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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saint Valentine's Day Heart Sushi and Onigiri, and a Giveaway







Where is my Valentine?
He is on a plane to Japan!
But we celebrated yesterday, and
will celebrate again when he is back.
In the meantime I am making Valentine
sushi and onigiri, for the kids.







But before the recipe here is my February Giveaway!



Japanese food is my favourite, along with Italian food, of course, and since I am celebrating a Japanese Valentine (I even gave chocolates to my husband, in Japan women give chocolates to the boys for S. Valentine, not the other way round!), I have a little Japanese giveaway for my followers: if you like Japanese food you can use these plum blossom paper napkins, bamboo mini forks and cocktail sticks for your next Japanese dinner!

To enter just become a follower of this blog (if you aren't already, but please make sure that your avatar is on the list of followers of this blog, Alessandra Zecchini, just under the title bar) and leave a comment to this post. I will post the prize to the winner, no frontiers! You have one week from today!



Next, just a few words about the photos. Yesterday I had a lovely lunch with some fellow New Zealand blogger (well, actually one is Indonesian, one English, one Scottish and, with me Italian, I can really say that the New Zealand food blogging scene is quite ... mixed!), and the host, Arfi from HomeMadeS, showed me a new iPhone application to take photos. So this is my first experiment, I am glad for it, since my husband had to take our camera with him to Japan!

The other bloggers present were Mairi, from Toast, and Allison, for Pease Pudding, it was a lovely afternoon, and I am happy that I finally met in person some of the Auckland bloggers!
Are there any more??? Please come forward, I would love to meet you!


And now to the recipe(s). I know that the contest says that I should publish only one recipe, but this is basically the same recipe with two different variations: the first is a sushi roll, and the second just a variation of it, especially for those readers who may not have nori, sushi vinegar of Japanese rice at home. They both look and taste Japanese. Serve with soy sauce.





Heart Sushi for Saint Valentine



I find cooking rice for sushi challenging: you need to buy proper sushi rice and then wash it several times in cold water, until the water runs clear. And then cook it by absorption. The doses are about 1 and 3/4 (three quarters) cups of sushi rice for 2 cups of water, but that depends on the type of pot. You need a pot with a good lid, or you will loose too much steam. I kind of regulate myself by ear now, since I know my pots and pans. Bring the pot to boiling point, lower the heat and simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Once the rice is ready pour it into a bowl and stir it with a wooden spatula, cooling it with a fan if you can. I then add some ready made sushi vinegar, about 2 tablespoons, but this is my personal taste. If I don't have sushi vinegar use 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, a little sugar and a little salt (to taste, and I don't like to use too much sugar or salt myself!).




To fill this sushi (which is Vegan) I used a combinations of thin carrot sticks and takuan (Japanese pickled daikon) sticks, but you can use what you like!
Place a sheet of nori seaweed on a sushi mat, add the rice and the filling, roll and, once you have your sushi roll, pinch the edges to shape it like an heart (this takes time!!!). The most difficult part is to cut the sushi, as you may loose the heart shape, so gently re-touch your sushi pieces with your fingers.



Heart Onigiri for Saint Valentine






If you don't have sushi rice, nori seaweed or sushi vinegar, or a sushi mat to roll your sushi, you can still try this method:
Cook some short grain (not long grain, basmati or Thai) rice by absorption and then start working it when it is still warm. Wet your hands with water, and rub them with just a little salt, then press some rice into a heart shaped cookie cutter. Add something colourful in the centre, I added a umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum), and then gently press the heart out of the mould into a serving plate.

This version is very easy and effective!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


With this recipe I take part in the contest HART-to-HART on Cuocicucidici.


26 comments:

  1. oh good! you start using Camera+, Alessandra. I am so impressed :)) I haven't made sushi for such a long time. I'll put it on my to-do list for next week. Do it vegan way. Yes!

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  2. I love sushi, after seeing this heart sushi and onigiri I am in.

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  3. il riso da sushi ce l'ho le spiegazioni le ho capite il dolce al pistacchio (prrrrrrrrrrrr) lo porto io e finalmente partecipo al tuo giveaway.
    adesso però tocca iscriversi al followers che non so come si usa.
    vado.

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  4. Bhe cara, vedo che ci sei riuscita, buona fortuna!!!

    vado a vedere se hai scritto di piu' sul 'dolce al pistacchio' hehehe!

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  5. Ciao Alessandra! Sono carinissimi quei cuoricini, ed è un'idea di semplice realizzazione.
    Mi sono iscritta e partecipo volentieri!
    Un bacione :-)

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  6. It was great meeting you this weekend and I hope to catch up with you again soon! I'm impressed you have started using your iphone app to take pics already! These meeting are really goos for us, maybe Arfi can give us more tips on her other photography too next time.

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  7. Ma guarda che shushi carini!!! Così cuoriciosi sono perfetti per san valentino!Bravissima mia cara!

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  8. Il giudice del contest che e' in me cerchera' di mettere da parte il suo immenso amore per il cibo giapponese :-)

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  9. Love the heart sushi.A nice idea for V day

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  10. che bell'idea, che carini!!
    bacioni

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  11. ohhh bene, bello che tu abbia passato del tempo in compagnia con altri blogger......io non sono una gran fan dei sushi (colpa dell'alga nori) ma tu sei stata brava a pensarli in versione S.Valentino ;-) ciauzzzzz

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  12. Alessandra...hai sempre delle idee fantastiche!!!Grazie....in bocca al lupo e soprattutto buon San Valentinoooooo...bacioni, Flavia

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  13. Congratulations to your winners. Those who won this month and those who will win next. You sushi looks wonderful and I'm sure the children enjoyed it. You are very clever. I hope you have a good evening. Blessings...Mary

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  14. Alessandra, I already gave chocolate to my husband. I prefer western valentine's day because women can get something nice!!
    (Please remove me from the giveaway list since I'm in Japan. Thanks.)

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  15. Ciao Sweet Snow Flakes, very kind of you!

    Maybe your husband can take home some chocolate from the office??? :-) Mine used to come home loaded with chocolate! Even married men got chocolate from their co-workers :-)

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  16. Grazie per essere passata dal mio blog...mi ha dato modo di conoscerti!
    Io adoro il sushi anche se non mi sono mai azzardata a prepararlo...
    A questo punto posso partecipare al tuo giveaway...anche sabito dall'altra parte del mondo?
    Mari

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  17. Certo Mari, non ci sono frontiere!

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  18. I love your heart sushi for Valentine's Day, Alessandra! You are so creative. And how nice you get the opportunity to meet with fellow bloggers. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  19. I love sushi provided it is not from raw fish, i'm sure to love yours looks so beautiful happy valentine's day :)

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  20. Non ho molta pratica con il cibo giapponese ma mi piacerebbe tanto iniziare a sperimentare.....carini i tuoi cuoricini!!

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  21. Amo preparare e mangiare il sushi. Non avevo mai pensato alla forma a cuore.
    Fabio

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  22. Cool! Now I'm in your draw for the giveaway. The heart sushi is great. I hope to catch up with you and the other bloggers at your next meet. Frances

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  23. I LOOOOVE your heart sushi! But I'm so bad at making it I leave it to the experts!

    Hope your Valentine's Day wasn't lonely ...

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  24. Cara Ale...sei sempre originalisssima...speciale...vincerai tu il contest di Flavia..kiss x 3..Civette Amiche....!!!

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