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Everything posted by smallworld

  1. Oh, that's too bad. But thanks to you we now know: frozen galangal flowers are not a good substitute for myoga.
  2. Funny, my boy (1 1/2 years) is the only baby/toddler I know who doesn't like natto. He seems to like the flavour but really hates the stickiness.
  3. Hmm, I don't think myoga is particularly musky, maybe it's a bit floral but it's more of a fresh green type flavour. Then again I'm not very good at describing tastes and I haven't had myoga in months (not really the season here). I say go ahead and use it, as it's more of a garnish and garnishes can be changed. In the hiyajiru I'm sure there are people who leave out the myoga and/or add other garnishes. If you use the galangal flowers and like them, then it's all good. The only problem would be that a big part of myoga's appeal is the crisp texture, which you might not get with the frozen galangal flowers. Do try them though and let us know.
  4. Yay! A Nakji food blog! I was really happy to see the return of the food blogs last year and have enjoyed them all. But yours is the one I've been waiting for. This is going to be a fun week! I was interested to see the nut roasters selling pecans. Are they popular there? Pecans are almost unheard of here in Japan, so I kind of assumed the same would apply to the rest of Asia.
  5. Oooh! I just like the "butter" salt. I really really like the "butter" salt... Funny, I'm not fond of "butter" (the quotation marks are totally necessary) flavoured potato chips- it's a popular chip flavour in Japan- but I like it on popcorn.
  6. smallworld

