The Japanese term “kaizen” translates loosely as improvement or change for the better, according to the web-site of Leclair Ryan, an American firm of legal advisors. In Porirua, however, Kaizen is the café at Pataka Art + Museum.
After visiting my father at Kemp Home, Titahi Bay (21 May 2015), I met my sister for lunch at the Kaizen. The beautiful Japanese garden adjoining the café added to our experience as we ate the best spanakopita we’ve tasted in a long time … and the coffee was great!
Incidentally, kai refers to food in the Māori language, and a pataka is a place to store treasures.
Pataka houses a fine collection of sculptures, including one of Michel Tuffery’s tin-can bulls (image below).
Outside the entrance, and elsewhere in the vicinity, heaps of white sandbags – needed after mass rainfall on 14 May resulted in extensive flooding in the area. (My camera could not resist.)
“Meet matcha, the current darling of the tea world. This finely milled green tea powder – the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century – has seen a surge in popularity recently thanks to its visual appeal, purported health benefits, and beautiful, distinct flavor.” (Kathy YL Chan, in ‘Eater’)
My soldiers are
tall and slim today, with the
marmalade spread thin.
I have taken care
to make the coffee quite strong
(no sugar, no milk).
The image connects to a recipe (on Orgasmic Chef) for eggs and toast soldiers – even though I’m not especially keen on boiled eggs – because I liked the narrative style.
Image credit: I Knead You (a WordPress blog).
Shaggy brown tabby
marauder slinks away, a
sparrow in his jaws.
(08 May 2014)
My breakfast yesterday morning began with a toasted English muffin, spread with my new home-made crab-apple jelly. I’ve been trying to remember how many years it has been since I last got the chance to persuade a bag of these little beauties to yield up their unique flavour and gorgeous colour. It would be five years or more since I made raspberry jam – another of my favourite things – but how long since I got my hands on a bag of crab-apples?
For several days I had revelled in the mere sight of the bowl brimming with red and yellow-gold fruit in my dining-room – and spent some time photographing it – but at last there was a clear morning and a clear evening.
In the course of trimming and quartering the fruit, I reserved a small bowl of attractive specimens to keep around for a few days. Even so, it was necessary to cook the prepared fruit in two batches. Each time, following Mary Wynne’s advice, I added “enough water to be able to see, but no so much that the crab-apples [were] floating.” Once the fruit was turning to pulp, I mashed it up a bit against the sides of the pan using a slotted spoon.
Both batches of pulp went together into an old (but clean) pillowslip, which was then strung up over a large bowl, while I went out for lunch, returning home in the early evening.
The strained pulp having produced twelve cups of liquid, I measured ten and a half cups of white sugar into a bowl, as per the instructions given by chef Jonny Schwass, whilst starting to heat up the juice. Setting the oven to 100°C, I put fourteen jars in to sterilize. Then, cup by cup, I counted the sugar into the pan. Just as well – I had measured out one cup too many!
It took twenty minutes or more to bring such a large quantity to the boil, and a further twenty before the jelly reached setting-point. There was sufficient to fill eleven jars, with a bit left over for breakfast – which I ate whilst eradicating all evidence of the previous evening’s sticky moments.
Last word: For an elegant supper, toast an English muffin, spread with a liberal layer of hot-smoked salmon, season with salt and pepper, and top with crab-apple jelly and a fresh basil leaf.
Crab-apples are even less likely than quinces to be available in retail stores. A long-time lover of crab-apple jelly, I was delighted when a dear friend took the trouble to pick a lovely lot of them for me before she headed back to her consultancy project in Ankara, Turkey.
In my experience, the task of making crab-apple jelly is inclined to be a messy one, but it’s one I enjoy. The approach I take is similar to Mary Wynne’s recipe (on allrecipes.com). And, as the web site says, “No commercial pectin is required as crab-apples have high natural pectin content.”
Mary Wynn suggests adding a cinnamon stick when cooking the fruit.
Jonny Schwass, a chef who broadcasts on Radio New Zealand National, adds a few peppercorns to each jar when he wants to serve the jelly with duck.
The bowl of fruit was very photogenic, and I spent a few minutes taking pictures. I’m really looking forward to making – and eating – the delicious rose-gold jelly. Naturally, my friend will be back to collect a jar … but not until December.