A slightly belated update, but I blame Borderlands 2 for sucking up my Sunday afternoon – which is usually the time I reserve for blogging.
So the highlight of Week Six was receiving my first weight-related comment at the gym the other night which happened to be, “Have you been sick? You’ve lost weight.”
I was reasonably happy at the time, but then wondered if I’d lost weight in a bad way…lol…not that it really matters I guess. I also now fit into my skinny jeans so I celebrated by wearing them to work today. Yay.
I did some Body Attack classes for the first time in several years too. I’d forgotten how hardcore they are…It’s been a while since I’ve formed a visible pool of sweat on the gym floor, so it was satisfying from that perspective. For me, exercise always needs to be something I have to use my brain for and I find BA to be too repetitive and boring to enjoy on a regular basis. Seriously, I can only take so many star jumps and burpees. If I can’t have an instructor that provides me with eye candy, at least give me something fun & challenging to do.
Fasting is all about delayed gratification. It probably has been good for me in that sense because I was getting very ‘Give.me.now!’ about a lot of things including food and having a ‘reason’ not to eat and eventually a ‘reason’ to eat works quite well for me. One of the things that has been very important in getting me through the hungry times is tea. In Japanese they have a saying about your mouth being ‘lonely’ and I often find that I just need something in my mouth (read into that what you will…lol) to take away the loneliness, so tea is my friend.
I have quite a few different types of tea from Japan, which are mostly all variations on green tea, but I find the flavours are different enough to mix things up a bit. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce my tea collection.
Usually I make do with tea bags, but if I really need a fix I use my proper tea leaves. In Perth there is a tea shop in Subiaco that imports tea every year when new season tea becomes available and I’ve got some Fukamushi (long-stemmed) green tea that I can put in my kyuusu tea pot. Gyokuro is the best and most expensive green tea, but my budget doesn’t extend to the $60 or so they charge for 50g.
I don’t understand why the ‘green tea’ they sell in the supermarket doesn’t taste or look like green tea as I know it. I buy Japanese green tea because I like my green tea to be green.
Is a mix of sencha and roasted brown rice. The rice gives it a nutty, earthy flavour that I quite enjoy and sometimes you’ll find the rice has ‘popped’ and it looks like you have popcorn in your tea.
Powdered green tea. Best drunk with some Japanese-type sweets made of bean paste. You can also use this to cook with to make green tea ice cream, green tea pudding and green tea rice cakes etc.
This is what is used traditionally in the tea ceremony, as it can be frothed up with a bamboo whisk. Which style of the tea ceremony (school) you are doing will reflect how frothy you make the tea.
I don’t have any proper maccha but I do have powdered sencha that I use for cooking.
Is roasted green tea and generally contains more stems of the tea plant than leaves so this gives it a woody flavour and very low caffeine content. It’s nice to have before bed actually.
I’m not sure whether this can really be defined as tea – it’s actually more soup, but it is drunk as tea. It is made from adding hot water to powdered seaweed. There is also umekonbucha which also includes some dried plum to give it a little sour/salty boost. You can also use this stuff to cook with and it provides flavour while cutting down on the salt content (which often tends to be a problem in Japanese cooking).
Salted Cherry Blossom
These are actual cherry blossom flowers that have been salted.
It’s only drunk on special occasions, but you knock off most of the salt and add hot water to get your ‘tea’. The flowers actually look quite nice when they unfurl in the bowl. You have it in a owan (bowl) as opposed to a tea-cup so it is a bit like soup.
I picked these up in Japan. They are Jasmine flowers that have tea in the middle of them and have been tied up with string. When you put them in hot water they unfurl.
I also enjoy mugicha which is barley tea and it can be served hot or cold (I usually always have some in the fridge during summer.) Rooibos is my tea of choice when I’m feeling over-caffeinated and if there is Twinings available, I’ll invariably choose Orange Pekoe. As a side note, I can’t stand Earl Grey. It makes me feel like I’m drinking dish washing liquid. I also have to be in the mood for jasmine or other fragrant/florally teas. I used to have a lot of rose hip tea too. I liked the sour taste, but I found it quite hard to get decent rose hip that actually tasted like something other than pink water.
I have various tea goodies including these wonderful little bags that allow me to make my own tea bags. I picked up a pack of 50 for 100 yen (about $1).
They are particularly good when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to have to clean your tea pot.
I suppose you could get very professionally and make tempura out of your green tea leaves if you want, though (most people use fresh leaves, not the ones you’ve just made tea out of though – they are so good).
This is my Japanese tea pot.
And my favourite tea cup.
And that brings my tea collection to a close. That probably wasn’t as fun for you to read as it was for me to write, but anyway, at least I give you variety – bruised asses one week, salted cherry blossoms the next!