Monday, November 15, 2010

Japanese Macrobiotic Vegan Cooking Class

Yesterday my friend Kazuyo from Pine Valley B&B invited me to attend one of the classes she hosts at her place. This was part of a course for Japanese living in New Zealand.

The tutor was Eri Ishibashi, a pastry chef turned Vegan and interested in macrobiotic food. Here is the lesson for the day...

Oh dear...


I was the only Westerner there, and the class was run in Japanese, I know enough to understand (most things, for the rest Kazuyo translated for me) but reading! I only know the basic kanji characters, and even for those I need a long time! Very nice of Eri to organize for me some instructions written in English!

We looked at the ingredients, a lot of whole grains, from amaranth to buckwheat, and then sorghum, quinoa, linseed... some I knew, others I never used before. On the menu, a part from the brown rice with a selection of other grains and seeds (including daikon seeds), we had to make Tofu burgers, fried imitation fish, marinated cucumber (plus other veggies) and Ichigo Daifuku. I was particularly interested in the imitation fish and the daifuku, so I joined the ladies who wanted to prepare those. We split in groups and started cooking!

The base of the imitation fish is done with cooked millet and ground linseeds, plus ginger juice, flour and salt.

Spread on a sheet of nori and cut.

Brush the top with a batter made with flour and iced water.

And fry. In the meantime the other ladies where busy with the tofu burgers and the vegetables.

The daifuku is hard work, you really have to make it with someone to understand it, but it was so much fun!

No sugar was used, for the glutinous rice we used rice syrup (which was also used for the teriyaki sauce), and to sweeten the azuki beans for the paste, we used dates.

In the end we all enjoyed our own bento boxes, and they looked so pretty too! Kazuyo also organizes classes on classic Japanese and Korean cuisine (and more, last here I came here for a special Italian Cuisine class with designer Paola Navone) at her B&B, to contact her visit her site by clicking here.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. da portare in ufficio sarebbe perfetto! bacio

  2. I love how the kaki is used for presentation, cute! It looks like an amazing class too, you seem to be cooking more Japanese now you've left Italy.

  3. Bravissima Alessandra!
    che belle le immagini del corso, per non parlare del risultato finale...
    Buona giornata

  4. Adoro la cucina giapponese la metto al secondo posto dopo l'italiana...
    cara non non trovo più il tradutto re :-(

  5. @ Zucchero, si' perfetto!

    @ Sasa, spring here, that is a tomato, not kaki... but the idea of kaki is good! Yes, it is easier to find Japanese ingredients here. In Italy I cook Japanese only in Milan, I did a few times in Boario Terme and maybe only once in Feltre (very difficult to find ingredients in small towns.

    @ Barbara, Grazie!

    @ Pagnottella, anche per me e' la mia seconda cucina preferita dopo l'italiana. Vado a vedere osa e' successo con il traduttore!!!


  6. What fun this must have been, Alessandra, and such beautiful results. The "imitation fish" sounds unusual, but good.

  7. Barbara, I have seen imitation fish before, but never made it. I think that it was the best one for my kids, they loved it!

  8. Che belle le foto del corso e quanta pazienza a preparare tutti questi bocconcini. Piacere di conoscerti Ale, grazie della visita. A presto

  9. Ciao! piacere di conoscerti!! che mellissimo corso, molto interessante... a presto

  10. Cavolo, che corso spettacolare!!!

  11. What a fabulous experience. Your photos are wonderful. It is good to have such friends. I'm so glad you enjoyed the class. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. Just jumping back in to say I wish you had gone on. It is wonderful to see similar things through the eyes of others. Blessings...Mary

  13. Grazie per essere passata a trovarmi!!! Mi ha fatto davvero piacere!!Che bello il tuo bloggino!!!A presto...smack!

  14. Thanks Mary, so sweet of your, sometimes I think (actually I am sure) that I talk/write too much!!! :-)

  15. Fascinating. I am extremely interested in all things Japanese (a trip to Japan in 1998 changed my life...), so I would have loved to attend this class!

    Remember the dumplings you featured on your blog a week or 2 ago? I have been DREAMING of them since...

  16. PAGNOTELLA - anch'io metto la cucina giaoppnese al secondo posto, doppo la cucina italiana! Sono le mie due cucine preferite.

  17. Wow, what an amazing class it looks like it was a lot of fun.



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