Sunday, December 31, 2017

Food Photos - December

My Christmas Celebration 2017
It's finally December, the last month of 2017. And as you can see in the top photo, I didn't forget to celebrate Christmas by baking a Christmas Kouglof.

But before I get to that, let me show you other food photos from December.
I went to the village in the mountainous area again to visit their farmers market and cafe. There they served this wild boar soup for free! :D
The wild boar meat was oh so tender and the authentic soup warmed up every visitor there.
I loved their baked sweet potatoes, too.
I bought some of their sun-dried persimmons for New Year's decoration.

Now some people in my hometown (including myself) are planning to run a similar cafe in our own hometown. So in addition to visiting community cafes in other places, one day we experimented on making some sweets for our future cafe in our hometown.

Meanwhile, I finally harvested my buckwheat that survived two typhoons this autumn.
After being hung-dried for about a week, the grains looked like this:

Now, December is of course time for Christmas party. These photos are from an early Christmas party by another English conversation club in this city. Everything tasted so good and I felt a little guilty for not cooking for this party.

I DID cook/bake for my own Christmas celebration, though. :)
In early December, I soaked dried fruits with rum. And about five days before Christmas Eve, I baked this kouglof.
This was the very first time that my kouglof came out of the pan so smoothly and perfectly!! :D I was soooooooooooooooooo delighted!
And on the night of Christmas Eve, after my parents went to bed, I enjoyed this late-night snack alone.
And on the next day, I baked a light-tasting banana cake for my parents who hate strong-tasting cake with rum-soaked dried fruits.

BTW, did I post about the deer damage to our ponkan orange trees? About one year ago (autumn in 2016), deers ate the barks of all the ponkan orange trees in dad's orchard. I was so worried that they might die. Fortunately only one of them died, but others have survived. 
But most of the oranges are as small as ping pong balls (like the one on the left in the photo above) this year. Obviously the trees couldn't get enough nutrition... I'm just grateful that each tree has at least five or six oranges with decent size and taste.

And finally, it was time to cook for New Year's Day celebration. One year ago, mom was in the hospital at the end of December and I had to visit her often to get her to eat something. With the broken bone in my left foot, it was just so exhausting to prepare for New Year's Day.
But this year, mom was doing OK and I was in a good shape, and we managed to cook traditional New Year's foods like we do every year.
That was how the year 2017 ended...

I wish everyone a happy and exciting new year! :D

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Food Photos - November

Astringent Persimmons Not Astringent Any More
We did this again. I guess without doing this, I can never feel comfortable in November without doing this. LOL 
I harvested astringent persimmons, dipped their upper half into strong liquor (35%), stored them in tightly-closed plastic bags and kept warm in the bathtub. That's how we remove astringency from astringent-type persimmons so that we can enjoy eating them firm without having to wait until they are completely ripe and soft.
The trick worked alright this time as last year and we -- actually, my parents -- enjoyed eating them. Me? I was able to eat just one of them and my parents ate up the rest!! :O

Now, October and November are the good time to shoot omega sunrise mirage. These two are my favorite shots.

In November a fair called "Industrial Festival" takes place in this city. Since the major industry here is mostly the primary industry, you find many food stands at this fair.
And there was a dance performance as well.
Actually I helped with this dance team's food stand and sold fried potatoes while the team was performing like this.

In this month, there was another festival in a different part of the city.
Every year I take mom to this one because her former tea ceremony friends serve green tea at this event.
The members of this group always make sweets themselves using local ingredients only, which is such a wonderful effort, I think.
In the same event, at a different location, they sold things like food, crafts and second-hand clothes. It was nice to take mom there, though she didn't buy anything.

Towards the end of the month, our English conversation club had a little early year-end party at the restaurant with a great ocean view. (The party was held at night so the ocean view didn't matter, though.)

Those who have lived in Japan for a while probably know that they often put noodles into the soup after eating a nabe (hotpot dish) at restaurants or Izakaya pubs. The noodles are usually udon, but here they used ramen noodles for that purpose. It was different and nice, except that the soup was a bit too sweet for ramen noodles... ;)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Food Photos - October

My Buckwheat in Full Bloom
It was my very first time growing buckwheat and I didn't know what to expect at all. So I was so surprised when they started blooming so quickly right after a few true leaves came out. Maybe something was wrong? Maybe they were suffering from malnutrition or something? But no, it was just the way it should be.
I truly loved the white flowers. At the same time, I had to work hard to prevent them being blown down by typhoon wind. Yes. It was the month when the Supertyphoon LAN came to us. This is what I did to protect my buckwheat plants:
Simple and primitive as it looked, yet it worked perfectly! Any fence or net would have been blown down by the terrible wind. But since these strings let the wind go through them freely, they survived the storm and supported the buckwheat plants alright. :D

BTW, for some reason, I didn't take very many food photos this month. Actually these three photos below were the only food photos I found in the "photos 2017Oct" folder. I guess my mind was preoccupied with other things.

Anyway, these food photos were from our visit to a community cafe in a remote town. There community people started a cafe at a closed school as a local revitalization project. We visited to learn from them so that we can do something similar in our hometown. The food was pretty good.

Batter-fried Sweet Potatoes
Homemade Okura and Cucumber Pickles
We were so impressed with the pickles that we asked for the recipes. :D

 October was local religious festival season. In our hometown, we have this very unique custom of taking a portable shrine into the ocean as a ritual.
And sword dance was performed as well.
Of course there was a banquet for those performers afterwards, but I wasn't in that group this year and didn't have a chance to take photos there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Food Photos - September

Baked Eggplant with Miso (fermented soybean paste) and Mayonnaise Glaze
In small rural villages in Japan, it has become popular to reuse closed local school buildings for other purposes. 
Here at this closed elementary school, they have started a small cafe with farmers market that opens about once in a couple of months.
I was impressed with this drawing on the blackboard by one of university students helping with this project.
Farmers market is quite popular now.
I bought these huge eggplants to make the dish in the photo on top of this post. It was so good! :D

Also in this month, I had a chance to taste this curry at the cafe in a store selling plants and gardening supplies. This was probably the sweetest curry I had ever tasted.

One night I enjoyed fireworks...

and other days, I worked in the veggie garden.
It was my another project to grow buckwheat in my garden, and September was supposed to be the month for seeding.
I had had the garden ready for that.
Buckwheat needs good drainage, they say. So I was advised to ridge the garden like this if the place did not have a good drainage.
It was very necessary because in 2017 typhoons came one after another and some of them were very powerful...


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