Miso-Marinated Pork

Posted September 13th, 2014 in Food | No Comments »

buta-misozuke

 

Meat is not my most favorite food, but I do get a craving for yakiniku (Japanese version of BBQ- it literary means “grilled meat”) sometimes.  Usually I go for thinly sliced beef if having yakiniku at home here in Perth, but marinated chicken thigh or pork fillets are actually great alternatives.

Marinating in miso based marinade gives meat tender and full of flavour.  I bet you’ll love it with freshly cooked steamed rice and some shredded cabbage!  Yummmm…  So does other marinated meat, this one gets burned easily when cooking so make sure you keep an eye on it while grilling.  Searing the meat in a hot pan gives great flavour of caramelised sweet miso paste to the meat.    You can cook this in a yakiniku plate and eat as you cook in the table, or cook in a pan and serve with shredded cabbage and hot steamed rice.  You can also make it in a donburi style by arranging the meat and cabbage on a bed of steamed rice in a serving bowl.

This pork is also great to have with somen noodle in summer.  Chilled somen noodle with dipping sauce sometimes doesn’t satisfy your hunger, but serving that with this freshly grilled pork and some summer salad makes a great treat for a hot day!

<Miso-Marinated Pork> serves 2~3 people

  • Pork fillet 300g (I used pork loin fillet)
  • Miso paste 3 tablespoon (I used red miso paste)
  • Mirin (sweet cooking wine) 1 tablespoon
  • Sake (cooking wine) 1 tablespoon
  • Honey 1 tablespoon
  • Soy sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic & ginger, grated, around 1 teaspoon each

 

  1. Mix all the ingredients except pork.
  2. Place pork fillets in a ziplock bag with the mixed sauce.  Marinate half-day or overnight.
  3. Remove pork from the marinade.  Cut into 1~2cm width.
  4. Heat a frying pan and spray oil.  When the pan is really really hot, add the meat and quickly move around the pan to sear the meat.  Be cautious not to burn the meat.
  5. Serve with rice while hot.

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Boundary Fence Issue…

Posted September 10th, 2014 in Perth WA | 2 Comments »

fence

Sigh….  It’s been a troublesome winter for me this year as the boundary fence in the yard had been giving me a headache for almost few months.

Part of the fence broke few months ago because of stormy wind.  There’re 2 neighbours who share the fence with us, and one of them approached me saying they’d organise everything including finding a cheap fencing company and book for a service.  They said they will even get a quote to fix another neighbour’s part for me.  Such a nice couple.  They called up fencing companies and the earliest service we could get was 2 weeks away.  Apparently our boundary fence wasn’t the only one which got broken by those wind.  So waited, waited… for 2 weeks.

Because another neighbour was tenanted and the owner resides overseas, I tried contacting their real estate agent about the boundary fence.  The agent wasn’t helpful and he kept saying he can’t do anything because he can’t be in touch with the property owner.  That’s weird.  I thought taking care of these things’re their job.  I tried calling him everyday like a stalker.  I also mentioned that in order to fix the fence they first have to cut down the tree which was growing towards our yard.

The part of the fence with friendly neighbour was fixed after 2 weeks.  Still no news from another neighbour.  The agent kept telling me to wait until he gets information of house insurance.

… few weeks (more than a month) passed.  One day when I called the agent, he said he’s not the person to call anymore.  The owner of the house changed the real estate agent and I had to call another real estate company.  Gosh, can things get more complicated?!  But when I called up a new agent, I was surprised how friendly and helpful she was and I was relieved when she said she will organise everything including forwarding the quote to their insurance company and cutting the tree branches.   Things seemed so easy!  I’m not surprised that the original agent was sucked.

It felt forever until I saw the branch was being cut and trimmed.  Ok, things are looking good. I called up fencing company to book for a service.  Again, we had to wait for another 2 weeks as they’re very busy at the time.

Unluckily, during the 2 weeks there was another storm, and because the tree was removed and there’s nothing to support the fence, another part of the fence (connected to the part which had already been broken) had broken down!!!  It seemed endless, and I felt like I was to deal with boundary fence forever.  I got a quote for newly broken part and claimed to the insurance company.  Had to pay excess twice… sigh.

The last part of the fence got fixed up pretty quickly and now my mind is at peace.

A guy from fencing company gave me a great tip.  Next time, if part of the fence is broken and other part of the fence seem to be affected as well, kick the fence and knock everything down so insurance will pay all at once. Thanks!


Saving, saving, saving…

Posted September 9th, 2014 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »

Ume in Perth

Life has been hectic for the last few months around me, but now things seem to be settling ok and I’m now little excited about what to come next…

My husband and I had the biggest shopping in our life recently, and we are now trying to stay on top of our budget each month.  We’ve created an excel sheet to record our spendings so we can keep an eye on what we spend and what we save on each month.  I actually like saving money – I’d say it’s a kind of my hobby.  When I started working in Japan, I was 15 years old who had several jobs and worked almost 7 days a week & went to a correspondence high school.  All I did in my last teens was saving money.  I didn’t really spend money on fashion and beauty.  I was quite different from my friends and other high school girls in Japan at that time who’s major interests were putting cute make-ups and buying trendy clothes.  My early childhood environment (family issue) was the biggest reason why I kept saving money, but also I had a dream to live overseas, especially in Australia in future, so I kept saving, saving, saving… till I graduated college in Osaka and flew to Perth.

