Friday, May 06, 2016

tsukada farm

Untitled Yesterday, it was blazing! Satoshi went to watch the Hanshin Tigers minor league at Koshien Stadium.

I decided to hang out at the mall across the street.

Untitled Since the game finished at about 16:30, we headed back to Umeda for an early dinner at Tsukada Farm.

Dinner started out with tsukedashi (stuff you don't order but have to pay for)...a chicken meatball soup. The meatball was super moist and the soup really flavorful.

We ordered their Ramen salad...the last time we had ramen salad was in Otaru.

This one had spicy meat topping. I liked this version better than the one in Otaru.

Untitled Pork ginger. They actually called it a ginger Genghis Khan. But it was more like a skillet type of pork ginger.

Untitled Deep fried squid legs with a dollop of mayo and sprinkle of shichimi (7-spice chili powder).

Untitled And a really mini Tokachi slider. Super juicy and moist burger.

Dinner was tasty and costed WAY less than the night before. Not sure that we would go back here though, as it was quite noisy...every time someone ordered something or came in and out of the restaurant the waiters/waitresses would shout out something...

Hope you have a nice weekend!

Tsukada Farm
Hankyu Grand Building 30F
Umeda, Osaka
Phone: 06.6316.5010
Hours: 17:00-24:00

Thursday, May 05, 2016

cubi di legno

cubi di legno Yesterday, we visited MIL in the morning and had lunch together. We also did a little "cleaning". Way more needs to be done, but at least she let us do the amount we did.

Dinner was at Cubi di Legno. I had eaten lunch here previously and was interested in checking out their dinner menu.

Satoshi ordered a beer...600 yen (tax included), while I ordered a "glass" of wine...900 yen (tax included).

Um, if you are going to charge THAT much for wine, I would say you need to fill my glass at least halfway...

cubi di legno Seasonal grilled veggies...1200 yen (tax included)

cubi di legno Seared katsuo (bonito) with panko (breadcrumbs) on one side, with a dollop of caponata...700 yen (tax included)

cubi di legno Pancetta & onion amatriciana...1600 yen (tax included)

cubi di legno Sawara (spanish mackerel) with broccoli, beet orecchiette...2000 yen (tax included)

During our meal, our waitress asked us if we would like some bread...little did we know that each piece was 100 yen (tax included).

While I enjoyed my lunch, this dinner, while delicious was totally overpriced.

We won't be back.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

asuka-osaka

asuka, nara Sunday, we woke to the birds chattering, a rooster crowing and a goose or something of that sorts screeching...

After some instant coffee and some bread for breakfast, we checked-out and continued to explore.

asuka, nara The Ishibutai Kofun (tomb) is apparently the tomb of Soga no Umako, a member of the powerful Soga clan.

Details about the tomb are written here.

Entrance to the tomb, is quite large and pretty impressive to go into!

asuka, nara Then a couple of minutes uphill from here and we saw a whole hillside filled with rice paddies...beautiful.

asuka, nara We then stopped at Sakata Farm for a 30-minute all-you-can-eat strawberry picking.

asuka, nara I thought 1500 yen per person, was kinda steep, especially since the strawberry season is almost over.

On top of that, I was leery of eating the strawberries without washing them before eating, they aren't touching the ground, but still.

The strawberry variety in this area is called "Asuka Ruby".

We don't have this type of thing in Hawaii (or at least not when I was growing up), so I've always wanted to try doing a fruit pick and eat.

In the end, I think we ate 30 strawberries each, and it was fun.

asuka, nara One rock formation that we saw was the Kameishi (turtle rock).

The stone currently faces the south, but legend has it that it originally had faced the east and should it ever turn to face the west, the whole of Japan will be reduced to a sea of mud...spooky!

asuka, nara And then we saw the Takamatsuzuka Tomb.

Details about this tomb are written here.

asuka, nara We had a late lunch at Misono.

I ordered a hot egg sandwich (the bread was toasted and egg (omelette) was warm)...950 yen (tax included) with iced cafe au lait (+50 yen).

Satoshi had their mixed sandwich (ham, egg salad, lettuce, tomato)...900 yen (tax included) with coffee.

It was a scorching day. Since we got out and about early, we were able to see all that we wanted to see.

The clover fields were so pretty and I loved all the butterflies and ladybugs that we encountered on our bicycle rides, but would nix all the uphill stuff.

I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did.

Golden Week will be over this coming Friday and we hope to get out to visit MIL sometime this week.

