Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back at 2015: Oct-Dec

Wild animals living around my house seem to love my veggie garden. I knew raccoon dogs, wild boars and deers visit there almost every night for dinner. So finally, I asked a hunter to set up a trap near my garden, and one day a huge deer was caught.
Next day, the hunter gave me this piece. And I made venison stew cooked in red wine.

To add a little refreshing flavor, I topped it with some cranberry sauce. 
Oh, it was so good! :D

At the end of October, when the weather was good, I made candied ginger.

And this was the harvest from my veggie garden.

It was another eventful month.  At a fair near a fishing port, they made this lobster soup in a huge pot. Yes, it was free of charge. See how many people stood in line?
*To be precise, the lobster in these photos -- Japanese spiny lobster -- is a little different from the lobster you see in Europe and in the U.S. But it's still tasty (and expensive). ;)

And I bought this tiny pumpkin at the fair to make this:

At another event held in the same month, they treated visitors with tea ceremony.
These are homemade sweets made by the tea ceremony teacher and her pupils.

And the visitors were invited to join this casual outdoor lunch to enjoy local cuisine. The meat? Wild boar. Yum!

It was still warm at the end of Nov. -- warm enough to go on a beach and pick some short-necked clams.

And this is something I can't forget. I joined a crowdfunding to support a young guy who is struggling to keep a home-visit nursing care service in a depopulated village. As a reward, I got a packed ingredient of a hot-pot dish. The meat? Japanese pheasant. :)

To tell you the truth, I picked the persimmons from our persimmon tree in October and tried to remove astringency, using distilled liquor. (For more detail about this traditional method, click here. It's an article I wrote in 2014.) But it didn't turn out right. :(

So I gave it a try again this month.
This time I tried two methods to remove astringency: treating with liquor and sun-drying.
And both went well. :D  I sun-dried the peels for later use. Use for what? You'll find out in January...

And this shot from my veggie garden:

At the end of the month, I joined a hilarious BBQ party.
Can you imagine what's being cooked in this can?
Beer can chicken!! If you're not familiar with this exciting cooking method, click here.
We all enjoyed the chicken.

And finally, it was time for a Christmas fruitcake.

On Christmas Eve, I had a quiet, relaxing time with home-baked fruitcake, canapé and sparkling wine.

Here's my Christmas wish to you:

Thank you for being my friends and checking on my blog once in a while, even though I completely neglected this blog in 2015.



P.S. Sorry, I'm going to fake the date for this one. I couldn't finish this post in 2015...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Looking Back at 2015: Jul-Sep

 Several food related events were held here in summer 2015. There was one in July in which University professor and his students collaborated with local aunties in Muroto to explore how to make tasty dishes with emergency crops and edible wild plants.
They came up with many tasty dishes. Amazing! @@

At the end of July, I hosted a Buddhist memorial ceremony for my deceased aunt. See this unique altar?
Here's the description of the ceremony quoted from my Facebook post:
"So THIS is how the altar was decorated.
The Buddhist ceremony today was mainly for the deceased -- in my case, my aunt --, but also for consoling "gaki" ghosts. Gakis are always hungry because of the sin they committed while alive in this world. In Bon period, they are thought to come back with the deceased (usually via water like rivers or the sea), and the family members feed the poor ghosts as well when they celebrate the first return of their loved ones from the world of the dead. 

So when we prayed at the altar today, we threw some rice & chopped eggplant mixture under the altar and splashed some water for gaki ghosts. This tradition probably faded out in urban areas, but still exists in the countryside with abundant nature where gaki's existence may be more convincing. "

BTW, It's my summer ritual to make peach cobbler every year, and I didn't forget to do so this summer.;)


Dad and I had a decent harvest from our veggie garden this summer.
And I was lucky to enjoy fishing at least once.
This is my most fave way to eat silago: deep-fried silago roll with ume plum paste and green perilla in the center.

I was lucky enough to join this international BBQ? event. Indonesian food was really good.


And there was another big BBQ event in September! :)

Look how they roasted wild boar meat!! :O It was amazingly tender and tasted so good with local seasalt.

BTW, in Sep, 2015, I gave this a try for the first time in my life:

 See? Not bad for a fifty-something-year old, huh? ;)



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