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Vegan Chocolate Cornflakes チョコフレーク [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン、ベジタリアン情報満載の 
Hachidory から ご覧下さい。


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What do you do on Valentine’s Day ?


Give the presents to your loved ones ?
Or have a lovely dinner with your family ?


When my kids were small, it was the happiest day of the year for me.


I used to run a restaurant when I lived in Singapore, and we offered a special Valentine set on this day. 
The restaurant was always a full house and the regular customers came in with their loved ones. 
Lots of pink hearts were floating in the air, which made me happy too.


I thought how fortunate I was to be able to offer such a special moment for them.


When I was back home late night, my kids were already sleeping.


I knew that their hand made cards were waiting for me on my desk. 
When I opened them, the unskillful characters, “I love you mommy.”, popped into my eyes.
“Oh my! ”, they deeply touched my heart.   


Back to Japan after over 20 years absence for me during this season, and first living experience for my kids other than holidays, we found the Valentine's Day in Japan is very unique and interesting.


(It was not publicly celebrated during my younger days.)


It is the day that the girls and women give chocolate to the boys and men.


Many girls spend hours to make their original chocolates to give them away to their friends on this date, many women spend their money to buy the chocolates for their co-workers no matter they like them or not. 


There was a new word, “Giri choco” which literally means “obligatory chocolate” and practically means the chocolate for any men no matter one likes him or not. 
After observing this custom for a few years, I found that Valentine's Day is not a happy day but is a burden to some of both women and men when they work in the companies. 


For me Valentine's Day is the day to pass the message not to buy chocolate indiscriminately. 


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“Eat and consume the food that are grown locally and seasonally.” is the principal of leading healthy and sustainable life.


Buying and eating chocolate is something opposite to this.


The ingredients of the chocolates can not be produced in our region and all of them are imported from overseas, many are from economically poor countries.


It has been revealed  that the chocolate trade is violating the human rights and many children are suffering in order to produce the chocolate for the pleasure of people around the world.


You can learn more about chocolate in here.  


In fact the chocolate is not the only product that is causing the problems.


So many kinds of foods from all over the world are easily available at the supermarkets.  


If it is something rare and expensive, it might not be so bad, but if the thing is sold cheap or easily available all the year round and if those things are imported from the limited so to be called developing countries, there is high possibility that this state may be creating the problems to those nations on individual basis, also to the habitat and environment.   


Here's another example, I had been thinking why the bananas were sold so cheap and were available all the year round in Japan though our country was not producing them.  The bananas are sold not only in Japan but in most of the developed countries all the year round in very reasonable price though those countries also cannot produce the bananas. 


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How many countries can produce them and how many countries are growing them in a big scale for export ?  


As I suspected, I found the suffering of people, animals and lands from the banana production and trade too.


Our choice of food gives the huge impacts on human rights, animal rights and environment as well as on our health.


It is sensible for us to eat locally, seasonally and eat those exotic food on special occasions only.


Having emphasized the importance of eating locally and seasonally, I am introducing a chocolate recipe today, as it is a good opportunity to pass this message on Valentine’s Day to your friends, co-workers and families.


Maybe you can enclose the message card with the chocolate to tell them what you have learnt.


When you buy the chocolate for this recipe, get the one of the “Fair Trade” from the responsible companies, and make sure it is vegan and does not contain dairy.


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Vegan Ramen Tomato Flavor ビーガンラーメントマト味 [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン、ベジタリアン情報満載の Hachidory から ご覧下さい

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Happy Lunar New Year !

Do you know what year 2020 is in zodiac ?

It is the year of the rats /mice.

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Last year was the year of the pig and I wrote about a happy pig and sad pigs.
 

Unfortunately, I have not heard about a happy mouse in my surroundings.

I always wonder why the animals are so exploited by humans though they are often portrated as our friends in the kids’ books. 
Look at the infants and kids’ corner of the library and book shops.  If you pick up a book at random, the probability of you find the adorable pictures of the animals is very high, perhaps nine out of ten books have the picture of the animals.  

Many of the characters are animals who are personified.

Children love those animals and get affectionate to them, and so do their parents when they read those books for their kids.

The rats, the cows, the tigers, the rabbits, the dragons, the snakes, the horses, the sheep, the monkeys, the chickens, the dogs and the pigs….(I wrote in the order of zodiac)  

They are different species, but all of them feel the pain and joy, have affection and mothers want to protect their kids.  In that sense we are same.

