Friday, November 30, 2012

thank you!

Got these from an acquaintance, she had these drying on her lanai and gave me 4.

They were still a bit "moist" so I am drying them on our lanai.

Thanks Mayumi-san!

It's Friday here and the end of the month...have a nice weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

spice kaki jam

I saw this recipe on a blog, it rained all day on Monday, so I kept busy by trying this.

My jam didn't come out as bright orange as the one on the blog, but I think it came out pretty good.

Spice Kaki Jam adapted from the internet
400 grams kaki (cut into 8ths, peeled then weighed)
80 grams sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1 tablespoon pine nuts, goji berry, raisin & almond mix + more for topping

Cut the kaki into 8ths then peel and weigh it. Take out any seeds if any.
Add the kaki, sugar, lemon juice and 5 spice into a pot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
If there are any seeds that you couldn't remove when cutting the kaki, remove them now.
Add the pine nut mixture at the end.

NOTES: This tastes like prune mui. I think next time I make this, I would cut the kaki into smaller pieces rather than have them in slices.

This was good on yogurt, and I also added a little more of the pine nut mixture when I served it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

colors of kyoto

Sunday was a beautiful day.

We headed out early to Kyoto to check out some fall foliage as well as visit our family grave.

We checked out Tofukuji because it is closest to our family grave site.

Apparently everyone had the same idea because even though it was early, the place was packed!

It was actually pretty crazy, people pushing and shoving, not really nice and you couldn't "enjoy" the foliage.

This is part of the reason we don't like to check out festivals in Japan. There are just too many people and for the most part you are almost always fighting your way through the crowds.

So after fighting the crowds at Tofukuji, we headed to our family grave site.

On the way, we stumbled across a pottery festival.

For this pottery festival, they also had a "stamp rally" where you visit various shops and get a stamp, when you collect all the stamps (10 in all), you can enter a "drawing".

> So we visited the various shops and got some stamps which were along the way to where we actually needed to go.

After visiting the family grave, we then finished getting the rest of our stamps.

Many homes had kiku (chrysanthamum) decorating their doorsteps.

Really pretty this time of year.

We picked up these two tiny bowls and from the "drawing" we received these 2 chopstick rests.

I really liked the glazing on these bowls, it reminded me of fish scales.

We then visited MIL for a very late lunch. She is doing fine though she still cannot sit on the floor or walk very far.

Going back to Osaka, we were lucky to ride the Kyo-train. A fancied up Hankyu train which runs only 4 times a day during the weekends and holidays.

The outside of the train has this beautiful fan.

Despite the crowds, we were lucky to have such nice weather and we got to see lots of beautiful foliage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

yuzu marmalade

The other day I made yuzu marmalade.

This year I found some yuzu from Todoromi, an area in Minoo that is known for their yuzu, which I've written about here.

I only had 2 yuzu but it seems like I came out with a little more marmalade than when I made it last year.

What have you been cooking up in your kitchen?

Monday, November 26, 2012

colors of minoo

Just sharing some of the fall foliage in our area.
Lots of fallen leaves and the day we went (Friday), it was drizzling and kinda dreary.

Still we were happy to be out and about.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Recently I had this sandwich for lunch, it was a prosciutto, gorgonzola sandwich. I don't think they really used prosciutto though, the texture seemed more like a cold cut type of ham.

This sandwich had cream cheese, apple, "prosciutto", gorgonzola, pecan, spinach, red cabbage and a what I thought was honey.

After re-creating this as an appetizer though, I think they used maple syrup instead of the honey.

Still this was delicious and I'll definitely make this again.

Another thing I recently re-created was a pumpkin sweet potato salad.

Most times you can find this salad (usually just a pumpkin version) at the sozai-ya (pre-made food shops) or at the department store food floors. It is quite sweet and more like a "dessert" than a salad.

Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Salad : makes about 4 small servings
1/2 a sweet potato, steamed
1/4 kabocha, steamed
80 grams plain yogurt, drained on cheesecloth for about 20 minutes
1 teaspoon maple syrup
several grinds of cinnamon
handful of pecan, chopped

After steaming the sweet potato & kabocha to the tenderness of your liking, peel the skins and cut into cubes. Let cool.
Take the drained yogurt and add the maple syrup, stir and set aside.
When sweet potato & kabocha is cooled, add some cinnamon and coat with yogurt mixture.
Chill until you are ready to eat.
Sprinkle pecans just before eating.

NOTES: this wasn't as sweet as the ones I've tried before, but it was still delicious.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

made in japan

When I think of masking tape, I see this beige tape that doesn't always stick.

Nowadays, masking tape has a new face...pretty colors, some are made of washi (Japanese paper), interesting designs.

There are many different versions out there, but a brand called "mt" (short for masking tape, I think) is made in Japan.

This was the first one that I've bought, I thought it would be nice to label some things in my pantry.

Cute, yeah?! what do you think?

Friday, November 23, 2012


This past Wednesday, we went to Shodoshima, it is a tiny island which is part of Kagawa prefecture.

