Back from Niigata

didn’t make it to Sado this time unfortunately, but will definitely try to next time.  In Niigata city I found a very nice izakaya run by a fellow angler.  And they had Hoppy!


Hot-smoked venison sausage

These were made according to the Ruhlman & Polcyn recipe.  Ends ended up a little overdone but otherwise the sausage came out well.  They have a lot of flavour so go well when added to stews, baked pasta or tomato-based sauces. The venison was from a deer shot in Nagano, and from the front leg.

I think I need a smoker converter attachment for my Weber to increase load size.  Any recommendations?  Smoke EZ no longer seems to be made, so I may have to go for a Cajun Bandit kit.

Saved by Fukuoka!

My bumper ume crop continues this year.  So much so I had to make an extra batch of umeboshi (there is only so much ume syrup and umeshu I can make in one season).  However, after the umezu had risen I found it was too late in the year for my local supermarket to stock red shiso leaves.  These guys at Rakuten sorted me out!  Ready-rubbed red-shiso leaves for umeboshi making!

What a rich colour after just one week…


I think here in Japan it is easy to grow tomatoes but actually quite difficult to grow good, tasty tomatoes.  After last year’s disaster I did some swotting up and this year, it looks like I will get a good crop – if only it will stop raining and the sun will come out for a bit.  We are having an unusually long (and wet) monsoon this year.  The sun came out for a couple of hours, the first time in seemingly a week or so, and I snapped these guys before I put up the netting to keep the birds off the ripening fruits.  These are an Italian mini-plum type.  We shall see!

First edamame harvest of the year

Technically these are called chamame.  But they are just soybeans, really.

Patience, Luke

Just four hours on the Weber needed for these baby back ribs.  They came out not bad at all.  Sakura wood smoke, and various mops along the way; two hours’ smoke, 1.5 hours wrapped in foil, and 30 minutes uncovered baking the finishing sauce onto them.  They were so tender you could eat them with your bare hands.  Which I did.

It’s Go-Go (55) Time!

Thank you you-know-who.