Montag, 29. August 2011

Firework contest picknick

I am addicted to fireworks. Leave me some rockets, vulcanos, sparklers and a match stick and I am the happiest person. Next best to have your own firework is watching a really good professional performance.  Each and every year we have a world contest of fireworks at the Gardens of Herrenhausen. Several countries send their teams. Very convinient for firework junkies.
This is a nice performance from this year's contest (sweden)
We could hear the sound from our porch. But it is much better to visit the gardens and have a close look at it. The firework has to be well coordinated to the music and the garden assembly. This year we decided to visit the spanish contribution because rumour went they are one of the best fireworkers ever. The spanish decided on music with spanish themes. Best was the part of the firework accompanied by "hiejo de la luna" song by an opera singer: Golden water falls of sparklers, crysanthems and something looking like medusas floating through the night sky - it was gorgious, overwhelming beautiful, sending shivers down the spine.
Okay this is the commercial song, simply not the same quality:
The event started at 6 pm in the evening with comedians, street theatre, music, clowns, jugglers and flamenco performances. The firework took place at 10 pm. You could buy food and drinks there at different stations, but it is a good tradition to prepare your own picknick.
I decided on something japanese:
a few dishes

  • Maki rolls
  • Inarizushi
  • Daikon and cucumber salad
  • shredded cabbage salad
  • date tomatoes
  • meat balls nan ban zuke style
  • sweet pumpkin

Average preparation time 1 hour.

First I prepared sushi rice from 1 cup japanes rice still sticking to this method:
Wash rice 4 times. Let it sit in a strainer for about 30 min. Bring to boil with one cup of water and a piece of konbu (just a few centimeters). Let simmer on low heat about 15 min. Let rest for 10 minutes, heat turned of.  Meanwhile  1 1/2 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons mild vinegar. Stir in rice but don't stir too much.  Fill rice in a big wooden bowl and fan until rice can be touched and formed by hand.
Meanwhile I prepared the filling for the makis: carrot match sticks of 1/3 carrot, 6 surimi sticks, half of an nice avocado in tall wedges, half of a small scallion (light parts only) in stripes, Wasabi. For wrapping 2 sheets of toasted nori.
And for inarizushi - yeah, yeah plain sushi rice is good but I am german; heat 1/3 carrot diced in small cubes with 3 tablespoons dashi stock about 2 minutes in microwave. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds, pinch of chiliflakes, 1 teaspoon soy sauce,  1 tablespoon salmon flakes (cooked salmon) and some scallion rings and 1/3 of the sushi rice. Fill in prepared tofu skins (prepared as  8 tofu skin bags  already cooked in dashi, sake, sugar and soysauce, pat dry) .
For the salads: Use 1 baby cucumber sliced and 5 cm daikon sliced by mandoline. Salt with  lots of salt. After 1 hour  rinse with water and press out the liquids. Afterwards toss in salad sauce made of 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar and a few drops sesame oil. Use same dressing for shredded cabbage (6 crunchy cabbage leaves finely sliced by hand or mandoline)
For the sweet pumpkin cut 1/2 small peeled and cored hokkaido pumpkin in bite size pieces, steam peaces in very little water until pumpkin is nearly tender with a small bite and water evaporated, add 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons sake and 1 teaspoon soy sauce, let sugar quickly cook into sirup state while tossing sometimes on high heat.
For the meat balls look here
I filled everything in stackable plastic containers (wasabi, gari and soyauce in very small containers), got some paper napkins, 2 plastic bowls, chop sticks, tooth picks (, added 2 small bottles of champagne and water and ready to go. We found a good place to watch the firework and snuggled up in our camping couch (double seated camping chair ) which we took along with our picknick. Very nice neighbours around and lots of talk and fun. Some looked a little bit curious as we started with the chop sticks and the maki rolls. There was a small boy next to us who looked from the big carrot in his little hand to our maki rolls and you could nearly hear his thoughts. But he told me his carrot was tasty so everything was fine.


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Wow, very Japanese!!! I can imagine your neighbors' surprise when they looked at your bento!

Nagaoka, Niigata, is very famous for its annual firework festival.

I've been there only twice, although Nagaoka is a 1-hour train ride. (I hate crowd.)

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Japanese fireworks are famous. Ah I'ld like to watch some of these one day. But true, crowding is not for everyone. In the gardens it was crowded too. But not too much. You have to pay entry and tickets are limited. I mentioned earlier, I simply love bentos.