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January 7th, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Outdoor ice skating at The botanic garden - Park Planten un Blomen (plants and flowers) - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - www.cocoandme.com

(We did outdoor ice skating at the botanic garden, Park Planten un Blomen in Hamburg!)

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Walking in the winter forest. In Hamburg, Germany  - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - www.cocoandme.com (And went for a walk in the beautiful forest where our favourite friend Mr.A lives. The temperature was below freezing but nevertheless really enjoyable. The air we breathed was crisp, & the frosty grass made a crunchy sound with every footstep we made. This was a sharp contrast to the ears in the noiseless calm of the well-established forest.)

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How are you all?

Did you have a nice Christmas?

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This winter holiday, we traveled to Hamburg in Germany again to see Mr.D’s folks. Spending Christmas there is always super nice. It is an abundance of good food, good laughs with good company, followed by a good rest ~ what Christmas should be about, right? ^^ And to top it all off, we even had a sprinkling of snow at the end of our trip too!

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Just like last time, we stayed at one of his sister’s, at Ms.S’s, who I really enjoy talking with.

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Ms.S & I share similar preferences for types of food we eat, & we both have a large appetite for knowledge of food. In fact, she herself is a Macrobiotic eater (has been for many moons before Madonna made it fashionable!) & currently organises workshops & teaches macrobiotic practices. It was a pleasure to be at hers for eight days & to eat her home cooking. I found it educational to see that she uses rice malt syrup for sweetener, which I am a big fan of now. And I got to know how to cook the most perfect brown rice like she does:

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How to cook short-grain brown rice Ms.S’s way:

(Pressure cooker version)

1. Measure the rice in cups.

2. Gently wash in cold water until the water runs clear.

3. Put in 1.5 times water to the cup.

4. If possible, allow to soak for 1 to 12 hours.

5. In a pressure pot, bring to a boil & when bubbles appear, add a pinch of salt per cup. 

6. Close & lock the lid. When the pressure valve is showing a single red ring, adjust the flame to low. (note: the pot should boil softly to himself, not hiss.)

7. If the rice has been soaked, cook for 40 to 45 minutes. If not, first bring it slowly to a boil (20 minutes) & let the pressure cooking commence a few minutes longer than specified.

8. When ready, turn the heat off & let the pressure drop naturally.

9. Open the lid. Gently mix the hot rice from bottom to top with a wooden spatula to ventilate.

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After dinner one night, I had a strong pang for something sweet. So I decided to make an impromptu Japanese snack with the leftover brown rice. It’s a fairly simple recipe – You shape the rice into mini discs, pan fry them in oil at high heat, & when done, coat it in a sweet soy sauce & syrup marinade. Then eat it while still hot! – The rice cake is deliciously crispy & crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. I also love the combination of saltiness of the soy sauce & the sweetness from the rice malt syrup.

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How to cook Coco&Me’s impromptu Japanese brown rice cake:

1. Mix in some flour into the leftover rice (by roughly at 1:15 ratio of flour to rice). Combine until no visible traces of the flour.

2. Next, have ready a marinade of soy sauce & rice malt syrup (or use granulated sugar). Try a 1:1 ratio, but you can exercise your own sweet preference here.

4. Plop a spoonful of the rice mixture between two pieces of cling film. Pat it to 3mm thickness or thereabouts. (Be careful not to make the rice too mushy when you press down!)

5. Pan fry at high heat with a generous amount of neutrally flavoured oil. It’s ready when it’s crunchy.

(Note: I’ve only made this with short-grain rice so I don’t know how it’ll turn out if you use other types.)

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For a night though, we stayed at our best friend Mr.A‘s forest house, who always makes sure to make time to see us when we’re in Germany, of which we are so grateful for. Eating dinner at his is always a special pleasure – especially because we eat with a full set of vintage Rosenthal crockery of same design. (Such a stark contrast to my precariously stuffed mishmash collection of crocks…!) – In the evening, he barbecue-grilled some pork neck fillets for us outside in sub-zero. Was it this I wonder, that made it the most soft & the most succulent pork I’ve ever had? (It really was – I was raving on about it.) It’s tenderness reminded me of the ‘low temperature oven steak’ (oven roasting the meat for 5 hours at 80 degrees) that a friend of ours, Mr.T, cooked for us some time ago.

