It’s once again time for In My Kitchen and as per usual this is a collection of things from the past month — a small snippet of those seen over on Instagram — in loosely interpreted categories and no particular order…
However this time it’s a bit more not in my kitchen than usual due to short but brilliant trip RJ and I took to Japan during the last two weeks of March. Theoretically one day I’ll blog the trip but in the meantime there are a few food-related bits and pieces below and quite a bit more, including where everything was, over on this Instagram hashtag. As always I’m linking up with Celia for IMK.
Shall we start with tea? No words, just light and tea.
Ok a few words — this was the view from our room at a Buddhist temple on Mt Koya where we stayed for only one night. I want to go back for a year.
If you are going to Tokyo I cannot recommend highly enough the book Tokyo Precincts. I’d seen it over on Instagram a couple days before we left and happened to be in the city that very day, so I grabbed a copy on a whim.
The book includes seriously good food recs (with plenty of shopping thrown in as well), and it was great the first few days we were in Tokyo and didn’t want to put too much thought into what to do.
Only downside is that there aren’t actual addresses on most of the places (just districts, station references which could be a 5 or 35 minute walk away, and locations marked on slightly abstract maps), and had we not had wifi and ninja-like navigation skills we wouldn’t have found very many.
The Wallpaper guides on the other hand? Meh.
Let’s talk about Okonomiyaki shall we? It’s like a huge fritter made with flour, egg, cabbage and any number of other ingredients, and the preparation is a show in itself.
In a perfect world you top it with green onions, bbq sauce, mayo, a crazy runny fried egg, seaweed flakes and a huge pile of bonito.
The one above in Kyoto has bonito powder rather than flakes (our own fault) but this one from Osaka more than made up for it. Now to find a good one in Sydney… or at the very least start making them myself.
1. Get to Kyoto. 2. Wander into an izakaya in the back streets of Gion. 3. Order beers and a $17 chef’s choice assorted sashimi plate. 4. Nearly faint at the huge cubes of fatty tuna and gorgeous edible plants.
Everything at the aforementioned izakaya was so good we went back again a few nights later and proceeded to wash down the beer with (more) sashimi, the sashimi with tempura, and the tempura with sake.
It’s worth noting that Kyoto was freezing and this particular evening I was warmer than I’d been in days, the sake may have had something to do with it. I also ordered a clear one, I have no idea what either were called.
Grilled oysters at Tsukiji Tokyo Fish Market — heaven in a shell.
Doughnuts with faces, for breakfast. Because Japan
The moment you break open what you thought was a plain chocolate doughnut only to realise the innocent looking ring is actually filled with chocolate? That. Also, I could have sat at this table for hours.
On our last day before heading home we saw cherry blossoms (Sakura) at Ueno park, then sought out a tea house only a stop or two away for the sole purpose of cream puffs.
However this is no ordinary delicate French choux pastry — it’s thicker and crispier and had crunchy rice in the pastry. If anyone has ever seen a recipe for something like it please let me know. Also, best vanilla custard I’ve ever eaten, no contest.
Ok, here it is, I know you’ve been waiting for it. PROPS!
I picked up a few bits and pieces throughout the trip but most were acquired during a solo afternoon (RJ decided it was better for me to go alone — he’s a wise man) spent on Kappabashi Street in Tokyo. Kappabashi Street is roughly a mile of restaurant supply stores with everything from wood and ceramics to industrial cooking equipment and cafe furniture. I was remarkably well behaved, considering. (And kicking myself for not getting more.)
We’ll call this one the mostly ceramic instalment.
Most of these were acquired at a little shop somewhere in Tsukiji (Tokyo Fish Market) and there is a very good chance that over a week later on Kappabashi Street I bought the same white swirl plate and little aquamarine dish due to not remembering I already had them. At least I’m consistent, and now I have two of each.
We’ll call this the cutlery and wood instalment.
Yes, those are Weck jars with wooden lids. The lids say ‘With Weck’ on the underside and from what I can tell they’re a Japanese invention. They were more expensive than the jars themselves (approx $7/$9/$11 depending on size) but are gorgeous. Yes, those are spoons with whales on them, they also had cats and dogs and bears, oh my. Yes, my enamel addiction has moved into cutlery and I should have bought far more than I did.
We’ll call this the linen and faff instalment.
