13 March 2006

Paneer photos

Posted my photos twice but they didn't show up so here they are...

Making Paneer

The question of the day is...
Why have I never done this before?

Last weekend I finally decided to make my own paneer. It was awesome and I'm going to do this frequently now, I hope.

First I boiled up a litre of milk. You have to be ready because the milk starts to rise quickly in foam form as soon as it's ready. I was forewarned (therefore forearmed!) about this and chose a pot that was way bigger than I needed since I didn't trust myself to turn off the heat in time.

When the milk started to make a break for the top of the pot, I turned off the heat and started squeezing in fresh lemonjuice. I tried to be careful, but the end product had a few elusive lemon pips that popped out when I was slicing. Thought it gave a real 'homemade' effect.

I stirred slowly as I was squeezing in the juice and, lo and behold, it started to curdle (Soooooo cool!). It was totally curdled by about two or three minutes.

At this point most people would pour it into some muslin cloth, but being in Japan, it was easier to find these blue net things that they sell in the "supa" to line your sink drain with and catch stuff before it goes down. Sounds bad, but of course thay were new, and so, clean. So, in it went with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. The whey is meant to be a healthy drink but neither I nor Pi Dog was keen.

So, next I used a Laken metal water bottle filled with water as a weight and my ramen bowl as a receptacle and in effect rigged up a cool press. I left in the press for a few hours (enjoying the pictured Flake Noir from an import shop in the mean time)then wrapped it up and put it in the fridge.

A couple of days later I sliced and fried it and threw it into a pan with some peas to make an awesome muttar paneer.

It was sooooooo worth the effort in this land of no cheese OR curry. Chomp!


11 March 2006

Old people and drinking/Music in China

The way I see it, there are two ways to look at a hangover when your most recent birthday introduced you to your 36th year on this planet.Ok, so technically 37th on the planet as Pi Dog so RUDELY pointed out!

1) I can't believe I'm 36 and I still do this to myself!

2) Hey, at least I'm still out enjoying life at 36!

At the moment I'm still feeling more in tune with number 1, but I'm hoping that later on today number 2 will kick in. Another thing that has changed is the fact that it's 9.30 on a Saturday and I'm already up and about...ish, well, on the net anyway. Gone are the beloved days when you had so much free time that you could just sleep all day and be none the wiser that you had a hangover. At best, you might get up on time to see what Richard and Judy were talking about and be thankful that you didn't have Richard's haircut and dress"sense". But that was only because you heard someone put the kettle on and you were hoping they might offer you a brew if you show your pastey face. But in these days of precious little free time away from work, one has to make the effort to get up and take advantage of the weekend even if it does make you feel queasy like my mate Pi Dog here with the green face.

By the way, why is it that you never have milk on hangover days? This morning I had to use some small, dodgy Japanese pots of creamer that I'd bought to take to work for emergencies (They never use milk in tea here?!). Fittingly, they are called 'Creap'. Cause it's creapy that you'd even consider letting that crap near your tea. But, I digress.

I make it a rule never to drink and e-mail/ blog. Unfortunately, the drink makes me forget that this is my rule and the poor recipient, more often than not, is our friend the 'King of Ireland'. We lived next to the K.O.I. for about four months in Tokyo when we all worked at the same university on a short contract. I don't know who was the bad influence on who, but basically it was four months of taking the piss. However, this is Japan, and so we wore suits and nobody was any the wiser.

The King of Ireland became ordained as such when he went off to see Ireland play Japan in Rugby. He thought it would be a good idea to cover himself in orange, green and white, wrap an Irish flag around his shoulders and don a stupidly large hat in the same, aforementioned colours. Lucky for him (and us) the only record I have of this is a photo I took on my keitai (cellphone) which is of too low a quality to upload. But rest assured, he got all sorts of attention and ended up sitting with a load of Japanese guys who call themselves the Irish Supporters Club and also dress like the K.O.I.. Photos were taken and he ended up in domestic as well as Irish newspapers and, later of course, pissed. Pi dog was with him, I went to a museum. See, I'm waaaaay more grown up than them!

I have to also mention that the K.O.I ended up falling asleep on the train so that he missed his stop and ended up in Takao, at the end of the line. He then woke up and changed trains only to fall asleep in the other direction, miss his stop yet again, and end up at the other end of the line. I hasten to add that this is no short journey. The Chuo line spans the width of Tokyo which is a monster big city. Further, he did this on more than one occasion, but who's counting? God only knows what happens to him in Korea where he now resides. That's your 15 minutes of fame, K.O.I.. At least you're not naked THIS time on the net. Oh, and sorry we always e-mail you when we're pissed. To be fair, you haven't exactly set us a good example (only joking).

So, I've got to get on with my hangover now. We've also got to get down to the launderette to have our weekly meeting with the freaks in there. But that's another blog.

Oh yeah, and I just wanted to mention that there is a link on the title of this blog that goes to an article about Rolling Stone magazine now having a China Edition. Thought that was interesting...but then, anything on the bright, flashing screen is interesting right now as it makes me forget my pounding headache.


10 March 2006

Japanese Foot Gloves

Just thought you should know about these. At first I actually thought it was a stupid idea for someone like me who gets cold fingers from wearing gloves (poor circulation, I guess), but then someone convinced me to try these socks and they're really warm and comfy! Incidentally, they aren't a novelty item here in Japan. They are really common. I imagine the idea grew out of the more traditional 'tabi' socks that are better known. You know, the white ones that allow for the wearing of jandals (flip flops)when donning your best kimono.(see random link for tabi pictures)