Japan: Eating in

Green river 1Many years ago, so many that the email account no longer exists, I received a message from a high school friend who was traveling in Japan. She may have been studying in Tokyo at the time, or perhaps this was one of her earlier visits before she started making Japan one of her homes away from home. In the foreground of these images, she and another schoolmate of ours stood surrounded by the most beautiful mountains I had ever seen. In my memory, the mountains were blue and green, rich with color and rising steeply around two smiling women standing on the side of winding roads. Continue reading “Japan: Eating in”

Birthday strata

Birthday strataShared meals at our house usually revolve around a large pot of soup, some form of veggie-forward tangle and serving dishes for friends to bring along something to share. Guests’ offerings have varied widely – locally made colas, loaves of bread, the kind of salads that always taste great because someone else made them, fixings for an ‘Egyptian breakfast’, chocolate cakes and fruit tarts from the shop down the road – but we’ve only received a set of farm fresh eggs once.

These six beauties were brought all the way from Oban and were guaranteed to be the deepest orange we’d seen. They were, and the color of this strata is here to prove it. Continue reading “Birthday strata”

An afternoon cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur book group meets each month, but every other gathering is essentially an excuse to drink tea and eat cake. Waiting for everyone’s schedules to accommodate a new book was delaying the regular catching up that everyone was really after, so this was the pragmatic compromise. Book or no book, these afternoons offer a perfectly reasonable excuse to try out a new cake recipe. Continue reading “An afternoon cake”

Hot Cross Buns

Broken up sideEaster crept up on me a bit this year. Usually, we would have been off work for at least a four day weekend. We would have planned to get out of the city, gather with family for a big meal and enjoy plenty of chocolate treats. With our new work patterns this year, neither of us took the typical long weekend. We’re counting down the weeks (less than three!) until we head to Japan, so this Easter really caught me by surprise. Continue reading “Hot Cross Buns”

For love of cabbage

Savoy leavesWe’ve been eating a lot of cabbage around here lately, and I think it’s time to tell you a bit about it.

I imagine there’s a divide among you about this very affordable, sometimes beautiful and often times under appreciated vegetable. You probably know already whether you love cabbage or not, and I suspect that if you’re in the latter group, you’re not looking to be persuaded. So this post is more of a showcase and offering of what we’ve been doing lately. Continue reading “For love of cabbage”

Happy New Year

Gyoza 1

I realize that we’re well into 2016 already, but I hope you’ll afford me the space to wish you a Happy New Year all the same. I spent early January snuggled up with a new niece and racing after a not-so-new-but-very-fast nephew. Mid-January, I was back in Scotland and wondering how we would ever cope with the pervasive grey. And the past two weeks, I have been noticing the lengthening daylight hours and trying to start this new year with the oomph it deserves.

The Chinese New Year is coming up this week, though, so I’m going to sneak this post in under the wire. When a friend invited us over to make dumplings and celebrate the Chinese New Year, I said yes immediately. I have vague, school-aged memories of paper dragons and festivals on television, but I I have never made dumplings before. It’s something I’ve always wanted to learn, and communal dumpling making with an expert and her friends sounded like the perfect way to spend a mid-winter evening. Continue reading “Happy New Year”

Christmas cookies

Teacakes 7

A few years ago, I shared a list of Christmas cookie recipes with my sister-in-law, whose commitment to homemade treats for all occasions is a bit of a legend among her family and friends. Although I had at that time been observing and collecting Irish and British Christmas traditions for a few years already, it was sharing that list that made me notice how integral Christmas cookies have been to my memories of this holiday. Continue reading “Christmas cookies”