growing up Mum and Nan made our Christmas pudding and the highlight for us children was to make our wishes when we got to have a stir. It was the only time we were allowed to do anything to the pudding. I can remember after they were boiled Nan and Mum would have puddings dangling from the beams of the verandah for at least 2 months before Christmas. Sounds like a lot of pudding with 2 people making them, but Nan used to send a couple to my Aunts in Victoria and my uncle in Sydney. I think one might also have gone international to Nan’s friend in New Zealand. Customs must have had a chuckle at that package. So by the time they were sent off Nan was left with one and Mum had 3 of which one would go in the freezer to have in winter.

There were two recipes that Mum and Nan used on a regular basis. The prize winning Singleton Show Pudding and Margaret Daggs Pudding. Last year I attempted Margaret Daggs recipe. I learnt that I should have gone with the full recipe and not cut it down, cut my calico to a smaller size(90 x 90cm is a bit too big), and get some decent twine.

The best part of cooking Christmas pudding is the smell in the kitchen while it boils away for 4 hours. Unfortunately I cooked mine at work this time and an industrial exhaust fan just doesn’t allow the aromas to linger too long. Oh well at least I was able to use the huge pots we have at work, otherwise I would have been in trouble at home as my pot isn’t quite big enough for the size puddings I had.

On to the recipe. You will need to start this a week or two ahead of time to get the fruit well macerated in the alcohol. If you have sixpences and threepences give them a boil before adding to the pudding. DO NOT USE DECIMAL CURRENCY!!

Margaret Daggs Christmas Pudding

Mixed fruit 1.875 Kg ( I  buy a large bag of mixed fruit and then add glace cherries, figs, dates, blackcurrants, cranberries etc to make it up to the weight required)

Alcohol(rum, brandy, vodka) 750ml(or more if you like)

Breadcrumbs 500g

Plain flour 125g

Butter, softened 250g

Brown sugar 250g

Eggs 6 (59g eggs)

Baking powder 1/4 teaspoon

Golden Syrup 1 Tablespoon

Mixed spice 1/2 teaspoon

Cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon

Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon

Salt pinch

Vanilla 1 teaspoon

Place your fruit in to a container with lid and then pour the alcohol over it. Cover and leave for 1 to 2 weeks.

Dampen your pudding cloth and then dust liberally with flour. Depending how big you want your pudding you can get two big ones or three slightly smaller ones.

Put a water on to boil in large pot/s.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each.

Add golden syrup, and spices, stir to combine.

Sift flour and baking powder into a seperate bowl.

Alternatively stir in the breadcrumbs, flour and fruit until all added. When mixed gather the family members around to have  three stirs and make a wish(cooking with love added).

Mixing the pudding, 3 stirs then make a wish.

Mixing the pudding, 3 stirs then make a wish.

Place cloths over bowls and divide the mixture evenly between them. Put your sixpences and threepences in now if using them.

Dampen the cloth and flour it

Dampen the cloth and flour it

Laying the cloth over a bowl to give shape to the mix

Laying the cloth over a bowl to give shape to the mix

Pull the corners up, and then at the top of the pudding mix bring the fabric together and tie tightly with twine. We tie several times and go up the cloth a bit to keep it all together.

Tied up, good enough for Mr Grey?

Tied up, good enough for Mr Grey?

Too much cloth, knotting away.

Too much cloth, knotting away.

Place in to boiling water and then boil away for four to 5 hours, topping up the boiling water as needed.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble,oh look puddings

Bubble bubble toil and trouble, oh look puddings

When the time has come, lift the puddings from the water in to a colander and sit for several minutes. Using butchers hooks or similar hang the pudding to dry. A week is good but longer is ok as it will keep.

The puddings were hung by the exhaust hood with care.....

The puddings were hung by the exhaust hood with care…..

To reheat on Christmas Day, carefully remove the cloth and wrap in foil, place in 170C oven until hot. You can also add your sterilized coins after reheating by slipping one in to the slices of pudding.

For a bit of drama you can warm some brandy and pour it over the pudding and set it alight. Makes for a nice wow moment.

Our pudding

Our pudding

The pudding also freezes well.

Our family doesn’t use brandy custard on our pudding. We make rum sauce. Which is just milk, sugar, cornflour, vanilla, rum. You boil your milk with the sugar and vanilla add the rum and thicken with cornflour. Easy and you don’t have to worry about the eggs over cooking and becoming brandy scrambled eggs.

