Kaizen – a change for the better

kaizen

kaizen

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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.)

 

What exactly is matcha and why is everyone talking about it? – Eater

“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’)

word pond

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Breakfast discipline

toast soldiers

toast soldiers

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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).

Sticky moments

crab-apple jelly (07 June 2013)

crab-apple jelly (07 June 2013)

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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.

Looking forward to crab-apple jelly

crab-apples (02 June 2013)

crab-apples (02 June 2013)

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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.