December 28, 2010

amidst festivity

(taken with polaroid 180 on chocolate film)

how's your holiday season going on?
here snow has just started to rage around in the air, and it's a quiet wednesday morning.

not many words have come to me lately, so i've been rather absent here.
today i don't have much to say yet, just a small talk over the christmas feast we've just had a couple days ago.

as we decided to be as simple as possible to celebrate christmas, so was the feast.
we started with 2 kinds of cheese (brie and blue cheese) and fresh fruits, crudites with hummus, artisan country bread and champaign.(the picture above is of those.)
for main dish, i fixed seafood pasta.
it was satisfying and cozy meal.

oh, i have to say this!
we're really pleased with panettone bought at the co-op a couple weeks ago.
as i told you before, i whipped heavy cream with good pinch of kirsh and topped slices of them.
the subtlety of combination of those was beyond description.
it must be repeated next year.

now i'm feeling too much pressure over the new year holidays and trying not to get irritated.
i suggested my husband that we should chose either christmas or a new year's day to celebrate because it's too much for me to celebrate both.
i can't help but feel this is the japanese wife who lives in the u.s.'s sad fate.
am i too fussy over these things and you're willing to celebrate both?

stay warm, keep satisfied.:)

December 23, 2010

random thoughts for christmas

(taken with minolta autocord lll on fuji pro 400nc)

today i don't have much to say.

i've just cooked very quickly for holidays and now the room is being filled with god damn nice smell from the oven.
and cats are roaming around the pie dish put on the counter from the oven.
they know it'll be yummy. ( hopefully.)
when it turns out to be good enough to share with you, i'll tell you about the recipe sometime later.

even though i don't expect a christmas present from my husband, i'm very happy now.
i'm living in our new home with our 3 cats.
i don't think of happier situation than this.
tomorrow i'll be very lazy with them.
the day after tomorrow i'll drink champaign with some good food.

oh, i said that i'm not gonna have anything for christmas, but my husband allowed me to buy this.
after spending a lot for the house, i've stayed away from this thing till now.
i love polaroid(now should i call "impossible"?), but they are now far from affordable for me nor trusty enough as they are still at the experimental stage. (i was a bit disappointed with the quality of their first color film, "color shade first flush".)

i hope you'll have the merriest christmas in either case you expect a big present or not. ;)

December 22, 2010

a cake i made for christmas in the past year

(taken with nikon fe2 on superia 400)

three more days to christmas.
and how're you doing?
i'm quite slow on everything, and enjoying everyday with my cats and crocheting.

i like to scroll my food portfolio these days, and today i came across several old photos probably taken 3~4 years ago on the christmas day.
i think i was more strict over my diet at that time, and this cake was kinda vegan cake.
i don't remember exactly what ingredients i used for making this cake, but apparently this seems to have been a vegan apple cheese cake.
i didn't really use cream cheese but tofu and soy milk and some other veggie products instead of dairy product people usually use for making an usual cheese cake.
doesn't it look perfect real cheese cake?

actually, i haven't really liked to make cake or that kinds.
for one thing, i don't care for sweets at all, and another thing it's hard to make these yummy and healthy as well.
also as i used to be vegan, macrobiotics or such kind, making sweets were always full of ambition and fear.
so you want to ask me why i made this cake, don't you?
the reason why i made this cake is just to lift our spirit up for the special day.
i didn't care, and my husband didn't ask me nor expected me to prepare a cake, but this unexpected feast must have added the festive feeling to us.

this year, i've already bought a box of panettone to follow my husband's request.
so i don't have to think about cake anymore.
but as store-bought cake made me feel kinda guilty and lazy, i bought a carton of heavy cream last weekend.(though i'm still not good at dairy products, occasional and festive consumption of them are ok now.)
i'll whip the cream with some flavorful fruit liquor and put it on top of a piece of slices of panettone.
i like to do decoration for sweets this way.
it's quite easy, but brings gorgeousness and the courteousness.

