farm

How We Spend Our Days Is, Of Course, How We Spend Our Lives.

Isn’t that the most beautiful quote?

I love literature.
And cake!
And flowers and
spring.
That, most of all
is my favorite
thing.

There’s a lot in this post so I’ll give a brief explanation. First, carrot cake with PINEAPPLE chunks and not just raisins but dates, too. So good. And a crunchy top. Just make sure to drizzle with a little honey before adding the nut/seed mixture. Second, Pictures from my walk to school today. My favorite being the picture of the obachan (old woman) with her dog in her rear tricycle basket. Yes, tricycle. Next, today’s breakfast (sorta Italian) and today’s bento. The latter more Japanese, less Persian. And last, chocolate banana loaf made with okara (soy pulp). Perfect for Japan dwellers cos that shizz is sold everywhere.
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The Ultimate Carrot Cake:
3 free-range eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 large carrot, grated
4 canned pineapple rings, chopped small
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
—————-
1 cup white flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped raisins and dates
pinch of salt
Topping:
1/2 cup of mixed nuts and seeds
(I used flax seed, sesame seed, walnuts and pistachios)

Preheat oven to 180C

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately then together.

Pour into a baking-paper lined cake tin.

Drizzle a small amount of honey on top of the batter then top with nuts and seeds.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the fork comes out clean.

Note: if topping begins browning too quickly, just cover with tinfoil and continue baking.

Chocolate Banana Okara Cake 
This one’s for the people who have access to okra (soy pulp) or any nut or oat pulp. In Japan, Okra is sold at all supermarkets in the tofu isle.
2 ripe bananas
2 free-range eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 cup okara
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup almond powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 cup walnut pieces
Topping:
1 banana, chocolate pieces (I used ViBERi chocolate-coated freeze-dried blackcurrants), silvered almonds and juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 180C

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together

Pour batter into a baking-paper lined cake tin

Top with banana, chocolate, almonds and lastly, a squeeze of lemon juice – this is to stop the banana from changing color.

Bake for 30-40 min or until the fork comes out clean.

All You Can Eat Strawberries In Japan

Oops I did it again.

I went strawberry “picking” at Nishiyama Farm which is actually an All You Can Eat (40 minute) strawberry buffet, if you will. And it was just as good as the first time. So many sweet and humongous, seriously these things were the size of my fists, strawberries. Yum yum yum. I highly recommend you go. The 1800yen is SO worth it. And, you get to wear a ridiculous hat (if you like) for hilarious Instagram opportunities! Oh! And and and, it’s so warm in the glasshouses that you’ll forget it’s winter or that it’s snowing all together! Hashtagonlyinjapan.

Open NOW. More details HERE.

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New Year’s in Japan

The following extract is from education.asianart.org cos aint nobody got time to write a blogpost. Just joking, not really, but I will say a word or two. First, that I’m so darn lucky, I got to experience mochi pounding TWICE this year since I live so rural and second that the mochi, the adzuki beans (used to make the red bean paste, anko) and the soybeans (used to make soy bean powder, kinako) were all grown and made by hand by my lovely hosts. Also, that the old lady (obachan) pictured below is a great-grandmother and 94!

JOY JOY JOY! Happy New Year, y’all!

In Japan, mochi (sticky rice dumpling) is a tasty treat made to commemorate special occasions, most notably the New Year. Once essential to the New Year celebration, the practice of pounding mochi together, or mochitsuki, is now rare even in Japan, as busy people eat store-bought mochi rather than make their own. Traditionally, glutinous rice is washed and soaked overnight on the evening before the pounding.

The next morning the rice is steamed and placed in the usu (large mortar) where it is pounded with a kine (wooden mallet). Once the mass is soft and smooth, it is pulled into various sizes and shapes. It can be enjoyed a variety of ways: fresh, with different sauces, sweet stuffing, or seaweed.

An offering to the kani (deity), called kagami-mochi (mirror mochi), is comprised of two mochi cakes usually placed on a sheet of pure white paper in the center of a wooden tray. and topped with a bitter orange (daidai). Kagami-mochi is placed on the family altar during the New Year as an auspicious gesture that signifies hope for a happy and bright year ahead.

Mochi is used to make a variety of traditional sweets and it can be eaten right away or cured and dried for later use. When it is cured, it hardens and can be cooked with red beans, vegetables or soups. It is also popular toasted on top of a stove, dipped in a variety of flavorings such as soy sauce and sugar or coated with toasted soy bean powder. Toasted mochi inflates to several times its original size, forming a crisp crust with a soft, chewy interior.

The exact origin of mochi is unknown, though it is said to have come from China. The cakes of pounded glutinous rice appear to have become a New Year’s treat during Japan’s Heian period (794–1185). As early as the tenth century, various kinds of mochi were used as imperial offerings at religious ceremonies. A dictionary dating from before 1070 calls the rice cake “mochii.” Around the eighteenth century, people began to call it “mochi.” Various theories explain the name. One is that “mochi” came from the verb “motsu,” “to hold or to have,” signifying that mochi is food given by God. The word “mochizuki” means “full moon.”
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image[11]image[6]image[1]image[14]image[9]image[2]image[4]image[8]image[12]image[3]image[10]image[5]Oh, and just to confuse y’all a little more, the very first image is where the rice cooks and the last images are of tochimochi being mixed into red bean paste or in Japanese, anko.

