Cameras, games, Japan stuff.

Sunday 22 May 2011

めしや (Meshiya)

Meshiya is a Japanese cafe style restaurant I have been dining at on and off for about seven years now.  Conveniently located outside the QV centre in Melbourne, it has often been the place to grab a quick bite to eat before heading home from a day in town.  

Over the years there was been some small menu changes, an expansion of the drinks list, and the teppanyaki grill has been removed to provide more seating in an already cramped dining space.  The food at Meshiya is generally good, and below is a quick run down of yesterdays lunch.

ika no karaage
My fiancee and I started off by sharing as serve of ika no karaage and a small plate of mixed sashimi.  Ika no karaage is squid that has been lightly battered and deep fried, and this particluar serve had a light crunchy exterior, giving way to the tender squid.  The dish was well drained and not oily.

The sashimi was a mixture of tuna, salmon and snapper.  The morsels were small however they were well chilled and didn't have that "fishy" smell that always raises the alarm bells when I'm about to eat raw seafood.
ume bento, sakura bento

For mains we each ordered from the selection of bento on offer.  I enjoy bento as there is usually a range of small portions that leave you feeling satisfied, and not like you've over eaten.

I find a cold beer always goes well with Japanese food, and I was pleased to find Yebisu was now available at Meshiya.  Yebisu is a genuine import from Japan and often difficult to find in Melbourne, so you are usually left to decide if you would rather drink Asahi from Thailand or Sapporo from Canada.

All in all the food at Meshiya is good value and I have never had a bad experience there.
So if you are heading back to the QV carpark after a big day shopping and you are feeling a little peckish, I suggest you give Meshiya a try.

- harajuku32.

Sunday 15 May 2011

いちごだいふく (ichigo daifuku)

Ichigo daifuku is a Japanese sweet consisting of mochi surrounding a filling of fresh strawberry and red bean paste.  This sweet is traditionally enjoyed during Spring on account of the fresh strawberry filling.  Mochi is prepared by pounding glutinous rice into a paste, and sweets made using mochi are generally known as wagashi.  There are many different types of wagashi available in Japan, however ichigo daifuku is my favourite, and I'm going to share my recipe for making them.  This recipe is by no means traditional, however it uses readily available ingredients, and will produce a great result that will impress your friends when they stop by for a cup of tea.


1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sweet red bean paste
8 strawberries, hulled
corn starch


Wash and hull the strawberries, then pat dry with paper towel.  Divide the red bean paste into 8 pieces and roll into balls.  Take a strawberry and press the pointy end into one of the red bean paste balls.  Work the red bean paste down until the entire strawberry is covered.  Repeat with the remaining strawberries.  Set aside.

To make the mochi:
Put the water and sugar into a heat resistant bowl and mix well.  Add the glutinous rice flour and mix well.  Place the bowl into a microwave and heat for 2 minutes on high.  Stir the mixture rapidly with a metal spoon.  Heat the dough for a further 1 minute on high, during which time you should see the dough inflate.  Remove the bowl and stir the mochi quickly.  Cover a flat tray with baking paper and dust with corn starch.  Dust your hands with a liberal amount of corn starch.
CAUTION:  Be sure your hands are well covered with corn starch.  The mochi will be extremely hot, and its like napalm if it sticks to your hands ie. it burns and you won't be able to get it off your skin.
Turn the dough out onto the dusted tray, using your hands to remove the mochi.  Quickly separate the mochi into 8 pieces, roll each one into a rough ball.  Press one of the mochi balls flat with your hand, then push one of the read bean covered strawberries into the mochi, working the mochi around with your hands until the red bean is completely engulfed.  Seal by pressing the mochi together with your fingers.  Repeat for the other red bean covered strawberries.
When finished dust the ichigo daifuku with a little corn starch to prevent them sticking to the plate or to each other.  Store in an air tight container and enjoy the following day with a cup of jasmine tea.

So thats about it.  As I said, this is not a traditional method for making ichigo diafuku, but it is simple, uses readily available ingredients, and produces a great result.  Enjoy!

- harajuku32

Monday 2 May 2011

Rekorderlig Premium Strawberry-Lime Cider

I'm notorious for impulse buying, especially at the local bottle shop.  I stopped in there yesterday for some beer, when I noticed a stand of these bottles strategically placed by the counter.  I don't usually drink cider but the picture of the strawberries on the label caught my eye and I was intrigued, so I decided to buy one.
Brewed in Sweden, this pear based cider has a strong, sweet strawberry flavour attenuated by a hint of tart lime.  This would make a great summer beverage, and the label suggests pouring over ice and and mint leaves for a refreshing experience.

However let me offer a word of caution; the cider is only 4 vol% alcohol but it goes down easily, and in my case, the 500 mL bottle was empty in under 5 minutes.  This left my slightly addled brain to ponder why I hadn't bought a couple more.

- harajuku32.