the picture right above is the sliced and put on a plate version of vegan apple cheese cake.
this picture makes me sure how i was and am me.
beside the slice of the cake, i put a scoop of soy vanilla ice cream, and the sauce around them must have made from balsamic vinegar, apple sauce, maple syrup, grand marnier and roughly cracked pepper.
i love add a pinch of fresh ground pepper on my dessert and liquor is always necessity for my dessert.

here's my recommendation for liquor for your pantry stock if you're curious about.
;grand marnier or cointreau, kirsch, vanilla liquor, kahlua or other coffee liquor, rum and brandy.
i've never been short of flavor with these above.
promise. :)

December 21, 2010

pizza and sunday

(taken with mamiya m645 on rdplll)

do you remember that i complaint about this year's wet weather?
and today's paper favors me with one information.
it says that this year is on track for being the city's wettest year since 1998.
i don't really dislike rainy days, but this year's are too much.
so, i'm feeling sooo good today because it's sunny!!
i'll make most of this pretty weather though i'll be stuck in my home. ;P

i've been talking about the feasts we're going to have in next 1~2 weeks lately.
and i told you yesterday that we're going to eat traditional japanese style feast for the first 3 days of new year.
with regard to this, my husband asked me a few days ago if we eat our sunday pizza on January 2.
the moment i heard that question, i answered without any hesitation "yes, of course!".

i can't remember when the sunday pizza started within us.
3 years ago?, or 4??
anyway, we have been stuck with that habit for quite a while.
that long we are accustomed to having pizza on every single sunday, i'm afraid that i feel my hands are shaking like a symptom of addiction on sunday without pizza.
i definitely need pizza even sunday falls on a new year's day or the day after.

well, the picture was taken at the brewery restaurant which features their handmade pizza in portland, oregon when we visited there last march.
as we eat our own pizza every sunday, we seldom eat out for pizza in our own town.
but i think we'd better do that sometimes in the coming year.
that doesn't necessarily mean that we're bored with our own pizza but doing so will help to make our pizza better than ever.
actually i have some pizza places that have drew my attention in my town.
the most competent candidate is the one my husband's co-worker and his wife opened recently.
he is a beer guy.
he brews his own beer and is trying to serve that in the restaurant.
and when their restaurant was picked up for the featured restaurant in the local free paper, the menu selection listed there seemed to be so nice. (how about pesto, apple, walnut and spinach on a whole wheat crust? yum!)
i expect them to be artisan pizza and beer makers.

i've already been excited with pizza life of next year!

December 20, 2010

wagaya-no-ozoni (我が家のお雑煮)

(taken with contax-rts on fuji superia 400)

i successfully did some grocery shopping for the x'mas holidays and a new year's day over the weekend.
though i was so busy to prepare season's greeting cards and didn't make even only one step outside on saturday, i was busy to go back and forth between one grocery store and another on sunday to the contrary.

in addition to the last post and the yesterday's grocery shopping episode, i want to talk about "ozoni" today.

"ozoni" is defined as a soup dish which has mochi (rice cakes) for its main ingredient, and its style differs depending on regions and families.
i'll omit the story about its history so that i don't make this post long-winded and bore you.
speaking about its ingredients, though it depends on regions and families as i told you, they are basically mochi, some meat or seafood, 2~3 kinds of veggies, and something which adds flavor like yuzu (a citrus fruit which is largely cropped in japan.) or mitsuba (leafy green which has a very similar look to cilantro, but has much milder flavor and bitter taste.).
for the soup, it also has 2 major kinds of "sumashi" soup ( transparent and has simple soy sauce flavor) and "miso" soup.
all in all, "ozoni" surprisingly varies from one family to another, and that makes me feel "ozoni" is the family food.

