On my morning walk to the grocery store, I came across this bright, yellow flower. (I shop at different stores, so my route varies from day to day.) In winter, everything is so drab, and most of the trees are bald, but this yellow flower really caught my eye. Luckily, I had brought my camera, so I took a picture of it. When I got home, I searched the internet and found out the Japanese name for it is "Robai". It is originally from China and is scientifically called Chinmonanthus praecox (try saying that 3 times!) It is also called Wintersweet. The flower looks very waxy and the petals are quite transparent (kind of like when you leave your lettuce too close to the back of your refrig and it freezes a bit), the fragrance from this flower is very nice and rather powerful, you can smell it from quite a distance away!
As I continued walking, I noticed there was something being dried on the side of the road. In Japan, there aren't very many sidewalks, so we usually have to "share" the road with cars, bicycles and mopeds (although the cars, bicycles and mopeds don't really share...) As I got closer, I realized that this was "katsuo" (bonito) flakes. There is a soba (buckwheat) noodle shop nearby to where this was being dried, so I figured what they were doing was; after taking "dashi" (stock) from the bonito for their soup, they were drying the flakes to re-use for stock another day. (I don't know if that is why it was out there, but it isn't too sanitary...)
While shopping at an upscale grocery store in my area, I came across these cereal bars made by Waitrose. Waitrose is apparently an upscale grocery store chain in the U.K. Awhile back I bought ginger cereal bars made by the same company. It had lots of ginger pieces in it and was really spicy, but really good! These cereal bars are good, one has bits of lemon and the other has bits of apricot in them, plus they are covered with dark chocolate (a definite plus!) or continental plain chocolate as they call it.
Breakfast today was soba (buckwheat) pasta with pesto and tomatoes.
I've been in sort of a soup mode. The weather has been really cold the past couple of days. The areas along the Japan Sea Coast have still been getting the brunt of the snow and some people have been literally trapped in their homes for the past week or so. Close to 100 deaths have occurred due to people trying to shovel the snow off of their roofs and falling off while doing so. I hope the country can help the people in these areas soon, their food supplies are dwindling fast!!
I decided to make some soup for dinner. Here's my soup recipe (actually, no real measurements, just threw stuff into the pot!)
Kat's "ad-lib" veggie soup
1/2 cup beans (soaked for 1/2 a day then boiled for an hour)
1 carrot , diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 cabbage, cut up (kind of chunky)
1 enringi mushroom, diced
1 can cut tomato
1 Tablespoon beef consomme
1 Tablespoon pesto
handful of parsley, chopped
1 cup pasta (uncooked)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups water
Start by putting the oil into a pot and coating the onion, carrot, zucchini, enringi.
When the onion gets a bit transparent, put in the 4 cups water.
Add the cabbage and boil until all are soft.
Add the consomme, pesto and can tomatoes.
Skim off the scum that forms on the top.
Add the chopped parsley and pasta.
Note: add whatever veggies you like (or have), this soup is really easy to make and fast!
P.S. this was the inside of the Babbi wafers...(sorry my teeth marks are on it...) the wafer was light and the dark chocolate-- yummy!!