Holiday Cooking Time!

22 07 2014

It was my mother’s 79th birthday yesterday which happened to be a national holiday.  The plan was to take my parents out to a nice French dinner but she called in the morning to say Gen was sick so we rescheduled which led me to cook again last night.

First things first.

First things first.

I am working on the Turkish cookbook again.

I am working on the Turkish cookbook again.

Here comes “etli biber dolmasi” literally “stuffed pepper with meat”.  The recipe said use either beef or lamb.  I preferred lamb but where I went to shop didn’t have the right kind so settled with beef.






I did not have a pan that was just right for cooking this dish so used something that was on the small side which forced me to 1) cook the sauce separately and 2) to cook over very low heat so while the recipe did not tell you to steam, that’s what I ended up doing.  Worked OK.


I had trouble finding the right serving dish for them, too. At the end used a bowl I bought in Istanbul but still too wide and too low.

I was only cooking half of what the recipe called for (which I always do) but I was still one green pepper short so the filling became meatballs afterwards.

Sunday Cooking Time!

8 07 2014

Continuing with the Turkish theme in my cooking and not having eaten the huge zucchini I had bought a week ago, this Sunday I decided to go for a kind of Turkish pancake “mücver” which in the recipe was described as “oyaki” but it was more like “okonomiyaki“.

First things first.

First things first.

This is the front of the bottle.  A freebie created for a friend's company anniversary.

This is the front of the bottle. A freebie created for a friend’s company anniversary.

The recipe called for two zucchinis but one was more than enough.

The recipe called for two zucchinis but one was more than enough.


Making the yoghurt sauce first.

Making the yoghurt sauce first.

In the bowl I bought in Istanbul.  Love the blue tulips.

In the bowl I bought in Istanbul. Love the blue tulips.



The following day…

Doing a bigger version.

Doing a bigger version.

Now that really looks like an okonomiyaki.

Now that really looks like an okonomiyaki.

Decided to season it okonomiyaki style.

So decided to season it okonomiyaki style.

Works either way.

Sorting Through Travel Photos – a New Year Ritual

5 01 2012

Yes, that’s what I do every new year holiday season – I sort out photos, along with other sortable stuff such as receipts and shop cards, I have taken on trips.  In the past, it was photos taken with a camera that used films so they had to be developed and printed and as soon as they were printed, I got into the mood for sorting them out and putting them in a photo album.  These days since photos are taken on a digital camera, the number of photos can just grow and since you can view them as soon as taken, there is not so much urge or desire to sort them out (in my case anyway).  However, I still prefer that I print my photos from the “major” vacations I do and put them in an album and continue to do this.  The only problem, apart from cost, is that I am behind by a couple of years in getting all that done.

So this new year’s holidays, I was working on sorting out photos from my October 2009 trip to Prague, the Czech Republic which was followed by a half vacation/half work trip to Helsinki and Tampere, Finland.

The album opening page of the Prague trip.

I obviously have many food photos and restaurant receipts and cards. A page dedicated to Cafe Louvre in Prague.

The opening page of the Helsinki leg of the trip.

More Helsinki.

The Tampere leg which was a business trip for me. Yes, I was working!

2009 was the year I probably travelled the most compared to any other year.  For my new year’s card (a Japanese tradition) for 2010, I did a photo summary of my trips during 2009.

Left to right, top row: Cannes, Rome, the Vatican, Oslo, Shanghai. Bottom row: Prague, Helsinki, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires.

From the above I’m missing the trip I did at the end of December, 2009 to Phonm Penh, Cambodia, as below.

@ an elementary school in the suburb of Phnom Penh run with Japanese funding.

And when I was done with that, I went to finish sorting out the photos I never finished sorting out from last new year’s holidays, meaning photos taken in 2008 that I was working on at new year’s 2010.

The opening page of my Turkey trip in August, 2008.

More Turkey - Istanbul.

It can get tedious if you work on it too hard for too long but it can be really fun trying to remember what you may have done or eaten or drunk on your trip.

Turkish Pizza

27 04 2011

Turkey is where pizza originated, so I read and learned when I visited the country a few years ago.  Had some great ones there.

For lunch today I went back to the Turkish restaurant I tried last week SO THAT I could try one of their pizzas.  If it weren’t for my chicken obsession last week (and my appreciation for “wraps”), I may have just gone for one of the pizzas on my first visit.  But I held on and it was worth it.

They did not have this flag out last week!

Sat by the window.

Lentil soup. The size of soup is much bigger than last week...?

My pizza!! Yum!! With ground beef, no cheese. Looks like a Christmas tree when served this way...

Nice Turkish tea at the end.  They served the same tea in a coffee cup last week.  I was not happy.  This is better. 🙂

Chicken Lunch 4

21 04 2011

I love Turkish food and I love “wraps” so when I found out that this newly opened Turkish restaurant near my office was serving lunch-time chicken kebab wraps on the menu, I just had to include it in my “chicken lunch” week.  We don’t have enough places, restaurants or fast food joints, in Tokyo that serve “wraps”!

Chicken kebab wrap with chili sauce

Sesame seeds on the wrap!

I remember that most Turkish breads came with sesame seeds.  My previous chicken kebab sandwich experience in Istanbul, Turkey.

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