my ozoni is different from that of my husband's parents' and my own parents', but my original.
of course, only i haven't made my ozoni, but my husband has helped to create our own ozoni after the marriage.
usually, ozoni is created like this; a husband had eaten his mother's ozoni before the marriage, a wife had eaten her mother's ozoni the same way, and after the marriage they exchange and mix their own familiar ozoni styles and create the new one.
isn't it romantic as well as interesting?
oh, so, a part of today's title of "wagaya-no" means this romantic part. (literally it means homemade or original.)

here's our ozoni;

1, ingredients;
-mochi (i can get this at the co-op. it's regarded as health food or macrobiotic.)
-anko (sweet adzuki bean paste; i make this from scratch by getting organic dried adzuki bean also at the co-op.)
-ikura (salmon roe in english. i don't think it's common nor both parents' style, but we love this on ozoni so much.)
-flowery shaped daikon radishes and carrots, lightly boiled snow peas and shiitake mashroom.

2, how mochi is served;
either style of being lightly toasted and put in the soup or simply and easily poached in the soup are fine.
but we prefer the former way because of the slightly burned surface of mochi.
it offers flavorful aroma and pleasant crisp texture.

3, soup varies day by day;
because we follow a traditional way of eating "osechi-ryori" and "ozoni" for the first 3 straight days of the new year, we usually change the soup day by day, like sumashi-miso-sumashi or sumashi-sumashi-miso.

4, leftover anko's future;
this part is not exactly related to the topic, but i like this part.
as i make more anko than we really need for ozoni, i divide the leftover anko into 3~4 flat sheet on plastic wrap and wrap them up and put them in the freezer.
every weekend after a new year's day, i thaw one and use for our weekend breakfast to eat "anko-pan".
"anko-pan" is, i think, like PBJ sandwich's japanese version. ( i mean sweet sandwich not savory one.)
i put anko, lightly kirsh(cherry liquor) added whipped cream and a drop of orange marmalade between bread.
it's yummy!

so, i'm very ready to make and eat ozoni and anko-pan!
can't wait!!

December 17, 2010

cooking madness

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

this time of the year i'm stunned by a lot of consideration to be made over cooking.
the closer it draws to the end of the year, the more disorderly my mind is cluttered.
x'mas holidays, the new year's day, .... ah...
what should i prepare for x'mas feast and how should i manage to fix the traditional japanese style new year's feast?!

the picture was taken on the new year's day this year.
as my husband and i are japanese by origin, we've kept eating this traditional style of japanese food to cerebrate the new year's day.
actually, i don't care it at all.
but i know that my husband cares it a lot.
so i've kept following his internal request even after we came to the u.s.
my wish that i live in the west coast because there're abundant of japanese food and seafood is easily doubled or tripled or more especially this time of the year.
i try not to come to that idea usually, but i can't wipe away this seasonal and occasional envy.
after all the frustration and headache, i work very hard to make them from scratch every year.
and this year is also unexceptional.

so, i definitely have to make a cooking list and a shopping list so that i don't get slammed at very end of the year.
i always think that cooking is all about planning.
by reviewing with this picture, i'll make an ultimate lists later today.

hope you'll have an enjoyable weekend.
don't get hastened so much!

December 16, 2010

around the table lately

(taken with nikon f on fuji superia 400)

i like white steam floating up in the air when i exhale, and today's a perfect cold sunny day to enjoy that.
under such low temperature, my cats seem to decided to be quiet at their each favorite places.

the picture was taken recent weekend.
word game's pieces and board cluttered up the table and it has often been seen lately.
this time of the year, it is so common for us.

maple is on one of the chairs.
she loves that place, and almost all through the day she's there.
other two cats also loved this place, but after we welcomed maple to our home, they seem to have decided to offer one of their favorite places to this pretty newcomer kindly.

