Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Earlier this month, we decided that we'd indulge our creative culinary skills and try our hand at sushi. Sushi chefs only have to study for three years on how to create perfectly sticky sushi rice, so it can't be that hard, right?

But we didn't want all of our blog readers to miss out, so we documented the experience with our little camera!

First things first. There's a lot of prep work for sushi. Since I don't have such a great track record with knives, Matt opted for veggie prep. I worked on the rice.

In order for your rice to come out at the proper consistency, you have to wash it until the water drains off clear. Then it sits for an hour like that. Here's a picture of the freshly rinsed sushi rice.

Capetonians, we bought sushi rice from Woolworths...but there's a Chinese supermarket at N1 City where you can get it A LOT cheaper (thanks to the advice of the Morris Family). Tip #1: But you may want to opt for the more expensive Woolies on your first go around with sushi because the cooking directions on the back of the bag make for some perfect sushi rice!

Below, you'll see the sushi creation space I put together for us. The rice, the goodies for inside, the seaweed, sushi mats, and a bowl of water for dipping the fingers. Sushi rice is STICKY!

From here, it's pretty simple. Spoon out some rice, press it all over the seaweed with wet fingers (leaving a few centimeters at the top of the seaweed empty), make a small indentation at the bottom, and fill the inside with whatever you'd like!

Ok, now for the apex of the experience...rolling the sushi! Wet the strip at the top of the seaweed with your finger, and then, SLOWLY, roll up your sushi roll. As you can see, once it's rolled, you squeeze it for a few seconds in the sushi matt, as my husband demonstrates so wonderfully!

And there you go! Sushi roll! Now you just cut it with a nice sharp knife. Tip #2: Make sure to have a damp cloth to wipe the knife between each cut. It makes it easier!

Finally, you eat!

Review of experience:
After our first experience, Matt and I have made a few tweaks that we have since tried and find them to be quite helpful!

1) Less is more with the rice. Seriously, you don't need to pile the rice really high on the seaweed. The overall taste was much better of the sushi when we put a thinner layer of rice.

2) Woolworth's wasabi paste is a no go. Go to the Chinese supermarket, pick up some Wasabi powder and make your own. Firstly, it's cheaper, and secondly, Woolworth's wasabi paste is NOT HOT. BOOO!!!

3) Ginger and sesame seeds are not just compliments, but necessities. The first time we thought they weren't necessary; we'd just use soy and wasabi. But the sesame seeds and ginger make it so much better! Buy the pickled ginger (we got ours from Woolworths), toast some sesame seeds on a frying pan, and it will make the sushi experience go from good to great!

Oh! And one more thing! Did you make a few too many rolls? Tip #3: Wrap the uncut rolls in saran wrap and put them in the fridge. You can eat them the next day and they still taste great!

Anybody else tried to make their own sushi? Any advice? Feel free to comment!

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Adventures!

With a little help from my tech savvy husband, I am now going to upload some beautiful pictures that I've amassed over the past month! For those of you who are Americans reading this blog, maybe it will entice you to take a journey over the Atlantic!

A couple of weeks ago, Matt and I went to a summer concert at Kirstenbosch. Our friends, Andrew and Hannah, are adventure seekers, too, and they always have cool ideas for fun-filled days.

What we didn't know was at the concert they would be having a display of snakes that we were able to hold! This is the Burmese Python that Matt and I had the opportunity hold.

I remember learning in science class that reptiles are not slimy, but in fact quite cool to the touch. This big guy felt like one big bulging bicep! He was not slimy, but he was strong! The scary thing is that the snake gets cold so he begins to wrap himself around your legs and torso to keep warm. I didn't feel like he was going to constrict me, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have the fear flash through my mind a couple of times as I was holding him!

The concert was fun, but the snake holding was quite an adventure for me!

After that trip, a team of North Point staff came over and visited us! Matt and I had a great time taking two of the guys, Donny and Shef, all around Cape Town.

Adventure #2 Cape Point
Obviously, we took Donny and Shef to Cape Point, because it's one of those places that you've gotta see if you come!

That day, the baboons seemed to be out in full force!

This guy is just chillin' out on a sign, which I thought was pretty cool. As you can tell from the picture, I'm still in my car. For those of you who aren't familiar with baboons, they're cool to look at from the safety of your vehicle, but you don't want to try and make friends with them. They have anger issues.

The babies, of course, are adorable, so I couldn't help but snap this picture! But as cute as the babies are, there are some things about baboons that aren't so cute...check out the next picture.

Now you may not be able to see it very well right now, but check out the big guy, far left in the picture. His butt looks a little strange, doesn't it? That's because some baboons have the unfortunate lot of having what I'd like to call "an infected butt." It's really disgusting, and there's always at least one in every pack who has a very very nasty looking behind. The picture doesn't do justice to the nastiness of what's going on back there. Trust me.

Shef has an awesome blog that you can check out here. He is the Director of Middle School at all of North Point's campuses. Unlike in America, South Africa doesn't have a middle school, so even though our ministry here is technically "high school", we have kids that are middle-school-aged that attend our high school program, InsideOut.

Kendra, the Director of Children's Ministries at North Point spent some time with us as well! She's really an awesome woman and Matt and I learned tons from her! She just posted an awesome blog about her experiences in Cape Town that you can read here.

Well, I'm all blogged out. All of this uploading of photos and HTML coding (thanks to my new knowledge I gleaned from Morgan and Gary) is wiping me out! Stay tuned for more adventures and, hopefully, more pictures!