Well recently I’ve been very hardworking, cooking. It was inspired by a friend whom I was staying with in Sydney when I was there for a holiday. She sort of had her meals planned out for the week and shops once a week. In my old working place, I could access to the grocery just 5 mins away and I would just grab what I felt like cooking on that day itself. In some ways, you create alot of wastage, especially when I only cook for 1. So now since my new work place doesn’t have a well-stocked grocery nearby, I tend to stock up once a week as well. So these days I’ve been doing the same but you know what! I still overbuy. Haha. 😡
I plan it over by deciding if it’s going to be a Asian or non-asian week. One plate meals or more than one plate meals, and I try to make dishes with the same type of vege to try to avoid wastages. You know, you can keep chicken or seafood in the freezer but you can’t really keep vegetables in it. Luckily, I have 4 dogs so whenever I have excess veg that I can’t bring on the following week to cook, I cook them for my dogs 😉
So back to the okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. The ingredients are fairly simple and straight forward. Just imagine making a regular pancake but instead of using milk, you use a type of stock for the pancake batter and a lot of cabbage is added in to fill you up. It is then topped with okonomiyaki or takoyaki sauce, kewpie mayonaise and bonito flakes (dancing fish hehe). It’s a very popular dish in Osaka especially.
You can also add shrimp, bacon or squid. If you want to make it a vegetarian, you can too! It’s a very versatile dish yet forgiving, except that if you put in too much filling, it may be difficult to flip over unless you have some ninja-flipping skills. Hehe. I adapted the recipe from Nami of Just One Cookbook.
- ½ head cabbage with core removed, finely diced
- ½ carrot, diced
- 1 tube squid, cleaned and cut to slices.
- 4 slices bacon, cut to 3 per strip
- 60g all purpose flour
- pinch of salt and white pepper
- pinch of sugar
- 80ml dashi, or 80ml water with 1 tsp. mushroom stock powder
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup Panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
- Okonomi Sauce
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
- Spring Onion
- Bonito Flakes
- Mix in all the batter ingredients and whisk together. Set in the fridge while you prepare the other vegetables.
- Remove core from cabbage, stack the leaves and dice it.
- Add cabbage, carrot and squid into the batter and mix well.
- Heat pan with a little oil on medium heat. Use a ladle to scoop the batter onto the pan. Lay 3 cut slices of bacon on top. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 3 minutes.
- Remove the cover, flip the okonomiyaki. Cook the same (about 3-5 minutes on the the other side) or until it's browned.
- Flip over again and this time, cook without the lid on just to give it some crispiness.
- Remove from pan, and on to a plate. Squeeze some okonomi sauce, then some mayonnaise. Scatter bonito flakes and spring onion on top. Serve hot.
Hello! Honestly I need to be a little more diligent in keeping this space updated. Hehe.
I wanna intro this guesthouse; Namhyundang Hanok Guesthouse if you are travelling to Seoul and want to experience Hanok; the traditional Korean housing. I was in Seoul in April 2015 and me and my friend stayed in this place. It’s a guesthouse, like a bed and breakfast and not a hotel. It was quite an experience as I’ve always wanted to stay in traditional houses (like Hanok in Korea and Ryokan in Japan).
Located in Jongro / Insadong, it is within walking distance if you need to get any chimek (Fried chicken and beer), Korean cosmetics and beauty products (in Insadong), hipster cafes (Sam Cheongdong), make a blessing (Jogyesa Temple) and the cultural and infamous Gyeongbukgong. It is also near to TWO subway stations (Anguk Station Exit 4 and Jongno 3-ga Exit 5)of different lines and the walk to the Incheon Airport Shuttle Bus (10,000 won per trip) is only 10 minutes away.
A : Namhyundang Hanok
B : Insadong
C : Jogyesa Temple
D: Gyeongbukgong Palace
E: Anguk Station, Airport Shuttle Bus stop
F: Towards Samcheongdong
Why you should try staying in the Hanok during colder temperatures?
Hanok is set apart by “maru” and “ondol” which are its unique features because they cannot be seen in other countries. Maru means “wooden floor” and it originated in the southern province of Korea where the climate is warm. It was invented to cope with the hot summer in the southern area. On the other hand, ondol, a traditional Korean heating system, came from the cold northern province of Korea. Using the ondol was one of the methods for people in the northern area to cope with the cold weather. Therefore, hanok combines the influence of both southern and northern cultures. These two different cultures harmonize well together.
The other important feature of hanok, ondol, is the special heating system of the hanok. The heating system works by the conduction and radiation of heat, using a large and wide stone called “goodle”. The goodle is located under the floor of each room, and it is heated from below by a furnace, called “agungi”. People in old times put wood in the agungi to make a fire. Then, all of the large and wide stones are heated by the agungi and retain the heat through conduction. Finally, the stone with its high temperature radiates heat to the floor of the house and it keeps the house warm in cold weather.
The biggest difference between ondol and other heating systems is that ondol keeps the room warm by heating the floor while other heating systems just raise the air temperature, not the floor temperature.
Breakfast was prepared for us every morning but on 1 or 2 of the days where we headed to the Noryangjin Market and Gwangjang Market, we told the host not to prep any food for us. Breakfast usually consist of bread and ALOT of spread selection, coffee or tea, yogurt sometimes, and fruits sometimes. If the host, Mr. Lee is there, catch up a conversation with him as he is very well versed with English (and German). He is very friendly and helpful. As this is my friend’s second time staying there, we asked Mr. Lee if we could have BBQ at the courtyard and our request was fulfilled. hehe. There’s also a kitchen and common room there if you want to make some ramyun or have a couple of drinks late at night.
Plus, the traditional hanok houses makes a good place for taking your #ootd shots 😉
Namhyundang Hanok Guesthouse
23, Gyeongun-dong, Jongno-gu (by taxi. front of kyodong elementaly school), Jongro / Insadong, Seoul, South Korea
Airport Shuttle bus to Anguk Station
Earlier this year I had a small makeover for my room; fresh paint and some new small furnitures and wall decos. Got rid of some clutter too. The mood and vibe your room depends much on the colour and arrangements of your room. This time I was looking for a cleaner and simpler look with the colours of grey, white and just a touch of gold. I even painted the Ikea dresser myself 😉 One can always add in a dash of colour by getting fresh (or fake if you want) flowers, frames or sheets and pillows.
Since then, I’ve been getting flowers from the wholesalers (those without pretty packaging and with no foliage removed for you wrapped in newspaper) on a regular basis to freshen up the room. I can tell you it lifts up your mood instantly. It’s not about receiving flowers (although I don’t mind receiving flowers) but these days, no one should be ashamed of buying flowers for themselves. Don’t you think so ?
Moreover, fresh flowers bring good flow of chi in terms of room fengshui. 😉