After arriving Perth, I was more a spender than a saver as I was a student and only worked few hours a week at a Japanese restaurant.  There’s not particular reason to save money any more at that time as my goal had been achieved, but I also didn’t go nuts buying clothes and trendy stuff (well, it was rather difficult to do so in Perth anyway…)  Old habit of saving stayed in my vein!

So now, I’m trying to save each month again.  It’s bit hard now as I’m not the only person who is involved in this “saving”.  There are 3 other people (my family) and 2 of them are under 4 years old!   Any tips?  There are things I can’t save any further (e.g. council rate etc) so I’m focusing on food expenses, petrol, gas and electricity bills…  I wish I could get a day job to boost an income, but at the same time I also want to be there for my kids especially while they’re young.  Getting a part-time job will probably happen when they start going to pre-primary, and until then my job is to stay on top of our budget and also do a bit of baking for Bagelier… :p (bagels, anyone?)

 


Takikomi Tomato Rice

Posted August 14th, 2014 in Food | No Comments »

takikomi

Tomato rice, often used for omelet-rice (omu-rice), is usually made with cooked rice, chicken pieces, some vegetables and tomato sauce in a frying-pan, just like stir-fried rice.  We call the rice “chicken rice”, and I love it even without a thin omelet wrapper.  The problem with cooking this rice is that sometimes the rice becomes bit mashy while stir-frying, and you have to have cooked rice to make this.  so, when you feel like omelet-rice, you first need to cook rice then stir-fry with other ingredients.

I hate mashy rice.  Especially with Japanese rice (medium to short grain rice).  It’s soggy, soft and has no texture that I love about rice.

So these days I often make this “chicken rice” in a rice cooker.  You don’t need to stir-fry in a pan as a rice cooker will do all the work.  It’s easy, time saving, and less washing to do!

The basic ingredients are medium (or short) grain rice, chicken thigh pieces, onion, carrot and sauces, but this time I made it with prawn & chopped bacon instead of chicken.  Yum!!

takikomi2

I added spinach in this recipe.  You can modify this with any vegetables at least you add the correct amount of rice and sauces.

<Recipe>

  • Rice 450g
  • Tomato Sauce  4 table spoons
  • Oyster Sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Stock Cube 1 (vegetable or chicken) or 1 teaspoon
  • Frozen Chopped Spinach 1 portion
  • Chopped Carrot 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Onion 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Bacon 1/4 cup
  • some prawns, no shell, heads and tails

 

  1. Wash rice.  Level the rice in a rice cooker.  Add sauces and stock cube.  Add water to the level marked “3″, or you point your finger down inside the rice cooker, add water to the first line of your finger.
  2. Add other ingredients.  Level the surface.
  3. Turn on the cooker.

 

You should leave the lid of rice cooker closed for at least 10 minutes after the rice is cooked.  Mix the rice through within 30minutes after cooking to let the excess steam escape.

Serve with or without thin omelet, and enjoy!


Bringing Japan into our life in Perth

Posted August 9th, 2014 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »

Bagels

Gosh, time flies ….!!!  It’s August already?  It’s been, what, 4 months since I last wrote a post on Umeboss!

Things have been hectic in my life for the last few months – I had another baby boy, restarted my small business Bagelier  (only occasionally), some of my friends decided to move out of Perth so we had several farewell gatherings, and just keeping up everyday with a 3-year-old boy and a newborn is busy enough. :-[

Baby-Hugo

I missed how a newborn baby smells, moves, smiles and wiggles.

I can’t believe my elder son is attending kindy from next year. He currently goes to a Japanese kindy (not a proper kindergarten though), daycare, Japanese book club and Japanese playgroup every week, so I’m sure he’ll be ok going to school 3 days a week, but it’s just that I can’t believe he is grown up to be a school kid soon.

Looking after 2 children is hard work (especially they are boys!) but I’m not quite sure why I started doing the baking business now! I guess it’s part of my personality (my blood) that I can’t just sit around the house – I feel I need to be doing something… I push myself.  It’s a very tiring personality I have!

So, other than baking, most of the time I’m in Japanese environment where people and I speak Japanese only.  I decided to do this way because I wanted my children to be able to speak Japanese in future.  Japanese is my first language and it feels weird if I had to speak English (second language) to my own children. So I made lots of Japanese mum friends and I spend most of weekdays with them, letting kids play together.  Thanks to that, my elder son (3 years old) speaks more Japanese than English.  So my plan is working in spite of the fact that I’m the only Japanese speaker in the house and all my family are overseas.  I know his English will be stronger once he starts to go to local school, but at least he has the base then I believe he won’t forget it.

In oppose to his Japanese, my English is getting worse these days.  Because I spend everyday with my babies I don’t get lots of time talking English now.  I don’t want to be someone who stays in non-English community while in Australia, but I guess I need to stay like this until boys go to school and then I can start spending more time with English-speaking friends and working in English-speaking environment.  Until then…

I sometimes miss myself few years ago when I was speaking only English and forgot how to speak Japanese properly. It was a funny experience – I know all Japanese in my head but words didn’t come out from my mouth.  I was 23, and spent only 2 years in Australia (21 years in Japan) and already forgot how to speak my own language! So I know my kids will lose some Japanese while living in Australia… I’ll just have to keep up talking to them in Japanese as much as I can and it’ll keep our (both me and my kids’) Japanese skill, I hope..