January 19th, 2017

Happy new year 2017.

It’s a new year, a new beginning…

cocoandme_hny

Belated happy new year everyone!

.

How is 2017 panning out for you so far?

Back to the usual routine by now?

.

Personally, what with what’s going on, welcoming this new year feels a bit like starting with the dreaded next chapter in a book where the last chapter ended badly.

.

And indeed, this new year started off on the wrong foot. I was straight back for treatment on the very next day we came back from our Germany trip… Aw dear readers…, I couldn’t help but feel miserable :( it was like an unwelcome reminder of how 2017 is going to be for me… You know, it felt like reality face slapping. Ouch. (sigh…)

.

BUT…!

And there is always a ‘but’, right? :)

.

Just yesterday, on my way home from the radiotherapy session in town, as I watched a guy climbing up the stairs two-steps at a time, I copied & I did too! Just imagine me taking big strides on the steps at Kings Cross station! Lol. The point is, I think my energy is coming back, I CAN FEEL IT. As well as skipping the steps, I’ve been making it a mission to walk on the escalators to clock in more step counts too. And using the stairs instead of taking the lifts! I think it’s paying off. :)

.

PLUS…!

I come with amazing news to share with you.

.

Folks, Coco&Me has received its first ever Christmas present!!!! Our fabulous/ genius/ uber-kind bestie Mr.A (who we stayed with in Germany) has SUPER kindly offered to update the site so that it is mobile responsive! (Yah, I know, you don’t need to tell me, like, ‘finally’ huh?) When Mr.A handed me a Christmas card of a hand holding a mobile, I didn’t ‘get’ it, but when he explained, oh my gosh I was sooooo extremely happy, I cried! :) :) :)

.

cocoandme_mobile

.

Mr.A, You know what you did? You brightened the start of 2017 for me. And your show of kindness will positively glow in my soul. :) Thank you so much.

.

In detail, not only will the site become mobile responsive, he will be creating a proper recipe page where all the recipes I’ve posted in the last 10 years will be easily accessible.

.

What’s more, the graphics will all be in vector so that it’a crisp-looking, and and and… ah yes, I’ve taken this opportunity to start on INSTAGRAM!!!!

.

You’ll find me on: https://www.instagram.com/_coco_and_me_/

.

Ha ha, again, like finally, right…!? I know that it won’t look as beautiful as the others nor will I be uploading pictures so strategically, but I’ll give it a shot in my own way!

.

Not sure when we’re rolling out the remodelled website, but when it does, I hope that you’ll like it & agree that it is a major improvement!

.

T xx

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!)

.

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.)

.

x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x

.

How are you all?

Did you have a nice Christmas?

.

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!

.

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

.

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:

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.)

.

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.

.

x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x

.

Two more pics to share:

.

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…

.

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! :) :)

.

x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x

.

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

 

Tamami xoxo

January 4th, 2011

Happy 2011 everyone!

How’s your holiday been? Mine was alright-ish I guess, just pretty much stayed at home, which to be honest just felt like any other usual day with the family.

.

Today, I took down all the Christmas decoration around the house & D chopped up the Christmas tree to a manageable size to take to the recycling centre. The living room feels stark without the 6 foot tree that was festooned with “un”-colour-coordinated baubles, but having them tidied away feels so ‘right’ in that “New year = fresh start” kind-of-way, it’s good. I feel ready to tackle things again.

.

Coco&Me - vintage Christmas baubles - Coco & Me - www.cocoandme.com

(The baubles)

.

The baubles for the tree are all vintage, purchased on several occasions on eBay. That’s why it’s all different sizes, colours & textures! I decorate the tree with these & with multi-coloured fairy lights thrown in the mix too. It is very definitely colour-overkill & uncoordinated. Lol! But y’know what, I like it just like that – ‘uncoordinated’. I wouldn’t want top-to-bottom colour coordination or an expensive ‘gold-theme’. Mish-mash & haphazard, that actually suits me.

.

Most are plain coloured silk woven baubles (perfect for a house with children because it doesn’t break!), but I also have some unusual ones in the mix that I love love love! Below are pictures of some of them!

Coco&Me - vintage Christmas baubles - Coco & Me - www.cocoandme.com

.

There’s apple shaped one, pointy one, disco ball one… Then there’s frazzled ones that’s seen better days, & a bauble that I can’t bring myself to take its old sticker off (…17… maybe it used to be 17 pence??). There’s also a gold bauble that got transformed in to a Santa face! Cuuuute I think & it deserves a noticeable part of the tree to hang from, but my son is unbelievably spooked out by it (!!) – he thinks it looks like a head that is chopped off, so it got dangled out of sight at the back of the tree … (maybe this year Santa face has centre stage hopefully??)

.

The beauty of eBay is that all of these were dead cheap (for example just 99p for 20 baubles!). And now & again there’s a nice little surprise – unexpectedly amazing bauble in the mix (the apple-shape), or like one of the bauble box had ‘Made in GDR’ stamped on it – that’s German Democratic Republic, former East Germany! To think that these baubles & box had been around for atleast more than 21 years…!!

.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.

Dearest readers, I was going to write about how my trade went in the last two Saturdays leading up to Christmas, but I’ve run out of time, so that’s ’til next time I guess!

.

On that note, I’m signing out for the night,

Tamami xx