Of fish and fruit

Yes, I have been making more sushi. I feel like I'm on a bit of a sushi roll right now (...no pun intended) and finally found some sushi-grade mackerel in the fishmongers so was keen to do something with it. I made mackerel makisushi, filling the nori-wrapped rice with mackerel, soy sauce, cucumber, pieces of pickled ginger, and some sesame and nigella seeds for texture. I also made mackerel nigiri sushi, with strips of raw mackerel laid out on top of the rice. The seeds idea came from some M&S sushi I had recently, where the rice wasn't wrapped in seaweed but instead in a coating of these little black and white seeds. They go really well with the Asian flavours and add a more interesting base note than soy or wasabi would alone.

As well as this, we had salmon and tuna nigiri sushi, and tuna rolls filled with chopped raw tuna, soy sauce, sesame and nigella seeds, and crunchy bits of cucumber. My favourite raw fish is still salmon, because I think it has slightly more flavour. I actually found the mackerel lacked the gutsy flavour I thought it would have, being so strong-tasting when cooked or smoked. Next time I'll probably just stick with my smoked mackerel and red pepper filling, but this was nice for a change. I've heard that it is common to marinate the mackerel in some sort of vinegar mixture before use - I might try this next time and see if it makes a difference.

For dessert, something that I liked to tell myself was just as healthy as the sushi. I suppose it is when it looks like this:

But then you soak the grilled pineapple in a sugar, lime, and vanilla syrup, cover it with toasted coconut, and serve with a scoop (or two...) of vanilla ice cream. It's still vaguely healthy I guess, and absolutely delicious. I think I've written about it before, but it deserves another mention. Also, I got to use my blowtorch to caramelise the top of the pineapple rings, which was more exciting than it perhaps should have been. My friend Helen tells me that the Japanese love pineapple, so it was actually a very themed meal (accidentally, though).