Sakata Farm
289 Sakada
Takaichi-gun Asukamura, Nara

Misono
1-4-1 Misono
Takaichi-gun Asukamura, Nara
Phone: 0744.54.3386
Hours: 8:00-18:00
Closed 2nd and 4th Fridays

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

gojo-asuka

asuka, nara From Gojo, it is about 30 minutes to Asuka.

This area has many rock formations and kofun (tombs).

To get around we decided to rent bicycles.

It was a slight but steady incline to get from the Asuka station to the area we would be staying at near Oka dera (Oka temple).

Along the way we saw many rock formations, like those in the shape of monkeys called Saruishi. One in the shape of a cutting board called Oni no manaita (Devil's cutting board).

There was even one called Oni no Secchin (Devil's toilet)...eep!

as well as the tombs of many emperors/empresses of the past.

I didn't take many photos of these things as it seemed kinda creepy.

asuka, nara Lunch was at Tengyokudo, a maker of kuzu (arrowroot) for over 130 years.

I ordered their tonkatsu sandwich set...1900 yen (tax included).

asuka, nara This came with some soup, an all-you-can-eat salad bar and kuzu mochi (arrowroot).

Since Satoshi was still full from breakfast, he only wanted salad for lunch, so he took my salad bar portion and I just had the soup, sandwich and mochi.

The katsu was cooked perfectly and it was nice to get out from the heat of the day for a bit.

At Asuka-dera (Asuka temple), we saw the oldest buddhist statue which dates back to 609.

The priest there gave all the visitors a nice and easy explanation about the statue and temple.

asuka, nara It was so hot that we stopped in at Asucome to have some gelato at a kiosk called Genki na kajitsu kobo.

I had their Asuka Ruby (strawberry) smoothie. While Satoshi had their yomogi (mugwort) gelato. All the fruits used at this shop is grown at their farm...so good!

Then we went to check-in at the place we would be staying at, Minshuku Wakaba.

We left our bags and then walked up the super steep incline to Oka dera.

asuka, nara I loved seeing all these dahlia in their pond.

asuka, nara The 3-story pagoda and the view from this area, is something to see but you'll need to climb up some stairs to do so...

Since the minshuku we were staying at did not serve any meals, and most every eatery around us was closing at 17:00, we headed to 7-eleven to get some things for dinner and breakfast.

The items we chose had to be eaten as is, as there was no refrigerator for us to use. Nor was there anything to heat up foods with (though I did spy a microwave afterwards)...

Sharing two toilets with about 10 others, as well as taking turns bathing wasn't too bad, it was the smoking that got me.

The walls between every room were fusuma (literally paper doors), so whomever was smoking (constantly), the smoke would just waft into our room...*cough*

They really need to ban smoking in this country...

Another long day, with all the biking and heat from the day, I turned in before 21:00.

asuka, nara Stay tuned for the rest of our adventure...

Tengyokudo
692 Yamada
Sakurai, Nara
Phone: 0744.46.5566
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed Mondays

Asucome (Genki na kajitsu kobo)
410 Asukamura Oka
Takaichi, Nara
Hours: 11:00-17:00

Minshuku Wakaba
956 Oka, Takaichi area
Asuka, Nara
Phone: 0744.54.3538

Monday, May 02, 2016

osaka-gojo

gojo, nara From Osaka it is about 2 hours by train to Gojo, Nara.

I've been wanting to visit here because they have an area of preserved houses.

Since we left really early, we bought some snacks from Senjuan Kikukawa to eat on our walk around the area.

Ayu (a sweet in the shape of a sweetfish, filled with soft mochi. The outside is a thin crepe) & Mikasa (two pancakes sandwiching sweet bean paste).

gojo, nara Our first stop was Kongoji to see their botan (peony).

Like walking into someone's garden...So beautiful.

gojo, nara Loved the "embossed" petals of this kanboku (Guelder Rose).

Lunch was at a restaurant called Yoshinogawa, overlooking the Yoshinogawa (Yoshino River)...I was quite disappointed with their yakiniku meal. The meat was rare-ish and tough...the veggies that they served with it were mostly the hard parts of the cabbage...meh.

Satoshi had their lunch set and it looked way better than my meal...

gojo, nara Then we were off to see Eisanji, a temple of the area.

gojo, nara On the way back to "town", we came across this huge koinobori.

During this time of year you will see koinobori for Tango no sekku, Boy's Day.

In Osaka, because space is limited, most families hang tiny ones from their balcony. It was nice to see something this size.

gojo, nara Then we explored the preserved housing area.

gojo, nara We stopped at Hitotsubashi Mochi shop and shared this yomogi (mugwort) mochi...100 yen.

