A day trip to Miyajima

Hello everyone! I’m back from my summer vacation and I’m kinda suffering the post-vacation syndrome. While we were back in Y-chan’s grandma place, we don’t need to worry on what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we can have air-conditioner switched on while we sleep. These are almost impossible when we’re back in our own apartment. Among these, we’re so glad that grandma looks much better compared to the last visit in May last year. 😀

So anyway, we have to go Hiroshima for a night’s stay because Y-chan has to attend a friend’s wedding and I’m left alone (shopping). Took a local train from Yamaguchi to Hiroshima and that takes about 3 hours to reach. There was another choice which is to take the Shinkansen (about an hour journey), but I wanted to see the scenery of Inland Sea (瀬戸内海). So yeah, local train. 😐 On the second day, we had okonomiyaki for lunch at Hiroshima station before we head off to Miyajima. It’s our first time as a couple to visit Miyajima because the first time we went there together was with my exchange group.

Alrightsssss! Photos time!

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The city tram – Hiroden (Hiroshima Dentetsu).moneychanging

Coins changing machine/Paspy charging machine – If you don’t own a Paspy IC card, you’ll have to pay in cash. What happens if you don’t have the exact coins to pay for your fare? Use this machine. 🙂 It’ll change your 500yen coin to a few 100yen coins, 50yen coins and 10yen coins.

And oh! My dear Singaporeans, if you’re paying your fare trip in cash, it’s unlike Singapore where you have to pay first before boarding. You’ll pay when you alight at your stop. 😀okonomiyakiteppan

Okonomiyaki stall in Hiroshima station. The one I went to is Icchan (いっちゃん).

I had my first Hiroshima Okonomiyaki when I was in Secondary school? There was this stall at B2 of Takashimaya food hall near the escalator (it’s now gone because the owner went back to Hiroshima). And from then on, I’m in love with it. 😀 negiokonomiyaki

Y-chan’s Negi Okonomiyaki soba version (Okonomiyaki topped with lots of spring onions), 900yen.cheeseudonokonomiyaki

This was mine. Cheese Okonomiyaki udon version (half-size), 900yen. You may choose between soba or udon, and I chose udon. Then, if you have a small appetite (like me), you can order half-size. BUT, the price would be the same as a normal sized one. orzshikacouple

These furry messengers from heaven welcomed us after we alighted the cruiser. heartbutt

shaped butt. 😀OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Asked a guy to help us take a photo of the gigantic torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 (and got photobombed by a tourist behind, that explains the awfully cropped photo). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside Itsukushima Shrine and it was at low-tide, we could see lots of sea creatures crawling out from the bed. miyajimacoffee

Had a rest at Miyajima Itsuki Coffee (伊都岐珈琲) because the weather was hot & humid. Iced Americano at 400yen was quite a reasonable price considering it to be a touristy place. Itsuki Coffee has good ratings on TripAdvisor too, so if you’re in Hiroshima, do give it a visit.cafe

My new summer hat that I bought while shopping alone the day before. 😀miyajimagurume

Spent quite a lot on omiyage (souvenirs) and the above street food. 😉

1. Anago Chikuwa あなご竹輪 (served pipping hot!)

2. Yaki Kaki 焼き牡蠣 (grilled oysters – Hiroshima is famous for its oysters production and you need to give it a try unless you have allergies. There are some seasonings available on the table so feel free to add some.)

3. Age-manju 揚げまんじゅう (Deep-fried momiji manju)

4. Kaki kare pan 牡蠣カレーパン (I LOVE THIS! There are 2 big juicy oysters inside the deep fried curry bread.)babyshikaWhile we were heading back to the dock, this little bambi kinda sent us off. LOVE!!♥♥♥

Hiroshima holds a big big place in my heart because it was my first overseas trip (please excuse Malaysia) and I met my super nice host family and friends there (not knowing that one of them will be my future-husband).

I seldom hear of Singaporeans including Hiroshima in their itinerary which is kind of sad. 😦 No need to even mention Y-chan’s hometown, Yamaguchi. ._.

While on our way back on the local train, there was a group of ladies in their late 20s (perhaps?) who were talking so loudly that their conversations woke me up from my nap (I suspect I’m having motion sickness). I was so pissed about it that I said out to Y-chan in a tone loud enough for them to hear ‘This is so much noisier than the aeroplane we took!’ Straight after I said that, I went back to nap and woke up again to find out that they had shifted their seats away from us. LOL.

*I’m evil* 😉

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Bentos for June

Hello! 🙂 I realised that I haven’t do a post on June’s bento and it’s already mid-July! *shrieks!!!!* And in a few days time, I’ll be back in Y-chan’s hometown for holidays. 😀

(If you are interested in May’s bento.)

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I’m asked by friends on how I managed to whip up the bento every morning. Like do I wake up at unearthly hour to prepare? The answer is No. 😉

For the side dishes, I’ve mentioned in May’s post that I’ll cook a batch of them and store them in clean air-tight containers. It can last for about 2-3 days so once it’s emptied, I’ll cook additional side dishes. 😀

For the main, I’ll marinate the meat in small ziplock bag the night before and just sauté it in the morning. (Simple and time-saving!) Or sometimes, I’ll cook extra for dinner and save a portion for bento use. (More time-saving!!) 🙂

Some tips on hygiene practices in bento packing.