    Cheddar Fondue

    We've done cocktail weinies with fondue, and they're great. I'd bet the corn dog bites would be good too. And this might be adding too much work, but I imagine that cornbread would be fantastic with a cheddar fondue.
  7. I live in Tokyo, have been to Tsukiji countless times, and am usually quite smug about the selection and quality of fish we get here compared to back home in Toronto. But your fish market pictures knocked my socks off. Thank you so much for going back to retake them. Stupid question: are there deer in Australia, or would that have been imported venison? And what do Australians generally think about exotic meat and hunting? Given the very strong anti-whaling sentiments there, I'm wondering if horse meat, foie gras wild venison and the like are also taboo.
  8. Many of the condiments mentioned so far don't really qualify as bad. But I'm sure these do: Those artificially flavoured powders to sprinkle on popcorn. It's shameful, but I love them.
  9. I'm just coming out of lurkdom to say: that's beautiful! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures, as well as whatever meal you end up making.
  10. Tsukiji is not a tourist attraction? Then you better alert the people who run JNTO, Yokoso Japan and various travel agencies, all of whom promote Tsukiji in general, and the tuna auction in particular, as a must-see tourist attraction. As an example, see the latest Yokoso Japan poster, which features a Tsukiji tuna bidder as part of a line-up of stereotyped characters (including a geisha, sumo wrestler and maid cafe girl).
  11. What a great idea! I've been using little reusable silicon muffin cups instead of disposable foil or paper cups for a while now, but the colourful cups seem a bit out of place in a regular adult bento. These nori cups are a perfect solution. It seems like each cup in a stack comes separated by a paper lining, so they're not completely waste-free, but still. How cool.
  12. Holy cow, that's one phallic mushroom! I'm a Takenoko no Sato girl myself.
  13. I can't offer any specific recommendations, but if you'll be in Osaka for a year you'll have no problems getting tips from locals. I have in-laws in Osaka and visit a few times a year and and can honestly say I've never had a bad meal there. Osakans are extremely picky about food and that is reflected in the restaurant scene. You are also close to Kyoto and Kobe, two great food cities. In fact, it would be hard to think of a better place to be, food-wise, than Osaka (is my envy showing)?
  14. I've never tried Skor with coffee, which is odd because it was my favourite chocolate bar back home. But I can attest to Daim's (the Swedish equivalent of Skor) coffee friendliness. I buy the bags of mini Daims at Ikea and have learned to, as my coffee is brewing, dole out three candies from the bag and then to seal it and put it away. The putting away of the bag is very important, because if it remains within reach then I end up with a small mountain of red wrappers before my coffee is finished. Otherwise, nothing beats biscotti. Boring but true. Here's a question: do you adjust the sugar and milk/cream ratio to fit your coffee snack? I used to do that, using less sugar and more milk for sweet snacks. Until I realized that virtually all sweets go better with just plain milk than coffee!
  15. I don't know which I like less: Harumi Kurihara or NHK's 'introducing Japanese culture in English' type shows. Sounds awful! But I like Daniel Kahl so if it's ever shown as a repeat (when am I ever at home watching TV on a Sunday afternoon?) I may have to watch it. Helen, my husband uses egg and yamamimo in his okonomiyaki and he's not exactly a brilliant cook, so I kind of assumed it was standard. It's not?
  16. I love canned fish and keep a huge stockpile, so I just went and checked and I have two cans of mackerel. One is 160g and the other is 190g, and I think that's typical. So I think you can go ahead and use your one big can for the recipe, maybe adjusting the seasonings a little.
  17. I really like sakura ebi gohan, where the shrimp are cooked with rice, lightly flavoured with salt and sake (you may prefer a splash of light soy sauce and a little ginger as well). It's especially nice with green peas or shelled edamame (added after rice has cooked).
  18. Nice work, Helen. Most pictures online focus on the flowers, but from what I could see of the leaves this is it. I notice that a lot of endemic plants on Ogasawara have the same "munin" in their names. Always in katakana, but I assume this comes from 無人島 (mujinto, Japanese for "desert island"). I thought the old pronunciation was "bunin" (thus the English name for the islands, Bonin), but this makes me wonder if "munin" was an alternate or local pronunciation.
  19. Daikon is really the classic use for this sauce, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with other mild vegetables. Keep in mind the the preparation of the daikon is just as important as the sauce. Personally though I don't like furofuki made with white miso, especially with a really sweet, simple recipe like the one you mention. It's just too sweet. Cutting down on the sugar, replacing the mirin with sake, and using different types of miso would help make it more versatile. I love it with red miso. A similar and much more versatile sauce is dengaku, although it's often brushed on food while grilled rather than just used as a sauce. It's lovely with tofu, eggplant, konnyaku, daikon, and the like.
  20. You may be right. It may be ashitaba (明日葉, アシタバ). I posted a question to the blog of the president of the travel agency. I hope I can get a reply from him. It wasn't ashitaba. This is the shimazushi we had: Note that the herb, although somewhat similar to ashitaba, is dark green and rather thin-leaved. This wasn't one of our planned meals, and I think it was only thanks to Helen, who mentioned to the lady that ran her inn that we hadn't had any shimazushi, and soon after was presented with a couple packs of freshly made sushi for us to eat on the ferry back to Chichijima. A very kind and appreciated gesture.
  21. Thanks for getting this started, Helen, and sorry I left it up to you! As Helen said, I was there too, and I want to point out that we were on a rigid schedule with and all meals (except for on the ferry) planned for us. It was also a short trip: although it was six days in total, just getting there and back took 25.5 hours each way, plus another two hours to Hahajima and two hours back. So less than four days on the islands, and not a single meal we could choose ourselves. So I realize there is much I was missing, but I was a bit disappointed with the food. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have a bad meal, and a few were outstanding, but I was expecting more of a unique island cuisine but it was really just standard Japanese fare with a few local ingredients. As as example, here is a bento we were given on Chichijima: It's a completely standard bento, with most ingredients imported from the mainland. Except for the green vegetable at bottom right, which is shikakumame (wing bean) grown on the island. Shikakumame showed up fairly often and was easy to identify, but in many cases other local ingredients weren't pointed out to us. This is especially true of the fish we ate, and I still don't know where the majority of fish- including the sawara in the shimazushi- was from. Quite a contrast to other islands and coastal areas I've been to in Japan, where local ingredients are much used and proudly explained. As an example see this menu from a dinner course I had last year on Mikurajima, where virtually everything mentioned is from the island. Mikurajima is much closer to the mainland so can well afford to import ingredients, but instead the islanders seem to take a lot of pride in growing and catching as much of their food as they can. It would be really nice to see the same thing on Ogasawara.
  22. Red licorice. It's got a taste and texture unlike anything found in nature, and I can't get enough of it. I also love canned corn and canned black olives. Oh yeah, and I genuinely like ABBA. Oops, wrong forum.
  23. I agree, we need a new term for unfiltered apple juice. Growing up in southwestern Ontario, "apple juice" was clear, yellow, very sweet, and sold year-round, while "apple cider" was murky, brown, had a slightly stronger and more complex flavour, and was only available in the autumn and early winter. Around Christmas we had "mulled cider", which was cider served hot with cinnamon and spices similar to those used for mulled wine. I never knew there was such a thing as sparkling, alcoholic cider until I came to Japan (and I'm not referring to the sparkling lemony drink Blether mentioned, although that was pretty confusing too). I found it at a local wine shop and got excited, thinking it would be just be a sparkling alcoholic version of the juice I knew of as cider. It turned out to taste like rotten apples and I ended up dumping it down the drain. Now I wonder: is it supposed to taste like that, or was that a bad bottle (or were my expectations just so different that I would have disliked it even if I had liked it, if that makes sense)?
  24. Fennel. Nobody in my family back home likes it and I've never seen it here in Japan. But on a visit home this summer I got curious so bought and grilled some, and it was lovely. Alas I've yet to meet a Japanese who enjoyed anise-type flavours so I doubt I'll ever be able to find fennel here, let alone get my husband to eat it. And raw oysters. I've always loved them cooked but was never able to eat them raw until we were invited up to Hokkaido to visit my brother-in-law this spring. He took us to Akkeshi, a place famed for its oysters, and visited an oyster monger's, where we watched the monger expertly shuck a few and hand us one each to sample. I was dreading having to gulp mine down and pretend pretend it was good but when the brine hit my tongue something magic happened I fell in love. BIL bought 60 large ones, and that night we had an oyster orgy, trying them raw, grilled in the shell over charcoal, steamed in sake, and in soup. I swear to god I could have eaten all 60 of them myself.
  25. Oh yeah, and I think umeshu is lovely to cook with (as long as it's not being used as a substitute for sake). An umeshu reduction makes a great base for sauce to serve with pork, lamb or duck.
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