55 Search Results for: japan

VIDEO: Cooking Salt Aged Steaks Japanese Style & Tempura Prawn and Vegetables (In Partnership with Marks & Spencer)

A few weeks ago I met up with Marks & Spencer’s experts Tom (M&S Buyer of Beef, Lamb & Game) & John (M&S Food Innovations Chef) to cook some of their award winning salt aged sirloin beef, Japanese style with some tempura prawn and vegetables. We had a great afternoon and made some terrific food that was uncomplicated and really delicious (yes, I said delicious, it was), using ingredients that are available in your local Marks & Spencer (yes, even those Japanese ingredients). I think you will like these recipes a lot, they are deceptively easy and impressive. Perfect for a crowd or a weekday evening. Check out the presentation too, I am so stealing that idea. Thanks, John! The recipes are fairly straight forward. You can see how John puts together the steak (and how easy and impressive it is) in the video. I will share the tempura recipe with you now, but take a look at the video too to see how easy it is and also to see how golden you want …

A Postcard from Yokohama, Japan

Yokahama? Yes, Yokahama. I didn’t know much about it either but when planning this trip I discovered that not only is it Japan’s second largest city, it is also only half an hour on the express train from Tokyo (I know, I find that crazy). It is also the home of the Cup Noodle Museum and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. I had to go there. A few things about Yokahama: it was the first part of Japan that was opened up as a port to the rest of the world, so it has been more heavily influenced by outside cultures than other areas. It was the first to have ice cream, 150 years ago, and has a whole range of fusion food which has spread throughout Japanese food culture. It also has Japan’s largest Chinatown (surprisingly one of only three), with 600 restaurants. I started with the Cup Noodle Museum. I didn’t know what to expect but I was surprised to arrive at a building which was designed so beautifully that it could be a …

Japan: The Anatomy of a Kyoto Breakfast

When I first came to Japan 6 years ago, I remember nervously spying the hotel buffet, wondering how on earth I could eat fish and miso soup for breakfast. Even rice at breakfast time seemed alien. Now I am thinking, maybe this should become my breakfast routine? It is so delicious, healthy and flavourful and leaves you full of chutzpah to get on with your day. My first three days in Kyoto were marked by wonderful breakfasts (among other things). The Hyatt Regency, where I stayed, has a wonderful restaurant Touzan, that serves a gorgeous local breakfast, very much Japanese, but with local flavours. I was hooked. When I first dipped that semi dried barracuda into the seasoned egg, I sighed, then smiled. It was dreamy. Japanese breakfasts, when you first have them, are overwhelming, in content and size. An enormous tray of food arrives with lots of fish, some fresh, some preserved, some tiny, a bowl of rice, pickles, tofu, tea, more fish, more pickles and lots of tea. Japanese food is fiercely seasonal …

Valentine’s Day in Japan: a totally different experience

Japan is wonderful for so many reasons. I feel totally out of my water here and at once, also, at home. It takes a few days to adjust, as it does to anywhere. I am taking my shoes off in the wrong places, and very clumsily, much to the amusement of the locals. Sitting for the tea ceremony results in a speedy dead leg and limping out, and drinking the tea with all of the particular traditions (and with the fear of offending everyone) will hopefully become easier soon. Sometimes things appear inverted. Japanese people are so polite and softly spoken, I feel so bolshy by comparison. It takes care and attention to pick up on important details at times, so, I am quieter than normal (mostly!), listening, observing and learning, and taking a much in as possible. Take Valentine’s Day, for example. On Valentine’s Day it is the woman’s responsibility to buy chocolates – and only chocolates – for the men in her life. There are two types of chocolates, giri choco and honmei …

A Postcard from Kyoto, Japan

Greetings from Kyoto! This is my second trip to Japan, but it is my first time outside of Tokyo and I am excited. Kyoto, like Tokyo, is charming as you would expect, and a lot more intimate, with many more older buildings and a lot less buzz, but in a lovely way. The streets are gentle and calm and filled with the smells of great food. I have been here for just 24 hours, and have already fallen head over heels for yatsuhashi, a floppy little triangular sweet that is a folded blanket of glutinous rice flour dumpling, filled with the likes of cinnamon or black sesame. I bought some to bring home, however, I doubt they will make it out of Kyoto. I tried it at Nishio, who have been making them for 324 years, so should know what they are doing. Then the noodles. Lunch had to be noodle based and I opted for some terrific soba at Misoka-an Kawamichi-ya. I had cold soba with tempura. Simple but it hit every spot available. …

