Turned out nice again!
Some gobies were caught, killed and eaten.
Tenpura always crisps up nicer if you drain a bit of the oil on kitchen paper or if you are like me and not overly nice about things, old newspaper. I try not to apply the batter too thick. This evening we had a last-minute guest, and she exclaimed at how good haze tenpura is (I suspect she has never eaten real Japanese mahaze before) and how the fish fillets rolled up in the hot oil. This is a sign of quality not poor frying technique: it means the fish has never been frozen or overly-chilled. Of course in this case the poor buggers were whizzing about in a bucket until about three hours previously.
Concluded happily and without mishap. It was one of those days when the tide, wind and fish shoals all contrived to combine into perfect conditions for fishing and the whiting literally hooked themselves all day – amazing fishing, for those who could put up with the cold. My Guernsey frock and a hip flask of rum kept the cold out till the winter sun was up and warmed us all up, but I stopped fishing by about 1pm as I had caught over fifty fish and had no intention of taking any more. This time I had brought my own bamboo rod that I made in 2011 but for various reasons, hadn’t used for fishing yet. It is always good to have a good catch with a new rod (bad luck seems to stick to new rods) and although the rod could have been built better, it fished perfectly well and I am very satisifed with its action and weight. After its first trip like all bamboo rods it needs another firing – the first time it is fished the various fibres and joints undergo the actual tensions and strains of fishing and the firing sets everything into place permanently; I will try to do this next weekend.
Anyway, for posterity I recorded the first fish taken on this rod.
Also the deckhand kindly modelled the rod and catch for me also (I caught the fish!).
Whiting can be eaten in a variety of ways but as I was busy in the evening I made simple English-style fishcakes, a family favourite. “Secret” tartar sauce on the side, of course. Whiting are easy to fillet and the dish was made in about 30 minutes.
Back in England fishcakes tend to be deep-fried or cooked under a grill. Mine were shallow-fried in olive oil and served hot with tartar sauce and a salad of tomatoes. The dregs of the bottle-conditioned Belgian beer went into my nuka!
Whiting fishcakes with “secret” tartar sauce.
Leftover whiting were laid out, cured, seasoned with sake and nori flakes and then sun-dried with the next day’s laundry. In Tokyo winter these are done in a few hours, the air being so cold and dry. These are perfectly delicious lightly grilled over a fire.
Thanks as always to Fukagawa Fujimi, sailing from Monzennakacho!
had a good first run.
I’m lacquering a tanago rod for a friend (I had no part in the making of the rod). It has some quirks but the bamboo is fairly sound and the hera-style grip is a novelty. When working on another rod over the New Year holidays my raw urushi ran out so I ordered some more from Joboji. This is the raw unprocessed urushi tapped from Lac trees and is the most hyperallergenic stuff I use; it also solidifies into the most amazingly rich colour and bamboo rods built using this lacquer end up with very strong, dependable joints.
First layer completed. This ground layer needs a few weeks to really fully polymerise and form a solid bond with the bamboo.
Yesterday on Teganuma my fishing buddy Mr. S handed me a half-made bamboo rod with a request to finish it, so I guess this will occupy me for the next few months: