Friday, 2 April 2010

Really Good Friday

For a number of years when I first came to Japan I would receive a letter from Mum some time in April saying "I thought you would have at least called at Easter." I would then phone to say "When was Easter?" It isn't on any of the calendars here, and as the dates change every year I completely missed it for the greater part of a decade. (The same is true for pancake Tuesday...only more so!)

Since the children came on the scene I have been more diligent in searching out the dates each year, and trying to give the kids their share of Australian culture (which does in fact extend beyond yoghurt).
This year is the first time since the children started school that the Japanese spring holidays have coincided with Easter. It has been a conflict trying to get the "Good Friday" holiday idea through to non Christians, and this year, at last, the kids are at home without any negotiations!

Yesterday Sora and I, with the occasional itinerant help of Sean, Mika, Canaan and the significant absence of Rohan (who was enthralled in a book about another famous Potter), baked five dozen Hot Cross Buns, which should last till Sunday, even in our house!

For lunch we enjoyed Norwegian Smoked Salmon, (Thanks Kei!), Mexican Avocados and French Camembert with salad and crackers, with a cheeky Australian chardonnay. A meal to leave a Carbon footprint in the sands of time, but is Easter after all!

This evening we enjoyed exotic Fish and Chips, with beer batter of course, and extra tasting to make sure that the beer was OK. We're still not sure, so the tasting continues....

Hot Cross Buns (This years recipe!)

280ml of tepid Water
1.5 teaspoons of Dry Yeast
5 dessert spoons of Sugar
1.5 teaspoons of Salt
3 dessertspoons of Olive Oil
200 grams of Plain Flour
200 grams of Gluten Flour
20 grams of Walnuts
100 grams of Raisins
1 teaspoon of mixed spice

Mix all ingredients in a bowl in the order listed. Mix thoroughly and then knead for seven minutes (It helps if you are a potter!)

Cover with a damp cloth and raise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or half an hour, which ever comes first, until it is about twice in volume.

Measure the dough into twelve equal balls and arrange on a greased baking tray. Cover with a damp cloth again and raise for a further half to three quarters of an hour until doubled in size.

Brush beaten egg over the buns then drizzle a creamy mixture of plain flour and milk in a cross over the buns. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.

Toast or reheat before serving.

Happy Easter to you all, more news when the bunny arrives!


  1. Great photos of you guys!! All the food looks yummy too.

  2. Hey Ron!
    The food was great, looking forward to the egg hunt tomorrow!

  3. Dear Euan,

    I have just discovered your beautiful blog. So many insightful and informative entries, I will be exploring your world for some time to come, I can tell. I actually stumbled on your site during a search for information on shino, and in particular, shino fired without the use of saggars (oni shino, or "devil shino"). I am working on an article on oni shino, a brief history of this practice, and an overview of contemporary artists who fire their shino work naked, and I am wondering if you have any leads/info/ideas or if you know of any particular artists in Japan who produce oni shino work. Kumano Kureomon comes to my mind immediately, of course, but any other hints would be much appreciated! You have a beautiful family. Happy spring!
    Yolande Clark

  4. Hi Yolande,
    The term Oni Shino was coined by a potter named Tsukigata Nahiko from Mino who passed away in 2006. Here in Mashiko the best shinos are being done by Ken Matsuzaki. Do you read Japanese? Most of the info here isn't in english.
    Mashiko pottery festival starts tomorrow, so I need to go set up now.
    All the best,

  5. Hi Euan,

    It has been a number of years since our paths crossed. It might be time for a return visit to Mashiko. I continue to read your Blog and enjoy them so much. Your family and your work are wonderful. I retired from the corporate world last year and I am spending significantly more time in clay. I have a couple of not recent articles on my Blog about the building of my studio and kiln.

    I will use you as inspiration to update my blog.

    Paul Vernier (Student of George Dymesich)