Christmas voucher is now available !

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So hot in Melbourne yesterday! Did you survive all right?
Our small car doesn’t have air condition, and parked under the sun for 3 hours.
OMG, the air in the car was so painful! I think my skin was nicely grilled by the heat in the car!

Christmas is around the corner, and I had some requests for Christmas voucher!
We haven’t informed it yet, but yes, we have! Sorry for late information!!

It’s $95, comes with 1 x fun workshop you can choose from, and also 1 jar of 1 year fermented miso to bring home, or $80 without jar of miso.
Please contact us and we’ll organise it for you.

I was walking Preston Market today, and found looks yummy egg tart.
I’m not sweet crazy person (I prefer savery), but just a few moments through the year, wants to eat egg tart! and it was today!!

And dinner was Kale salad. We make this pretty often during summer.
Sometimes with Miso dressing, sometimes with Mango, depend what we have.
While I was in Japan, people didn’t believe our lunch/dinner can be done with one dish, but we really often do! One dish, but we like to put lot’s of ingredients and I eat a lot. I mean, a lot!

Enjoy summer and ready for Christmas xx


We are back in Melbourne!


After months of study tour in Japan, we are finally back in Melbourne! Thank you very much for all the messages while we are away and some of them waited for workshops.

I put several garlic cloves into my garden just before I leave for Japan, and look at these beautiful garlic from the garden! My very first garlic harvest! So happy! Thank you nature!! One clove become one whole garlic, isn’t is wonderful?

Garlic works so well with Miso and Soy sauce. Garlic Miso! Garlic Soy!  (Oh I need to write about Garlic Miso soon…)  These are my favourite and so glad to make them with my organic super local(from my garden!!)  garlic. Lucky me!

So nice to be back here, beautiful flowers and blue sky, lots of spaces and nice people! Bees seems also happy!

Still got so many photos and article from study tour in Japan. Excited to write more and share with all of you.  December is always busy time of the year. In Japan, we say “month of even teachers are running” ha ha!

Have a nice summer (for those who are in South hemisphere)and have a nice winter ( for those who are in North hemisphere).  Love and greeting from Melbourne x


Jan & Feb cooking workshop schedule

Hello lovely people! We started to take booking for Jan & Feb cooking workshops.
Very excited to announce that we start new workshops from this summer.
Japanese pickling! This summer, we will make Japanese Nukaduke, rice bran pickling. We make Nuka bed from scratch, and you can keep making this Nuka pickles forever as long as you look after it. Exciting!!

Also, Miso cooking workshop. This workshop is for somebody who has miso in the fridge but don’t know what to do with it. I would like to share some ideas – how to use Miso in your cooking, also share the knowledge about benefit of having miso.

For booking, please book from WORKSHOP page or simply email us.

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Just is case, you can’t see this schedule well from this picture,
here is the details

Jan 06 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso paste making
Jan 09 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Jan 13 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Jan 16 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Jan 20 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Jan 23 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Seasonal Japanese cooking
Jan 27 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese pickling (Nuka-duke)

Feb 03 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso paste making
Feb 06 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Feb 10 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Feb 13 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Feb 17 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Feb 20 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Seasonal Japanese cooking
Feb 24 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese pickling (Nuka-duke)

Hope to see you at workshop xx

Japanese cooking workshop in Tokyo !

For those who are in Tokyo this weekend, lucky news!
We will run Japanese cooking workshop in Japan (first opportunity for us!).

Very nice part of Japan (my favourite area in Tokyo),Sendagi(千駄木), part of area called Yanesen (谷根千),
nice & old downtown where you can find lots of small shops and cafes.

In this workshop, you will learn basic technique of Japanese cooking and knowledge by making full meal.
It’s vegetarian menu! (Sorry vegan, we use egg in one dish, but if you are vegan, please talk to us previously, then I will come up with Vegan friendly dish)

It will be fun xx

Date : Nov 19, 2017 (This Sunday!!)
Time : 1️⃣12:00 − 14:00
2️⃣15:30 – 17:30
Place: Konfuan (The restaurant in Sendagi – 1min. walk from Sendagi station)
(Chiyoda line)
We’ll send you a detail of the location when you book.
Fee : 3000 yen / person (The first cooking workshop in Tokyo Special price)

Booking essential
Please contact us through this blog’s contact page

See you this Sunday 🙂

Sea salt making in Japan

For a long time, I was interested in how natural salt was made.

Salt brings the original taste of ingredients in cooking.  Salt is such a basic basic seasoning, but quite important seasoning !!

Rock salt is most popular salt in the world (Apparently, 60% of salt is rock salt),  but not in Japan. There are no rock salt or salt lakes in Japan, but Japan is surrounded by seas, so sea salt was made and used in Japan for a long time. That is the reason I believe sea salt is the best much for Japanese cooking and Japanese preserved/fermentation foods!

