It was only late afternoon but the grey sky made it seem later. The days are beginning to shorten.
These are from my neighborhood.
There goes another rainy day.
This is the story of my week (the fun parts!).
Monday late at night- I’m in bed reading chick-lit by an Irish author and ignoring the very loud sounds of something crashing through the undergrowth that is outside my window. The crashing goes on and on, so finally I think I’d better check it’s not a bear,and get out of bed. I shine the torch outside and see the rear ends of two deer with fluffy white tails. I’m thrilled to bits! It’s the first time I’ve seen the deer passing, although last Summer I could hear them calling out.
Tuesday I arrive home with a load of shopping, and there is a nasty monkey sitting on top of the porch, over the front door. I race inside and upstairs, and it’s in front of the window facing away from me. He can’t see me so I suddenly bang madly on the window and he gets a fright! Then he hisses and bares his teeth at me- so rude!
Wednesday afternoon I look out the front window as I’m passing, and there go two of the animals-that-shall-not-be-named (because I’m not a zoologist!). Something like a “squirrel-gone-wrong”, or a Japanese marten, or weasel family…. Here are some obscure photos of one at the back door, eating a rice cracker.
Below is my neighbor’s answer to scaring the monkeys away from her Summer vegetables. It worked. The monkeys were wary……
MISO RECIPE CONTINUED….
So now you have the miso pressed down into the container, and you need to prepare it for storage.
Sterilize the inner wall of container using alcohol such as cooking sake or grandpa’s shochu liquer!
Put the top lid on and store in a cool place for nine months or more, while it ferments. Store under the house if cool or in the refrigerator. This is essential to prevent mold. With proper sterilization and cool storage it shouldn’t grow a lot of mold. Traditionally in Japan people would mix mold in if it was just a little mold and of a reasonable colour (not red for example) or scrape it off. Probably better to scrape it off.
Please use your discretion.
Soybeans are harvested in Autumn and Miso is made in mid-Winter (Jan-Feb in Japan), and then left to ferment for at least nine months before eating. Miso is made from three ingredients: malted rice or barley, soybeans and salt. The key to making good miso is using a good quality rice malt (koji), getting absolutely all the air out when putting the miso into the container, and keeping it in a really cool spot (under-house storage, or refrigerator) to prevent mold.
Koji starter (malted rice) is usually made by fermenting cooked rice for 48 hours with aspergillus oryzae, a fungus, also called koji-kabi, literally koji-mold. But this is too hard, so I buy nama-koji online in Japan from Tomizawa-shoten. Nama-koji is rice that has already been fermented with the koji mold, so it is ready to use.
Recipe (makes approx. 4-5kg miso)
1 kg soybeans
1kg fresh rice malt (nama-koji)
Also, reserve 100 – 200 ml of the water used to cook soybeans (‘nijiru)
1. Soak soybeans in 3 times the volume of water, for 17 hours.
2. Cook soybeans for 20 minutes in a pressure cooker, or boil for 2 hours or until soft.
3. Drain, but reserve the liquid (called ‘nijiru’).
4. Crush soybeans, with sterilized hands, potato masher, or food processor.
Iris grow well in Japan and there are lots of iris gardens, and different varieties of iris on the roadsides of our country roads.
Here is the iris garden just around the corner from the Ryokami Onsen. (entry is free)
And now if I can find the picture of a walnut tree.. I see a lot of these tall and magnificent trees around on my walks.
Chichibu is a beautiful area in the mountains just north of Tokyo, with a temple pilgrimage route, mountains, rivers and hot springs. We have monkeys, deer, wild boar, bears and other wild visitors! We grow a lot of buckwheat so every second restaurant is a home-made buckwheat noodle restaurant. We are really into flowers, so half of our tourist attractions consist of fields of phlox, plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, iris, dahlia, rhododendron, azalea and more!
Stay tuned for things to do in Chichibu with kids, and other useful info in English.