i don't know which, but one of my cats licked about half of chocolate candy inside the glass container on the table. (the one at very left edge on the table.)
it has a lid, but he/she opened or slid it aside without breaking and licked candy one by one.
rough and foggy brown chocolate coating, which used to look slick and clear brown, showed the evidence.
when i first found the scene, i was very afraid that the culprit would suffer food poisoning, but seemingly everyone (every cats?) seemed to be very ok.
btw, the chocolate candy inside the container was "whoppers", and i like having 2 balls of them with a cup of morning coffee.
it is one of current "shoukakkou-小確幸-"s (which means tiny but sure happiness in japanese, the famous novelist "haruki murakami" created this word.) for me.
there used to be peanuts m&m inside the container before, but whoppers've took over its place since halloween.
yes i first got it from the left over candies supposed to be given to children and unexpectedly came to love it!

since the dining area is between the living area and the kitchen, i like sitting there. (actually, "here" is proper, because i'm always blogging here!)
from here, i can see what' going on where.
i can see all my 3 cats sleeping peacefully, plants by the window collecting precious light, a kettle hissing on the cooktop, and so on.
in winter, things around table are very pretty.

December 15, 2010

yearning for italy

(taken with nikon f on kodachrome 64)

today is very cold and beautiful day.
i feel the sun light.
the harshness of the cold air gives me a good stimulus.
i'm going to enjoy today as much as possible.

recently italy is growing on me more and more.
maybe because i like drinking wine lately.
and maybe because i watched the dvd movie, "eat pray love", which julia roberts stared, last weekend.
to tell the truth, i didn't really like the story itself, but loved the scenes shot in italy.
i definitely envied julia because she's in italy, eats italian food, absorbs the atmosphere italy offers.
just after watching the movie, i made a promise to myself to learn italian more seriously.
well, 3 days have past since then and i haven't started to learn it yet, but i'll .... yes, i'll do that!

my husband and i went to italy about one and a half years ago for the first time.
i suddenly came up with the idea to go somewhere in europe this time of the year 2 years ago.
i didn't exactly know where i wanted to go, but when i started to search air tickets to somewhere in the web, i typed in the word of "italy" in the blank of the destination.
my husband and i have been together for 17 years now, and before we got married we liked to eat out in the italian restaurant and talked like this; "sometime in future, we should go to italy, shouldn't we?"
then we got married and we had a 10 year anniversary last year.
as we didn't have honey moon trip when we got married (we even didn't have an official wedding party), i thought that the trip to italy to cerebrate our 10 year anniversary must be a prettiest idea.
this way, our destination fell on italy.

a year later since then, this year in other words, we went back to italy.
we could go somewhere other country in europe, but we didn't come up with that idea.
we slightly changed the destination within italy this year, but mostly the same region.
of all the places we've visited, we utterly fell in love with south.
puglia (the heel part) is amazing!
basilicata (the bottom part) is also pretty.
and next, i need to visit calabria (the toe part).

i was born and raised in japan and had been there for 25 years.
now i'm in the u.s.a. and have been here for 11 years.
i love both japan and the u.s., but someday in future, i want to be in italy as residents with my husband and cats.

so, what's your country you've wanted to live sometime in future?
if you have such dream, maybe learning its language might be a nice resolution of the coming year. :))

December 14, 2010

random thoughts

(taken with hasselblad 500c on fuji 400nc)
today, i don't have much to say.
so i'll list up some random thoughts with a picuture i came across.

- last night, i was woken by dull pain with my chest in the wee hour.
i can't explain what it was.
it was tough to go back to sleep and i tossed myself about in the bed.
then i threw my pillow away and picked up one of pillows lying around the floor here and there.
i dislike my new pillow although my husband seems to like it (we bought same ones on black friday.)
i dislike it because it hasn't offered me comfortable sleep and has made my husband's snore louder.
yet, i can't explain what my chest pain was.

- i have about 10 pairs of glasses.
i've been wearing the red one in the picture lately.
i got it in austin, tx about 9 years ago.
it seems that my bad vision hasn't been worsened since then.
lucky me.

