Japanese cooking in autumn! The color became beautiful outside day by day, we cooked Chan-chan-yaki of salmon and Kenchin-jiru (vegetarian soupy dish).
CHAN-CHAN-YAKI OF SALMON: Salmon fillet or steak with medley of vegetables covered with miso-dare-sauce in the foil parcel, which was cooked as a steam-cooking in oven. ちゃんちゃん焼き、こちらでも身近な材料でできるし、オーブン使用のホイルベイクとあって、お手軽。 主役はもちろん脂ののった美味しいNZサーモン。
KENCHIN-JIRU: Hearty simmered soupy dihs of tofu and vegetables.
I introduced an unique food Konnyaku which everyone here eat for the first time probably, which is commonly used for Kenchin-jiru in Japan though. Konnyaku is a jelly-like food made from the starch of Konjac potato. It's a low-calorie and fiber-rich food to cleans our gut.
We tore it by hand to make small pieces so that taste is easy to soak, then we cooked it in the boiling water as a preperation which made to remove the smell from Konnyaku and made the texture good.
We used Kombu-water (Kombu-kelp soaked in spring water of Lake Wanaka for overnight) as one of the stock ingredients for the soup. We also used the Kombu-kelp with chopping finely after soaked and added into the soup. Juice from soaked Shiitake mushroom was added into the soup pot, too. After season the soup, checked the taste and adjusted it with a little more seasoning and dashi stock powder.
Thanks for participating from Australia and from UK. この日は、オーストラリアからとイギリスから、ワナカに滞在中の方々が参加してくださいました。
Other fish fillet can be used for Chan-chan-yaki, instead of salmon, of course. We used Rainbow trout fillet together with salmon on the night. The taste was beautiful, thank you Jules to bring your game!
I usually cook 3kg of red kumara to make a large quantity of kumara sweet paste at the time, then divide it into small containers for freezing. It's handy to use anytime I would like to make kumara sweets during the season.
Mash it, add sugar, mix well with wooden spatula. Continue kneading with the spatula on the low heat, to redude the moisture to harden the paste. A pinch of salt, and a little some butter can be added, yummm...
**APRICOT : slice to make the thickness half. Sprinkle a little amount of rum and hot water (1 table spoon each) over the apricot to make it soften and moisten. Leave it for a half day at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge (longer is better) **FIG : make it thinner. (lightly press by hand or rolling pin) **WALNUT : crack and remove the husk without breaking the nut as possible. Toast lightly.
8g （3～4 tea spoon) "Kanten" (powdered agar agar) 全体のバランスと、 500ml water 程よい食感にするため 500g kumara sweet paste 寒天パウダーの割合を 50g sugar 多めにしました 1 table spoon Maple syrup
Combine "Kanten" (agar agar) and water. To dissolve the powder completely, mix well by whisk or spatula while it is boiled and continue for 3～4 min on boiling, which is one of the important part! Add kumara paste, mix well, add sugar and maple syrup to adjust the sweetness.
Pour one-third of the mixture in a container or cake tin (I used 23x8cm tin), place the half of dried fruits in and put some walnut in the gaps. Spread another one-third of mixture on it. Place the remaining fruits and walnut, then top the remaining mixture, flatten the surface.
Cover with wrap, chill and set it in the fridge for a half day or overnight. It will be fine for 4-5 days.
表面にラップをして冷蔵庫へ。 半日以上冷やし固めたら完成。 4～5日冷蔵保存可能。
TIP: The Kanten (agar) works well and the mixture becomes to be set (harden) soon at the room temperature. So the layer-work should be done quickly. You can keep the pan of mixture on very low heat beside you during this work.
Yakitori and Soba-noodle were done at the cooking classes from January to March. Because there was my hospitalization uproar for acute appendicitis (the appendix) in the end of January, two sessions were postponed. I finally finished the last one the other day. I was sorry to make a trouble to people who booked in.
Next, we moved to BBQ grill. Yakitori can be cooked in the oven (grill function) when it's not suitable weather for BBQ. 串打ちが済んだらＢＢＱグリルへ: ＢＢＱに適さない天候のときは、オーブンでグリル調理できます。
The fire is often too strong for Yakitori and it's easy to burn the outside before it is cooked inside. We used the bricks which were wrapped by foil to adjust the height (distance from the flame). Then put skewered Yakitori which we prepared.
SOBA: How to eat soba-noodle which was the topic every time. It is allowed to make a sound when we eat soba. (Yes, it is for other noodle like udon and ramen, too) It is rather daring and will express it by making a sound if delicious. (Don't say "noise" for it!)
～ Cooking classes April ～ 11th (6pm) & 17th (11:30am) --- available to book for both date. We cook ”Salmon chan-chan-yaki” and ”Kenchin-jiru”(tofu & veges soupy dish). Enjoy those in longer night season.
As my calligraphy experiences, I studied under a teacher, Mrs. Fukushima, from 7 yrs old to 18 yrs old in Japan. Although I stayed away from it for a long time after that, a chance that I do it again came about 10 years ago. Since my daughter seemed to be interested in the calligraphy when she saw it by TV program, I brought my old set of calligraphy tools from Japan to here and taught it to her. Of course I enjoyed it myself, too. It is a great meditation when I prepare "Sumi" ink rubbing the ink-stick on the ink-stone, which would be a relaxation time to concentrate on the writing. What I learned in old days revived as one of my life style now!
Here is the flowchart at my calligraphy workshop: ～ ワークショップ ～
1．About the tools and preparation / 道具の説明、墨のすり方
2．Posture & holding the brush / 姿勢と筆の持ち方、基本的な筆遣い・力加減などを説明
3．Basic stroke / 手本と練習 （基本のストロークごとに一人ひとりチェック）
4．Choose Kanji / 漢字を選ぶ （用意した中から書きたい字をピックアップ）
5．Stroke order & Demonstration / 書き順、ストロークの説明、手本デモンストレーション
6．Practice / 練習 （納得のいくまで繰返し書いてみる）
7．Completion of today's work /本日の作品完成 （お気に入りを本日の作品として持ち帰る）
～ Enjoy Matcha-tea and sweet after your hard work ～ お疲れ様です お抹茶とお菓子をお愉しみください
This is a useful sheet which is made by special cloth. When we write with water (instead of ink), it shows like writing with Sumi-ink. And the sheet can be reused after it dried. It's perfect to practice many times! Several people have already used it here.
What I continued learning in Japan is now helpful here, after passes through time of years. I thank the teacher, Mrs. Fukushima. Will visit her when I go back to Japan this year. I really wish that she is still well and enjoying her good health.