Welcome to my blog.

After a few random posts I've decided to dedicate this blog to my life long project of Japanese food
and culture (and my life in general, especially my travels).

Since my first taste of sushi back in 1997 I've been interested in, and frequently been making
Japanese food.
My interest in the country and culture started long before and continues to evolve.
I was lucky to finally visit Japan in October 2008 and hope to be back soon.
In July 2012 I visited Japantown in San Fransisco, the next best thing!
I was lucky to be back in 2015, 2016 and 2017 thanks to the fact that we now have family living in California.
Both small and big adventures will from now on, as time permits, be shared with you.

I will post other recipes and pictures too, mainly cooking projects, plants and art projects
(including my new love - making kumihimo braided objects).

I hope you'll find it interesting, and feel free to leave a comment or ask questions!

I write mainly in English, but there will be some Norwegian too, especially posts about things
that mainly have Norwegian interest. Tutorials are bi-lingual.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Some kind of Japaneese dinner + snack

Posting this easy recipe I'm using for my normal, no-frill style dinners.
It's basically a wok or stew, and you can add any kind of meat and veggies. Then some marinade made out of the holy triangle (soya, sake and mirin) and a few more additives, and you're set!

Today it went like this:
Quantity of pork (tender part)
Fennel, carrot, shiitake, lotus root, shiso leaves; chopped.
Marinate in a mix of soya, sake, mirin, dashi, sesame seeds, salt and sugar.
Fry fast in a pan or wok, add the marinade when the meat is done and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with rice, umeboshi, and in this case deep fried lotus root.
As a pre-dinner snack we had some edamame (soya beans in pod).

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Quick fixes...

Sorry for not posting in such a long time! Buzy days in the Linuz home...

Anyway, posting a picture of my "not wanting to cook" dinner.... simply rice topped with shiso, nori, sesame seeds, bonito shavings, umeboshi and soy sauce.

I will be posting a few more recipes in near future, pictures are ready.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Project: Food bases. First base: orange

So, while making dinner tonight I got the idea of making "food bases" and freeze them for easier and faster cooking without using ready-made food from the store.
So far I've come up with 3 color bases, and from these an endless variety of recipes.

Here comes the recipe for the first base:

Orange base

5 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil

Fry this for 5 min and add:

1 kg of carrots, peeled and diced
1,5 liters of water with 1 cube bullion or stock

Boil until tender and run through a blender or mash it any way you like.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Use this for carrot soup:
To the base, add 2-3 deciliters of cooking cream or Oatly cream, bring to boil.
Serve with orange wedges and parma ham roasted in oven until crisp.

Use it as mash:
Boil some extra carrots or potatoes and mash them with butter or oil. Add the carrot base.

Pictures coming!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

2.flowering of roses

My lovely Heritage is flowering for the 2nd time, even more fragant and pink than the first time. Good times in the garden!

Weekend treat: Maki

This weekend I decided to spoil Mr.Linuz with maki, as it is one of his favorite food.
Maki really is very simple, once you got some decent sushi rice going, it's just about filling and cutting. We choose salmon (sake), scallops (hottate gai) and trout caviar (ikura) this time. I'd gotten hold of 1.class Salma salmon, so fresh you don't have to freeze it before you eat it raw.
I also made a small sashimi starter; salmon sliced with caviar and ponzu sauce.

For the maki you need:
Sushi rice, about 3 cups, uncooked
Sheets of nori
Seafood and vegetables to fill, I used rew salmon, raw scallops, trout caviar, boiled aspargus, sticks of cucumber, wasabi and mayonaise.

3 cups of sushi rice (I've got a steamcooker, so I just wash it, put it in with required water and push "cook"), if you don't have one, it's about 3 cups of water to 3 cups of washed and soaked rice (20 min) + a small sheet of kombu in the cooking water if you'd like. Let it boil up under a lid, switch the heat all the way down and cook under a lid for 20 min. Rest the rice 10 min.

The cooked rice goes into a hangiri or another large bowl for cooling. Pour over sushi-zu (3 tbsp rice vinegar brought to boil with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt, cooled down) and flip the rice over with a spatula to mix it. Let it cool. Put a wet towel over the bowl to keep it moist.

Put a nori sheet on a rolling mat covered with plastic. Put an amount of rice on the nori sheet to cover about 3/4 of it, add filling in the middle of the rice. Grab one end of mat and fold into a roll. Squeese the mat to make it real round. Cut in 6 or 8 pieces.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Cold noodles

Yesterday I made some real Japanese summer food. It hardly requires a recipe, you just boil noodles, cool them off, mix some dipping soup and some garnish. This is great food if you don't feel like eating at all. In Japan they sometimes serve this in a bowl with ice cubes or in a running stream of water!

