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All-You-Can-Travel: The lost essence of travel

All-You-Can-Travel: The lost essence of travel

Why do we travel? What is it that we seek when we leave the comfort of our house? As travel becomes increasingly commercialized, the essence of travel is lost.

Edamame Hummus Salad

Edamame Hummus Salad

#Jump to recipe Rainy season has officially passed, and the heat is really taking its toll. I have to say though, I’m enjoying summers in Japan more and more. I have a great desire to swim right now, and am really missing the beaches and 

Sesame Miso Salad

Sesame Miso Salad

When the cicadas start to sing, the rain starts to let up, and the heat starts to surge… we know that summer is here.

I have mixed feelings about summer. Back in New Zealand, I absolutely loved summer. Everyday was bathed in sunlight, fueling me with so energy and productivity. I loved how New Zealand summers hardly ever go over 30 degrees, but I also loved how humidity was never an issue.

 

Japan however, is a complete different story. Summers are generally above 30 degrees, but the real problem for me was the humidity. When I first arrived in Japan, I really couldn’t get used to the heat and summer soon became my most dreaded season of the year.

 

It’s a somber story, but after two years I’ve built up my tolerance for summer, and I’m actually starting to enjoy it. In fact, one thing I love about Japanese summers is the abundance of fresh local produce at affordable prices.

 

So today I’m going to share one of my many summer salad bowls. These salad bowls are my favourite go-to lunch ideas during summer. I love it so much it is no exaggeration to say that I basically eat it every day. It’s cheap, fast to make, nutritious and delicious. It consists of the same base ingredients which I always prepare in advance in the weekends. I then make the dressing/sauce according to my mood that day, and in total it only takes 5-10 minutes to whip up.

 

Whether you are a student, working or whatever, this salad is perfect for giving some love to your body during your busy schedule!

Sesame miso salad bowl

(Summer Salad Series #1)

RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 handful of sliced carrots 

1 handful of cooked bean sprouts

1/2 small cucumber

1 serving of rice 

1/4 cup edamame

1/2 Tbsp miso Paste

1 Tbsp sesame paste

1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp vinegar 

 

 

Steps

  1. If using frozen rice, microwave it for 30 – 60 seconds. 
  2. Mix the miso, sesame paste, soy sauce and vinegar in serving bowl
  3. Shred the cucumber directly into the serving bowl with a peeler/shredder.
  4. Add the carrots, bean sprouts, rice and edamame*
  5. Mix well and serve

Notes:

I will go through how I do my food preparation in a different article. But I highly recommend food preparation, as it saves a lot of time and money.

 

* If using frozen edamame, you can microwave it beforehand. However, I like to eat my edamame straight out of the freezer as it’s very refreshing and cooling!

 
 

And you are done!

 

 

The key to this salad series is FOOD PREP. Having all these nutritious ingredients ready to use is the key to having delicious and healthy food at the go~

 
Nanzenji – An unexpected hike

Nanzenji – An unexpected hike

I wanted to explore the grounds of Nanzenji more before I headed home, so I walked up the Suirokaku without realising a surprise was waiting for me. It was a barely visible path covered by the fallen autumn colours. The path then led up to 

Suirokaku – Into the depths of Nanzenji

Suirokaku – Into the depths of Nanzenji

The Suirokaku is an old aqueduct tucked away in the grounds of Nanzenji. There is something magical about this place that immediately entices you to stay

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus


Who doesn’t like hummus? One of my many food nostalgia back in New Zealand is just having a tub of hummus always present for me to snack on. Funny thing was, although I ate so much hummus, I never thought about making it myself. It was just so easy to buy hummus, the thought of taking my time to make it didn’t even cross my mind.

 


Of course, coming to Japan was a game-changer for me. Until now, I still haven’t seen hummus anywhere in the supermarkets. It’s a blessing for me though, because that was what motivated to make my own hummus for the first time…and honestly, it’s much easier to make than I expected.

EDAMAME HUMMUS

RECIPE

Ingredients:

2 cups edamame

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

*½ of a Lemon (Juice)

3 Tbsp sesame paste

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

**¼ ~ ½ cup water (Depends on how smooth you want your hummus to be)

***Handful of fresh herbs

 

Steps

  1. If using frozen edamame, microwave it for 30 – 60 seconds. Make sure to let the edamame cool before using.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a food processor or high power blender.
  3. Blend until combined and smooth
  4. Taste the mixture and add additional salt, lemon juice, cumin, or fresh herbs according to your liking. If the consistency is too dry or rough, add a tablespoon of water.
  5. Blend until your desired consistency.

(If your blender/food processor is too small like mine, then add the edamame, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and water first to blend. Next add the tahini, spices and salt then blend. Lastly add the herbs for the final blend)

Notes:

* Lemon is the best choice. Here I used kabosu because it is the local produce of where I live and is cheaper. If you don’t have lemon on hand, you can always subsititue with 1/2 Tbsp ~ 1 Tbsp of vinegar

 

** Add 1/4 cup of water first and add more according too how smooth you want your hummus to be.

 

*** The herbs are optional, but I do prefer it. Here I used basil, but MINT is the best choice in my opinion. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to find mint here in Japan and it’s quite pricey.

 

And you are done!

 

I’ve made this recipe a lot of times now, so I actually don’t measure anything at all. The above ‘measurements’ are only a rough estimate. Taste the hummus as you blend it, and add more of each ingredients according to your own taste.

 
This edamame hummus can keep for 1~2 weeks in the fridge. But it is so good that I can literally eat spoonfuls of this hummus. It’s usually gone by the end of the week.

Rough price estimate:

 

Edamame (¥44) + Lemon (¥50) + Sesame paste (¥55) + Basil (¥50) +others (~¥100) = less than ¥300

 

You can also choose to use vinegar instead and leave out the basil, which will further reduce the price down to ¥200!

You can eat this hummus straight out of the jar, you can use it as a dip for your favourite veggies, you can use it as sandwich/wrap spreads, you can use it for salads, and you can even use it in pasta!

 

The sky is limitless and it’s up to you what kind of creative ways you want to use your new batch of edamame hummus!

Sesame Paste (Roasted Tahini)

Sesame Paste (Roasted Tahini)

#Jump to recipe Sesame paste is a delicious and simple condiment that makes any recipe taste so much better. Sesame paste is especially important in Chinese cuisine, but common in Japanese cuisine as well. I have a bad habit of adding it to nearly everything 

Spirited Away at Akita Kantō Festival

Spirited Away at Akita Kantō Festival

There was a scene from a Japanese animation that has been ingrained into my memory ever since my eyes engulfed it as a child. I do not remember the name nor plot of the movie, but I do remember this one scene as though I