The lady running the shop was so cute too.

gojo, nara Most shops in the area were closed for Golden Week...boo!

gojo, nara We were able to stop in at Kakiha to rest our feet and try some items all made from persimmon leaves and the fruit....beverages and cakes.

The kakiha latte was made from the powder of the persimmon leaf. It looked similar to matcha (green tea), but boy was it bitter!

This place turned out to be quite a disappointment...the latte, was mostly foam, bitter foam...the persimmon cake was taken out of the freezer just before serving so it was hard.as.rock...meh

We then went in search of the place we would be staying at...Fujiikan.

gojo, nara From the outside it looked like a tiny place, from our room, we could see the other wings...huge property!

Dinner was an assortment of things, there was also some fried shrimp and fruits for dessert but I was so hungry, I didn't take photos of them.

Despite the temperature being in the single digits (7C (44F)) and super overcast, I'd say we did quite a lot.

We turned in quite early (before 21:00) as we were quite tired from all the walking we did...tomorrow we would head to the Asuka area.

Senjuan Kikukawa
1-5-1 Gojo
Gojo, Nara
Phone: 0747.22.1056
Closed Sundays
Hours: 9:00-18:00

Hitotsubashi Mochi Shop
1-3-1 Gojo
Gojo, Nara
Phone: 0747.22.3470
Closed Sundays
Hours: 8:00-until they sell out

Fujiikan
1-10-4 Sue
Gojo, Nara
Phone: 0747.22.2010





Friday, April 29, 2016

seed studded anzac biscuits

seed studded anzac biscuits❤︎using @nigellalawson 's recipe, cutting the recipe in half...if you must know, there were 7... #qualitycontrol #anzacbiscuits #nigella #japan Monday was ANZAC Day, and while I am neither Australian nor New Zealander, I like ANZAC biscuits, because they remind me of chewy macaroons/oatmeal cookies.

I posted about this many moons ago here.

This time, I tried Nigella Lawson's recipe.

Seed Studded Anzac Biscuits : Nigella Lawson : makes 15

100 grams soft butter
100 grams light brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
2 tablespoons hot water
125 grams plain flour
50 grams unsweetened coconut
100 grams oats
25 grams pumpkin seeds
25 grams sunflower seeds
25 grams sesame seeds

Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup
Take off heat
Add hot water to baking soda (it will fizz), add to butter mixture
Combine with dry ingredients
Scoop out and press down flat
Bake at 180C (350 F) for 8 to 12 minutes depending on how chewy or crisp you want your cookies (longer is crispier)

NOTES: I love the idea of adding the seeds! I didn't have pumpkin seeds, so I left it out. I also used black and white sesame seeds. I didn't have golden syrup so I just used kuromitsu (thin Japanese molasses). Also the coconut that I have is sweetened, so I just used that as well. Nigella used sprouted oats, but I used regular oats.

I also cut the recipe in half so I only had 7 cookies.

I will definitely make these again.

It's the start of Golden Week here. We may be off the grid for a couple of days, will talk to you soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

kinkan (kumquat) conserva

kinkan(kumquat) conserva @sunsetmag recipe inspired by @ironchefmom ❤︎thanks Michelle for the kinkan, will send you this bottle:)  #kinkan #kumquatconserva #sunsetmagazine #japan With the kinkan (kumquat) that I received from Michelle, I tried a recipe that I've had bookmarked for awhile...Kumquat Conserva.

The recipe only calls for 4 ingredients...vanilla bean, sugar, water and the kumquats.

The hardest part of this recipe was de-seeding the kumquats.

My conserva didn't turn out as "jammy" as I envisioned it would.

kumquat conserva, soft boiled egg with smoked shoyu & coffee❤︎happy tuesday  #breakfast #kumquatconserva #egg #coffee #japan #toast @gastronomy05 Still, this was delicious on toast. I think it would be nice with plain yogurt too.

Kumquat Conserva : scribbled down from "Sunset Magazine"

1 vanilla bean
1.5 cups sugar
1 pound kumquats
1.5 cups water

Split vanilla, scrape seeds, set aside
In a pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes
Add kumquat and return to simmer
Cook until skin translucent (about 15 minutes)
Strain kumquats over bowl
Add syrup and vanilla to pot and bring to a boil, cook for 10-12 minutes and reduce to 1.25 cups

NOTES: not sure where I went wrong but my conserva didn't have much liquid. Still I liked this and would definitely make this again.

I sent a bottle of the conserva (in the first picture) to Michelle, hope she likes what I did with the kumquats from her relative's tree.

Thanks again Michelle!