Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jo Jo's, NAC, Hirafu


Jo Jo's is located within the Niseko Adventure Centre. You walk up a spiralling staircase into the big open room. There's a reasonable sized climbing wall occupying the back half of the room which works it way up from the lower floor .....


We sit down and order drinks. I go for the melon soda. My first impression is "Yike's, it's really green!" but it doesn't have that sickly syrup sweet that I though it would judging by the colour. It's actually a really mellow melon flavour, mixed with soda. mmm


Kim try's the Heartland Beer. This is made by Kirin. It's a well-rounded larger and very easy drinking beer.


On this occasion that we're here, it's rather quiet. This makes the very large open room almost a little lonely .....


But we place our order and within moments we here rustling, but it's not coming from the kitchen! Someone is getting kitted up downstairs to start climbing. Cool! So we just sit back and watch them, which is a rather unusual, all be it rather cool, way to pass the time while waiting for dinner.

Then the food arrives. Kim's gone for the cheeseburger. It's nice and generous, a plump meat patty topped with melting cheese, a bit of lettuce and the additon of a fried egg. There's a few hand cut fries on the side.

Niseko Hirafu

I get the BBQ chicken wrap. There are tender pieces of marinated grilled chicken, with loads of lettuce and tomato. But the real surprise was the delicious wholemeal flatbread in which it was wrapped ... this is made on site, and it was really really good! It had great flavour, and a wonderful texture. It was thick enough, but still thin enough to encase the chicken just nicely.

Niseko Hirafu

All this was enjoyed with another side order of hand cut Hokkaido potato wedges.


Have I said the potatoes are good here in Hokkaido?

Jo Jo's
NAC - Niseko Adventure Centre
179-53 Yamada, Kutchan
Abuta Gun
Hokkaido, Japan
T: 0136 232 093


Opening Times
April - October 9am - 9pm
November - Mid December 11am - 9pm
Mid December - March 11am - 11pm

Eff Eff, Annupuri


On our first visit to Annupuri we tryed to go to Eff Eff with Sh. We got there a bit late, though... Ever since then we'd been meaning to get back there. Here's a little old cottage tucked away at the base of Niseko Annupuri. The little sign on the front boasts "Ham & Sausages", awesome!


Walking in it feels like Grandma's house .. The fire was going, there's little vase's of flowers and plenty of knick-knack's lining the walls.


But then there's a small little showcase at the front filled with packets of house cured meats, hand-made sausages and ham. I believe it's all produced down below. We want to get a few things to go to take back and have a look out, but there's also a small little menu that you can sit down and enjoy.

Firstly comes a plate of sliced speck. It's nice and salty, with a good firm texture. It smells amazing! The 7 slices are draped over a little salad of crisp lettuce and tomatoes with a nice vinegary dressing. Yum!


As we're enjoying this, we see our selection of sausages being grilled over a little charcoal grill.


Then they arrive, hot from the grill. There's a weisswurst - a German style white sausage, a spicy pork sausage and a few little weiners. They are served with a good whack of mustard, ketchup, potato salad, sliced gherkin pickles and 2 lonely little beans .....


It was all delicious! Everyday we are amazed at what this little part of the world has to offer ......

Eff Eff
Annupuri Village
Hokkaido, Japan

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting ready for winter ....

Since arriving in Hokkaido in October, we have wanted to take advantage wherever possible of the amazing local produce. We have been busily bottling and preserving whatever we could get our hands on to get us through the long, cold winter.

Wandering to work one day, out the front of the Reading Room was a table covered in amazing baby Roma tomatoes and white eggplants. After arriving at work and expressing our excitement to M1 we were back with a handful of ¥ ..... there's a great little sign advertising "Locally grown Organic Niseko produce" and an honesty box, asking you to pay what you think the vegetables are worth to you... How cool! But as we arrive back, a little truck pulls in unloading more veg. Conveniently it's the farmer himself, so here the relationship begins with Dennis.

We buy the entire contents of the table, and have arrangements for delivery of whatever else he can spare for us.... There's white eggplants,


& Mini red & yellow Roma's.


We made a delicious eggplant, chili & fig chutney. (Which we're now using on the charccuterie plate) and did some tres cute little jars of pickled eggplants. This recipe was found in Stephanie Alexanders the Cook's Companion and is so delicious. It says they will keep for a few months, but ours are disappearing at an alarming rate on antipasto, panini's, pizza's and everything else!


Pickled Eggplant
adapted from Stephanie Alexanders the Cook's Companion

1kg eggplant (we were lucky enough to have organic white Hokkaido eggplants)
¼ cup kitchen salt
100ml red wine vinegar
about 200ml extra virgin olive oil
For layering1 hot chili, sliced finely or chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
mint leaves or thyme sprigs
fennel seeds (optional)

Slice eggplants into 5mm thick rounds. Spread out on a tray, sprinkling each layer with salt. Place another tray on top and something quite heavy, like a large jar of olive oil, and leave in the fridge overnight. This is to remove excess moisture from the eggplants.
Rinse slices very briefly in cold water, and the dry really well.
The slices can then be grilled with a little olive oil. We don't yet have a grill so we fried them in a pan until they were nicely golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and allow to cool a little.
Transfer the eggplant to a stainless bowl or tray and drizzle over the red wine vinegar. Leave the eggplants for 1 hour, to absorb all the vinegar.
Layer the eggplants with tongs or a fork into hot, sterilized jars adding the chili, garlic & herbs alternately. Press down very well and cover with olive oil. Release the slices from the side of the jar with a fork to remove any trapped air. Press down once more and fill to the top with oil.
Seal the jar and leave for at least a week (if possible :)) before eating.
If air has been correctly excluded and the jars are perfectly clean this pickle will last for months. Keep in a cool dark cupboard to prevent deterioration of the olive oil.
Makes 1 x 500g jar.

Then with the tomatoes, 80kg in total, we were constantly drying and semi-drying. Our combi oven certainly had a workout .....


We would love to be using these super sweet dried tomatoes for so many more things, but they only have about a 10% yield after dried, so they've been saved exclusively for our salad on at Sekka. Next year we just need to get in much earlier and have Dennis grow us about 500kg :)