Our 2018 trip to Japan was full of interesting food experiences. I thought it would be fun to collect them together in one post along with the places we visited, in the hope that it will inspire more home cooking in the future.
what I'm eating
久しぶりですね？ Long time, no see.
You may have noticed that the blog has been a little quiet over the last few months. This is because we’ve been in a rather roundabout process of moving home and starting new jobs. In short, we ended up in London, capital of excitement and the UK.
In numbers, our situation is as follows:
Weeks since we got our own kitchen: 4
Weeks since all our kitchen implements arrived: 3
Weeks since we got an internet connection: 1
As you can deduce from the above, our #Londonlife began with a week of cooking without spoons followed by two weeks of having only spoons for entertainment.
Thankfully, those days are over. From now on, I can return to blogging about home-cooked Japanese meals on a hopefully regular basis. Click ‘read more’ below to find out about this one!
January 2018 is upon us. With the excesses of Christmas behind me, I’m thinking once more about healthy foods. Indeed, the overarching theme for this month so far has been: getting as many nutrients as possible, and getting them piping hot. Two of the healthy Japanese dishes I’ve been eating – clear soup and rice porridge – fit the bill perfectly. So today, I’d like to share some information about these two simple dishes and their roots in Japan’s high and low cuisine.
Imagining plates of cool sashimi and delicate confectionery, we Brits don’t often associate traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku) with comfort food. With the exception of ramen, most of the winter warmers well known in Japan are not yet familiar here. In fact, with winter temperatures rarely rising above freezing in some regions, Japan is home to many hearty meals and steamy hotpot-style recipes. Shabu-shabu, oden and yudōfu are just three Japanese winter dishes that I’d love to see more of in the UK.
It’s fair to say, however, that we have plenty of our own traditional comfort food. We certainly need it; this week it was revealed that the optimal outdoor temperature for growing well-adjusted humans is 22°C, a level of warmth which no British city reaches on average. Particularly now that Christmas is drawing near and the cold is starting to bite, it seems everybody is gravitating towards the heavy, familiar recipes of tradition. Even I am following suit. As a result, we have recently enjoyed some interesting fusion dinners such as this one.
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On my table today:
- miso soup with shiitake, sweet potato and chives
- soy simmered squash (follow link for the full recipe)
- asparagus karashizu
- cottage pie
Notes after the jump!
The nights are drawing in, and since September my menus have been gradually changing to counteract the chillier weather. More and more, I’ve been turning to those knobbly, underground, secretive vegetables – the ones we always abandon around April and rediscover towards Christmas. This time around, I’m also unearthing the meanings behind homely Japanese dishes such as shigure-ni and takikomi-gohan. Also featured in this post is a sweet treat I brought back from Japan to share with you – but don’t worry, it still fits with the root vegetable theme!
- butaniku to yasai no shigure-ni / pork belly and root vegetable stew
- takikomi-gohan / variety rice
- miso soup with aubergines and chives – previously featured here
- radish misozuke – previously featured here
- kimpira parsnip / soy-simmered parsnip
- BONUS SHOW & TELL: murasaki-imo yōkan / sweet potato jelly
As always, read on for more details and cooking tips.