The full tea towel contingent (there were three or four more) didn’t make the cut because matching (or lack thereof), but can we talk about how great these mini oven mitt potholders are? Also, the H&M checkout line impulse-buy $5 scarf will probably show up around my neck as many times as it does in a photo setup (so far photo shoots are winning 2 to 0 over neck). And when you’re offered a free fan at Uniqlo it’s rude to say no.
This is a 200 ml bottle of bourbon (approx 6.5 oz), to be used for cooking and baking.
- Japan convenience store: $4.40 (400¥)
- Sydney airport duty free: $10
- Sydney bottle shop: $16
You must be joking Australia.
Good news is I bought it in Japan. Bad news is I only bought one.
Now I didn’t get around to snapping shots of the food items we actually brought back with us before I had to post this, but no doubt they’ll make an appearance next month.
Because I simply never have enough tea (ha!) I couldn’t say no when Tea Forte sent me a little gift box of their pyramid tea bags*.
Not only are they a gorgeous little indulgence but the Bombay Chai I tried earlier today was so smooth I didn’t know what hit me. Also, it smelled so good I wanted to put it in a drawer with my clothes (before steeping, obviously).
Warning: ranty story ahead. But there’s a happy ending and look, I brought you delicious snacks.
I recently received an email, addressed to me by name, asking if I wanted to try a new fast food menu entirely focused on meat and sugar — my response was along the lines of “I don’t eat processed food, take away, refined sugar or meat, so I’ll pass”. Now I get things like this quite often, and I know I’m just on a list, and I rarely publicly rant about them but really, did someone on the other end say “I think she’ll totally go for this!”? I think not.
Then the very next day these gorgeous little packs showed up in my PO Box unannounced and I smiled, secure in the knowledge that there are good people making good food.
Inside the packs are the latest offering from the Fine Fettle Flats people. They’re called Flecks* and it’s a good thing they are portion controlled because this stuff — nuts, seeds, dried veggies, spices, (a drop of unrefined sweetener in some) and that’s it — is addictive. As soon as I stop eating them straight from the packet I plan to sprinkle them on all the things.
Ooh, I love this one. We were at Taste of Sydney back in March and I wandered into the Inside Out Nutritious Goods stand for a taste of their wares.
These guys make really good cold pressed almond milk with 12% almonds and no fillers and the unsweetened is truly unsweetened.
While I’ll still keep my usual go-to Pure Harvest in the cupboard, I will be buying this if I see it.
My #7vignettes collection for April. One of these things is not like the other, but they all make me happy.
I don’t tend to recap my posted recipes here but this Chocolate Granola I made a few weeks back is so crazy good I had to share it again. Go make it now, trust me.
I’m calling them emergency cookies, because that’s totally a thing.
According to my original Instagram post there are only 5 ingredients and they’re vegan. I’m hoping I wrote down the recipe because other than the oats and maybe chocolate I have no idea what I put in them.
Yes I know Earth Hour was at the end of March, and I wanted to do a proper post about this cookbook* before the event, but instead I received a copy of it, shared it out on social media and promptly went on holidays. Better late than never I guess.
Meet Planet To Plate, a cookbook created by Earth Hour Australia and top Aussie chefs to celebrate the farmers who grow our food and to highlight the impact climate change has on what we eat.
Of the most poignant things I heard at the lunch for the launch of the book was the ideas that the environment is not just some far off rainforest, it’s the food on your plate and the sky over your head. That thought really stuck with me because so often we talk about saving the environment in reference to far away lands and exotic locations. That’s some of it of course but closer to home, if we aren’t careful, we may not be able to grow pistachios or carrots much longer.
It really comes down to the fact that all of us need to do our part to reverse climate change — because no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Even though Earth Hour is over for this year you can still turn off lights when you aren’t using them and reduce fossil fuel consumption where possible and grab a copy of the cookbook to support Earth Hour’s work with schools, small business and community groups.
That’s all folks!
Make sure to pop over to check out the other IMK posts listed in the sidebar of Celia’s site — there is always great stuff to be found.
* Asterisked items were received for editorial consideration in accordance with my editorial policy. Nothing here is sponsored. All opinions are fully my own and yes they are generally positive, because I don’t have time to share stuff I don’t like. Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus. Beam me up Scotty.