Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tomato blueberry smoothie

Three posts in 2 weeks?! I must be hyper-energized lately, but I`ll take it as a good sign of productivity. Also, I just can`t help adoring my new kitchen windows that provide me with generous amount of good lighting. Maybe you`ll notice the difference from the pictures compared with those in my older posts.

Far from coming back with a "serious menu", this post is rather an embarrassingly simple recipe. Everyone, probably even a kid too, can make it. I know summer is still months away, but somehow I was into cold refreshing yogurt smoothie. Plain yogurt is a staple item for me, but my husband won`t even had a spoon of it unless I make it sweet. 

So here`s what I found in the fridge. A box of fresh and crunchy tomato, a pack of frozen blueberries, and plain yogurt. 

To add some tartness and sweetness, I added honey and lemon juice. The amount of honey in the recipe below this post might not be enough if you are used to storebought yogurt drink or fruit juice, so you might need to add more honey/sugar.

Put the lid on and blitz.

I just blitzed on a lower speed for about 5 secs only because I want some chunky bits left in it for texture. For me, the chunkier the better. Like this. Yum.

After his first spoon (I didn`t have the large straw for this kind of drink), he said with a very disapproving face, "Carrot?? Is this carrot??". Alright then, next time it would be carrot in his drink. 


Serves 3

200 g plain yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
2 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz to get the desired consistency.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcoming spring in Iwata

A few days earlier I spotted a place from the passenger seat of his bike and I just couldn`t get the image out of my mind. We just had to go there. And here what we`ve got after our first official outdoor photo-hunting day in Iwata.
Rivers seem to be easily find in Iwata. Japan has impressively clean rivers and the ones I saw in Iwata are no exception. This one actually has a branch on its left, but it`s too bad that our gears couldn`t accomodate our intention to get the whole view.

On the river bank, there is a park with a smiley face on it. I was so busy admiring the whole view that I didn`t notice that particular spot until my husband told me at home!

But wait, that wasn`t the place I actually intended to visit. The one I saw is right here. Spring is coming already!
Seriously, can you pass by this place without looking back?

After consulting with my flower encyclopedia (or something like that), here`s what I`ve found about the flower:
Japanese name: 菜の花 or "nanohana"
English name: field mustard
Sctientific name: Brassica rappa var. amplexicaulis
Flowering time (in Japan): Feb-May
Nanohana are edible and they are easily found in supermarket as fresh ingredients and cooked item as well. The one I had somehow seemed to have bigger stalk than these ones in the picture. I don`t if it`s because they are not fully flowering yet or something else.

Looking up we got to see the pale moon above us.

Looking down we saw this equally beautiful flower. 
Let`s just put the blame on me because I couldn`t find any info about it in my encyclopedia. Grrr....

Next to field mustard is a row of ume (Japanese apricot) trees. I though they were sakura trees. I hope you`re not confused because I am :p

This one is ume too, I think.

Evening already. The wind blew even stronger and it was time to go home.
See you again on our next journey (with some pictures on food too, hopefully!)!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A new beginning in Shizuoka

Hello from Shizuoka! 
We`ve been staying in Iwata-shi, Shizuoka for a week now and I`d like to show some pictures on our moving activities. During my long hiatus (2 months!), I got a new job in Shizuoka, tried to complete my works at lab before leaving, had farewell lunches/dinners with friends and colleagues, and...dealed with boxes, bubble wrappers, and cellotape. I could not believe that despite the tininess of our apartment room, we had like bazillion things to pack. It seemed as if things mysteriously kept coming out from every part of the room.
Let me start with the first D-day. The day when we sent our things to Shizuoka. It started with two trash trucks coming to our apartment to pick up our trash. For some reasons, we needed to throw away our bed, washing machine, tables, and some other stuffs. We would be much happier if we could find anyone who wanted them for free, but we couldn`t. So we just had to call the trash pick-up service and paid for 13,000 yen (about 130 USD). Quite a price for trash, eh.

Anyway, the trucks came early in the morning and there was our bed getting crushed within seconds by the roller.

And my (second-hand and veeeeery) old washing machine was taken by the other truck. It always sounded so loud when I used it that I always thought I run a helicopter with my laundry inside, but still I felt sad to see it in the truck.

And since that day until now, our life is practically washing machineless since the new one will only be delivered this weekend. There`s a huge pile of dirty laundry in our house now and I try to pretend that they don`t exist. 

Then, the next truck came later in the day to pick up our stuff and send them to our new address.
Those two bicycles were our lifesavers during our first few days in Iwata because I`ve sold my baby Giorno and my husband`s bike came only few days later after our arrival there.

Anyway, after emptying and cleaning the room, we had to leave too. The second D-day it was.
I know I`ve never mentioned anything except that we lived in a tiny apartment. Just imagine two studio rooms combined and that was our home. This is one of the rooms. It was our bedroom/TV room/my computer room/dining room. The other room behind the doors, which was even smaller, was his computer room and our closets. We never invited guests to our house because we don`t want to scare anyone with the view, lol.

Now, as a tribute to my mini kitchen, which absolutely was and still is the important part of this blog, I want to introduce it to all of you. It`s definitely designed for one person, although two can still fit in as long as standing still is the only activity involved.When I was cooking there, I didn`t need to move my feet a lot. Just one or two steps away and I got what I needed. Reaching up and bending down were what I did more often I guess since everything were practically around me.
This is my very first own kitchen where I started to cook some real food. It was just some simple menu at the beginning, but things got more creative and serious after I got married. All the food I posted in this blog until the last one in summer 2012 were born here. It was in this very room where I first time realized that one uses all his/her senses simultaneously during cooking. The sight, smell, hearing, touch, and of course, taste. It was a tiny little kitchen, but it means big to me. I think I grew up in this room. And for that, I`m very thankful for what I`ve had. 

Anyway, life moves on and so had I. We headed for Sendai station to catch our 6:30 AM shinkansen to Tokyo.
It was my first one-way ticket from Sendai. No return ticket. I felt all weird and sad because I always thought of Sendai as my home and not going home there was just weird and seemed unreal.

But again, I needed to move on. And when the Hayabusa came in, it helped. I forgot about feeling sad for a while and took out my camera. I love taking pictures of shinkansen. I think Hayabusa has odd-looking front part, but I`m always amazed whenever I see it.

So we hopped on, sat, and looked through our window saying goodbye to Sendai. It was a beautiful bright morning with a lot of sunshine. I guess it was not a gloomy sad farewell scene after all.

After arriving at Tokyo station, we transferred to a different shinkansen line going to Nagoya direction.

And when you travel to that direction and the sky is bright (and you`re lucky to get the right seat), you`ll see the Fuji-san on the way entering Shizuoka area.
No, I didn`t randomly pick up some pictures from the internet. I took this picture using only my (slow) point-and-shoot behind the window and still it looked unbelievably graceful. It was very hard for me not to sticking my nose on the window and quietly screaming WOW!
Oh, did you know that Shizuoka is the largest green tea producer in Japan? I guess I need to learn more about tea from now on. 

The travelling had to end and life has brought me to this new family-typed home and kitchen. It has far more space for everything and this time we`re going to have a proper dining room. Or at least that`s what we`re planning for.

My husband and I will start working about 10 days from now and until then we`re busy opening boxes (again with the boxes and tapes!), dealing with lots of paperwork, buying new furniture and stuff, etc etc. Now everything seems a lot more real than before.

There are still not many pictures I took since we came here, but here is one I took during our way to a store.
I would definitely come back here later with better equipment and more time to spend. 
Enjoy the spring, everyone!