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Two more pics to share:

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HABA Nutcracker toy with a bowl of walnuts & hazelnuts - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - www.cocoandme.com

One of the things I noticed in every German homes I visited is that there’s always a large bowl of walnuts & hazelnuts still in it’s shell for easy picking during the day. What a great idea! So soon as we came back to the UK, I copied. This is my small version in the bowl Ms.S gave me this Christmas. The HABA toy on the right is a nutcracker tool – I think someone in Mr.D’s family gave it to us when our son was born? My memory escapes me on this one, oops…

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Gluhwein at a Christmas Market in Hamburg, Germany  - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - www.cocoandme.com

Christmas Markets are a big deal in Germany, & there are loads of stalls popping up for the festive season. Walking in to a Christmas Market in the evening, choosing the most attractive looking Glühwein stall out of many, then finding a space by the counter to perch against is all part of the festive fun. Standing in the cold, cheeks getting glowy pink, cupping a hot mug with gloved hands, sipping a sweet Glühwein… Ahhh, Christmassy heaven! Not bad…, not bad at all! :) :)

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I hope that this post finds you well, & I wish you a happy, healthy & prosperous year ahead.

 

Tamami xoxo

11 Comments »

  1. Oh! What a wonderful Christmas :) Ours was quiet. I did, however, get my first iPhone. Now, I’m hooked on Instagram :) :)

    Comment by jonquil - January 7, 2015 2:50 pm

  2. Jonquil, you’re ahead of me in getting the instagram account!
    ;-) Enjoy your iPhone!!!!

    Comment by tamami - January 7, 2015 3:17 pm

  3. Happy new year Tamami! It’s great to see you posting. Lovely reading And I wish I had a macrobiotic teacher as a sister in law too! Have a 2015. Louise x

    Comment by Louise - January 7, 2015 3:20 pm

  4. I mean, have a great 2015!

    Comment by Louise - January 7, 2015 3:21 pm

  5. Happy new year to you too Louise! Yes, It’s great to have her as family! – Wishing you a great year ahead too!!!! x

    Comment by tamami - January 7, 2015 4:19 pm

  6. Just want to wish you a Very Happy 2015!

    Comment by Jeannette - January 11, 2015 4:47 pm

  7. :) :) Jeannette :) :)
    A very happy new year to you too~!!!!! Wishing you another fantastic year ahead! T xx

    Comment by Tamami - January 11, 2015 6:32 pm

  8. Hi Tamami, it was great to see you on your stall in Broadway Market on Saturday. My daughter bought a piece of carrot cake and gave me a sliver of it. I could not believe how moist, light and scrumptious it was! Have you posted the recipe? I’m stuck in the freezing north and need some comfort food! Mind you, it was colder than I expected it to be on Saturday. Hope you were well insulated from head to toe. Brrrr! Beaming good vibes your way. Rebecca x

    Comment by Rebecca - March 24, 2015 6:53 am

  9. Hello Rebecca!
    It was really great seeing you & your daughter last Saturday!! Thank you for visiting me!! :) :) :)

    And I’m super glad that you enjoyed the carrot cake!! I’m actually very proud of that one!!

    I don’t have the recipe online, but I’ll give you a hint, the moistness, is due to the oil that is used instead of butter. (I use organic rapeseed oil). If you think about it, the oil never hardens right? Where as butter does. And oil also traps (coats) moisture within the cake too.

    I think you’ve probably already heard – eating carrots with oil is beneficial – your body absorbs more beta-carotene nutrient from the carrot, because this beta-carotene is oil-soluble!!
    – – So, eating cakes is not ‘that’ bad after all! hehe! (It’s also good for the mind too! ) ^^

    Comment by Tamami - March 24, 2015 10:27 am

  10. Hi Tamami,
    Lovely meeting you on Saturday! Wasn’t sure if you would be there but I spotted your stall from the other side straight away – I recognised the bunting. :) My husband and I ate the cakes as soon as we got home – we loved the carrot cake and lemon tart especially! Keep up the great work! Thanks for posting your recipes too- look forward to trying them out once we have a working oven again!!
    April xx

    Comment by April - April 22, 2015 8:39 pm

  11. Hello April!!!!!!!!! Wow! Thank you for leaving a comment here ~! It really means a lot to me to get feedback! I’m super glad that the cakes went down well with you and your husband!! Hope to see you again down at the market! :) :) t xx

    Comment by Tamami - April 23, 2015 7:19 am

 

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