Thursday, 30 July 2009

Back where I belong

Thanks to everyone who visited me at Takashimaya, is was great catching up with so many of you. My friends were fantastically hospitable, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. My thanks also to the staff of NY Takashimaya HOME, you really made it a fun and successful exhibition.

The metropolis of Tokyo and Yokohama has about the same population as Australia, so no matter how much I enjoy the experience of the big smoke, after an exhibition there I'm glad to be home. It is possible to find reprieve from the concrete and asphalt by walking through gardens like the Meiji Jingu in Shibuya, or the Imperial Palace, but it's not the same as being home in the country, surrounded by rice paddies and forest.

The garden is looking very Shakespearean; "'Tis an unweeded garden gone to seed, things rank and gross in nature possess it merely". I haven't had a chance to attend it for a long while, but Mika has managed to save the vegetable bed from neglect. Hooray for Mika!

I went for a walk this morning, while the dew was still on the leaves, and breathed the fresh, clean air. The Japanese summer is hot and wet, so the vegetation is verdant and the harvest plentiful. We have lots of fresh, sun ripened tomatoes, egg plant, and the children have made a special effort to grow okra this year. It is particularly one of Rohans favourites.

The kids are on school holidays, so we have a full cast for every meal. For lunch today I made burgers of minced chicken breast, then simmered them in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, onion and okra. Served on a bed of organic rice from my inlaws farm in Gunma, with grated cheese melted on it, then the reduced sauce and topped with fried egg plant and a sprig of fennel flowers.

Mika made a delicious summer dessert of yoghurt and mango gelato, topped with a sprig of mint. We make our own Caspian Yoghurt, and the mint from the garden just gave a delightful accent.

Afternoon tea was a gift from our friend who has a cooking school, Takane san. She acquired the rose cup cake mold on a recent visit to the US. The walnut banana bread was rich and moist.

I have been to and worked with some fine restaurants in the city, and the experience is always sublime. Never the less, there is no greater joy than sharing the fruit of your own labour with the ones you love. It doesn't simply feed the body and scintillate the senses; It nourishes the soul.

When all is said and done, this is where I belong.

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