  • Always allow your food to cool down before covering the lid.
  • Hard-boiled eggs – It’s advisable to cook your eggs well if you’re in hot climates (summer or Singapore) because bacteria contamination might just happen without you knowing. (I was questioned by Y-chan when I placed runny egg yolk in his bento. 😐 )
  • Adding Umeboshi (pickled plum) in your bento – It acts as an edible antibacterial for your bento and aids in digestion. (That’s why bentos are always packed with an umeboshi! 😉 )

I hope these tips are helpful to you.

July’s bento post will be a short one since we’ll be away for 1 whole week. 😀 I promise to do the savory version of tamagoyaki when I’m back! Till then! ♥♥

Recipe: Tamagoyaki (Sweet version)

Hello. 😀 Do you like Tamagoyaki (玉子焼き – egg omelette roll)? If yes, do you like the sweet type or the savory type (with dashi stock)? 🙂

Today, I’ll be sharing the recipe for sweet version of Tamagoyaki. It’s the one I usually make for Y-chan’s bento.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs – 4 medium sized
  • (A) Sugar – 1½ tablespoon
  • (A) Sake (cooking wine) – 1 tablespoon
  • (A) Shoyu – ½ tablespoon
  • (A) Salt – a pinch
  • Cooking oil

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  1. Mix (A) well, then crack in the eggs.
  2. Blend the mixture well.
  3. Heat up the pan (Medium heat) and grease it with cooking oil (using kitchen paper to grease every corner & to remove excess oil).

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  1. Pour in one-third of the egg mixture into the pan, and swirl to even out the mixture.
  2. Once the runny mixture begins to harden (especially the center area), use a turner to fold-in one-third of the egg omelette to the center.
  3. Then again to complete the first-inner roll.

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  1. Grease the pan again (top area), then push the egg roll to the top and grease the bottom area.
  2. Pour in another one-third of the egg mixture.
  3. Using chopsticks/turner, lift up the sides of the egg roll to allow the egg mixture to flow in (which forms the 2nd layer).
  4. Allow the runny mixture to set and then fold it in with the turner.
  5. Repeat the same steps with the remaining egg mixture.

Done! 😀 (Allow the tamagoyaki to cool down before slicing so as to allow the flavor to settle in.)

I’ll share the savory version soon (I hope). 🙂

Bentos for May

Hello everyone! 🙂 It’s been a long time since my last post. I’m may be inactive here but my Instagram account’s definitely active. 😉 Check there for more updates.

After the start of making Onigirazu (read if you haven’t!) lunchbox a.k.a bento for Y-chan in March, I’ve decided to challenge myself to prepare a ‘real’ bento for him instead. 🙂

We visited Tokyu Hands to get the essentials such as the bento box, a pair of chopsticks that’s reusable (being eco-friendly) and a pair of silicon cups. 😀 Tokyu Hands have a huge range of bento boxes, for kids, ladies and large-appetite users. If you are visiting Japan, please do drop by this store. There’s a huge one in Shinjuku and you might spend 1-full day there!

We’ve gotten a 630ml bento box which is considered small for a full-grown male adult. The reason why we’ve gotten that size was because I’m putting Y-chan on a diet (and he claims that he have a small appetite lol). The size of the bento is somehow equals to the amount of kilo-calories intake. So Y-chan literally ‘survives’ on a 630kcal diet for lunch.

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You might realised that there are repeated side dishes in the bentos. That’s because I usually cook a batch of it, store in clean air-tight container and pack it in the silicon cups every morning. Take the above collage for example, I’ve made a batch of kinpira (stir-fry & simmered burdock & carrot) and hijiki (black looking seaweed but is filled with lots of minerals) dishes, and they’re making ‘appearance’ in most of the days’ bento.

It’s important to plan ahead for the week’s bento menu so that you won’t spend 1-2 hours in the kitchen battling on what to pack for your bento. Usually I’ll need only 20mins to pack every thing in the bento including cooking the main item. 🙂

Another point to take note while preparing for your bento is the colors. There was a pro teaching on how to make bento look appetizing and colorful with just the 5 basic colors – White, Green, Yellow, Red and Black/Brown. If you have noticed, some of my bentos lacked the basic colors (especially red) and it seems so dull right? Get it? 😉

One last important point to take note is to allow your pipping hot rice and main item to cool down before covering the lids. If you do not do this step, the steam will condense and form water droplets, then dripped back into your food. Not only will it be watery, it’ll also have a weird smell when you open the lid for your lunch. 😐 *how unappetizing right?*

I’m monitoring Y-chan’s weight and by the end of May, he managed to lose 1kg! I don’t know if it’s the bento’s that’s working but it’s a piece of good news to me!

P/s: I don’t do kyara-ben (character bento) like what others are doing because……….. I think the food will taste………….. 😐 and kinda waste of time.

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. 😥