This is not what I was expecting when I thought about moving to Japan..

And boy was I blown away. There is so much beauty to be found in Japanese countryside alongside cans of HOT coffee around every corner like literally, every corner. Fun fact: there are fewer people in NZ than there are vending machines in Japan #thirst.

Some other things:
1.If you’ve ever wondered why soy milk is white but edamame are green, it is because fresh edamame are white too (under the green shell)
And,
2.The Japanese dry persimmons (in the most interesting fashion by hanging bag fulls like wind chimes outside their homes) and these wrinkly beauties taste like no other. Dry on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside; it’s time everyone started doing this. SO yum! You HAVE to try them.

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the best fruit parfait in okayama

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Okayama AKA the ‘Sunny Land’ is known for its delicious fruit and in particular, its white peaches. The folk tale of Momotaro, a boy born from a peach who became a warrior, originated in this region. Here, as well as actual whole fruits, an extensive variety of fruit (in particular peach and grape) products are on offer. These include, fruit jams, fruit chocolate, fruit jello-like desserts, fruit tea and even fruit curry! Not sure how I feel about the latter but hey! We ought to give everything a go, right? Perhaps most popular of all fruity products though, are Okayama’s fruit parfaits. These as you can imagine, can be seriously good and are often served with a combination of cream/ice-cream/sponge cake and oddly, corn-flakes – go figure? And range anywhere from 600YEN to a whopping 2200YEN.

So, where is the BEST fruit parfait in Okayama you say? Kurashiki Momoko is my answer (In Kurashiki – well, duh). Kurashiki Momoko is a farm direct outlet located in the Historical Quarter of Kurashiki, run by the Okayama Prefecture Vegetables and Fruits Sales Group. The two-story building is a retail space on the ground floor and an adorable wooden furniture fitted café, on the second. You know a place knows their shizzle when there’s a line out the door!

One of the most popular items on their menu is the fruit parfait, which is available only during the peach season. Fruit options include: peach (well, of course), grape, fig, pear and mixed fruit. They are generously proportioned (especially the 22000Yen one) and seriously GOOD – I mean look at that picture! The café also serves smoothies, gelatos and other cakes/sweets as well as a range of edible souvenirs, all made with locally grown Okayama fruit.

We ordered the fig and pear parfaits and ohhh boy.

However; I do have one tiny complaint though. When we finally reached the counter, after having waited our turn like civil folk, we were escorted all the way to the back of the line again! What had happened is that the shop assistant had assumed (as unfortunately often happens here – sorrynotsorry) that the foreigners had pushed in line. Thanks to a lovely Japanese woman (who with her family had been waiting behind us all along) speaking up, we were apologised to and escorted to the front again. Here’s hoping you won’t have the same experience – A minor glinch compared to the epic sequel, though!

figalicious definition makin’ me go loco

Don’t worry, I’m not about to quit my day job! Here’s the good news though, THE FIGS HAVE RIPENED and hallelujah! THEYRE JUST AS DELICIOUS AS I THOUGHT! Sorry for the caps. Clearly, I’m a little over excited. So, if I haven’t already mentioned, I am living in Okayama AKA the ‘Fruit Kingdom’ of Japan. How convenient is that? Anyways, recently I’ve completely changed my breakfasts. There’s been a lot of talk/research about eating raw fruits on an empty stomach (some people think it a load of bollocks whilst others swear by it). I myself, fall with the latter. Of course not of blind faith – I’ve been having raw fruit-only breakfasts for the last FEW days and already, I’m feeling a difference! Honestly people, I feel great. You too, should try it! Deli, if you’re reading this, please give it a go! You might think that after an hour or so your stomach will start grumbling and eating you from the inside out but it’s actually the opposite! I’ve never received so much energy from any other breakfast! Not even oats! Sorry, too many exclamation marks for a paragraph on fruit but I feel so strongly about my new discovery that I just cant help myself! I really don’t think I’ll ever have anything else for breakfast – well maybe pancakes but they can be the once in a lifetime (and by lifetime I mean tomorrow) exception! ! ! ! !!!! I

Excuse me while I move to a tropical island to become one of those women who just eat 20 bananas a day.
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Wyenova Organic Farm

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To put it mildly, Vanya Maw is Wonder Woman.  Armed with a precious orchard, a roving kiosk (mostly found at the Riccarton Rotary Sunday Market – isle H) and a pack of extremely loved animals, her mission for world domination is simple: make bread not war.

Since 1992, Vanya Maw has been running Wyenova Organic Farm situated at 740 Waterholes Road (less than 10 minutes from Hornby) where she farms just about anything eatable you can think of; ample vegetables, fruit, nuts, wheat, stone ground whole-weat flour, wool, red clover herbal hay, free-range eggs, honey and more! On most Sundays, Vanya sells her organic produce alongside delicious vegan slices, cakes, soups, sandwiches and more at the Riccarton Rotary Sunday Market. What’s so sweet/special about Vanya is that she is not concerned with making a profit but is instead, content with very little. In short, she is extremely spiritual, taking utmost pleasure in nature and the outdoors. (She’s such a big/little cutie!). So go on, pay her a visit this Sunday and I promise you won’t be disappointed! In fact, I’m just about to toast some of her purplewheat loaf (which she grows, grinds and magically turns into bread herself) for brekkie. Nom nom!