Aside from that, my life has been busy but not all that interesting to you! Spring is finally here and the ume (plum) blossom has come and gone which means it's less interesting, but far more famous cousin, sakura (cherry blossom) is on the way. Soon it'll be time for hanabi (flower viewing parties) and sakura-flavoured everything (including potato chips and kitkats). I went to see the ume blossom at Osaka castle park with my boyfriend a couple of weeks back. He bought me an awesome little ume bonsai tree which I enjoyed watching bloom on top of my TV for a couple of weeks. It also gave me an excuse to play with my Blythe doll and get her to do some modelling. Usually I don't like dolls but since she's dressed as a squirrel and my nickname is Squirrel, I thought she was pretty awesome. Also, she has red hair which is pretty sweet.
Here's my little bonsai and a coquettish Blythe shot for you:
And now that I've bored you all with that, here's a very easy but tasty Japanese recipe for you to try!
Sauteed Eggplant and Green Peppers with Miso
This simple traditional side dish goes well with a bowl of rice, pickles and a tofu main. Apparently eating eggplants in the hot sweaty Japanese summer helps to stimulate the appetite. But I don't usually have any problems with my appetite, haha.
You will need:
4-5 Japanese eggplants
3-4 green peppers (I used 5 small Japanese piman but the usual bigger kind is good too)
4 tblspoons sesame oil
2.5 tblspoons miso (you're choice but I used a mild red miso and it worked well)
1 tblspoon sugar
2 tblspoons mirin
2 teaspoons sake
2 teaspoons konbu dashi
1) Cut the top stems off the eggplants and cut into round slices about 1cm/half an inch thick. Soak the slices in water for 5 minutes then drain.
2) Remove the seeds from the green peppers and cut into small bite-size chunks.
3) Heat the sesame oil in a pan and saute the eggplants over a fairly high heat. Add the green peppers and saute some more.
4) When the vegetables are have softened, add the miso paste and sugar. Stir and saute until the miso starts to burn a little and stick to the sides and bottom of the pan. Add the mirin, sake and dashi and cook on a medium heat, stirring often, until the liquid has almost all cooked off.
That's it for now but I still have to post about Japanese sweets. And I've been working on a BBQ wings recipe recently which hopefully I'll be able to share soon. I also have some chocolate pictures to show off and an awesome microwave brownie recipe too so...... I'll try my best not to slack off!