Archive for the 'Food' Category


Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Even though I have been living in Tokyo for just over six years I still see food in the supermarket that I don’t recognise.  The types of fruit you can buy change with the seasons and winter citrus season has arrived.  Today I could have bought a 4 kilo box of mikans. This may seem like an odd thing to comment on but fruit is very expensive in Japan.  The concept of buying so much of it at one time now seems like madness to me.  I did stop to admire it though and the other citrus fruits.  I have known about oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, for most of my life but I did not know that so many other citrus fruits exist.

When I first moved I discovered yuzu, which tastes somewhere between a lemon and a lime and is excellent in dressings and with fish.  Last year I discovered dekopon which is a wonderful sweet orange-like fruit.  Today I saw something called a kabosu and another fruit called merogourudo.  The kabosu was small and a darkish green.  It looked like it might be bitter and since it cost about 200 円 ($2.40) I decided not to buy one.  But the merogourudo thing was fascinating.  It looked like a large mutant grapefruit.  It’s English name is Melogold Grapefruit and it’s the biggest grapefruit I have ever seen.  Reading about it online suggests it may turn out to be the sweetest one I have eaten.  It was 238 円 ($2.90) and seemed much better value than the tiny fruit.  I have not eaten it yet as I will have to wait until I feel hungry enough to tackle such a large grapefruit.

A Large Mikan and a Melogold Grapefruit

A Large Mikan and a Melogold Grapefruit

Valentine Surprise

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I have decided that today should be Valentine’s Day as I wasn’t at home on the 14th.  I did leave Marty a gift but he didn’t get the meal I had planned and he won’t be expecting it today.  You might think that if I want to surprise my husband that I shouldn’t write about it on my blog but he’s not really into the Internet.  I think he only discovered YouTube last week.  (I’ll admit that’s not a completely fair statement, he knew it existed but he hadn’t realised that you could use it without Flash).  He might read this post at some point over the next year, but I won’t count on it.

Surprise dinners can go badly wrong when people ring to say that they’ve forgotten to leave work so I am going to make food that doesn’t rely on him arriving home on time.  I’m planning on making carrot and tomato soup, chicken a mushroom skewers in a chili marinade, shepherds pie, and for dessert I will bake heart shaped strawberries and cream cupcakes.

I have also picked a movie for us to watch – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  This may not be considered a romantic movie but there would be nothing romantic in arranging an evening for Marty and expecting him to watch a romantic comedy.  I’m hoping that my choice works for both of us, that it’s intriguing enough to interest him even if it doesn’t have lots of death, explosions, or giant killer robots.  I know he’s talked about watching Real Steel but I don’t know if he realizes that the robots in that appear to just thump each other in a boxing ring and don’t actually go on killing sprees in the hope to destroy humanity, and even the lure of watching Hugh Jackman wasn’t enough to entice me to buy that.

Hopefully he will be pleased.

McDonald’s Christmas

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Last year we decided it would be fun to have a traditional Japanese KFC Christmas dinner.  This year McDonald’s has started to offer a Christmas box set, though we weren’t tempted to try this.

iCon Box Sets

iCon Box Sets

No Roasted Parsnip

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Last year I hunted for parsnips to roast for Christmas dinner, but I couldn’t find them.  This year I’ve found them at Nissin World Delicatessen but I’m not going to buy them.  I do love roasted parsnip but they were 280 円 (€2.70 EUR, £2.20 GBP, $3.58 USD) per 100 grams! If I was making dinner just for myself I may consider a special parsnippy treat, but would my guests really like it that much?  I’m just back from Europe and I find myself converting currencies when I look at prices.  You can imagine how horrified I was when the one parsnip I picked up was 691 円 (€6.80 EUR,  £5.60 GBP, $8.81 USD).  Who would expect the vegetables to cost more than the turkey?

Expensive Parsnips

Expensive Parsnips

Fish Market

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

I went to Tsukiji fish market this morning for breakfast.  This was my first visit though I’ve been living in Japan for nearly 5 years.  I’ve considered it before but always liked the idea of sleeping more than fish eating.  Since it is a friend’s last day in the city I decided to make the effort and got out of bed at 6am.

The sushi was scrumptious.  We ordered the chef’s recommendation and I ended up with more than I could eat.  That worked well as I was able to leave a couple of pieces that I’m not overly fond of.  When I first moved to Japan I didn’t eat sushi at all.  Now I like sushi enough that I eat it for lunch three days a week but there are still some types of sushi that I avoid.  This morning I was served sea urchin, which I find it hard to look at never mind eat.  I’m also not fond of fish eggs, but I did manage to eat one roll that contained these.