- i've been apprehensive about one of my cats' eating habit lately.
she's the smallest one of all 3 cats, and second oldest one, 6 years old.
she weighed only 6lb when we adopted her at a shelter about 2 years ago.
in spite of her small and skinny body, she showed us how she was glutton after coming to our home.
then she gained 3lb, and she started to look normally curvy.
and now, she seems to be distracted during her meal time. (i feed them twice a day, 6am and 6pm.)
she shows full appetite while i'm preparing to feed, and starts to eat willingly, but quits in the middle with about half the food still left.
ok, the problem has been solved, i think.
while i'm writing, i had an impulse to look closely about their food nutrition and the serving suggestion.
and i found i was wrong.
i noticed that the dry food now i feed them has much higher calorie than the one i used to do.
so the reaction milk has made is just right.
and this finding brought me another apprehension.
what's gonna happen to my oldest(8yrs) and biggest(16lb!) cat who didn't change his intake after the change of the food??

- after moving in the new home, my husband and i haven't eaten out any.
because of our diet and my preference, we've rarely eaten out for our dinner all the time.
but we liked to go to coffee houses or bakeries for our lunch weekend.
before, we used to live a bit far away from downtown.
so every time we went downtown area for working in a darkroom, hanging around saturday market, and some other reasons, we'd prefer to stay in downtown and have light meal at pretty places.
then now we live really close to downtown, i can't find the excuse to go to such places.
maybe next spring or so, when i come not to mind paying $20 or so for cafe food, we'll go there.
now, i really mind $20 because of the new home!
so please allow me to dig old pictures of cafe scenes up and paste them here. ;P (yes, today's was taken on someday in the past i can't remember.)

- i've just used up the precious film which has been destined to vanish.
its name is "kodachrome".
only one lab in the world (it's in kansas.) can develop it, and they've already announced they'll quit to accept it at the end of this year.
now, i'm relieved that i'm in time for shipping all my exposed kodachrome to them, and sad to have said good-bye forever to my favorite film as well.
i can't help but heave a sigh for the irresistible force toward the digital generation.
i admit that i'm stubborn and outdated.

it's been raining all the day today.
it is another gray day.
hope you'll find cheerful color in your day.
see you later.

December 13, 2010

it was an unusual incident for me.

(taken with nikon fe2 on kodak 400nc)
... to have chosen a piece of vintage blanket over a piece of vintage plate and a mug cup.

hi, friends.
how was your weekend?
i can easily guess that most of you felt to be hastened by something somehow, but hope you had a good rest.
for me, it was a relaxed and nice one fortunately.

so, as i told you first, i bought a pretty vintage blanket made in england, and gave up to buy another old plate and mug cup yesterday.
i've never thought i'd done such thing.
vintage hardware is my another weakness in shopping. (what is the "one"?, if you want to ask me that, you'll be able to get the answer for that in the last post.)
i don't want to say that i'm a collector, but i consistently love them.
btw, the plate in the above picture was one of old plates i possess.
it was first introduced here in this post.
the love letter from one gentleman to one lady is still in the back. (i've been making effort not to wash that out since then.)

the plate i was supposed to buy yesterday was utterly my type.
it was made in japan and blue roses and their vine were beautifully hand painted by the authentic craftsman.
i was not sure how old it is, but i don't care such thing.
though i slightly incline toward made-in-england plates, only thing i care when i buy them is pattern.
i love both simple and decorative ones, and colorful and monotone ones, so it just depends on my subtle taste for pattern.
yesterday's was just desireble to obtain without any doubt for me.
i was really supposed to buy that.

speaking about the mug cup i once held in my hand yesterday, it was the one i usually buy "automatically".
i can't explain why, but i love fire king very much.
and of all fire king series, i have the biggest weakness for "jade-ite" line.
i met the jade-ite mug cup (in the linked page, the milky green ones) with an affordable price tag yesterday.
jade-ite line usually has rather expensive transactional price tags, but i never reached ones with such price tags. (for me, the listed prices in the link page are of unthinkable.)
i seldom pay more than $10 for each pieces.
well, the price depends on which market place you're in, and i think i'm so lucky to be able to obtain them easily at very affordable price at a nearby local antique shop.
but against the favorable situation of yesterday, the jade-ite mug didn't come to me.
as i have a tight budget for my pleasure of antique shopping, i wasn't able to allow me to have all at once.
to tell the truth, i didn't buy a plate or mug cup, but bought a stuffed bear besides. :P
i can't explain why, again, i've had obsession with stuffed animals, especially secondhand ones.
i wanted the stuffed bear with the blanket and had both of them finally over the plate and the mug.

