July 31, 2011

capturing july moments

some of the things i did/saw in the month of july...

- walked in the thick fog covering the woods outside our cottage at 5am in the morning;

- started my summer-long project of making bachelor's jam;

- went out for a drive to see the lavender fields in the area (and made lovely lavender honey lemonade - and a few other things);

- went to collect some of the purest mountain spring water you could get - of a drinking quality controlled by the local town office and provided for anyone to collect free of charge; great for making tea/coffee, using in cooking, and of course, drinking straight up;

- devoured the sweetest, juiciest melons a friend had sent to us from hokkaido;

- managed to get some local apricots (they have such a short season!) and made mowie's apricot fool;

- made banana-zucchini bread in an attempt to use up some of the gorgeous organic zucchini we'd received from friends and the overripe bananas that had been sitting on the kitchen counter for a while:

- had lunch of cold soba noodles and veggies with sesame-laden spicy dressing, inspired by my all-time favorite otsu recipe by Heidi;

- scored first of the season local nectarines and enjoyed them for breakfast with blueberries (also local) with a drizzle of lavender-infused honey, along with cinnamon-cardamom toast bites;

- churned out strawberry and elderflower sorbet with mint, more or less based on this recipe - except i sort of combined the sorbet and syrup parts into one to make a strawberry sorbet flavored with elderflower cordial and fresh mint. it was really nice paired with good vanilla ice cream.

oh by the way, the elderflower cordial was homemade by a friend of mine who i visited about a month ago in london during my trip to europe;
i've always enjoyed elderflower cordial from the stores, but homemade versions seem to be a cut above. it'd taste especially good when you had it, like i did, served ice-cold topped with sparkling water, in your good friend's beautiful rose garden after a long (international) journey on a very warm day.

at my friend's in london

since i got back from my trip at the beginning of july, i've been fairly busy back to my day job, but i've still been making a point of enjoying local fresh summer fruits and vegetables that are now abundant. i am hoping to blog about some of them before the end of summer, but for now i have some travel photos to share with you;

at borough market, london

these are from my time in the UK during my recent european trip, where i spent time with my friends in london and down south by the beach in the charming city of brighton.

and brighton happens to be the place i spent an extended period of time (four weeks) outside of japan for the first time in my life, years ago back when i was a grad school student. and even though i've since visited the uk so many times over the years, this was my first time going back to the city. so there was a bit of nostalgia going for me being back there. it holds a very special place in my heart.

by the beach, brighton

so if you have a few minutes to kill, head over to my flickr page to view the photos as slideshow - some food, some sea, and some greens, all shining in the beautiful english summer light.

meanwhile, back home in japan we seem to have traded the intense summer heat for rain and (slightly) cooler air for the past couple of weeks. we are to have hot days back soon though, or so i hear; i can't say i'm looking forward to the heat and humidity back in full scale, but needs must - and here in nagano we have at least cooler evenings and pleasant leafy shade, so i probably shouldn't complain.

now excuse me while i go and treat myself with a glass of chilled elderflower champagne - hope you are all enjoying a good summer where you are! -cx


London Cleaning said...

Well, that is one he*l of good post with stunning photographies. I love when a story can be told only with pictures. I believe that one good picture is better than 1000 words

pursuitoffood said...

Hi Chika, your blog is beautiful! I have been a silent trespasser for a long time :-) Your mention of the melon from Hokkaido reminded me of Anthony Bourdain's Hokkaido episode. Japan has fascinated me since childhood and it's not very often that one gets to see the not-bright-lights-in-the-city side of Japan. So, thanks!

Skye said...

Oh, it looks like you're having such a delicious summer! I don't know which I'm most jealous of, the jam or the melon...

Winny said...

Beautiful as usual, Chika san!

Serena said...

love your captured july moments....

Bee said...


Avocadorable said...

I found your blog through twitter. I am a big fan of your blog. Photos are always stunning! Growing up in Japan, i always picture of Japanese summer being so hot and humid, but your photos capture beauty of Japanese summer (especially the ones in the countryside) and make me want to go visit there now! I am looking forward to your new post.

De yummyblogsisters said...

I think there is going to be lots of your July in our August...banana zucchini bread, soba noodles, mmm. No summer here, so we better make it delicious on our plate, thanks for the inspiration!

christina said...

such a beautiful summer set to photos. i love each one of them.
; )

Dina said...

Wonderful images!

Mandy M said...

My what a gorgeous blog you have! Stunning photos, styling and cooking. I am rather envious of your Summer pictures as its Winter here and Spring can't come soon enough.

Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood said...

The strawberry and elderflower sorbet; so lovely. My culinary school chef was right, we do eat with our eyes!

chika said...

hi all - thanks for your comments and compliments!

Skye - gotta be melons. they were exquisite!

Avocadorable - and as soon as you set your foot in here in the summer, you'll regret ever coming! but seriously, hope you'll get to come visit sometime.

thanks again!