13 Sep 2009

Let the cooking begin!!

From having lived in Asia for three years now I feel I am slowly getting to grips with various different foods we rarely eat in the west. Some foods have opened my eyes to a new way of cooking.

Here in Japan, ovens in homes/apartments are very few and far between. The Japanese depend entirely on their rice cookers to provide the staple of their every meal, rice.

I have always enjoyed oven baked dishes from casseroles, roasted vegetables, home made granola and having the opportunity to bake a cake for the occasional treat or take around to friends homes. As soon as this option is taken away from you, you really do begin to realise how dependent you are on certain items.

It has taken me a while to settle into not having an oven to make whatever I feel like. Being solely dependent on my two gas hobs to provide the dinners delights has had it's ups and downs. Constantly trying to find a new dish or combinations of ingredients to make each meal different from the next has been quite taxing at times. Not only that, but cooking in a shoe box size kitchen has forced me to re-think my organisational skills.

I have always been interested in healthy nutritious foods, which are low in calories and provide me with enough energy to see through the day without wanting to snack on sugary treats. mmmm...treats, one of my down falls in staying healthy!! Who doesn't love the odd bar of chocolate or cake and coffee set?? If you can say 'whatever', to this, then I envy you!!

I love food and love eating out, but your wallet and waist line will hate you before you know it!! This is why I'm constantly on the search for new ideas to use new interesting nutritious and tasty ingredients.

Recently, I bought my very first rice cooker. Not only for the reason to save me time and space in the kitchen, but to experiment cooking a variety of dishes and cakes...
This new wonderful machine not only has a simple rice cooking function, but also cake, porridge and risotto settings to name a few. Actually, that's all I understand for now, the rest will have to be translated for me as my Japanese reading skills are still very limited. :)

So far I have made a fruit cake, similar to Scottish clootie dumpling, and a risotto in this wonderful machine and both, to my surprise surpassed all of my expectations and were a complete hit!! Success!!

This is where this blog begins!! I have been truly inspired now and intend to make life in the kitchen easier with less work and cleaning up and more sharing, eating and enjoyment.

In this blog I will be posting my new success recipes along with an ingredient of the month, where I will give a variety of uses for it and explain to you why I love this particular ingredient with a few useful facts, which may interest you.

I would love it if you could post your thoughts on the recipes I add to this blog. If you ever decide to make them, feel free to make any suggestions for improvement.   Also, if you have any ideas of your own that have been a success and would like to share, please mail me and I will try them out and add them to the blog.

Happy cooking!!

Oh, I almost forgot "bendi" as it sounds or "benri" as written in romaji, means useful in English. :)

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