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Satsuki - Japanese food

Following on from my bento box order, I went back to Satsuki. Having picked all sorts of interesting things, I clicked the button and two and a half days later the parcel arrived.

A bountiful array of Japanese foods, all with squiggly writing on the pack and soy/seaweed inside!

The proper chopsticks would seem like basic bamboo, but they feel easier to use than the glossy varnished sort you often see in the west.
Bean paste. Who would have thought of sweet confections made of red bean paste! Azuki beans. [read about red bean paste on Wiki] It is... novel. A texture like jellified semolina, not overly sweet, but quite nice. I have some cakes with flavours like green tea and sesame. The shame is I think we in the west are more used to strong artificial flavourings - thus I cannot as yet tell any difference between these cakes, the flavouring is way too subtle! Never mind, I'll persist, but at the price of these, not too frequently!

Japanese cakes filled with, believe it or not, a sweet confection made from red beans!

Seaweed is supposed to be good for your health...
I guess the Japanese never saw the glow-in-the-dark bladderwrack floating off Bognor Regis!Seaweed. Supposed to be good for the health. It is an interesting taste not unlike spinach. Coming in flakes, like you can buy dried basil, a pinch sprinkled on noodles...

There's an amusing "instant noodle kit", two packs of precooked udon (think fat spaghetti) plus a soy-based sauce. Plop the noodles into a bowl, pour the sauce over, break the chopsticks, enjoy. Oh, yes, you eat it cold, though I suspect a minute in the microwave would give you the alternative option too.

Rip open the noodle packets, toss the noodles into a bowl, slosh the sauce all over, find chopsticks - quickest damn noodle meal in history!

Mom's favourite - the rice crackers.Mom wanted me to order some rice crackers. She originally wanted fortune cookies until I told her I think that's more a Chinese thing, so we settled on rice crackers. They appear to have been cooked then lightly tossed in a maize/soy mixture, then cooked some more. Crunchy, and absolutely delicious.
Mom said while they were a bit hard on her teeth, if she broke them into smaller piecs, they were really nice. She added that they were surprisingly better than she thought given the description.
Mick, if you come over this summer, let me know so I can get some of these things in for you to try - and no cheese, I promise!

Finally I was able to get the right rice for dango - a sticky rice concoction that acts as glue to hold the whole creation together, you see as well as being an impossibly cute song, dango is a dumpling made of rice.
The contents of the pack look like cat litter or fine gravel, not rice as you might imagine it - look at the picture below. There isn't really a western equivalent, as our traditional dumplings are wheat-based.

It isn't gravel in a bag, it is gloopy-sticky rice for binding dango, dango, daaaanngoooooo! (daikazoku :-) )

There are two observations I have about Japanese food - excepting the obvious like "there's so much fish!".
The first thing is that there is a sweetness to quite a lot of things. But not an overpowering sweetness like in a lot of British food. I like sweet. Sweet is good.
Secondly, it is remarkably unsalty. Having eaten Chinese takeaway in my life, I was expecting salty MSG-laden goodies, but while soy is used extensively, it doesn't crowd out the flavour of the food.
In fact, if you think of Japanese food as slightly sweet non-salty, the majority of it seems to be an exercise in subtlety.
I, for one, won't feel able to properly appreciate the food until I can eat the little bean paste cakes and tell which is which. Oh, and the fact that one is green while the other isn't does not count!


USB and ethernet

When you get back from work at 2.30am and you're feeling dozy and idly reading your emails and wish to charge your little media player... is amazing how well a USB plug fits into an RJ45 ethernet socket!


The Oak is out before the Ash

The Oak is coming in to leaf.
Them there Oak leaves are-a-comin'
Mom says that as the Oak is out before the Ash, this summer should be fairly dry. The trees won't necessarily predict a barbeque summer, but provided this Icelandic smokescreen doesn't muck things up, it should be a nice summer.


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Rob, 20th April 2010, 23:06
Some of those foods look familiar! I guess we're lucky - can just walk into here: ... but we've also used too.
Rick, 21st April 2010, 04:14
Rob, I am *so* jealous! 
I think in order to "walk into" anywhere like this in France, I'd need to live in Paris.

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