Thursday, 31 December 2009

Sushi making - a great way to spend time with your loved ones

It always comes as a surprise to people that I don't like Thai food, as I lived in Thailand for ten years it must seem so, I suppose. I do like Japanese food though - a lot! I had incentive discount cards for 4 or 5 Japanese restaurant chains in Thailand. My favourite was Sukishi, a hybrid Japanese/Korean affair; very tasty Korean barbecue and excellent sushi at reasonable cost. The cost of sushi in the UK however, is unbelievable to the point of prohibitive for a lowly-paid English teacher.
There had to be an answer that would assuage my longing for unagi (smoked eel) and ebi (prawn) on delicious vinagared rice with a garnish of nori (seaweed). As so many other things in life the answer is in your own hands. Do it yourself, hmm, DIY Sushi? I'd heard that sushi chefs take years to become fully trained and the best Japanese chefs command huge salaries. Well, I may have a long way to go before being hired by a Tokyo sushi house, but I'm pleased with my efforts so far. The best thing about DIY sushi though is the fun you can have making it with your family.
We kitted ourselves out from Tesco, Sainsbury's and added a few authentic plates and sets of chopsticks from Thailand and Japan. We managed to get Japanese curry, rice, flavouring, ginger, seaweed, wasabi and miso soup from the supermarkets and supplemented a Thai sushi rolling mat with an imported Japanese one from the same source. All set to go, but how to turn all these high quality ingredients into a reasonable copy of the genuine article? I wanted curry and ebi tempura with a selection of sushi and sashimi and, of course, wasabi. Not as strange as it sounds, just think lightly smoked salmon with horseradish.
Here are the results:-

Sunday, 6 December 2009

IATEFL conference in Harrogate April 2010

Some weeks ago I made a list of things I'd like to achieve in what is left of my life. At number 3 on that list was the wish to present at an international English language teaching conference. Such a conference will take place at Harrogate, about 20 miles from York, in April next year. The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) annual conference. I was bold enough to send in a proposal during September, and it has just been accepted as a poster presentation. The subject is the case for teaching only a basic version of English - English Lite if you will. The intention being that students could learn to communicate quicker and have no need for such complications as idioms or question tags. I'll post the abstract here later this week.
I presented an earlier version of my work at ThaiTESOL in Khon Kaen, Thailand in 2005 and again at Thammasat University in Bangkok later that year. People either agreed with or dismissed the ideas - no fence sitters.
I'm nervous already, IATEFL is the big one - what have I done?