The more you fight with any obsessions the more of them you get. Onigiri – not only a perfect breakfast idea, but also a great snack with various fillings. Anytime.
Buying food in Japanese supermarkets, for example as Lawson, is a fantastic adventure, since unless you do not know Japanese language and food, there is no way to guess what are you choosing. Surely you can judge by a smell, texture or consistency, however, trust me, it is not obvious. But it is fun for sure so I recommend to everyone to play this game and enjoy the results.
My big dream was to visit Japanese ice cream shop with fancy, quirky and not obvious flavours. Actually instead of looking for something very unique and not for the masses, I tried quite known brand in Okinawa Naha, Blue seal. Enough to try something new among flavours like: Ryukyu Milk tea, Shiiquasa Sherbet, Ube, my favourite Beni-imo, Okinawa Salt cookies, Okinawa Ta-imo cheesecake, Choco Matcha.
Beniimo was my favourite. I guess I was not the only one with such opinion as Okinawa people decided to make most of the sweets with Beniimo feeling. Do not think there is any enormous magic behind this name, as Beni Imo means sweet potato. Bit this is what I love in Japan, the they can use very simple ingredients to prepare a fabulous meal.
Lactic acid drink was one of the worst surprises at least for me. Strange, however refreshing during warm Okinawa nights or afternoon flights to Tokyo.
My eggplant fascination started when i visited the south of Russia and saw that in many Datchas people grow this vegetable in their gardens. I guess i lacked of imaginations as i could not think about any more creative way of serving it than straight from the frying pan.Few years later i moved to Germany, visited one russian shop and found there a pot of Ikra, famous russian spread made of eggplants, tomatoes, paprika, carrots, all well mixed and cooked together with spices.
The whole pesrpective changed once i saw and tried Kashke bademjan in a very good Persian restaurant in Dusseldorf. It was quite clear from the menu that it is only a appetizer, but i couldnot use word ONLY in this case. I ordered a mix of appetizers with eggplant (bademjan) and a special persian yoghurt (kashk). I had no idea what were the ingrediens butmthe taste convinced me to empty the full plate.
I found a really detailed recipe here and i will be not afraid to test it. How fantastic it is to combine an eggplant, wallnuts and yoghurt. What fascinates me as well is the yoghurt used in Persian cuisine. So what is Keshk ? This source states :
“In modern Iran, kashk is a thick whitish liquid similar to whey (a dairy product) similar to sour cream, used in traditional Persian/Iranian cooking. It is available as a liquid or in a dried form, which needs to be soaked and softened before it can be used in cooking. Kashk was traditionally produced from the leftovers of cheese-making (more specifically, the milk used to make it).” For sure quite fat, but very intense and can be used for prepraring many appetizers combined with mint, cucumber, garlic, onions, like in Mast o musir dip.
The last appetizer i was able to identify after spending a proper moment digging in the Internet was Mirza Ghassemi, which eggplants, tomatoes and… boiled eggs. Everything spiced with tumeric, garlic and pepper.
I am convicted it’s because of the winter time’s fault, still I am gingerbread obsessed. In fact, the biggest inspiration goes from one visit in the fabulous restaurant in French Sologne, Le Moulin de Villiers. Not only the place was amazing with the old grain mill transformed into the charming hotel, surrounded by forest and small lakes.
And then they served a dessert. Gingerbread ice-cream cake with fantastic vanilla filling composed with creme anglaise. My first thought was that I would never think about composing gingerbread with ice-cream filling. Time to be more creative I guess.
So how Internet can inspire me in this case?
Mille-feuille glace a la banane
Again.. gingerbread, but this time decorated with taste of coffee, mascarpone and cranberry sauce. Lemon arome would also be a good match I guess.
That is enough challenge for Xmas preparation time. At least for the Ginger taste