The Hasami Porcelain Concept:
Inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics and functionality, Hasami Porcelain is made to feel firmer than earthenware yet gentler than regular porcelain, the results of a specific ratio of porcelain substance and clay, using a glaze designed to bring out the natural beauty of the material.
Able to harmonise with 20th century design masterpieces; Takuhiro Shinomoto’s concept of simple, tactile tableware follows in the rich tradition of the Hasami district of Nagasaki, one of the foremost producers of pottery in Japan, where centuries of mass production have ensured a reliability in quality and price.
Inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine, I have created a recipe (below) inspired by simplicity and functionality using a fusion of eastern and western flavours. A precise balance of ingredients; each element is essential to complete the dish. The image (below) is styled to show how the ingredients harmonise: the seasoned tofu fits into the nest of udon, to then both be immersed in the broth, forming the complete meal that mirrors the clean lines and simple shapes of the porcelain, set against a plain, natural fibre linen cloth.
Clockwise from main: the final image, planning the shoot, test shot of ceramics, unretouched image.
Mushroom Broth with Homemade Udon
Takes 85 minutes (25 prep, 40 rest, 15 cook)
For the dough:
1 cup (110g) of white flour
90ml of boiling water
1 tsp of salt
For the broth:
1 tbsp of dried ground Horn of Plenty mushrooms
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1 king oyster mushrooms
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
1 spring onion
100g of silken tofu, cubed
In a mixing jug, combine the boiling water and salt for the dough until the salt has completely dissolved.
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and form a furrow in the middle. Pour a glug of the hot salted water into the furrow and turn the flour into until it is well combined. Repeat this process until a firm dough is formed, making sure it has not gone tacky (this should be all the water).
Knead the dough with the heel of your hand, folding it into itself each time. Repeat this for 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and leave it in a sealed container for 10 minutes for the gluten to relax so it becomes more malleable.
When the dough has rested, repeat the same kneading process for another 5 minutes, before allowing the dough to rest in a sealed container again, this time for at least 30 minutes, so the gluten can relax again.
When the dough has rested for 25 minutes, mix the water for the broth, dried ground mushroom, soy sauce, olive oil and remaining salt in a small saucepan on medium heat (I use cast iron to hold the low heat this recipe requires). Crush and finely chop the garlic and add it to the saucepan, stirring it in.
Set a pan on maximum heat with enough water to cook the udon noodles.
Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough, working it into a rectangular shape, until it is about 5mm thick. Make sure that both sides are lightly floured, and fold the dough in 3 or 4 lengthways, like a letter. Take a sharp knife and cut along the roll of dough in 7mm strips, then lightly toss the cut noodles in your hands, using a small amount of flour to make sure they won’t stick.
Cook the noodles straight away in the preheated pan of water for 7-10 minutes, stirring them regularly and turning down to avoid boiling over.
Slice the king oyster mushroom into 5mm slithers, and add them to the broth to absorb the flavours.
As the broth stews, toast the sesame seeds until they are nicely browned, then set them aside to serve with the broth.
Cut the root and top of the spring onion off so you have about 15cm, coloured from white to forest green. Carefully cut the spring onion lengthways in half, then, still cutting lengthways, keep chopping roughly until the spring onion has shredded down into thin strips. Set them aside to serve with the broth.
Once the noodles have cooked (they should have a slight bite when tested) drain them then rinse them under cold water to remove the starch.
Remove the broth from heat and serve it with the udon noodles, adding the silken tofu and garnishing with the shredded spring onion and toasted sesame seeds.