 

Children learn this fundamental fact from the books and become affectionate to these animals.

However in some stages, children are guided to believe that animals are different from us, their position is lower than humans so it is not wrong to let them work for humans.

It is the circle of the nature.

In order to live and protect our lives, it is all right to make them feel pain and even kill them.

This is very sad, and

This is wrong.

I want to nurture children’s pure and sacred feeling towards the animals.

I want them to keep that beautiful affection and compassion till they are grown up without being succumbed to adults’ value that it is all right for humans to control other animals. 

So last for a few years, I’ve been trying to make more opportunities to read Kamishibai story – Japanese traditional story telling with the big pictures- to pass this message to the kids.   After reading, I listen to their feelings and thoughts, and give further talk to them.

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How did you find the pictures of the mice that I showed you in the beginning?  

They are the pictures of the mice who visited my home last year.

Aren’t they adorable ?

Mice visitors are nothing rare in the old houses in Japan.

And it is common to catch them in the glue traps and discard them in the dust bins.

The glue traps are very cruel making mice panic and struggle to get out of there, their skin and tails are often torn and they have to spend hours with pain and agony till they finally can die.
So never use the glue trap when you want to get rid of them !!

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Vegan Mochi Shabu Shabu ビーガン餅しゃぶしゃぶ [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]

日本語のレシピはビーガン情報サイト "Hachidory" を ご覧ください。


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The year of 2019 has started.


However for many Japanese people living in Japan, it will be  the year 1 rather than 2019.   

Because it is common to count the year by Era in Japan. 

When the new emperor takes over the position it becomes the year 1.  At this moment, it is year 31 of Heisei Era, but from April 30, it will be year 1 as the son of current Emperor will be throned on this date.

It is easier for us to remember the charactaristics of the particular period when we express the year in this way.

But it is sometimes very comfusing. 

I often can't remember or am at a loss which year of A.C. any particular things happend or how old they are in reality when the years are written in the form of Era.


Anyway it is going to be the year 1 soon. (Nobody still does not know the name of the new Era.) 


2019 = 1   I must remember this.


The name of the Era could change suddenly one day, but there is another way of counting years that cannot change in this way, which is called Zodiac and characteristic about Japanese (may be Asian) year.


Zodiac has 12 kinds of animals.
(What a sweet tradition, isn't it ?)



This year is the year of Pig.




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Esther, my faorite piggy



So we surely need to be nice to the piggies, especially this year.

 

How can we be nice to them ?


Think about it !


And we have to show it in our actions !!


For me, it is to spread the reality of the situations of the piggies and convince people that they are loveable and affectionate animal who deserve to be treated in the same way as dogs, cats and us  .


I made lots of piggy shaped vegan cookies and passed to my friends during New Year, telling them enjoy as much as they want, but try to reduce the consumption of the real piggy.


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Now I move to the topic of New Year food. 

Which food do you think that most Japanese people consider a "must" for New Year  ?


It is definately "Mochi/glutinous rice cake".


In the countryside, there are still families pound Mochi using a big mortor and pestle made of wood at the end of the year to enjoy lots of Mochi during New Year.   


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My friend, Kami san threw Mochitsuki party for us. 



Nowdays it is normal to buy the ready-made ones from the shops.

The most popular way to eat Mochi on a very first day of the New Year is "Ozoni/mochi in soup". 


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But there are many ways to eat it, so from the second day onwards, people usually eat in different ways. 

We look for unusual or innovative ways of eating it as we often have lots of Mochi left in the fridge after the New Year.


Today I am sharing one of such recipes, "Vegan Mochi Shabu Shabu" with you.



When it is sliced into thin layers, mochi changes to lighter and more pleasant txture, yet is still elastic and stretchy.


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So enjoy mochi's uniqte texture when you cook this heart and body warming winter recipe.




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Vegan Stew with Sake Lees 粕汁 [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト "Hachidory" を ご覧ください。



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The colder the weather becomes, the clearer the sky becomes.


That is the characteristic of winter in Kanto area of Japan.


Though the cold air sometimes makes me sigh,


the bright blue sky also does so when I look it up.


That is the best part of  winter here.


