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Edamamé 枝豆

Edamamé

These beans seem to have become increasingly popular here in the U.K. in the past few years. Well, I brave saying “in the U.K.”, as opposed to “in London”, because some members of a well-known boy band I interviewed were into them (and they are hardly from London) and I have friends who live outside London who like them, too.

Edamamés have traditionally been a very popular snack in Japan, especially with a glass of well-chilled beer in summer. The beans snap out of their pods easily and have a quietly satisfying flavour. They are very nutritious too, or so I’m told. I don’t bother with nutrition this-and-that. If one is in tune with one’s body, one only has to listen to it to eat what one needs.

Boiled and lightly salted is the usual cooking method for these yummy beans. A lot healthier than crisps, I guarantee you. They are also good to put in cooked dishes as well: try some sautéed prawns with them.

It’s only in the last year or so that I grew to like them; I never used to. Again, my body recommended them.

ここ数年、イギリスでは、枝豆がポピュラーだ。近所のスーパーでも、写真のようにして茹でたものを売っている。 売れているらしく、遅く行くと、売り切れていてない。棚に山のように置いてあるのに。

何年か前に、アイルランド出身のボーイバンドの取材をしていた時に、インタヴュー相手から、「枝豆が大好き」と言われて、驚いたのを覚えている。

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酢ンばらしい

ここ数年、人生いろいろ苦労が多く、年に何度も風邪はひくわ、定期的にダンベルを振り回して運動しているにも拘らず、すぐ体の調子が絶不調になるわで、困っていた。

去年の暮れに、友人にそう話したら、「黒酢を飲んでみろ」と言われ、取り敢えず拒否反応を起こした。何故って、ただでさえ酢と名の付くものが嫌いな人なのに、あまつさえそれを毎日飲めなんて、無理な話だ。

それでも勧めてくれた当人は、そのお陰でもう何年も病気知らずだと言う。でまぁ、駄目で元々と思い、近くの日本食料品屋に行った。数種類並んでいた内から、この「臨醐山」と云うのを選んで、友人に言われたとおりに飲み始めたのが、丁度去年の今頃だ。

始めてみて、まずびっくりした事。毎日、夕方の5時頃飲む事にしていたのだが、忘れていたり忙しかったりで、6時以降にでもなろうものなら、「おい、まだか」と、体が言うのが、分かるんですね。元々私は、心の声だとか体の声には敏感な方だが、これは驚いた。殆ど言葉で聞こえた。

そぉか、体がここまで欲していたかと、それ以来毎日律儀に続けている。教えてくれた友人、キャットマンよ、有難うだぜ。

肝心な効能はと云うと、

① 桜の頃帰京した時(飲酢開始以来4ヶ月目ぐらい)。父が、おおいに風邪をひいていた。大人しく寝てりゃぁいいものを、わざわざ母と私の居る台所に居座って、「病気だぁ」と騒ぐ。ガキが。挙句の果ては、「すき焼きを作ってくれ」と母にねだり、出来たすき焼きを鍋ごと自分の方に引っ張り、顔を鍋の真上まで持って行って、思い切り「ごほっ」と咳なんかしくさった。それにも関わらず、2週間、何処吹く風邪で元気だった。

② 更に素晴らしいのは、ひきかけた風邪も、ひどくならない。

③ 前述の友人曰く、酢を続けていると、体の中心部(内臓を保っている温度ね)が温かくキープされるので、体温が下がる就寝中も、風邪をひかない。証拠に、私は朝起きた時、体が湯たんぽ状態。うたた寝をしてしまっても、平気なのだ。

④ 温かい家の中から木枯らしが吹く中に出ても、ものの数秒で寒さを感じなくなる。

⑤ 冷え性でお腹がすぐ冷えていたのだが、それももう過去のお話。

と、云うわけで、是非おすすめ致します。

 

The wondrous Rice Vinegar

Lately, especially in the past few years, life has been a bit much for me. My body’s defence system must have been affected by it, I kept getting ill few times a year.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine whom I affectionately call “Catman.” (He runs his own ramen noodle eatery in Hiroshima.) He recommended me to DRINK a tablespoonful of something called “rice vinegar” daily, and told me that he swears by it and thanks to this, he hasn’t been seriously ill for years.

