Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Bluebird of Happiness

If I remembered correctly, it was a beautiful foodblog called OsloFoodie where I was first introduced to homemade rose hip tea. It was back in -- 2004 or 2005? The photo of her tea was oh so beautiful, and I felt jealous when she commented that over there in Norway, rose hips were everywhere on the roadside. After that, I bought young plants of dog rose online and grew them on the balcony. Yes, that was the start of my homemade rose hip tea project.

Unfortunately my dog rose died before giving me any rose hips, which automatically added "making homemade rose hip tea" to the list of my "indefinitely postponed projects." And my envy for those who can pick rose hips on the roadside remained.

Now I'm back in my hometown where the climate is almost subtropical and definitely different from Norway. And look what I found the other day when I rode dad's bicycle to the beach where I hadn't been since childhood!

The bluebird of happiness is in your home...

I'm going to dry these rose hips tomorrow. The weather doesn't seem to be nice, so I'll be using the oven like I did for drying cherry tomatoes in summer.
Wish me luck! ;)

(Nov. 29, 2009)

OK. Take a look.

Honestly, I don't know if I can call this part of the project "fun." It could have been fun if these rose hips were bigger. But think about halving all these small ones and scraping the seeds and hair out of each! AHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh...!!!

I gave up when I prepared almost half of them.

Dried rose hips (dried for apx. 35 min. at 140 degrees C )

And the above photo shows my very first "homemade rose hip tea." What do you think?
I'm going to brew it when the weather is nice so that I can take good-looking photos of the tea.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TLA #2 -With My Dad -

My dad was taking a walk near the fishing port a couple of weeks ago, and saw someone he knew fishing there. The guy told dad that a real big fish just cut his line and ran away. On the very next day, dad drove to a shop and bought some new hooks and sinkers. Then he realized that he got wrong type of sinkers and he had me go to the same store to buy the right ones. He had to wait for several days until the weather got nicer, and finally the day before yesterday, he went to try his luck. And the above photo was the luck he had. Ha-ha-ha. (For those who are not familiar with saltwater fish, that's an inedible blow fish.)

This is my new friend. He is a stray cat, but by no means a starving cat. And I have never ever seen any cat friendlier than this one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Local "Industrial Fair"

Spinning Squid

A local "industrial fair" was held last Sunday, November 15th. It was a nice but windy day, and there seemed to be a good crowd at the venue--a good crowd for this rural place, I mean.

The smell of barbecued beef filled the area, and fresh fish and good sushi were selling fast.

Sea salt made from deep sea water

Local food

Actually, the "industrial fair" cannot be too different from a farmer's market in a place where the local industry is mainly farming and fishing. But the performances by local kids and the youth on the main stage did make a difference that day. They were so cute.

There was even a tea ceremony booth where local tea ceremony teachers and students served matcha and sweets. But the wind was too strong that making boiling water with portable gas stove was almost impossible. Later I heard that a very strong wind blew while some visitors were chatting after taking the first bite of their sweets, and when they tried to eat the rest, the sweets were gone--they were blown off the table and onto the ground. LOL (I wouldn't be surprised if they quit serving matcha tea at a booth next year.)

But what I really loved to see was these squids being dried. Especially, I cracked up when I saw the "spinning squids." They say that spinning them with a machine like this can dry them faster, and they do this all the time, the industrial fair or not. But it's just too funny to see.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Banana Custard Tart

Banana Custard Tart

After coming back from Hong Kong, I guess I was more exhausted than I thought. Or maybe it was a burnout. I didn't feel like doing anything for several days. Then one day I had a crick in my back while helping dad with loading his car with bags of fertilizer. Gee! Can you imagine how terrible I felt? Your obachan (aunty) is officially an obaachan (granny) now!! :O Honestly, my self-esteem hurt more than my back.

I iced my back every day for at least 3 days, and this morning I was finally able to put my socks on in the way I normally do. So I felt like celebrating and whipped up this tart by combining a couple of Japanese recipes I found on the net. In the kitchen there were too many eggs and bananas as a result of mom's grocery shopping in my absence, and I managed to consume two eggs and two bananas by making this tart. (BTW, she bought some frozen sweet-n-sour-pork and gyoza while I was in Hong Kong... )

At first I was not going to bake the filling. But the custard cream turned out lighter than I had wanted and bananas were not very ripe, so I felt the need to somehow add more sweetness. What I did was sprinkling granulated sugar and cinnamon all over this tart and baking it for --about 10 minutes or so?

Fortunately it worked. The tart was still quite light, but mom liked it that way and I, too, thought it was good.

And now I'm not feeling burned out any more. I remember writing the same thing in my previous foodblog, but cooking/baking does seem to have a healing effect -- when it ended successfully, of course. ;)
. .

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hey, I'm Back!

See what I tried?

Yep, these are the egg tarts from KFC in Hong Kong that Mae recommended in her comment to my previous post. Remembering her comment, the first thing I did in the free time on the next day of our arrival was walking around the BP International hotel, looking for a KFC. And there was a sign near the entrance of Kowloon park! :D I was almost thrilled, but then I had a problem finding the entrance to the KFC. So it was actually the night before we left Hong Kong that I finally managed to buy these egg tarts.

Mmmmmm...... Yum!!

But buying six pieces at one time was probably a mistake. :P

So, why did I visit Honk Kong anyway? What was that trip for?

OK. Take a look at the photo on the newspaper beneath the famous egg tart. That is showing a rare geological relic in High Island, and there was an opening ceremony of Hong Kong national geopark right in front of that hexagonal columnar rock. Since a geopark project is going on in my hometown, too, a couple of staff were sent to the opening ceremony and the seminar, and I was there to help with the language.

Scenery in High Island

Everything was just wonderful and exciting. The hospitality of the host organization was really touching. Though I couldn't take photos, I enjoyed the buffet breakfast and lunch at the hotel. Well... to be perfectly honest, we got a little tired of the same buffet menu on the third day. :P

But what was really great was the dinner at Peking Garden on the night before we left Hong Kong! We never expected that, but we were treated with a wonderful course meal including, of course, Peking duck--a lady sliced it up in front of us--nice dim sum, and many other dishes that I don't know what they are called. And the highlight was the noodle-making demonstration performed in front of us. It was amazing, and funny, too, because the guy threw so much flour over the dough and the flour was everywhere on the table, the wall and the floor but no one seemed to care. Oh, it WAS a wonderful dinner.

But can you imagine me staying at BP International hotel and not visiting temple street? Come on, this is your obachan. I will never let you down. After being totally full from the dinner, we walked up to the temple street and shopped around. And...

Frog Congee

I was not very hungry yet, but I thought there must be a space in my stomach for a bowl of congee. And wanting to try something "different," I chose frog congee, though the other two guys who were with me looked at me like I was some kind of monster. As for drink, I loved this Haizhu beer so much!! I wish I could buy this somewhere in my hometown...

The other two guys had this vegetable noodle soup. They said it was bland, but after adding spicy chili sauce, they were happy.

Yes, it was the must place to visit.

So that was the trip I enjoyed. I might add some more photos later, so keep checking on once in a while.


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