However, Japanese salt making process was not easy like other countries.  Japanese weather is not great for salt making.  Rain. Humid. These element doesn’t help for salt making. Fortunately (in this case, I probably should say unfortunately) it rains a lot in Japan, therefore Japan is called Water country.



Its geographic doesn’t help either. More mountain area, compare to flat area. (About 75% of Japanese land is mountain area) Well, that’s why many Tanada  (photo above) can be seen in Japan to use mountain surfaces for farming, especially for rice production, to get land as much as possible (Stunning and beautiful though!!)  But beautiful Tanada can’t be used for salt making. Therefore,  making sun dried salt in a big saltpan/salt field wasn’t a reasonable way to make salt in Japan. we needed to came up with various ideas and probably some inventions to make natural sea salt in Japan. Come up with the ideas and tried new methods were the Japanese salt making history.


Here in Itoshima/Fukuoka, there are salt making studio which makes premium sea salt – Mataichi Salt またいちの塩.  For sea salt, ingredient is only sea water. How clear it is, how rich it is, environment around this area, speed of sea water circulation and so on…lots of condition are considered.


Mataichi salt believes that Itoshima peninsula covers all of these conditions, and provide  strong umami sea water which contains richness from seaweeds.

The view on the way to Mataichi was just amazing.



People put a lot of effort to make sea salt in Japan and still is! Here in Mataichi, they built this bamboo tower to reduce moisture from seawater, right next to the sea side. This is one of their invention!


After reduced moisture (depends on the weather condition, but 10 days  to a month until the saltiness of the water become 9-10%), then bring these water to inside, and start heating with recycle woods.


This is how sea water is changed to sea salt. Slowly slowly.


Mr. Nagatomo, who is the salt maker at Mataichi told me that salt making here is really interesting, because it is all manual, not automatic. Human power  and intuition are quite involved.


Using recycled woods makes fire control more difficult, but it makes more interesting. The recycle woods came from housing materials, so sometimes they are pine, sometimes they are cedar, all different woods, which have different character. For example pine contains more oils than other woods so when you put pine into the stove, fire become very strong all of sudden, but it doesn’t last that long as fuel….  It was so good to see happy enjoying salt maker.  Just love to see all manual process!  Their love and passion in there!

For the first 2 days after start firing, they want to keep 60 degrees. They don’t just boil sea water. This is the technique to make salt with Umami.  The salt makes food yummy. What their pursue is to make salt which helps the ingredients to be used to the fullest to make the dish delicious. There is philosophy there.


It is amazing location. People who visited this salt making studio can take advantage of this location while eating some of their cafe menu.  Just come here with your favourite book and enjoy reading and view at the same time, then when you become hungry, get some food and drink! What a precious weekend would be!!


There are several options apart from coffee and healthy drinks, but apparently this salt pudding is the most famous one!


Also, you can taste their 2 different type of salt, Takishio (left) and Yakishio (right).  Right Yakishio is roasted salt. which was one more steps from Takishio. Depend on the dishes, you can use separately.


Also,  you can try salt making in this studio ( or just tour is available)  if you like.

After visiting Mataichi, Now I want to make Tofu with their Nigari.  Enjoy cooking x  (Oh! Tofu making workshop is coming  soon when I back to Melbourne x)


Visiting a Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima


There are VERY important Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima/Kagawa. It’s Yamaroku soy sauce. I visited their descendant in the fifth generation, Mr. Yamamoto.

Soy sauce island – Shodoshima

Shodoshima is a island in Seto inland sea, where is famous for making soy sauce.

What is great about Shodoshima’s soy sauce is they are made by traditional method, and more importantly, they are mostly made in wooden barrels.  Apparently, ONLY 1 % of all Japan made soy sauce is brewed in wooden barrel. Only 1 %!!  I believe soy sauce made in wooden barrel by traditional method is the real soy sauce, but these soy sauce is so precious nowadays. But still, there are some artisan who puts effort to make real soy sauce. In Shodoshima, you can find these people.  1/3 of the 1% of Japanese wooden barrel made soy sauce is from Shodoshima!!

Bacteria lives in mud walls and wooden barrels
In Yamaroku soy sauce, visiter can enter the special room, which is registered tangible cultural property. This is the room to ferment the base of soy sauce.  The liquid before squeezing called Moromi, so accurately, it is “Moromi room”.



There are not many soy sauce brewers allow us to be in the Moromi room. However, here in  Yamakuro, kindly, they let us in! Very lucky to see, hear and smell them directly. So precious moment!! In Yamaroku, there are 60 wooden barrels and wall of this Moromi room is old mud wall. This is the treasure of Yamaroku, bacteria live in these places, and works for soy sauce. This is the secret of making yummy soy sauce.

Can you see the stick? (bit dark!)  The Soy sauce master stands on this floor, and mix soy sauce with this long stick.