DRINK? Vinegar (however diluted)? Daily? “Nah,” was my immediate reaction. I don’t even like vinegar in my food but, as he reminded me, Catman’s motto is “I would die for health.” ;) And he absolutely insisted that he owes his health to drinking vinegar.

“Alright then, I shall give it a try”, I thought. So off I went to my local Japanese food shop and, from the small selection of rice vinegar on offer there, I chose this one. (It “felt” right.)

It’s now been about a year now since I started drinking the stuff and not once have I been ill.

When I first started, I decided to have it around 5pm just so I didn’t forget, but there were days when I forgot or was too busy to until gone 6pm. Every time I missed the time, my body would actually tell me, “Where’s my vinegar?!” I’m pretty good at listening to my own body, but I could almost hear it in actual words then.

Here are some effects it’s been having on me:

・ I went back to my parents’ for a couple of weeks last spring. Throughout my stay there, my father had a massive cold, and despite mother and I begging him to go to bed and stay there, he’d sit in the kitchen with us and go, “I’m feeling soooo ill.” A bloody attention-seeking CHILD he is. To top it all, he asked mother to make a broth dish which all three of us would poke our own chopsticks into and share. When the broth was on the table, father pulled the pot closer to him, put his head over the top of it, and coughed into it. Despite all this, I didn’t get ill.

・ Even when I did feel like a cold or flu was coming on, it wouldn’t get worse. It’d just die down.

・ Because the vinegar keeps the body’s core temperature (as opposed to the surface temperature) warm, the body doesn’t cool down as much as it would do otherwise while sleeping. I know this is true for a fact ‘cos I’ve been told that my body feels warm in the morning nowadays.

 ・ I don’t feel the cold or the heat as much. Even when it’s bitterly cold outside, I feel warm again within minutes once I start walking.

・ My tummy used to get cold if it was exposed for even a split-second, but that seems to be a thing of the past now. Hurrah.

This is how you take it:

・ Take an empty jar, chop a banana roughly into it and pour the vinegar in. Leave it overnight. This takes the edge off the acidity when you drink. The nanas stay in ‘til the jar is empty but, whatever you do, do NOT eat the fruit. It’s foul.

・  Add a tablespoon of the vinegar to a glass of water. Add honey or sugar to taste.

Apparently any brand of the rice vinegar works but, personally, I like this one. It has a more mature and rounded taste to it compared to the other brands (I tried them). It works well for cooking too.

Cheers, Catman.

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この夏。通りがかった書店の棚から、「呼ばれ」たように見つけたこの本。すっかり黒酢好きになっていた矢先だったので、喜び勇んで買ってみた。

シンプルなのが先ず、いい。日本の料理の本は、あまりにも凝り過ぎて複雑で、ともすると現実を離脱しかねないが、この本に出ているレシピは、簡潔明瞭且つ現実的だ。無駄な手間が、一切無い。

しかも、多少料理の経験がおありになる方なら、応用が利く。

例えば、「厚揚げとエリンギの炒め」は、厚揚げのかわりに、(水気を切った)豆腐でもいいし、他の茸類を混ぜてもいい。「じゃことパセリの炒飯」は、高菜やザーサイ、もしくは、鶏の唐揚げがよく合います。

This book was calling out to me in a book shop in Tokyo.

Simple is best when it comes to cooking. This book is exactly that and yet every recipe I tried tasted great. Most of them won’t require any more than a tablespoon of the rice vinegar for any dish, so you won’t be O.D.-ing.

The author’s instructions are clear, simple and easy to follow, unlike most other Chinese cookery books I have braved.

What’s more, if you can cook a bit, you can adapt these recipes and modify them.

For example, the “fried rice with small fish and parsley” can be made more elaborate with more ingredients thrown into it. It goes nicely with Japanese deep-fried chicken pieces (“kara-agé”).

 

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