Sunday, 27 February 2011

Making Chikuzen Ni is FUN!!  筑前煮を作るのが楽しいよ!

This is a fun recipe that I got from a DVD that was kindly given to me in Tokyo at a foreigner information helpdesk. I decided to challenge myself with something harder than soba for a change, going for the oishisou Chikuzen-Ni. I hope you enjoy my photographic journey into the cooking of this delicious chicken stew dish!

300g chicken
1 Burdock root/ Gogo skinned and sliced ~ 3cm columns
1 Carrot
1/2 Renkon/ Lotus root chopped
Bamboo shoot pieces
~8 Shiitake mushrooms
3 large Taro roots
100g Konnyaku /Yam jelly
Snow peas or green capsicum to garnish

Dashi Broth (home-made)
Cooking Sake
Soy Sauce
Sugar (can be omitted if you use Kirin (sweet) as your cooking sake)

Techniques/Manual Labour:
Use a spoon to scrape/dig out pieces of Konnyaku. Apparently this is preferable to chopping because it will absorb the flavour of the stew better if you use the scraping motion. In any case it is fun to do =)

You have to then flash boil the Konnyaku for 5 seconds to remove 'the unique odour and scum'. I would suggest 10-15 secs as it is kind of recalcitrant.

Dashi Broth Stage 1. After soaking Dashi Konbu kelp for 30mins, put it on low-med heat for 10mins then remove. The picture is not great for showing it, but it has a beautiful green colouration and it has a subtle but nice perfume to it.

 Some of my friends, Mirin, Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil--->

Bring the broth to boil and take off the heat immediately. Add 20g Kezuribushi/Bonito flakes (dried, thinly flaked bonito/skipjack tuna) and soak. Skim off any white bubbly stuff.

After like a 5 minute soak strain the broth and Ta-Da! here it is

Put in a generous amount of sesame oil and stir-fry all ingredients until chicken starts to brown.

Transfer to pot and add 600-800ml Dashi, 60ml Sake, 50ml Soy sauce and 35g Sugar. Simmer on low-med until sauce is reduced by a half.

This is what it looks like when it has reduced (thickened).

Towards the end put in some sliced capsicum and cook for a further 5mins. Serve up and enjoy! I suggest drinking fortune milk with this (haha!)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Indigenous Australia: A tiny snapshot in the modern history of the Aboriginal peoples [English and 日本語]

Australia's indigenous people are divided into two groups, the Aborigines who live in mainland Australia and the peoples who live north of Australia on the various islands of the Torres Strait, the Torres Strait Islanders. Australia's indigenous are believed to have existed in Australia for at least 40,000 years with some researchers believing for much longer. The aborigines lived all across Australia and formed many communities, with one of the most concentrated communities existinging aroung the Murray Darling basin. The Aborigines have a strong connection with nature and a belief in the spiritual world called the Dreamtime. Through their connection with the Dreamtime spirits, Aboriginals learn stories about the creation of the natural world, and receive guidance in the construction of Aboriginal law, customs and values. 

The first contact between Australia's indigenous and foreigners occurred many centuries before English colonisation (1788) through meeting with Asian mariners, traders, Dutch and Spanish explorers. At the time of English settlement, it is believed that Australia's indigenous population was at least 315,000, but this was to drop owing to the impact of the new colonists. Unfortunately, the Indigenous suffered from newly-introduced diseases and were generally treated badly by the English immigrants. Water resources and land were also stolen from the indigenous. Gradually, though, the indigenous would incorporate into white society, however, they would experience much discrimination and it was common for family members to be displaced by government agencies and local authorities. The displaced victims would come to be known as the 'Stolen Generations'. During the 1950s, campaigning for civil rights began and in 1962, indigenous Australians were finally granted the right to vote. In the following decades, indigenous Australians would slowly regain ownership of their lands and gain true equality. These days, indigenous Australians are successful in many fields including politics, arts and sport. They also work very hard as ambassadors of their culture.

オーストラリアの先住民族の人々は2つのグループに分けれていますオーストラリアの本土に住んでいるアボリジニと言う人々とオーストラリアの北にあるトレス海峡の色々な島に住んでいるTorres Strait Islanderです オーストラリアの先住民族はオーストラリアで少なくとも4万年を生きてきたと考えられていますが一部の研究者はもっと長いと主張していますアボリジニはすべてのオーストラリアの全地域に住んでいて多くのコミュニティを形成しました人口の密集地域の1つはマレーダーリング流域でしたアボリジニは自然と強いつながりを持ちドリームタイムと言う霊界を信じていますドリームタイムとのつながることでアボリジニは彼らのは、法律や習慣や自然界の創造の話を学ぶことが出来ます

オーストラリア先住民と外国人の最初の接触はヨーロッパ人の入植の何世紀も前に起こりましたヨーロッパ人の入植する前にアジア船員とトレーダーとオランダの探検家とスペインの探検との触がありましたヨーロッパ人の入植の時先住民の人口は少なくとも31.5万人であったとされていますヨーロッパの入植は先住民族の人々に大きな影響を与えました残念なことに先住民は新しく導入された疾患に罹患しイギリスの移民かひどい扱いを受けました 先住民は水資源と土地も盗まれました段々先住民は白人社会に組み込まれたけれども彼らは差別を経験し政府機関によってたくさんの家族を隔離されました1950年代公民権のための運動が始まりました1962オーストラリア先住民にはようやく投票権が与えられました次の数十年ではオーストラリア先住民はに彼らの土地の所有権を取り戻すし真の平等を獲得しました最近オーストラリア先住民は政治芸術やスポーツなどを含む多くの分野で成功を納めています加えて先住民は懸命に文化大使として活動しています

...of Kangaroos and Kappas! Welcome to my blog :)

Kon nichi wa big wide world!! Welcome to what I hope to be an informative and fun blog about all things Australia, Japan and other! At present I am a candidate for the position of Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) with the Japanese-run JET program (check them out--> Ever since I can remember, I have had a fascination not just with Japan, but pan-asian culture, people and art. My regular job used to be a scientist but last year I decided to run away into the sphere of people and culture, indulging myself (finally) in learning Japanese formally at uni (after having self-studied for a year), and getting involved in language exchange between Aussies, Japanese, Korean and Chinese peoples in Brisbane.

About mid-year I will set my sights toward Japan! I have attended my interview for the ALT job and am now waiting until mid-April for the result. So instead of going crazy waiting for the all-important decision, I have decided to focus my energies towards (amongst other things) a new shiny blog. This is my first time so be nice ne! So that's my little intro; I look forward to making a blog packed with interesting topics and features. よろしくお願いします。