Nara was the capital of Japan in the 8th Century AD. Its historic shrines and temples make it a place visited by Japanese and international tourists alike. Whilst it is true that these beautiful and graceful places are very worth visiting, Nara has another draw which makes it worthwhile; its super cute, utterly photogenic wild deer living in the city’s National Park.
Whether they are lazing around under a tree, basking in the sun, or wandering around trying to cadge a snack, the Nara deer are adorable bundles of fluff. They are unafraid of cameras and are ever ready for their “close up”.
You can buy special wafer crackers or Shika Senbai for 500 Yen from local shops and stalls, in packets of 12, to feed these gorgeous creatures. But be careful! They know exactly what the crackers look and smell like! You may find yourself mobbed by somewhat overfamiliar little critters with the munchies! If you keep calm, you will be able to feed them their crispy, crunchy favourites. Some get a bit worried and look for friends to help take the crackers away, overwhelmed by the sudden attention. The squeals and shrieks of terrified tourists are almost as memorable as the deer themselves! There’s no need to worry, these little guys are not meat eaters and will not nip you as they try to take the cracker from your hand.
If you are lucky, some are so polite, they will bow to you before taking the cracker from you. Only in Japan would you expect wild animals to be so polite!
Hope you like my pictures of Nara’s most famous residents. And I hope you will also like this month’s collection of recipes, articles and food writings.
A quinoa salad with roasted cauliflower and aubergine - and a handy way of avoiding soggy quinoa. www.cheeseandchickpeas.com/cauliflower-aubergine-quinoa
Ottolenghi chicken cardamom rice recipe with caramelised onions. https://jonoandjules.com/2016/07/24/chicken-with-caramelised-onion-and-cardamon-rice/
Miso (soybean paste) based marinade for sea bass.... http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/miso-glazed-sea-bass-102851
Miso is a great way of adding umami flavour to your food. Here Guardian readers swap their best recipes. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/21/readers-recipe-swap-miso-dale-berning-sawa
Miso (soybean paste) based marinade for sea bass... http://www.epicurious.com/…/vie…/miso-glazed-sea-bass-102851
Miso marinade for fish is proving to be a revelation to me. So much flavour, and keeps the fish tender, avoiding dryness. After experimenting with sea bass earlier this week, cod is next!
After having fun meeting DJ BBQ earlier this month I simply had to share his granny's recipe for meatloaf. Sharing family recipes is such a great way of keeping them alive - it's a legacy! http://www.jamieoliver.com/…/dj-bbq-s-world-s-best-meatloaf/
A one pot roast chicken to take the stress out of Sunday lunch: http://food52.com/recipes/25866-extraordinary-marinated-and-roasted-chicken-potatoes-and-chickpeas
Making your own preserves is catching on (again!). Here's a bulk-make tomato salsa to keep for later, along with a serving suggestion for snacking on whilst watching a good movie! http://www.supergoldenbakes.com/2016/07/spicy-tomato-salsa-recipe.html
For the bakers - sharing pull apart bread with spring onions (scallions): http://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2016/7/scallion-pull-apart-bread
Super cool travel blog about south east Asia from a couple of my extremely talented former students. Well done Mark and Juliet!
Dominic Regan and Sean Jones QC are better known as legal trainers and legal practitioners. But they have great taste in wine, and their picks of the supermarket offerings are always worth reading. http://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/summer-wine
Want something to do in London which isn't Pokemon Go? How about finding all of the BFG's Dream Jars? Follow the Dream Jar trail, with jars by Quentin Blake, Team GB, Laura Mvula, Sadiq Khan, Helen Mirren and Stephen Hawking.
Recipe steps you can skip. I'm totally behind not washing chicken, that's actually the safe option. I'm sceptical about not peeling ginger. The others I think are great time savers! http://www.epicurious.com/…/recipe-steps-always-skip-article
Hove publican takes drastic action to save the Great British Pub experience, by installing a Faraday Cage in the whole of his bar. He reckons social networking is ruining pubs. What do you think?
London food lovers share their favourite London food and drink Summer places and tips.
What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:
My pick of places to eat in the fab city of Liverpool! http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/places-to-eat-in-liverpool.html
Have fun in the sun enjoying cocktails, burgers and good times and do the world good by helping Action Against Hunger. Throughout August at CAU restaurants. http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/join-caunival.html
Potli, Chiswick, restaurant review: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/potli-chiswick-restaurant-review.html
Curry For Change cooking classes: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/curry-for-change-cooking-classes.html
What you may have missed over at Snig’s Classroom:
How should I prepare for the drafting resit exam? http://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/how-should-i-prepare-for-drafting-resit.html
Let’s be honest… it’s been wall to wall Olympics Chez Nous. It is going to be terribly sad when it is all over. As a result, there are no other favourite cultural artifacts this month. I promise to do better for September!
Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.