I hope your Christmas feast was a wonderful one and you kept family traditions alive!

Tokyo Coffee Culture Friday, Dec 27 2013 

Generally you think of Japan as being a big tea drinking country, but on our first trip to Japan in 2008 we were quite surprised at the sophistication of the Japanese coffee culture. Prior to our trip we had only been exposed to the traditional coffees here in Australia, drip, cappuccinos, espresso, flat white, flat black, bad instant etc. Then along came the Nespresso style pod machines. So, seeing some new ways of brewing coffee was an eye opener.

When we have a holiday in Tokyo, we have a little tradition of visiting three of our favourite cafes, one located behind Ginza Alley in Ginza (brick building very European looking), Ko’hikan in Asakusa and Miyama in Nakano

Our very first coffee in Tokyo in 2008 was in Ginza, on a very cold and damp spring afternoon. We stumbled upon a very European looking coffee shop (wooden door and window surrounds, exposed brick, brass revolving door, elegant frosted windows, baby grand piano, you get the picture?). A menu was presented to us in English with pictures so we decided on a cointreau coffee (it was COLD, we needed the warmth from the cointreau). The waitress bought our order along with a rich slice of chocolate cake.

Cooffee and cake in Ginza

Coffee and cake in Ginza

The cups and saucers were a very elegant surprise and of course I had to peak and see who they were made by, naturally Noritake. Just so you know I am slightly (ok, extremely) partial to Noritake crockery, having been bought up with my Nan’s set that came out every special occasion.

Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop

Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop

Our next visit we ordered milk coffees. Wow talk about a bit of theatre for service. Our cups came out first, then, the waitress bought over two silver coffee pots. We thought there was one for each of us, but one had coffee and the other was hot milk. Starting low to the cups, the waitress poured equal quantities of milk and coffee, raising the pot as she did so which created a little froth on top. Of course we needed a little sweet thing to go with our coffee, a light and fluffy cheesecake.

Coffee with cheesecake Ginza

Coffee with cheesecake Ginza

Mr CA4G snuck in a visit by himself when he went for a solo visit between jobs in 2010 and had a black coffee with milk and his favourite dessert Mont Blanc.

Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza

Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza

In Asakusa we discovered Ko’hikan while walking over to Kappabashi Dori from Senso-Ji Temple. It was the first place we ever tried Syphon filter coffee. The first time we visited the water for the coffee was heated using a methylated spirit flame and this year when we went we discovered they no longer use a flame but a really high heat lamp. The coffee is placed in the upper portion of the syphon, the water is heated in the bottom globe section until it goes up the central tube into the upper section, the heat is removed and the coffee brews. As it cools the brewed coffee flows back down the tube in to the lower half of the unit and is then poured into cups and served with little glass jugs of milk. Very scientific looking.

Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

We go to Nakano for some very specific shops for Mr CA4G, but we find we need a coffee for some fortitude. Miyama is located in the shopping centre and what caught our eye on our first visit was the cold water filter system that they use ( another very scientific looking contraption). Water slowly drips through the ground beans into a carafe underneath. The coffee is then warmed as needed. This form of filtering provides a smoother coffee without the bitterness that is often present in hot brewed coffee.

Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano

Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano

Coffee, Miyama, Nakano

Coffee, Miyama, Nakano

It is great to be amongst the locals, I can’t recall seeing any foreigners when we have been. This year we also had lunch which comes as a set (sandwich with coffee). Mr. CA4G had a burger and I had a sandwich. Very tasty and that fluffy white bread they make in Japan is so light.

And of course on Kappabashi Dori amongst all the kitchenware shops is a specialist coffee shop along with a several specialist roasters and providores of coffee beans/ground coffee. They seem to be really in to their single origins and fair trade coffees in Japan.

Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa

Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa

Cold filters

Cold filters

Interior Union Coffee supplies

Interior Union Coffee supplies

Syphon filters

Syphon filters

Cold filter close up

Cold filter close up

Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori

Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori

I think the only time we have had a cappuccino or latte in Tokyo was when we have breakfast in the Park Hyatt, The Conrad, or at our favourite little cafe/bakery Vie de France. When we stay at the Park Hotel Shiodome we love the over cup drip filter they have in the rooms, from Key Coffee.

Key Coffee,

Key Coffee,

Drip On by Key Coffee

Drip On by Key Coffee

Have you had a great coffee somewhere other than here in Australia? I would love to here about it!

 

 

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