my first job of the week was washing the blanket and bathing the bear.
i think this is the prettiest job to be done on monday.
i hope you're having a pretty monday as well.

December 9, 2010

a squirrel notebook

since i was a kid, i have had an unchangeable weakness for stationery.
especially for notebooks.
even if i don't really know how i'll use them for, i can't help myself from buying pretty notebooks.
i like the ones simply bound, rather thin, with inside pages free from any illustrations, and with a front page with a little pretty image and printed letters.
so, the one in the picture above is the perfect for me!

hi, friends.
today's story is about notebooks.
because i love to write something on notebooks at the table, i don't think this topic is inadequate for this blog even though here is the place mostly talked about food, isn't it? ;)

the size of the squirrel notebook is about 5'x7', and i bought that together with a bit bigger one with a deer image (about 7'x10') in its front.
they are from anthropologie about 1 year and some ago.
i seldom buy or am not fond of their clothes for some reasons, but i like to visit the store because of their stationery selection.
for those don't have this chain store nearby, i'll attach another link of their online shopping page for stationery.
not all are my taste, but i can find some of those hit my point.

in this connection i must add that the most regrettable fact about having chosen to live in the u.s. is that it's not easy to get pretty stationery as i was able to do in japan.

ok, let's go back to the original topic.
my husband and i have almost finished with the deer notebook.
i decided to follow his suggestion of using that as an our event record of 2010.
we filled it with the information for the trip to italy, some camera and lens research, occasional wishing lists, some curious drawings, and last but not least all about buying a house.
i'm so satisfied with the result of the deer note.

now, i've just started to use the squirrel one.
i'd been thinking about how to use it for long, but the idea was handed down on me 2~3 days ago.
first 5~6 pages have been filled with the information about house plants.
each pages contain one plant and tell how to care it .
after moving into the new home, i've added pretty house plants one by one, and now the number of the plants has come something.
i thought i need to know the right care for them not to lose them.
and i remembered the squirrel notebook lying around a bookcase in my room.
i thought i'd never come up with the better idea than using it for "a plant note".

every time i write something in the notebook, i sit at the table with gazing at the plants sitting by the window.
i love those moment and hope the note will be filled with a lot of plant's names in future.

December 7, 2010

i was a hopeless poached egg maker.

today is a cooking consultation day.
the subject is poached eggs.

as some of you may have known that i'm crazy about eggs in recent years.
well, i have an interesting food preference history.
for first 20 plus something years of my life, i loved eggs very much.
i think only protein i willingly consumed was eggs.
and then i changed my diet and gave up eggs.
saying good-by to eggs was kinda tough decision for me.
but i've been rather stubborn and good at keeping promise to my self, i'd been away from eggs for 4~5 years.
unbelievably i hadn't had any fragment of eggs during that time.
then another change was made a couple years ago and i finally got eggs back to my every day food to have followed the advice made by my naturopathy docctor.
since then, i've really adored eggs.
as i'm still not good at taking protein from other food, eggs are the main power source for me.

i may say that i forgot how to cook eggs during the hiatus.
or i should confess that i'm not good at cooking eggs in spite of the love for them.
well, hum, yesterday i had 2 poached eggs on toasted multi grain bread for my lunch and i was so desperate.
i thought i made or tried to make poached eggs.
but they actually were boiled fluffy egg white and yellow yolk balls.
can you imagine what they were like?
they were hopelessly most miserable and desperate poached eggs i've ever seen.
needless to say, they crushed my little heart so relentlessly.

