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.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Making wagashi - 和菓子

Fishy, fishy!

Hello, and sorry for my absence... Life and work has taken too much time lately....

But, look what we did - we made wagashi - Japanese sweets! More precisely we made fish out of apple juice and agar-agar (kanten).

It´s super easy and we will do it again! These fish are perfect for matcha (green tea).

You need:
Good quality apple juice
Agar-agar (powder or flakes, we used powder)
Sugar paste (optional)
Plastic or silicone mold

 I mixed 2 dl of apple juice, 60 grams of sugar and 3-4 grams of agar-agar in a kettle, and boiled it for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the sugar according to taste. Ours got a bit sour, but we like that! In the fish mold I made little balls of sugar paste as eyes. You don´t have to! 2 g agar-agar pr. 100 ml liquid gives a quite hard jello. You can use less and still get a good result.

After the mixture cools down a little bit (but not below 40 degrees C), pour into molds. The sugar paste might bleed, but I think it looks nice. The mixture will set when it gets colder, so fill it to the brim!

The fish sets quickly, you can leave the mold on your kitchen top counter or in the fridge. Serve with matcha and a fork/spoon (I´m going to get a real Japanese wooden fork soon).

Fun facts about kanten: Agar is derived from the polysaccharide agarose, which forms the supporting structure in the cell walls of certain species of algae, and which is released on boiling. These algae are known asagarophytes and belong to the Rhodophyta (red algae) phylum. Agar is actually the resulting mixture of two components: the linear polysaccharide agarose, and a heterogeneous mixture of smaller molecules called agaropectin