I "cheated" and bought ready-made menmi (dipping soup) that only needs to be mixed with 3 parts of water. If you want to make your own, try this recipe: 1 cup of dashi, 1/3 cup of mirin, 1/3 cup of soya. Heat the mirin in a pan, add soya and dashi. Bring to boil and cool down. Dillute with water if you like, and add garnish like ginger, chopped onions and shiso.

With our cold soba noodles (buckwheat), we had carrots, cucumber, omelet strips, ham and silken tofu.
Mr. Linuz really liked it, and he added some cold, grilled salmon from the day before as well. We also added some red shiso to the menmi.

Japanese grocery shopping

Vacation is over, and it's time to fill up the closet/fridge/freezer! From left: Rice snacks for kids, bottle of menmi, 2 types of miso, konyaku, umeboshi, soba noodles, cold tea drink, tofu, rice vinegar, mirin, frozen lotus root and inari!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Russian pirogi *non-Japanese food*

Yes, we do eat other stuff than Japanese food! Especially lately, I've been trying to mix it up a bit.. and being a "Russian housewife", I thought I'd try to make pirogi.

So, here we go:

7 g dry yeast
2 ts brown sugar
2/3 cup skimmed milk (abt. 2 dl ), lukewarm
1 large egg
1 tbsp water
1 cup (=240 ml) melted margarine, lukewarm
1/4 ts salt
3 3/4 cup flour (= 9 dl) (I used dinkel)

1/2 head of cabbage
2 tbsp hacked dill
1 clove garlic, hacked
2 tbsp oil
2-3 hard boiled eggs
2-3 large potatoes cut in small cubes and boiled
salt and pepper

+ any meat, fish or chicken and maybe peas as well
1 beaten egg

Make dough
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in lukewarm milk, leave for 5 min, then add the egg beaten with water and lukewarm margarine, plus salt. Stir together and add the flour, cup by cup, leaving 1/2 cup out. Form the dough into a ball and knead in the rest of the flour. Leave to rise for abt. 10 min. Use at once, or refrigerate for up to 24 hrs.

Make filling
Boil eggs and potatoes until done. Sieve potatoes and peel eggs. Chop them into small pieces.
Cut the cabbage into strips and boil for 2 min in salted water. Strain and chop it up more.
Put the oil in a large pan or wok, add garlic, fry 2 min, add cabbage and dill. Fry until soft, add potatoes and eggs + any other filling. Adjust taste with s/p.

Make circular pieces of the dough and put 2 tbsp filling on one half. Close it into a half circle, close the edges with a fork and put beaten egg on it.
Cook the pirogi for 20-25 minutes on 200 degrees C until brown.

Serve with soup or sour cream dressing. Great for picnic!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Roses *non-Japanese plants!*

I'm proud to present: Mr. Graham Thomas and Heritage.
The lovely Austin roses currently growing in my garden. Planted in mid-May, they're now full of fragrant flowers, Graham Thomas (above) has pale yellow, almost peach flowers. Heritage (under) has light pink, almost white, some more pink, full flowers. I have high hopes for these ones!

My garden

Growing daikon has proven to be quite interesting and quite tricky for a garden-virgin like me.
But, this one I think will be a success, after a few attempts that has ended with small, withered ones...
I have no idea if this pot is deep enough or how long this root is now, but I'll try to let it grow for another week or so to see if it gets thicker.
The daikon is Hybrid Daebu Summer, and it should be grown in 60 days after sowing.
It was planted around May 15th, so that gives it another week to grow.

My green shiso is also growing well these days. After a rocky start in the beginning of summer, they got pale green and were bothered by insects, they've matured into rich, dark green plants with huge leaves. I will salt the leaves for onigri wrappers this week - so stay tuned!

Happy morning

Japanese tea in my tetsubin (iron tea pot) and aka-shiso growing in the background....

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Instant Tsukemono

I bought a mix for instant pickles in the Japanese market, so I thought I'd give it a go.
Since the instructions on the packet is in Japanese, I had to search a bit to find out how, but hey, it's not that hard... I did get an advice to add some lemon juice and shiso, so I did that.
Otherwise: 200-250 g of vegetable of choice, I used cucumber and aubergine, add a pack of instant tsukemono powder, lemon juice, shiso to a plastic bag. Leave in the fridge for a few days.