I would consider going back as the fresh sushi was certainly worth getting up for, and given how often I travel, it may be the perfect breakfast treat when I’m jet lagged.


Chicken Tonight

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I like trying out new recipes.  This week I’ve been craving pastry and I thought I would attempt to make savoury pies.  I have a limited supply of recipe books, most of which focus on desserts, so I spent quite a bit of time researching recipes on the Internet.  In the end I went with a Delia Smith recipe for Chicken Feuilletes.  I’m not sure what a feuillete is but it looks like a pastry parcel.

I had planned to make the pastry but I actually found frozen puff pastry in my local grocery store.  I was delighted as it meant I could experiment with making pies without spending hours folding pastry.  Making the filling was easy.  I let Marty put the filling in the pastry as he enjoys playing and was keen to try making the little parcels.  Watching him looking into the oven and saying things like “oh pants” did make me wonder if I’d made a mistake.  But although the finished pies don’t look as good as the ones in the original recipe they certainly taste like the comfort food I was hoping for.

Chicken Parcels

Chicken Parcels

Cupcakes at Work

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Marty took most of the cupcakes into the office on Monday morning.  He didn’t put as much effort into decorating them as we had planned for Sunday, but he still had fun.

Decorated Cupcakes

Decorated Cupcakes



Cupcake Anticlimax

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I had to cancel the cupcake party.  I didn’t want to, but I was ill on Sunday.  The forlorn cupcakes spent the day in the fridge before being taken to Marty’s office on Monday.

Stored Cupcakes

Stored Cupcakes


Cupcake Diaries: Saturday Evening

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I really want to get all the cupcakes baked before I go to bed.  I’m not looking forward to decorating them tomorrow morning, but I’m hoping that Marty is better at decorating than I am.


I’m sure that I had a plan to take a break.  But instead I decided to make the ginger cupcakes.  After that I will have to stop as I don’t have all the ingredients for the final three flavours.  We’ve ordered dinner from the local Chinese restaurant as the thought of cooking makes me went to go to bed now.


Carrot cake cupcake attempt two is a failure.  I used the correct type of flour but the fruit was too heavy and has made them sink.  I used fresh pineapple tonight, as I can’t get the American tinned variety, and I drained the excess liquid.  But still the buns are a sticky mess.  I will name them Titanic Cupcakes and throw them in the bin. Let’s hope the apple cupcakes currently in the oven don’t share their fate.


Finished the apple, tiramisu, and chocolate strawberry cupcakes.  The final set, the cheesecake cupcakes, are now in the oven.  Soon I’ll go to bed.

Cupcake count: 117

Cupcake Diaries: Saturday Afternoon

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I survived the morning and I am still in a good mood.  The afternoon may change that, but I’m going to try to keep this baking experience as stress-free as possible.


Grating vegetables is boring.  Marty is making it more interesting by occasionally throwing carrot across the room.  He claims this is accidental.  Actually he’s decided that after grating just one carrot and two aubergines that there must be a way to get the food processor to do this for him.


Marty found a way to get the food processor to finely grate the carrots.  Well, he says finely grated but really it’s mush.  And since mush is not the texture I require for all my cakes he’s still having to do some grating by hand.  He’s happy enough as he gets to eat the parts of the carrot that won’t grate.

Tested the strawberry cupcakes and so far so good.  The jam in them works well and you can’t taste the aubergine.  (I’m still concerned that my desserts will come out tasting like dinner.)


Amused that the orange flavoured cupcakes are also orange coloured as they are made with Japanese eggs, that tend to have dark orangey yokes, and carrots. Marty won’t let me test the chocolate chip cupcakes. I suppose he has a point, I made these during the week and know that they taste good, but surely it’s better to be safe than sorry?


Getting tired.  I managed to push the eject button on my electric whisk while whisking eggs.  I now have cupcake batter in my hair.

A chocolate chip cupcake escaped from the muffin tin and landed on the floor, but I’m still not allowed to try these.  We did try one of the fairy cakes.  Marty complained that they were heavy, but I pointed out that they need to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes when they come out of the fridge.  He agreed that was the problem and then continued to eat the rest of the cake.


Losing my will to bake.  I’m going to take a break for a couple of hours.

Cupcake count: 77