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2013年5月26日 (日)

‘The Waving Cat of Japan’/イベントのお知らせ

This is an event announcement!
The Waving Cat of Japan’ is performed on 2nd June (11:00 am and 2:00 pm) at Winchester Discovery Centre. Kitchen Wakako offers small bento boxes for children and some other Japanese foods at the venue. See you there!

62日(日)にウィンチェスターのディスカバリーセンターで、The Waving Cat of Japanというパフォーマンスがあります。会場では、子ども向けのお弁当、その他日本食を用意させて頂きます。

2013年5月25日 (土)

Taste Japan! – sushi workshop/お寿司のワークショップ

I had a sushi workshop today. It was for the training session for Hampshire Learning Tutor. Besides I made green tea cakes for their tea time, at my workshop, starting the introduction of the history of sushi, I talked about the types of sushi, how to choose chopsticks and dos and don’ts with chopsticks. And the main part of my workshop was making sushi rolls. People think the origin of sushi is Japan, but it’s yes and no. And, the participants looked surprised with many dos and don’ts with chopsticks. As one of the participants said at the wrap-up session, trying is discovering. This workshop reassured me that experience is a great teacher.



2013年5月24日 (金)

Japanese Home Cooking/今月のレッスン

Japanese Home Cooking lessons are taking place at Clos du Marquis French Pantry from this month. I had the lesson this morning. The menus were scattered sushi, clear soup with wakame seaweed and leek, asparagus salad with ponzu dressing and broiled salmon in Rikyu style.
You can learn and expand your repertoire of cooking by following what recipe books say, but you can learn what’s behind the recipe, which I think is one of the keys to improve cooking skills, by attending lessons. I reassured that at today’s lesson, when my students asked me one of FAQ - “Why do you fan the rice?” and when I shared ‘itazuri’, which literally means ‘board rubbing’, for asparagus.
June lesson is up on my website, if you’re interested. The menus will be corn rice, scrambled egg soup, five-color namasu salad and chicken teriyaki.

今月から、日本の家庭料理のレッスンは、Clos du Marquis French Pantryで行います。今朝、そのレッスンがありました。今月のメニューは、五目ちらし、若芽と葱のすまし、鮭の利休焼き、アスパラガスのポン酢サラダでした。レシピ本で料理の幅を広げることもできますが、レッスンを通して、レシピに書かれていないことを学ぶのは料理の腕を上げる一法でもあると思います。今日のレッスンでは、お寿司のレッスンでは必ず聞かれる「どうしてご飯を冷ますのか?」と聞かれたり、アスパラガスの下準備としてした板ずりを通して、それを再認識しました。


2013年5月16日 (木)

Dried vegetables/干し野菜

There’re a lot of Japanese food shops in London, however, there’re few in my town. It sometimes causes inconvenience when I want real Japanese materials. ‘Making your own’ is a solution if it’s not available. Dried mouli is so popular in Japanese kitchen that you can buy it at any supermarket through the year, but you can make it very easily. While I was in Tokyo, I used to dry vegetables often in autumn and winter when it’s cold and dry. Many vegetables, mushrooms, mouli, zucchini, lotus roots, broccoli, carrots, even green salad can be dried out. Nutrition and flavor increase when they’re dried, and it’s convenient to have such in stock. 

Mouli was about to die in a local food shop, and the owner gave me them for free, so I made my own dried mouli. 




You just need to cut and dry them. I shredded them this time, however, you can slice thinly or thickly. Shape or thickness doesn’t matter.




I could see how dry it is in the U.K. It took only a few days, while it does even more in Japan.




The dried mouli can be turned into a salada like this, for example.





2013年5月12日 (日)

Torte di ricotta/リコッタチーズのタルト

What is good about living in western countries in terms of foods is dairy products. They’re very nice and not expensive. It’s so in the U.K. too. I would say milk tastes much better in Japan, but other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, etc are so delicious and not as expensive as in Japan. And there’re so many kinds. Different from when I was in Japan, now I don’t have to hesitate to buy ricotta and mascarpone that are often used for Italian cooking. 

There’re many recipes for the ricotta torte. This one has chocolate chunks and zest of lemon and orange. Refreshing flavor of citrus and sweetness of chocolates makes the simple taste of the cheese rich.





2013年5月 8日 (水)

Apple trees/りんごの木

There’re two apple trees in our garden. The trees were all green only with the leaves when I moved to this country around this time last year. But flowers are finally starting now as spring was late this year. Though we don’t fertilize, they bear fruits in autumn, and my husband made apple crumble and pies. 





This is nothing to do with foods, but we had rare visitors…




2013年5月 5日 (日)

Tango & Chimaki, kashiwa-mochi/端午と粽、柏餅

Same as Joshi, Tango is one of the five sechinichi (seasonal juncture), and negative vibes that cause people harm are considered to penetrate on this day. To drive evil spirits away, people decorated a doll-shaped ornament made by yomogi (mugwor) on the eaves, drank iris sake and took an iris bath to purify themselves.

That was brought in Japan in the Heian Period (AD794-1192) and became a court event. They put iris on, wiped the roof with it, decorated balls made of iris and mugwort. In Kamakura/Edo period, people linked shoubu (iris) with shoubu (respect for military art) and shoubu (win and lose). They started to decorate armor with iris and did yabusame, and it eventually turned into a festival for boys. Edo shogunate set Tango as one of the gosekku (five festival days), and it has taken root in society as the day to wish boys grow, be strong, and be successful.

Koinobori and gogatsu-ningyo are the decoration for the day. Koinobori (carp-shaped streamers), which originates in Chinese legends (carp become dragons when they swamp up whitewater rapids), are the symbol of strength and success in life. Gogatsu-ningyo comes from belief that dolls are effigy to take all the bad luck, and miniature samurai armor and helmets represent feudal generals to wish boys grow as strong as warriors.

Chimaki and Kashiwa-mochi are the festive foods for the day. Due to historical and cultural reasons, chimaki is common in the west part of Japan, while Kashiwa-mochi is in the east. The origin of chimaki is China, where people made it on 5th May to protect them against evils. It’s tied with threads of five colors (red, blue, yellow, white and black) to remove evils.

Kashiwa (oak tree) was believed to be a holy tree. Its old leaves don’t fall till it starts to come out, which related with peoples’ wish that parents don’t pass away until their baby is born (=being gifted with heir and children).







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