Naoshima♥


I have been meaning to post these photos on my blog for a while now to share with you the wonderfulness of Naoshima, an Island dedicated to art found between southern Honshu and northern Shikoku.

This trip was one of the most memorable and special times I have experienced whilst living in Japan.  If only I knew of this island years ago, I’d have visited more often.    If you ever get the chance to visit Japan, forget all the touristy cities and head straight for Naoshima.  Even if you lack interest in art, I’m certain you will feel the islands magical powers.

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Green Tea is not just for drinking.


What drink solves all your problems when you feel you need a pick me up any time of the day?

This week has seen litres of green tea pass my lips.  I can’t seem to get enough of it.  Surprisingly enough I have been craving it more than wine or gin or the multitude of alcoholic drinks I seem to regularly poison my body with.

I wish green tea was just as popular back in the UK as it is here.  I have almost taken for granted how lucky I am to have it practically on tap here.  I’d better get stocking up now so I can send home a years worth to see me through my masters.

I love this tea so much.  I drink it hot, cold, I bake with it and even bathe in it…well…not my whole body, just my face.

Facial toners are always full of ingredients and chemicals and are often very expensive and harsh on your skin.  At least when I’m in scotland I have the option of reading labels to see which products to avoid. Unfortunately though, in Japan I don’t have that luxury of being able to understand everything I read.

Often you’ll find brands advertising their products with the selling point that it contains green tea or Aloe or both.   It is common for people to apply aloe straight to your skin, so why not do the same with freshly brewed green tea (chilled of course)?

Ok, If you do decide to do this, it will have to be fresh as it doesn’t contain preservatives, but considering I drink it every day, it isn’t much to save a little for my face too.

As you probably already know green tea is high in anti-oxidants.  It’s powerul benefits are written all over the internet telling us that  it inhibits the growth of cancer cells, lowers total cholesterol levels.  It also protects skin from free radical damage.  Apparently it is helpful for all skin types too.  Perfect for me as my skin is annoyingly sensitive to everything.   I have also read that green tea helps burn calories faster (perfect for all those dieters out there).  It is also supposed to kill bacteria found in dental plaque, preventing tooth decay.   In saying that it also stains your teeth, however all the goodness out weighs this problem for me.

It’s pretty obvious that this drink is good for you.   Even if you are one of those who are sceptical about all these types of stories you read on the net.  It won’t do you much wrong to indulge your body both in and out with a few cups.

For me I just love the taste and the feeling it gives me, the rest is just a bonus.

Here’s a little toning mixture I use on my skin every night I’d like to share with you:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tablespoons of fused green tea
  • 2.5 tablespoons of fused peppermint leaves (I find the peppermint adds that extra freshness)

Directions:

  1. Simply mix the infusions in a bottle then refrigerate.
  2. Use within 4-5 days

Aloe Energiser


The count down has started before my working life commences after a wonderfully relaxing and occasionally not so relaxing break.

Every hour is precious today, so an early start with an energising booster smoothie has set me on my way.

Recipe (serves 2)

  • 1/2 tub tofu
  • 8 tbsp fresh aloe gel
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup spring water
  • a few cubes of ice in each glass
  • 1 cup strawberries (chopped)

Directions

  1. Simply put all ingredients into the blender and mix until smooth
  2. If you want to make the mixture a little more creamy add a little soy milk to the mixture and blend together.
  3. Divide between 2 cold ice filled glassed and serve

Ginger Rice


Spring is most definitely here.  No complaints from me about the sudden increase in temperature.  Spring fashion, food, BBQs, sunshine and swimming in the sunshine, those are amongst some of what I look forward to in the coming weeks.  Only one thing which stands between me and my sunshine fun times is…..W.O.R.K.

Holidays are most definitely over when that word enters my mind.  It’s looking like that time again to get planning for the kiddies at school and less time planning for what I want to eat next.  Och well…

I have a fridge full of goodies and a lot of recipe ideas up my sleeve…  So exciting 😀 Keep your eyes peeled for those.

On tonight’s menu we have;

Ginger & Mushroom Sticky Rice served with a colourful mixed salad of tofu, broccoli strawberries and umeboshi.

Ingredients (Ginger Rice)

  • 30g Ginger
  • 2 cups rice
  • 400ml Konbu Dashi
  • 100g mushrooms (I used shitake)
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp Mirin
  • 1tbsp Sake

Directions

  1. wash and drain your rice
  2. then simply add all the ingredients into the rice cooker and set to cook
  3. The rice should come out slightly sticky
  4. I garnished this dish with a wedge of lemon juice and nanohana (rape seed)

A few interesting facts about this edible flower, nanohana or rapeseed in English

菜の花 NANOHANA Rapeseeds, Canola

Rapeseeds are high in carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium and calcium.   Rapeseed is a well balanced nutritional vegetable. When you steam them, steam for only a short time, otherwise you will lose the vitamin C.  It’s said that rapeseed is good for your immune system. It also helps reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The spicy component is allyl isothiocyanate which is known to help prevent and fight against cancer and blood clots.

You can boil or steam this vegetable to enjoy as a side dish or use it for tempura.

I intend to upload the images for this recipe later so please check back to see how it turned out.  I will also write up the yummy salad  recipe which I served along side it.

I am very much satisfied with this dish.  I love its fresh flavours (ginger being one of my favourites), also its ease of preparation amongst other things.  Find out for yourself and let me know how you get on.

For now I have to head off to study a little more Japanese.

Catch you later

Happy eating

Organic


Not much has been happening in the kitchen, but what goes on outside the kitchen is equally as important especially when organic markets are involved.

To begin, Andy made a fresh and healthy breakfast, which I wouldn’t let him stuff in his mouth without taking a picture first.  So happy I did, this pic makes my mouth water every time.  Take a look…

Ingredients :

  • 1 Rice cracker
  • rocket, red cabbage and shaved carrot mixed salad
  • 1 egg (poached)
  • sprinkle of cottage cheese
  • sprinkle of black pepper and cracked salt

We experimented with a little rock climbing for the first time.  I didn’t realise it was going to be such a challenge.   I didn’t even climb that much, but I feel super tender all over.   I can’t wait to do it again!

This was followed by a short hike to the peak of a mountain looking out to Kochi.

Followed by another early start to catch the best of the local organic market, where I indulged in purchasing some aloe leaves, fresh herbs, loose leaf tea, home made Kabocha skin preserve, and a yummy organic bento…

Followed by crafts shop shopping…

Followed by a walk in the park and a picnic under the cherry blossoms…

I love this life.