I am a native Japanese speaker teaching Japanese in a university somewhere on this planet. This blog is usually written in English, but sometimes Japanese and Chinese appear. Please don't care what you cannot read. They are for my students.
Not a lot, but I got eight figs. They were the first harvest from the garden in this fall. The problem is that you cannot keep it long. You need to eat, or do something to preserve figs in the day you got them. They soon get bad.
So I decided making compote. As to sugar, cane sugar and beet sugar are available in Japan. I don’t think that beet sugar is sweet enough. This time I chose cane sugar that was not refined to be completely white. So the sugar has a little bit color of brown. I poured a small amount of water into pan. Perhaps that water was not necessary because water came out of figs.
You see seven figs in the pan. One was left because it didn’t fit in that pan. I ate it fresh. Actually that one tasted enough sweet. Not bad.
I heated by the gas with low flame. By the way, you don’t need to peel off when making fig compote. I think it is better to leave them unpeeled to keep the shape. On the other, I peel figs off when I make jam.
Fig compote is finished. I like the pink color of fig compote. Although this time the syrup is not so clear, because I used a-little-brown cane sugar. I chilled it in fridge and actually I have already eaten them. I think I will drink syrup by diluting with soda.
Now the season of Okra is ending. The okras in my garden have become taller than me, but many leaves have fallen. I can get only two or three okras a day. These days I am thinking about cut those okras and remove them from the field.
Okras should not be boiled long. It should be just one minute or so, very short time.
And then I sliced the boiled okras, and chopped green onions.
Here came “Natto” that is fermented soy beans. Japanese like to eat Natto in breakfast. I don’t think it is appropriate to mention bathroom things while talking about food and meal. But let me tell you. Natto is so stinky, if you eat it in your breakfast, you will smell it in your urine in the bathroom. Not just in the morning, it continues until noon.
Mixing natto with sliced okra and chopped green onion, I pored just a little bit of Soy sauce.
This is the main dish of my breakfast of the day. Usually there is omelet, but this particular morning, pork was there, because I cooked much pork in the previous night.
I don’t know the name of what I cooked. I steamed small apples with sugar.
There are several apple trees in my garden. One of apple trees “Ourin” has got some apples. My mom is happy with that and she had taken some fruits from the tree. She just wanted to take them, didn’t care about the apples were ripe or not. To eat, or not to eat, that was not a question to her. Although she said she might offer those apples in front of the photograph of Dad who died last year, she just left the apples on the table.
My dad had been a poor boy when he was a kid. His dad, my father’s side grandpa, died of tuberculosis when he was a kid. Also that was when all the Japanese suffered from lack of food after the WWII. So my dad had never wasted food. I feel like I inherited his DNA that does not waste any food. This evening, just before I started cooking supper, I found the apples were still left on the table. They were three. I tasted one, which was hard and sour, too early to harvest. I gave up eating it. There were still two left. I decided to heat those immature apples by steam in the pan.
At first, I tried digging a hole on the top of apple because I wanted to get rid of seeds. But it is small apple. In order to do that, my smallest spoon was still too large. So I did that with the end part of the spoon (haft?). The purpose of the hole on apple is not only for removing seeds. After getting rid of seeds, I filled the hole with sugar. I put two small apples with sugar in a bowl and covered the bowl with aluminum foil. And then l poured water a half inch depth into a deep pan, put the bowl in the pan, heated the pan 15 minutes.
This is what I got. I put this in refrigerator tonight. I will eat the sweet and chilled apple as a desert for a breakfast tomorrow morning.
I ate it this morning. It was hard. 15 minutes boiling could not make it soft. Taste was so-so. And there’s one thing I forgot to write yesterday. I don’t have a microwave. If I had a microwave, heating time could have been shortened.
This afternoon I bought one package of sardines in the nearby supermarket. There were three sardines in the package that was 265JPY (2.4USD).
I try to cook many kinds of fishes these days. In order to be good at cooking fish, it is important to cook them many times and to figure out what is the best way to cut the fish. There is one fish that I think is very difficult to cook well. It is sardine. It is said that the back bone of a sardine can be removed by fingers. Some web sites show how to take the bone off from the sardine. But I would say it is impossible for a beginner to take the bone off by fingers. It is simply because the body, or I would call meat, is too soft to work with fingers. It is interesting that it is the same reason that many web sites are saying that the bone can be removed by fingers. Again, it is impossible. You will just waste many portion of the sardine’s meat if you try it by your fingers.
So I had tried my best to remove the bone today, but I have to admit my defeat. Three sardines had just turned to be a kind of “torn-out-pieces” by my poor cooking skill.
Anyway I fried those pieces for the dinner. Their taste was so-so.
A fig tree is vulnerable to damage by long-horn beetles. Since the trunk of a fig tree is relatively soft, the insects make holes and go into the inside. In that case, the trunk of the tree becomes houses and also food. And then there will be so many holes on the surface and the trunk will have void inside. It quite often results in the death of the fig tree.
If it is in early stage with a little number of holes, injecting insecticide would be one of solutions. However, it means that the injected chemical could go up in the tree and reach to the fruits. So I don’t think injecting insecticide could be a solution as a countermeasure against long-horn beetles in a fig tree.
A practical solution is as follows. You need to accept the damage caused by long-horn beetles on a fig tree. In other words, you admit that a fig tree is short-lived. But it does not mean you need to give up the fruits. What you need to do is renewing your “main” fig tree in relatively short term. You make young trees using a branch and/or shoot that are taken from the existing fig tree. By keeping several young trees as the spares, and planting them every three or four years, you will get the fruits, even though some times the damage happens.
So, this year, I made three young fig trees using the existing fig tree’s shoot.
They were taken from a native Japanese fig tree. So those fruits are not so sweet because the species has not been improved like some western fig trees. But this kind is hardy and can stands for winter cold. Although its sweetness is not perfect, eating fresh is actually good. And a good thing is that I can make a lot of jam (jelly) and compote in autumn.
Nothing has to do with a fan of heavy metal music. “Kana-” means metal and “Gashira” a head. So the fishes’ heads looked very hard and strong.
I bought them in a supermarket. They were local fishes so they were not expensive, even I would say they were cheap.
All three were placed in a pan, and then they were boiled. Actually it took time for me to remove their scales on the surface. Although I just threw most of the inside, I kept egg and boiled it together.
I usually use soy sauce for the taste when boiling a fish, but this time I used the salty soy-beans paste “Miso”.
They were on the dish. That means it’s ready to eat.
Bones of a sea bream are sharp and hard. Sometimes people lose their lives by accidentally swallowing those bones. But it is sure that the sea bream is one of the best fishes to eat. The fish is always served in meals of any celebration in Japan.
The taste is good, but cutting the sea bream for cooking is not that easy. That is another problem with sea breams. These days I am just trying to learn how to cut many kinds of fishes that are available in the supermarket where I always buy food.
So this is what I have done with a small size sea bream. Please do not point out that thick meat remains on the back bone. Anyway, bones and the head were so hard that it needed some forces in my hand when cutting them. But that hardness could helped me a little when I was making two slices of right and left half bodies from the back bone. Yes, the bones can be a guide for the blade of knife.
I boiled the head, bones, and tails with salty water so that could be a nice soup of fish taste.
I grilled the half body slice. Salt was the only thing that I used for seasoning. I used no pepper, no spices of any kind, other than salt.
It was so nice for me to eat this with boiled rice, although I still had to be careful about bones.