Archive for Japanese cuisine

bye and thank you for all the fish!

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2019 by xi'an



Kudzu [クズ] delicacies [jatp]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2019 by xi'an



okonomiyaki [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2019 by xi'an



soba, home made [jatp]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by xi'an

I found out most recently that it was conceivable to make one own’s soba noodles at home! (Soba means buckwheat.) And hence embarked on the adventure on two consecutive weekends (one batch of noodles each!). As I like very much these particular noodles, having trouble finding manufactured ones around (the last ones I bought had no buckwheat flour content and were made in Hungary…). The recipe is awfully simple, since it consists in making a dough out of buckwheat and wheat flours, flattening it out (and again), and cutting thin noodles from the resulting folds. In practice, it does not work so well, from the dough crumbling when getting very thin (as buckwheat does not have the same adherence as wheat, missing the gluten component), to the folds sticking with one another when preparing to cut four or eight layers at a time. So far the results are more tagliatelle like than soba, but still eatable as is (especially for lunch at the office) and giving me a challenge to try next new techniques (like using hot water when making the dough).

   

my happy meal at Mc Donald’s

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2016 by xi'an

As my daughter is working at a McDonald’s close to Paris-Dauphine [as a summer job], I did a neighbour visit two days ago and had a salad there! While there was nothing exciting about the salad, it was my first meal at McDonald’s for at least twenty-five years (although I may have had an occasional tea there in the meanwhile) and there was nothing wrong either. Judging solely from my daughter’s (limited) experience, I am actually impressed by the degree of Taylorism in the preparation and handling of food and the management of staff. Not that I am contemplating getting back to this chain in the next twenty years, for the food served there remains junk food, but the industrial size of the company means that health and safety regulations and labour laws are more likely to be respected there than in a small local restaurant. Again judging solely from my daughter’s experience.

In an apt contrast, we went to celebrate her admission to the medical school last weekend and picked a bento restaurant in Le Marais that had good press. And was open on a Sunday evening. The place is called Nanashis and looks like an immense railways dinning hall. Somewhat noisy but ultimately not unpleasant. And very good if pricey soba cold noodles. (Just avoid the wine. And possibly the deserts since our homemade matcha cake can compete with theirs!)

sweet red bean paste [あん]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2016 by xi'an

I am just back from watching this Japanese movie by Naomi Kawase that came out last year and won Un certain regard award at the Cannes festival. It is indeed a movie with a most unusual “regard” and as such did not convince many critics. For instance, one Guardian critic summed up his view with the qualification of a “preposterous and overly sentimental opener to this year’s Un Certain Regard serves up major disappointment”. (As a contrapunto the finereview in Les Cahiers du Cinéma catches the very motives I saw in the movie.) And of course one can watch the movie as a grossly stereotypical and unreservedly sentimental lemon if one clings to realism. For me, who first and mistakenly went to see it as an ode to Japanese food (in the same vein as Tampopo!), it unrolled as a wonderful tale that got deeper and deeper consistence, just like the red bean jam thickening over the fire. There is clearly nothing realistic in the three characters and in the way they behave, from the unnaturally cheerful and wise old woman Tokue to the overly mature high-school student looking after the introspective cook. That no-one seemed aware of a sanatorium of lepers at the centre of town and that the customers move from ecstatic about the taste of the bean jam made by Tokue to scared by her (former) leprosy and that the awful owner of the shop where Sentaro cooks can be so obviously pressuring him, all this does not work for a real story, but it fits perfectly the philosophical tale that An is and the reflection it raises. While I am always bemused by the depth and wholeness in the preparation of the Japanese food, the creation of a brilliant red bean jam is itself tangential to the tale (and I do not feel like seeking dorayaki when exiting the cinema), which is more about discovering one’s inner core and seeking harmony through one’s realisations. (I know this definitely sounds like cheap philosophy, but I still feel somewhat and temporarily enlightened from following the revolutions of those three characters towards higher spheres in the past two hours!)

Awata Sanso dinner (Kyoto)

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on July 1, 2012 by xi'an

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