Hinamatsuri – Japanese Girl’s Day

I was in Japan last year around the time of Hinamatsuri – Japanese Girl’s Day or the Doll Festival. It was really charming. Traditionally, all houses (and hotels in my case!) have dolls on display that represent the Emperor and Empress dressed in the traditional dress of the Heian period, often other dolls too representative of other people in the court. It’s believed that these dolls can contain bad spirits and that these bad spirits are removed from the house when the dolls are floated down the river. I’ve been eating alot of Japanese food of late, and had many trips to the Japan Centre in Picadilly. I spotted the hinamatsuri dolls on my last trip and this prompted a fit of nostalgia and a longing for a break and the thought – I wonder what kind of food is associated with hinamatsuri? I had a browse and I found the most wonderful things. Japanese food is fabulous on so many levels: fresh, bursting with flavour and the presentation is always beautiful. Here’s two items …

Eating in Japan: Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

I was extremely fortunate to have a work trip to Japan this year and while it was a very busy week I did get an opportunity to sample some of the wonderful food and sights that Tokyo has to offer. I had never been to Japan before but had heard a lot from varied sources. I have always had a fascination with Japan, from the history and clothing to the food. I went through a phase of buying vintage kimonos from Japan for the beautiful silk, but, until now I had never had an opportunity to visit. I had heard that Tokyo was a very busy city and was very expensive – even worse than London. Well, I live in London, and thought, really, how much more busy/expensive can it be?! The answer is it’s not. Perhaps London is the best leveller for world cities, I have been to a few and each one has been calmer and less expensive (I haven’t been to NY yet before you comment). Relative to London, Tokyo is actually …

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Christmas in Nova Scotia, A Quick Stop in Montreal & Hello 2016!

Good morning, everyone! And Happy New Year. I hope you had a very good break, if you managed to take one.  I am so excited about 2016. I will finally publish my next tome, Project Bacon. It has been a forever friend and sometimes frenemy. As you know, I made the decision to self publish it and kickstart it. I don’t regret that, but life intervened and there have been several (at times, crushing) delays. But now, after an intense end to 2015, I feel I am almost at the top of the hill. And I can’t wait for you to see it. Project Bacon Recipe Photo Previews :)  My Kickstarter backers have had lots of recipe previews, and design and photography previews too. I will share some here with you soon, and there will be a limited amount available to buy when they go to press. So, keep an eye out for those. Now that the book is almost done, I will have lots more time here, and lots more freedom for other projects. …

Cork! English Market, Farmgate Café and Ballymaloe Gardens

Where to Eat, Drink and Stay in Cork City (Boy!)

When you are not from where you live, people often ask how often you get home. Perhaps they are making conversation (likely) or maybe they are checking the calibre of my moral compass. Regardless, I tell them that I try to get home often, I aim for four times a year but I would like to go more. I didn’t grow up in Cork, I grew up in Waterford next door, but it is where my mother is from, where I went to university, and where I lived for 7 years on and off. I know it very well and I have a huge affection for this bright patch of Ireland, that feeling of home and of belonging are keen here. Many people I meet who have been to Ireland have only been to Dublin. This makes sense. It is the capital, and it is the biggest city. But Cork is so different and has its own charm, it also demands a visit.  Photos taken near Cork City in Ballymaloe, the Farmgate Café in Midleton, Kinsale and …

The satay trolley on Malaysia Airlines

A Surprise Birthday Party at 30,000 Feet and a Satay Trolley (Travelling Business Class with Malaysia Airlines)

One of my laments this year was that I never celebrated my birthday. It was a big one and I had planned to. I was excited to! I delayed it because of work, and then again, and then again. It never happened and now it is gone. But! I did have a surprise birthday party at 30,000 feet and it was a gorgeous one. I flew to Borneo earlier this year with Malaysia Airlines to explore. The trip itself was a joy, lovely people, fabulous food, and lots of laksa. I got to visit Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur for the first time. I cooked local food, I visited local food markets, I brought home lots of pepper (Sarawak pepper is said to be one of the best), bright green pepper candy (which I am yet to try!) and some laksa paste so that I could enjoy laksa at home, and work out a recipe. I saw more wonderful orangutans, many of them. I flew to Kuala Lumpur from London business class, a treat in itself. Turning …

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Setting Sail on the Norwegian Escape

I would imagine that your thoughts on cruises are very much like mine were. I never thought that I would enjoy one. I love water, and I love a ship, but cruises themselves always seem so old fashioned and dated. Right? I worried about them being predictive. I worried about feeling like I would have to do the same thing every night. I worried generally about a lack of freedom, I dreaded not having my space. I felt I might be trapped on a big boat out at sea. I worried that maybe the food wouldn’t be very good, or not to my taste. I had never actually been on a cruise though, this was all based on what I thought a cruise might be. I decided I should give one a go, and tried a particularly food-centric one last year. And, whaddya know, I quite like a cruise. A cruise is a lovely break for a water baby like myself. They are more private than I imagined and they are especially good for someone …

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Shackfuyu in Residence at the Bone Daddies Bermondsey Kitchen