i started to consider about how to make "right" poached eggs after the lunch.
as i've been a good executant of feedback, firstly i doubted if something important was missed or something inadequate was overdone in my method.
i'm using a le creuset sauce pan to make poached eggs, and is that wrong because it keeps water temperature too high?
i always add 1 or 2 table spoon of vinegar to water, and is that unnecessary?
i get together egg white and try to coat egg yolk with it by using a folk, and is that inadequate?
so many doubts were there, but i didn't have any clue.

so i googled and checked some written how-tos and you-tube video tutorials as well.
i was totally amazed the number of people who freaked out over poached eggs.
what an honor for poached eggs to have won such dedication from a lot of people!
but unfortunately for me, there weren't any ultimate solution not to have "separate egg white and yolk poached eggs" there.
and that mean, next time i may have another desperate poached egg.
sometimes i'm a good poached egg maker, and sometimes i'm not like yesterday.
i just need a certainty and promise of having cheerful lunch time with poached eggs.
or should i give up to have those for my lunch?

(today's picture is nothing to do with today's story as you can see. it's a sunny side up!)

it has its season for me.

(taken with sx-70 on 600 film)

today is a densely foggy day.
yesterday was a rainy day.
and i didn't see any sunshine in the weekly forecast in the yesterday's paper.
i don't remember if winter was always like that past few years here in idaho, but this year it seems to have decided to be gray almost all the time.
i definitely need vitamin d3 supplements.

a couple of years ago, i noticed that i enjoy shortbread cookies only in winter.
other than in winter, i rarely want them, or even hate them.
as i've been not good at the smell of butter at all, almost all the time i whimsically wanted something buttery and ate it, it's the unavoidable subsequence for me to be annoyed with the sticky buttery smell on the hands afterward.
croissant is the first on the list for those villains.
i sometimes want and eat it, and i'm bothered in some degree without fail.
shortbread cookie is sort of those villains.
well, except in winter.

what happened to me a couple of years ago is this.
one of my blog-related friends in england kindly sent me a gift of a set of place mats, a bag of tea and a package of shortbread cookie.
i was really pleased with her kindness and the prettiness of the design of those packages, and perplexed as well.
i've never bought shortbread cookie for me by myself because of the reason i told you above.
but i dared to confront the difficulty in this case because of the kindness of my friend.
and the package of shortbread cookie was the most fanciest i've ever seen in my entire life. (the one in the picture above is very that package. so, this pic was taken 2~3 years ago. ;P)
that was really of england.
i've been yearning for england since i was a child.
this state deserved to be given a brave try by me.

and that brave try paid off.
i became to love shortbread cookie only in winter.
i don't know exactly why only in winter.
partly because we generally need more fat in winter, partly because the cold temperature keeps buttery smell from rising up in the air, and likely because a cup of milk tea goes well with shortbread cookie.

one cold winter day with gray sky, having a piece of shortbread cookie with a cup of milk tea and cats beside must be irresistibly pretty treat.

December 6, 2010

monday after something unusual

(taken with nikon-f on fuji superia 400)

are you having happy monday?
i like monday a lot, and didn't like it a bit as well.
monday always brings me back to the usual swing of the things, and that makes me feel so comfortable and secured.
needless to say, going back to the swing needs us to make some effort, and that makes me feel a bit tired.
but i like monday after all.

so, i had something unusual this past saturday.
i and my husband were attendants at the party thrown by my friend.
as i've never been good at participating something like that, i usually manage not to be involved in.
please don't take me wrong, i love my friends but i just don't like the "gathering".
as i'm such a girl and prefer staying at home by myself rather than going out for meeting, actually this kind of occasion doesn't occur that often.
over those background, i was somehow an occasional partygoer last saturday.
to be an attendant at the party was fairly tough.
i sometimes wasn't able to find where my heart was.
the only thing kept my mind stable was my old nikon f.
i decided to bring it with me mainly because i thought i needed something like a charm.
partly because i simply wanted to shoot something pretty with my film camera.
fortunately for me, though i haven't shot much color negative film recently (i prefer slide film for color photography), i was able to find some high speed color negative film in my film stock box.