I've already tasted some, and they're quite good. Next time I'll try to make my own tsukemono powder though... to escape the msg...

Friday, 19 June 2009

Cake! Pavlova... *non-japanese food*

Oh, I found this picture of the Pavlova I made for 17th of May (Norway's constitution day).
And it looks so nice I want to share it... and post recipe...


6 egg whites
4 dl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp vanilla essence

Whisk together, starting with egg whites and salt, then adding sugar and eventually vinegar and corn starch + vanilla.
When the meringue has become thick and shiny, pour in on a baking sheet where you've drawn a circle of about 26 cm in diameter. Form a circle of the mass.
Put it in an oven heated to 250 degrees C, switch the heat down to 100 degrees. Fry it on 100 degrees for at least an hour. Cool down.
Decorate with whipped cream, berries, vanilla cream....

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Renkon no ebi hasami-age, lotus root with shiso

So, I've taken a liking to renkon, lotus root. I bought fresh one this spring and used it all for chips, but I picked up a pack of frozen renkon as well. It's been sitting in my freezer waiting for inspiration... Then I got 2 renkon recipes from my Japanese friend Ryoko (thanks!), and yesterday I tried out one of them in a moderated form.
The recipe calls for a shrimp mixture to be put inside the renkon "sandwiches", but I decided to do it as a vegetarian side dish as I had no shrimps.
Update: I made it again with shrimps! Also good, and I took new pictures for this post.

Here's the recipe (including shrimps):

Deep-Fried Lotus Root and Shrimp Sandwiches

4 lotus roots (or frozen pieces to double to the number of shiso leaves)
6 - 8 shiso leaves
1/2 sheet nori, cut into strips

7 oz/200g shrimps
4 inch naga-negi onion (or spring onion)
1/2 knob ginger
1 tbsp katakuriko starch (or potato/corn starch)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sake
1/2 lemon

hakurikiko flour (normal flour)
oil for deep frying

Eat with ponzu, soy sauce with ginger, sansho salt or lime juice.

How to make it:
Shrimp filling:
De-vein the shrimps, and rinse them in cold water. Chop the onion and ginger finely. Place it in a food processor with the katakuriko starch, salt and sake. Run it until it becomes a fine mixture.

Cut the lotus root into 1/8 inch pieces, if too big, into half moons again. Soak them in water with vinegar for 4-5 minutes.

Dust the lotus root with flour and put a shiso leaf on one piece. Add shrimp mixture, if using, put another lotus root on top. Seal with a nori band. Sprinkle with more flour.

Deep fry in hot oil until crisp, but not brown. Turn once.
Garnish with lemon. Serve with dressing of choice.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Happy times in my garden, except for some bugs..

Bok choi, daikon and green shiso outside.

My plants have finally moved outside, all except the small aka-shiso's
that are happy in the window of my kitchen for now.
The mini bok choi is growing fast and happy, and the green shiso is quite
large now. My daikons and sugar snaps are also coming along.

There's a small problem though --- bugs.... some small insects have attacked
a few plants and left stripes in the green leaves. So Monday, I'm off to the store
to get something to protect my plants. No toxic stuff, but I hope there's something
I can do... My kitchen will be pretty crowded if I'd have to move it all inside...

Todays dinner for Mr. Linuz was salmon sashimi with ponzu dressing and fresh
shiso. Served with rice and carrot wedges. No photo of that I'm afraid...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Birthday bento

My quick bento made with whatever was in the fridge;

inari filled with rice mixed with furikake
aloe vera segments in juice
tofu with shiso and soya (soya not added yet)


Quick dinner and homemade furikake

A quick sunday dinner, maybe not entirely Japanese, but we try... Sake shiso - salmon with fresh shiso baked in the oven and served with rice, pickles, miso soup and salad.
Here's the lovely salmon ready for the oven: Topped with sweet soya, salt and shiso:

And for the rice I've made homemade furikake (rice topping):
Nori (in strips)
Black and white sesame seeds
Shaved bonito (fish)

Mix together and put on top of your cooked rice!
Or mix with rice inside onigri or inari...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

More planting..

Oh boy, I do enjoy having a small garden! Well, at least a large terrace and a small piece of soil next to my kitchen wall..
Last week I received my parcel from Oriental Vegetable Seeds (fast service, good selection). I've ordered seeds of shiso (3 types), daikon (4 types), a bok choi variety and Japanese cucumber.
This week I've planted baby bok choi, aka-shiso (red shiso) and one daikon variety called Daebu summer. Daikon and bok choi surfaced after 2-3 days, I'm still vaiting for the shiso to sprout.

