From Kissing Games and Parfaits to Snack Time and Monster Fighting, Pocky Must be the Most Exciting Snack of Them All…

Pocky - Kampfer 07 - 02Pocky is one Japanese sweet that pretty much everyone knows about. It’s widely available in convenience stores, super markets, and the like all over the world, and comes in an assortment of decadent flavours, from classic chocolate to the more exotic green tea.

Essentially a thin, stick-like biscuit covered in a layer of chocolate, pocky is crunchy, a bit sweet, and borderline addictive to eat. It also has a chocolate-free section on one end that serves as a very convenient handhold that will keep your fingers nice and clean! Continue reading

Winter 2014 Anime Season: Final Impressions

Buddy Complex 03  Inari Kon kon Koi Iroha - 01  Kill la Kill 02  Log Horizon 01  Nagi no Asukara 01  Nobunagun 01  Noragami - 01  Samurai Flamenco 01  Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta 03

As the seasons change from winter to spring, our first round of anime for 2014 draws to a close… so how did the winter 2014 anime season fare? Well, overall I found the season mostly mediocre, with plenty of ups and downs in the storytelling, with only a minority of standouts. Many anime were good, but not quite great, being enjoyable but without that special spark that makes you really love a show. Continue reading

Bringing Balance to Every Meal with Classic Potato Salad

Potato Salad - Mirai Nikki 15Let me preface this post with the confession that I’ve never really loved potato salad. When I see it at summer barbecues, beach parties, or cafeterias, I avoid it like nothing else. There’s something about lumpy potatoes smothered in gloppy mayonnaise that just doesn’t appeal to me, which is why I’ve been avoiding making this dish for so long, despite the fact that it is so commonly found in anime…

But, after seeing it so often in such anime as Mirai Nikki, Noragami, Kill la Kill, and Psycho-Pass (among others), I decided to make it…. and, guess what? It was actually very tasty and surprisingly addictive! This version of potato salad contains plenty of vegetables, including corn, peas, and carrots. Thinly sliced cucumber provides a nice crunch, which compliments the smooth and creamy potatoes. Add sliced ham, bacon, or hard boiled eggs to the mix, and you have yourself a filling side dish! Continue reading

A Hearty Japanese Beef Stew (Nikujaga) Perfect After a Long Day’s Work

Nikujaga - Gintama 205Everyone needs a good beef stew recipe in their repertoire for those cold nights after a long hard day’s work when you just need something super robust, filling, and hot to satisfy your hunger…. for some, this might mean a hearty Irish stew or the decadent boeuf bourguignon, but for many Japanese, the fallback is the meaty nikujaga.

Nikujaga literally means meat (niku) and potatoes (jaga being the shortened form of jagaimo). It was invented in the 19th century by chefs in the Imperial Japanese Army in an attempt to imitate the beef stew served in the British Royal Navy. A little salty and sweet, it generally contains thinly sliced beef, chunks of potatoes and carrots, wedges of onion, and shirataki noodles. Snowpeas are often added for a pop of colour.

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Purin, Caramel Pudding, Flan, Creme Caramel… Many Names for an Iconic Dessert

Creme Caramel - Yumeiro Patissiere 09 - 02Creamy soft and sticky sweet, I have always been fascinated by that strange jiggly dessert called purin that is so often featured in anime… But what is it exactly? Well, purin is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word pudding, but contrary to what it’s name suggests, it actually refers to a dessert called flan, caramel custard, or more commonly, creme caramel.

With a thin layer of soft caramel on top, this smooth custard dessert is similar to creme brulee, which is instead custard with hard caramel on top. The slightly bitter caramel compliments sweetness of the custard wonderfully, making for a dessert that will have you coming back for seconds! Continue reading

This Day in Anime: Valentine’s Day

Pancakes - Amnesia 01In anime, it sometimes feels like every series (especially if it’s set in high school) features an episode about Valentine’s Day – that day when boxes of chocolate and teary-eyed confessions of love run rampant in a blur of fluttering emotions. And so, as couples around the world prepare to celebrate the wonders of love with their romantic partners through candlelit dinners, red roses, and heart-shaped chocolates, what exactly goes on in Japan? Continue reading