This barrel is 150 years old.  Over these periods, lots of different kinds of bacteria has been lived in the barrel, and helped to make unique soy sauce. (According to Yamakuro, more than 100 different type of bacteria!! That’s just amazing!!)


This is sort of squeezing soy sauce machine, but actually they don’t squeeze. They just let soy sauce to come out from the bag, just using gravity to make clear taste soy sauce.


The passion! The love! The sense of mission!

The Mr. Yamamoto has a strong determination which I really respect (and almost made me cry!).  Wooden barres last about 200 years. In Yamaroku, most of wooden barrels are 100-150 years old. That means, they can keep making real soy sauce for next 50 years, but not anymore – not to the his grandkid generation. He felt a sense of crisis. He thought this was the real problem. His determination is to remain REAL soy sauce made with cedar wooden barrel to his kids & grandkids generation, and so he decided to to become an artisan to make wooden barrels as well as being real soy sauce brewer. He thought it might be reckless, but nothing can be achieved without trying. Then he launched the project called “Revive wooden barrel artisan project” since 2012.



Japan is facing serious situation.  In spite of wooden barrels are the best and perfect fermentation container as bacteria can live in the wood, obviously we are loosing this wonderful proper fermentation culture as you can understand that only 1% of Japanese soy sauce production is made with wooden barrel. It resulted into the situation that only one company remains in Japan who can make big wooden barrels! And sadly, this company will close their business in 3 years.  If we don’t learn from him now, we have absolutely nobody who can make these beautiful and important tools anymore, which means no chance to order big wooden barrels anywhere in the Japan, probably in the world. That is the reason which made Mr. Yamamoto moves urgently.  He thought ” I have to try this NOW”.

Check his project in this video!


He started a new career as a wooden barrel artisan, and Mr. Yamamoto and his project keep making 3 – 4 barrels every year since then. Some barrels stayed in Yamaroku, some delivered to other soy sauce brewers. (One is in Milan, Italy!!)   I really appreciate his decision and effort. There are more important thing than efficiency.  I don’t think it is too much to say that he saved Japanese fermentation culture. Hope more brewers use wooden barrel to make real soy sauce!

If you ever come to Seto inland sea, (I know many people visit Naoshima or Setouchi Triennale), I recommend to visit this Yamaroku Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima! Check their Moromi room and taste these yummy ice cream and pudding with soy sauce!! (Amazingly, It really works)

Of course, you can purchase their real soy sauce! Two types.


Best wishes to brave Mr. Yamamoto and Yamaroku soy sauce brewer.


Summer drink – Shiso Juice making 2017


One of the seasonal drink, and this is definitely summer drink in our family. We make this juice every year, normally after making Umeboshi (because we need good red shiso for Umeboshi making) and enjoy this drink all through the summer.

This is called Shisho juice (Shiso = perilla) or Shisho drink. As you know there are red Shisho and green Shiso, but we only use red Shiso for this juice.  This is amazingly refreshing juice and I really like its colour.  It is expected many benefits such as helping to recover from exhaustion, helping digestion, detoxing, helping anti-ageing and more!!

Very easy to make!
What we make here is concentrate. When you drink, pour some water or fizzy water and make perfect taste you like! Here is my family recipe, but basically no rule!

Water            2L
Red Shiso     300g ~  (more is totally OK!)
Vinegar        400cc  (or 3-4 lemons / citric acid 20g)
Sugar            500g

First wash Red Shiso leaves.
We grow our own Shio leaves at the little farm, so this is freshly harvested from there! Yes, Organic Shiso leaves.  If you want to buy Shiso leaves from shops, try Asian grocery stores.  They have Shiso leaven when it is season.

Then, put them into boiling water pot.

Stir gently. Soon the water colour become dark purple.
Then take leaves out from the pot.
Check if the leaves become green. If all the red pigment moved into the water, then Shisho leaves looks green. Not red anymore.

Now, the water colour is like this! Not yet nice colour.

Add vinegar and sugar. We use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar. But other vinegar might work, just try it! (Probably balsamic vinegar won’t work though…) After you add vinegar, see the colour of the liquid! Love this moment! It become elegant colour. And I’m sure you are enjoying its smell already.

That’s it! Done! Super easy.

Pour into jar when it is still hot. Keep it in the fridge, it will last 1 year.  In case of my family, it doesn’t last that long, because we drink so much during summer and finish them all by the time autumn starts.

For somebody who works outside during summer, this would be great drink. It will give you the energy for next day, and it really heals your tiredness!! You will love it!!

Although sometimes we find Ume juice (plum juice) at the cafes or festival, we don’t find this Shiso juice so often at the cafe or restaurant. for some reason.  (I only found once in a small cafe in Tokyo! I was so happy to see this pink juice in the menu, so of course I ordered one. The cafe menu said “Summer special drink” :-)).
Probably this is the drink we make at home for family’s wellbeing.

Hope you had a nice summer xx