For the Love of Tofu

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Tofu comes in a surprising number of forms. The humble soy bean has given rise to a huge number of products, from sauces, curds, milk, edamame and even natto – fermented soy beans, filling the social niche of cheese for the Eastern world. All evidence of an incredible resourceful product. Essentially, tofu is just coagulated soy milk.

As with my first experience of olives, many many years ago (those rubbery black things related to tyres that appeared on ’80s pizzas) the difference between poor tofu and quality product is profound. My only exposure to tofu, until I came to Australia, was soft, tasteless silken, usually unadorned. I hated it. The texture, the stony blandness, the intimation that the damn stuff was in some way ‘doing you good’ – meat free protein virtuosity. Read more…

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Dotomburi, Osaka

IMG_7965We spent time in Osaka at the beginning and ends of our recent holiday, staying at the surreal, faux English Monterey Grasmere – complete with replica full size village Church on the second floor, for those quintessentially English country weddings – before jetting off to Seoul. Our intention was to hit the sights and night life of Dotomburi, a suburb of Osaka, nearby. Read more…

Tsukemono : the beautiful art of Japanese pickles

I just adore the range of pickled veg I’ve had in Japan. Being a fan of preserving and pickling generally, I really appreciate the care and thought behind even a tiny plate of 2 or 3 varieties presented with a bowl of rice. Pickles are an important part of Japanese cuisine, and particularly of the rice element of a keiseki meal, also. ???????????????????????????????

They range from the simple, lightly vinegared cucumber slices, as above, and the pink ginger familiar from our sushi trays, the wonderfully sour umeboshi, to elaborate, delicately fragrant varieties and even – to my delight – pickled blossom. Read more….

Fabulous Fish – Nishiki Style

???????????????????????????????It’s not hard to see that Japan is a country that relies heavily on seafood. On our trips to Japan this has been readily apparent – not just in the sashimi either (though in the end we ate less of that than we do on a typical week in Australia).

Nowhere was this so obvious as at Nishiki Market in Kyoto. Whilst not specifically a fish market, quite a few stalls were dedicated to seafood in one form or another. Seafood is very, very popular! Read More….

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

nishikiflagI love a market. Especially a food market. When visiting another country, it’s a great way to get a handle on the local cuisine; visiting the place where everyone buys their everyday foods. Chatting to the stall holders, checking out the purchasers. Sometimes though, when on holiday, it can be a slight source of disappointment if with a particularly good market, you can’t try much, having no facilities to cook the lovely stuff you see.

Nishiki Market gets around this by selling cooked food as well as raw, and by being terribly generous with it’s free samples. Many stalls had Read More

Temples & Tofu

IMG_7516_smallJapan beckons with blossom filled arms. Kyoto in the Spring.

10 days of temples, and food. Sometimes combined! Kyoto’s specialties of tofu and kaiseki – a multiple course delight of local, seasonal produce in a formal style – plus tea, sake and craft beers. Along the way, old ramen favourites, new, never-to-be-repeated experiences (I now know giant sea snails are not for me), and not enough sushi by a long chalk. Read more…

Miso with that?

So. Been away a while – please forgive the silence. Our jaunt in Japan – sadly now becoming a distant memory – got rather in the way of blog writing. I’m working on a review of our foodie exploits; and to whet your appetite, here’s some miso encrusted radishes in a stall full of miso encrusted whatnots:IMG_7911Well, I hope it’s miso, anyway.