Shackfuyu ticks a few boxes: great food, fantastic playlist, secret basement bar and a great drinks list (hello sake). From the team behind Bone Daddies, one of my favourite London ramen bars, Shackfuyu are serving Japanese soul food including eclectic and full flavoured fusion dishes like mentaiko mac and cheese and have been for the last (??) 6 months. Shackfuyu do great things with their wood oven, sukiyaki style wagyu picanha, roast fish, and a wonderful hot stone rice with sesame, chilli & beef which I have burned myself on more than once. Worth it every time, enthusiasm often triumphs sense when there is good food in front of me. Instagram loves the Kinako French Toast with Soft Serve Ice Cream, but I can’t look past the Prawn Toast as Okonomiyaki, which is exactly as it says, a round prawn toast topped as an okonomiyaki is with Japanese mayo, brown sauce and shaved dried bonito flakes. Did I mention the Korean Chicken Wings?   Unfortunately, Shackfuyu also ticks another box at the moment: closed. Just temporarily while they refurbish the …

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Sponsored: Uncovering the Best & Most Surprising Food As We Travel (In Partnership With Travelex)

This post is sponsored by leading foreign exchange provider Travelex, whose research revealed that over half of Brits now choose their holiday destination based on what food they’ll eat. Since then they’ve been eavesdropping across Twitter to uncover the hottest food trends around the world. The world is a peculiar place, there is no doubt about that. People travel to London to find the best British food, while us Londoners obsess with ramen, udon, and gourmet hot dogs. Go to Bubbledogs, we roar, and eat fantastic and quirky hot dogs, wash them down with grower champagne! Don’t neglect Koya! Do you fancy some Peruvian food while you are here? Let’s swing by Lima! And when in Lima, the city in Peru, not the London restaurant, you must eat Japanese food. It is excellent there due to the wave of Japanese immigration in the 20th century.  Noodles and quail at Koya Bar in London The report by the travel money provider also delved into social media to check out where in the world people were getting excited about …

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Kyoto Sake Tour: All About Sake & Visiting Matsumoto Shuzo & Gekkeikan Sake Breweries

A trip to Kyoto would be remiss without several things. While I accept that it is impossible to do everything, I have many more trips to make before I have, I will give you a starter list. You need to do a full exploration of the tea culture, including attending a tea ceremony as Kyoto is renowned for the quality of their tea and their beautiful antique pottery. You must have a kaiseki dinner and a proper Kyoto breakfast (my favourite was at Touzan at The Hyatt Regency). Finally, you cannot visit Kyoto without a visit to at least one sake brewery. 

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Competition! Win a Blender and a Triumph Lingerie Set of Your Choice

This is the second of two sponsored posts written in partnership with Triumph, as part of their #FindTheOne campaign. Most of you ladies, and perhaps some gents, will already know Triumph. A long established and trusted lingerie brand who want to help 500,000 women find the perfect bra. I spent a day with them so that I could #FindTheOne for me. Details on the competition are at the end of the post. The odds are super, so do enter, and the very best of luck! 

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A Weekend in Dublin at The Westbury Hotel

It is St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, and I am declaring this Irish week on the blog. A national holiday in Ireland and a day of celebration of Irish culture worldwide, if you would like to hit a city where you can have a superb day and where they don’t dye the rivers or beer green, well, go to Dublin. I never did understand why people would want to drink something green (and that kind of applies to green juice too, although I have succumbed on occasion).

Sabah Tea Plantation,  Malaysian Borneo

Visiting Sabah Tea Plantation & Facing My (Non Tea Related) Fears

The thoughts that go through your head when you are terrified of heights but doing something that might kill or cure you are overwhelming. When in Sabah, despite signs saying something like “just please don’t do this if you are afraid of heights, ok? OK?!”, I kept schtum and did a very high and very wobbly rainforest rope walk anyway. I have had a year of trying to conquer my fears (doing the worlds longest island to island zipline in Sabah was another one), and forced myself.

Homemade Matcha Soba Noodles & A Recipe for Matcha Mari Soba

Matcha noodles! Well, why wouldn’t you make them? You surely want to try them. I had the good fortune of eating superb matcha soba when I was in Kyoto last year, and they pop up from my memory to say hi frequently. Sure, you can buy green tea / matcha noodles in speciality shops here, and they are decent, but they are not a patch on the real thing. Of course. But, then you hear that it takes 3 years to learn soba making, 32 years to perfect it (!) and that it is very tricky. But you know what, you still really want to give it a go. Right? Right. Let us get down to the details. There are two things that we need to think about here. Soba and matcha. Soba means buckwheat or buckwheat noodle in Japanese. Buckwheat isn’t actually a grain, it is a seed that is grain like, and is not related in anyway to grass, it is actually closely related to rhubarb and sorrel (both very characterful plants, as …