They are known for shoyu, tsukudani, somen and olives, their sister city is Milos, Greece.

From Umeda it is 2 hours by bus to Hinase, where we caught the ferry.

Before the ferry, we had a little time for lunch...which was a bento.

I enjoyed this, a little of this and that. (click on the photo to see what was what)

The ferry ride was a little over an hour and on the way we passed several tiny islands which people have their second-homes. Even if we've never visited Greece, it sure looked like it from the boat. (Sorry the windows weren't the cleanest)

During the ride, we tried an olive gummy, made from the oil extracts of the Shodoshima olive...140 yen, it had a slight citrus taste, but overall we thought it tasted kinda funky.

The tour we initially wanted to book checked-out the shoyu makers and you could see them harvest the olives, but this was sold out, so we ended up hooking up with a day-trip, which only visited two areas.

The first was an Olive park.

Unfortunately we only had 15 minutes here.

We did have enough time to sample some olive oil and try the olive soft serve. You can't tell from the photo, but it is a light green. The base is a vanilla soft serve with ground up olive leaves to make a "matcha" of sorts...250 yen...different but delicious.

I also picked up some of their olive tsukudani and Japanese tapenade, from their gift shop.

The olive tsukudani is made with some goya and tastes just like the goya tsukudani that I've made before, except with more olives than goya.

The tapenade has lots of ginger in it and is great on baguette.

Then about 10 minutes away is the ropeway for Kankakei (Kanka Gorge), the second place we visited.

The wait to go up was 40 to 50 minutes (can you see all the people waiting?! we also heard that the wait to come down was 2 hours!!).

Thank goodness the weather wasn't too cold, but by the time we arrived here, it was already 3-ish, so the sun was kinda already starting to set.

We were kinda worried we wouldn't be able to see anything from the ropeway.

But, it was fabulous! we were very lucky to be right next to the windows.

I took a short video which you can see here.

The only sad part of this ropeway ride is that after all that waiting, the ride is only 6 minutes!!

Then we had 40 minutes to kill while we waited for the bus to come up the mountain to pick us up.

It was fahreezing but the view was really beautiful.

We tried two "different" ciders while we waited...olive & shoyu. The olive version had 1% olive extract and tasted like 7-up while the Shoyu version kinda tasted like cola except it had a medicinal aftertaste (eep!)...200 yen each.

We were also kinda hungry so we shared this okonomiyaki...600 yen, which would have been good had it been warmed, but it was cold & hard as rock (boo!)

Then it was time to head home. We caught the 17:30 ferry. On the ride back, we tried a local shoyu senbei...190 yen, this was sweet-salty, addictive.

It was a great tour, though our schedule was quite packed. We also received some gifts from the tour...this somen & some olive hand cream.

Hope you enjoyed this trip as much as we did, have a nice weekend!

p.s. today is a National holiday, Kinro Kansha no Hi, which I've written about before, here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

giving thanks

With all the drama going on in the world as well as within my own circle, I still have quite a lot to be thankful for.

I am also thankful for you, who are reading this now.

I hope those celebrating in the States will have a very delicious holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving.

p.s. today is Ii Fufu no Hi, hug the ones you love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

made in japan

Suteteco is the Japanese word for men's long johns.

The summer version is made of thin cotton and the winter version is made of a soft wool or a thicker cotton.

Recently though, they've been trying to appeal these "pants" to the younger generations.

Jazzing it up with brightly colored fabrics making them look more "fashionable".

Anyway, we recently came across an item made in Japan called Neruteco.

Neru is the shortened name for "flannel", it also means "to sleep" in Japanese.

These pants are unisex and have definitely been keeping us warm these past nights.

How has the weather been where you are?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Sunday, Satoshi had to work, so I had pretty much the whole day to myself.

I decided to check out Sanshikisaido.

It actually had been 2 years since the last time I went, now there are many new condos coming up in the area.

It was overcast, so the colors again seemed muted.

This year the leaves seem to be more brownish too.

Love the reflection in this puddle.

Down the street from Sanshikisaido, is Suionike which is located in the Senri Kita Park, I liked the reflection here too.

I then walked to Onohara to have lunch at Boulangerie Sunny Side.

The last time Satoshi and I came to Onohara, we had wanted to try this place, but it was packed.

This time, I got there before the lunch crowd and tried their potato pizza, teri chicken bread and kouign amann & cappuccino...860 yen...everything tasted okay but nothing fabulous. In fact, the caramel on the kouign amann was

Don't think I would go back there.

Still, I'm glad I was able to get out and see some of the fall foliage.

Boulangerie Sunny Side
5-1-15 Onohara-nishi
Minoo, Osaka
Phone: 072.735.7262
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 7:30-20:00

Monday, November 19, 2012

all over

I took this photo last year, but hadn't posted it.

I always see the top of this house whenever I go walking. You can tell the change in seasons by looking at the leaves.

In Autumn, the leaves turn red.

In Winter, all the leaves fall off.

Then in Spring, you can see all the new leaves coming in.

Since the ivy is all over their house, I often wonder if they are able to open the windows...