though i felt a bit awkward when i found myself in the circle of unfamiliar people, i mostly enjoyed the party because of the food my friend carefully considered and prepared, and my old nikon.
she has a good memory and remembered that we are kind of vegetarian (we eat seafood but don't any meat product.).
almost all the food on the table was "well cooked" and could be eaten by us.
i was terribly stunned by the selection, and they were really well cooked.
in most parties, vegetarian food are celery, carrots and cucumber sticks, bite size raw broccolis and cauliflowers, leafy green laid under cold cuts and ...... well, ....that's it!
the food i had this time was not anything like that at all, and that actually was more than i expected.
as my friend has real considerateness and style as well, i had thought she would entertain us a lot.
and she perfectly did entertain us in a way that exceeded my expectation.

the party was such an enjoyable one, but i still missed every day and today's cold rainy monday.
on monday, the breakfast is more merciful and tasteful.
on monday, coffee smells more atmospheric.
on monday, cats seem to be calmer and more relaxed.
and i can't help finding tiny happiness here and there in my sweet home.

i hope you're having or already had a happy monday!

December 3, 2010

lovely persimmons

(taken with hasselblad on fuji pro 800h)
today's a misty friday.
i'm a bit surprised with the fact that it's already friday, and especially that of december.
can you believe that we've already been in december?

as usual for me, i tend to be engaged in something not very important this time of the year.
like knitting, some sort of word games, planting house plants, .... and so on.
i admit that i'm trying to flee from something important and something to be done.
if you're feeling guilty same way as me, you're not alone.
i'm with you. ;)

by the way, did i tell you about persimmons this winter?
i remember that i told you late fall that i was tired of figs and wanted persimmons instead.
in the weekend 2 weeks later i told you so, i got my first persimmons this year at an asian grocery store near my home.
though i live very close to that grocery store and i'm a japanese, i seldom go there.
only when i have necessity to go get something, i go there.
persimmons were kind of necessity for me at that time.

i made sure again that i love persimmons soooo much.
they are so versatile.
besides i simply eat them by peeling their skin and cut them into a bite size, i sometimes put them into salad, eat with yogurt, and use as a filling for sandwich with soft cheese and freshly and coarsely ground pepper.
i've never tried, but i may put them into my baked things.

today i wanted to talk about persimmons, but i felt awkward to scan the pictures i shot them this winter.
so i searched some past picture which contains the image of persimmons, and i came across the top one taken in the winter 2 years ago.
sometime later i'll update the new pictures of persimmons.

have a restful weekend, don't be rushed too much. :))

December 1, 2010

i found something!

(taken with nikon-f on rdplll)

how've you been doing?
it's been a little while since i posted last.
i had thanksgiving holidays and a pile of snow during the hiatus, and i enjoyed both with the warmth from the fire place.

well, i'm not sure, but i'm afraid that i've already had cabin fever this winter.
i haven't felt very good these days.
maybe i suffer from that, and maybe i have boredom from the loss of the hectic days as i told you in the 2 or 3 prior post.

while i had been searching for something fun or happy last days, i came across a can of cocoa in the fridge.
i totally forgot i put that there, and accidentally i found that when i was cooking and asked for frozen corn.
at the first sight, some excited feeling occurred.
what i forgot was not only the fact i stored cocoa in the fridge but also the fact cocoa can bring me a lot of happiness and fun that is limited to this very winter season.
of course you can drink a cup of hot cocoa all through the seasons, but you know what i mean?
the sweet smell and the warmth of hot cocoa makes us love winter more, doesn't it?

actually this accidental finding eased my little wounded heart.
it shouldn't necessarily be very special or gorgeous to make us feel good, right? :))
i hope you find something makes you feel good, too.