The other day, I spent a few hours for driving to see Mt. Fuji.


Mt. Fuji looks most beautiful in winter.


It was freezing cold there, and I had the coldest sensation I've ever had.  



But Mt. Fuji was just breathtaking.


 

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View from Lake Yamanakako


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Top of Mt. Fuji



That was the most beautiful Mt. Fuji that I had ever seen.


"Magnificent", "Godlike".   Those were the words that came up to me.



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Mt. Fuji and Lake Yamanakako



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Lake Yamanakako was frozen, and ice patterns were so beautiful !




I do recommend you to visit Fuji 5 Lakes to view this stunning view of Mt. Fuji if you visit Japan in winter.



Yes, it is still very cold in the morning here.


So I am going to introduce you another poka poka dish for you today.

(poka poka is an onomatopoeia to express the feeling or sense that make us warm and comfortable.)


There is an important ingredient for it.


That is "Sakekasu". 


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"Sakekasu " is the by product of sake/ Japanese rice wine, and this word is usually translated to "rice wine lees".


During sake making process, there is a stage that wine is extracted from the fermented rice by pressing.  


"Sakekasu" is the ramainder left in the bag.


Unlike soy pulp which is the by-product of soy mik, "sakekasu" has creamy texture, and it has an alcoholic smell as you may be imagining.


It is a mighty ingredent for my cooking.


It can


turn the soy milk into yoghurt,

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raise the bread dough working as a yeast,

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It can aso produce cheesey texture and taste.


Thererfore I can make


vegan yoghurt

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tofu cheese

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vegan cheese cake


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vegan parmesan cheese

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with "Sakekasu".


I am going to show you how to make a traditional and most popular sakekasu dish in Japan today.


As it is such a unique ingredient, I have not found any replacement for sakekasu.

So this recipe can be replicated if you can get the "sakekasu".


 






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Vegan Ramen  ビーガンラーメン [Recipes, Winter 冬レシピ]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト ”Hachidory" を ご覧ください。


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Which do you prefer winter or summer ?


This is a question we often ask each other among friends and family since I was small.


When the summer came, I used to think I prefer winter, and the winter came, I used to think I prefer summer.


Now my answer is always the same.


I definately prefer hot season.


When it is cold, I do not want to get out of futon, Japanese bed in the morning, and am reluctant to move around even within a house.  

I often ended up staying in the kitchen whole day. 


"Lazy" may be is the best word to describe myself in the winter, though I actually do not like to be lazy. 


Because of this hardship - might sound exaggerated for those who prefer winter- , my meal time with piping hot soup and bath time in 42℃ hot water are super happiest moments for me. ( You may be wondering why I am so precise, but temperature of Japanese bath is usually controled by 1℃ unit, and it is not hot enough if it is 41℃, and it is too hot if it is 43℃ for me.) 


I cook most of my food with clay pots during winter.


The food cooked with clay pots is not only hot and can maintain its high temperature, but also very gentle in its taste and texture.   


I am showing off some of my clay pots today.


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They look the same, right ?

Yes, they are same, but different in sizes.


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These claypots are most freqently used in my cooking, and are often used for cooking rice, making soup and simmer the red beans.


I sometimes encounter very attractive clay pots and am tempted to get them, but I have to give up because I don't have any more space to keep them.

If I had much space and money, I'm sure I would be a clay pot collecter !


Well, I move to introduce the recipe of January 2018.

I am going to show you how to make vegan Ramen today!


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"Ramen" is not a traditional Japanese food though I know it is very popular as Japanese food even in overseas nowdays.  


The noodles are usually made from wheat, water, pH balance additives to make the noodle texture firm, and quite often with eggs, coloring and oil.

Therefore you'd better check the ingredient list when you purchase ramen noodles.


"Udon" noodles which is usually made from wheat, water and salt only is healthier alternative, and suitable for this recipe too. 

Look for fresh thinner udon for a replacement of ramen.


As introducing instant food using the ready made ingredient is not something that I can boast, I am also going to show you how to make "Shiraganegi" (literally means white hair leek).  

It is a bit time consuming work, so if you think it is too much, you can skip it, and top up with plenty of blanched bean sprouts instead.


But "Shiraganegi" is very usuful for other dishes too, and can make the food very presentable, so try it if you want to improve your cooking skill.


Let's get started !



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