to top

Yes, finally! The launch of Danny Chu’s Shojin Ryori recipe book

I don’t usually talk about cooking on this site, and this will certainly be the start of it. As an edibles gardener, I love food of course, and when I’m visiting Dan in the rainforest, I get a chance to experiment with different recipes in his relatively spacious kitchen. I’d have to admit that I’m not quite as adventurous when I’m in Singapore, and eat out more often than not.

I also have some food allergies (including dairy, capsicum, and I suspect, gluten) which means I have an increased vested interest in the food I consume. Shojin Ryori, or zen temple cuisine, suits me well as I find it to be quite a clean diet, and I have been looking for a good cook book on this subject, since it’s somewhat of a rare treat that I get to have only when Enso Kitchen chef, Danny Chu is in town to do his seasonal sessions four times a year.

Fortunately for me and his other fans, Danny has just launched a book of Shojin Ryori recipes – Shojin Ryori, The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine. I was at his private book launch yesterday (a day after the public launch at Books Kinokuniya) and got to sample some of the food featured in the book.

P1220968P1220969I didn’t realise there was food, so I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to eat more but I had to practice some self-restraint, I didn’t want to look too greedy. Here are the yummy morsels – Watermelon Jelly, Eggplant with Goma Dressing, and Yurine Citrus Balls.

Available soon: Beeswax lanterns and travel candles

lanterns

I love pure beeswax candles with a passion, and I make sure that my home is always stocked with beeswax tea lights at the very least. I also love honey and I can’t imagine a day without tasting it, whether it’s a honey drink or eaten raw on its own. And so I love the light honeyed scent of beeswax candles when I smell it up close, and I burn them on days where I have a strong allergic reaction to dust or pollen, because it is said to clean the air by releasing negative ions, neutralising the positive charge of dust, pollen, and dirt in the air, which are then drawn into the candle or to the ground.

I generally avoid paraffin wax candles because I have read that it is quite toxic, and its chemistry has been likened to exhaust fumes. Also I only buy candles where I’m sure the wick does not contain lead for reasons of health, and I also prefer not to buy tea lights with aluminium casings, which get thrown away and is wasteful.

I have been buying Happy Flame Candles‘ products religiously for the last year and a half at farmers’ markets around the northern rivers region of Australia. There’s nothing quite like it, I’ve tried other brands but I especially love the scent of their beeswax, which they source from several beekeepers in the area. I own two of their lanterns (one in Singapore and one in Australia) and I light them with tea lights just about every day when I’m in Australia. Dan lives in a rainforest, and there are days where there is a lot of pollen in the air, and the house gets dusty quickly, it’s a different kind of dust compared to what is found in cities.

Who to call when you find bees in your home in Singapore

Most certainly not pest control! We have a shrinking population of native bees in Singapore and we need to protect them. While they might seem scary in a big swarm, don't let it intimidate you and your family members, because they will not sting anyone unless they feel threatened. They are important pollinators in Singapore and it breaks my heart each time I hear about pest control companies killing bees. There is a humane, constructive, and gratifying solution to this. Get in touch with Thomas Lim from Edible Gardens at thomas@ediblegardencity.com or 9632 8448, he's the beekeeper extraordinaire at edible landscaping consultancy, Edible Gardens. He is able to re-home bees to apiaries like the one I am holding below. Unfortunately for me, termites took over my...

Continue reading

Singapore Polytechnic launches Campus in a Garden

Singapore Polytechnic turns 60 years old in October this year and have launched a beautiful 120-page coffee table book featuring flora and fauna found on its premises, including their 11 community gardens, the book is titled "Campus in a Garden". The school's Board of Governors also planted 15 trees today to express their commitment to the environment, which is a really nice gesture. I am grateful to have had the chance to visit a couple of these gardens in a tour led by staff member, Mr Ong Wooi-Hsen, a Senior Lecturer with the School of Communications, Arts & Social Sciences. Wooi-Hsen kindly spent part of his Saturday morning showing me around and let me interview him. Big thanks also to the communications department,...

Continue reading

Kyushu holiday – part one

It's been more than three years since I'd been to Japan, and was pretty excited about visiting Kyushu for a week with my parents for a much needed holiday. I have been watching the NHK World channel on cable tv (148 on Starhub; 656 on Foxtel) in the evenings for the last year or so, and had been craving an onsen (hot spring) holiday. I am partial to warm weather, and useless in the cold. I'm writing this post from a very wintery Australian rainforest, in front of a fireplace, reminiscing this lovely past holiday, and missing summer weather. Our first stop was Fukuoka, quite a busy city, but not without nature features throughout this built up environment. Indoors or out, Japanese...

Continue reading