Both daikon and bok choi grow easily, just plant them right under the surface in moist soil, keep it fairly moist and warm and they'll grow fast.

Pictures coming!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Hijiki no nimoto

Today I've made hijiki for the 2nd time, this time I included konnyaku as well. It came out good, half was for dinner, the other is for bento box tomorrow, with rice, ume, egg and chicken. What a nice start to the week!

I'm including the recipe and some action shots:

Hijiki no nimoto (simmered hijiki sea vegetable)

1/3 cup dried hijiki (rinse and soak for 20 minutes in cold water)
1 piece abura age (oil removed and cut into small strips)
1/3 block of konnyaku cake (cut in slices)
1/2 large carrot (in julienne)
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups dashi
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp soya
1 tbsp mirin or sake with sugar

Prepare everything while the hijiki is soaking in cold water for at least 20 minutes.
The abura age needs to be rinsed with boiling hot water and rolled on a clean towel with a chopstick to remove excess oil.

Fry the carrot strips in the vegetable oil until tender. Add konnyaku and abura age and cook for another 2-3 minutes, without burning the vegetables.

Add hijiki (without soaking water), fry for a minute and add the stock. Simmer everything in the stock until it has boiled down to aprox. half of the quantity. Serve hot in a bowl or cool down and add to your bento box.

Happy shiso

My happy, little shiso is growing... and soon it will come out in the garden! Notice the daikon in the background - growing way to fast!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Shiso replanted

The shiso is coming along and today it was replanted in larger pots. I expect them to grow faster now, hoping for sunny, warm days to come... This is the 3 pots I'm keeping, I've got another 5 for friends.

I also test-seeded some daikon today to check seeding dept, how long it will take for them to surface and so on. Because daikon needs deeper pots (it grows downwards..), I'll have to wait until weather gets good enough to plant them outdoors. My kitchen is already crowded with shisoplants!

Monday, 13 April 2009

My window

sugar, wakame, tempura flour, shiitake, bonito, sesame seeds, tea

Stocking up on necessities!

Sauteed chicken and tamago yaki

One of our everyday Japanese meals; chicken marinated in soya, mirin, sake, salt and sugar.

It's about 500 gr of chicken thighs with skin on, marinating in a tbsp each of the above mentioned ingredients. Fried in wok with the excess marinade, and that's it!

Served with shredded cabbage, rice, soup, pickles. The soup is chicken stock from the chicken bones with a bit of white miso, wakame and shiitake mushrooms.

As a starter we had salmon sashimi with ponzu dressing and carrots.

Oh, and for my sister I'm posting recipe for tamago yaki:
This is for a large omelet, feel free to halve it, I usually do, as I have a small pan:

Tamago yaki

6 eggs
1,25 dl dashi (Japanese fish stock)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin (or replace with sugar)

1 tbsp oil

Mix eggs with the other ingredients, heat a pan. Oil the pan with a paper towel dipped in oil.
Pour in 1/3 of the mixture. When it sets, fold the omelet as a roll towards one end of the pan.
Pour in another 1/3 of mixture, lift the rolled omelet to let mixture under, let it set. Repeat with the last part of mixture. Leave to cool and cut in shape if you're using a circular pan.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Growing shiso (perilla)

Good news... the first shiso shots have surfaced! I guess it's about 30-40 sprouts that have surfaced now. It looks really good, just like last year.

Soon I'll replant them in individual pots and they'll grow nice and big. Happy times for me and the other 3 that are waiting for their plants.

If the nice weather continues and spring really is here, I'll try to plant daikon next week.

Hang in there for exciting updates!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Various cooking this week, bento and lotus root

Yum! Lotus root chips.....

This week has included two days of bento at work, tonkatsu and making lotus root chips. My daughter went crazy for thoose chips! Will do them again now that I've found fresh lotus root here in Oslo. It wasn't so large, but it made great chips!

Bento with rice, tamago, pickles, chicken, carrots and cabbage.
The day after I had rice, pickles, bok choy, chicken and some aloe vera segments as well.

All wrapped up in my furoshiki and ready to go!

Slicing lotus root on my newly bought mandoline. I peeled the root and left it in water with some vinegar to prevent it from colouring.

Cooking lotus root chips in sunflower oil.