New Challenge in 2015

Hello! Are you enjoying 2015 yet? 🙂

I’m not going to set much resolutions this year but at the very least, I’m hoping to update this space more frequent than last year to make it less boring. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure friends who have followed my instagram would know that I’ve tried out a new challenge last week. 😀

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Click to read more! 😀

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Japanese New Year

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I know, I know… Half of January has passed and why am I writing about New Year right? (-_-) I’m writing this because I need to refer to this post end of the year to prepare for next year’s new year celebration. *sounds so confusing huh..* 😉

Kagami-mochi (鏡餅)

So I bought one which comes with a mini sheep object from a market in mid-December. However, the original one looks like this.

But it looks so confusing so I took the shortcut and choose the kawaii version instead. 😉 It is to offer the mochi (rice cake) to the gods and then consume it after welcoming the new year.

When to set it up? Answer is: 28th December.

Spring Cleaning

Same as the Chinese’s Lunar New Year tradition, Japanese also practise spring cleaning before welcoming the new year. Throw away unnecessary stuff and clean up the house sparkling clean.

Osechi Ryori (お節料理)

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I……… ordered this from the supermarket. 🙂 Looks awesome for 10,000yen (super value for money) and it comes along with the boxes. ♥

We didn’t consume osechi dishes for 2014 because we were still mourning Y-chan’s grandfather’s death. It’s the Japanese tradition to keep it a low-profile.

For Osechi dishes, the compulsory dishes to include would be Prawns, Datemaki (伊達巻), Kazunoko (数の子) my favorite ♥, Black soybeans, Kamaboko, Konbu, Namasu and Tazukuri. *For the explanation, read wiki here*

I love almost every items except maybe…. the chestnuts. :O

With this experience, I will try to make some of the dishes for example, the simmered vegetables, black soybeans, namasu and omelette this year. 😀

Ozoni (お雑煮)

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

There’s a lot of variations to the soup base depending of the region you’re brought up in. I asked Y-chan on what he used to have when young, he said “I can’t remember.” (-.-“)

So I made a miso-based Ozoni with chicken thigh (in bite-sized), daikon, carrots and spinach, then add in mochi to simmer till soft before serving. 🙂

Hatsumoude (初詣)

photo credits: matome.naver.jp

Hatsumoude means the first shrine/temple visit of the year, and it should be done by the 3rd day of the new year. 🙂 Long queues are a frequent sight in famous shrines/temples such as Meiji Jingu, Sensoji and Narita-san.

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We have been visiting Hikawa Shrine (武蔵一宮 氷川神社) for the past few years and it’s quite famous in the Kanto region.

We picked omikuji after the visit and both of us got 吉. LOL At least we didn’t get 凶 (bad). Hoping for the good luck to continue throughout the year. 😀

Nanakusa-gayu (七草粥)

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It’s a porridge cooked with 7 types of herbs and is to be eaten on the 7th day of the new year. There’s 2 reasons to eat this porridge.

Nanakusa-gayu is so lightly flavored or close to tasteless. During the new year, one tends to overeat and food tends to be heavily flavored. So eating this porridge would give the stomach a rest.

Another reason would be that the Japanese believes that eating nanakusa-gayu would protect one from illness and disasters throughout the year. 😉

As I am very picky on herbs (I don’t like the bitter taste), I bought this freeze-dried pack that’s so easy to handle. Just cook a pot of porridge with my rice cooker and mix the pack in. Serve it with a sprinkle of sea salt (a souvenir from a friend) to add some flavor.

Guess that’s the end of celebrating the Japanese New Year. 😀

It’s going to be the lunar new year soon and I am missing the bak kwa smell. 😥

NIKKO COFFEE

Happy New Year (guess I’m the only one who’s late in my greetings..)

I’ve failed to post this up before 2014 ends so here I am, beginning 2015 post with it. 🙂

While planning for our winter trip to Nikkō (Part 1 and Part 2), I’ve did some research on where to eat (for lunch) near Nikkō station so that we don’t end up with repetitive menu, i.e. soba and yuba.

After an hour of research, I came across NIKKO COFFEE site and I’ve decided to include it for our trip.

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NIKKO COFFEE’s signature coffee mug served on a tin saucer. Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

NIKKO COFFEE’s Japanese signboard.Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

An English version.

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Interior of the shop. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

As the shop itself does not have built-in heaters, the shop staff placed 2 stoves in the middle of the shop to warm up the area.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The kitchen and counter. They have only 2 staff in the shop so the food items ordered may take a while for it to be served. IMG_20141214_130150

Menu with cute illustrations of Nikkō.IMG_20141214_132026

This was placed together in the cutlery basket. I thought it was sugar sachets but it turned out to be wet hand wipes. :O We were given only 1 each so I couldn’t take 1 extra back home for a friend as souvenir as she likes to draw & illustrate. IMG_20141214_131942

I ordered their signature oven-baked black curry set. Rice was covered with big chunks of pork in black curry, topped with grilled vegetables, egg and cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. *YUMMMMS* I am craving for it whenever I see this photo. IMG_20141214_131958

This is Y-chan’s order. NIKKO COFFEE signature black curry set. It’s the same curry used but served differently. 🙂

They do serve other dishes other than curry, like galette and omurice. 😀IMG_20141214_135502

MINE. Chiffon cake drizzled with caramel and topped with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect match. IMG_20141214_135517

Y-chan’s favorite dessert – Cheesecake. I didn’t try it but according to Y-chan, he said it was good. 🙂

We were very very satisfied with our lunch and it ended our trip with a happy stomach. Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetBrought home a pack of NIKKO blend to drink. Love their simple coffee pack design.

If you’re planning to visit Nikkō and am looking for a place to dine in, give this shop a try! 😀

NIKKO COFFEE official site: http://nikko-coffee.com