The 52 Lists Projects: Week 4: Favourite Foods

This week’s list is all about FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!

I love food. Love, love, love it! It’s not only for the flavours and textures; I love food because it’s so much more than just food.

Food has, and creates, history and culture. It can teach you things about a person or place that you wouldn’t have learnt otherwise and it helps you create unique and vibrant memories! So many of my favourite foods are my favourites because of the memories that are attached to them! This list was a really fun one to do, and it was quite revealing too.

43/52: ‘LIST YOUR FAVOURITE MEALS AND TREATS’

1. Okonomiyaki

Cooked ‘as you like it’, this Japanese food is everything you could want in a meal. It has flavour, culture, history, veggie options and a long-standing yet amicable rivalry attached to it. You can go Team Hiroshima style (where the ingredients are layered on top of a pancake) or Team Kansai style (where the ingredients are mixed together). I’ve tried both, both are amazing, but you’re onto a winner with Hiroshima style.

2. Mum’s Scouse

3. Garlic & Herb Gnocchi from @blkandvegan

Click the link for the simple, ethical and awesome recipe!

4. Lydia’s Fried Tomatoes

5. Spicy Lentil Soup

6. Mixed Bean Chilli & Brown Rice

7. Cardamom Buns @ Tak Bageri Cafe

I’d never tried cardamom buns before I went to Tak Bageri Cafe. Before I tried them I was worried how they would taste and if they’d be full of those cardamom pods. They were amazing. They were light, full of flavour and sweet (which I wasn’t expecting!) Even now, half a world away, I still get those cardamom bun cravings!

Takeoka, Japan

8. Carrot & Coriander Soup

9. Hoisin No-Duck Wrap

10. Cadbury’s Twirls!

11. SUNDAY DINNER

Cranberry sauce, garlic roast potatoes, broccoli, carrot and turnip annddd yorkshire pudding. That right there is a magic combination.

12. The Famous Hamasaki-Menda Gyoza

Love is definitely a recipe ingredient and this gyoza is full of it!

My giant Japanese host family of 12 has never failed to make me feel welcome. One of their ways was through their cooking. Whenever I visited, they were always ready with a new veggie-Japanese recipe for me to try out and, more often than not, make myself!

Their food was so good in fact that I asked Tomoko, my host-mum and great friend, if she could teach me some recipes. Her veggie gyoza is the best. The taste, of course, is out of this world, but the memories attached to these little parcels of love add something else. They remind me of the first day I learned to cook them, in a steamy, busy kitchen with Tomoko’s kids helping us out. Or when I got back to Japan after my dad’s funeral and I was invited over for a gyoza party to cheer me up.

Now, whenever I’m a bit down I’m going to look at my gifted gyoza-maker and when I’m feeling brave enough, I’ll give them a go.

Hamasaki-Menda House, Japan ft. Ayami’s fingers!

13. Edamame Beans

Pro-tip: Pop the beans out of the shell. The outer shell is not edible. Do not try to consume the shell in Wagamama, London- no-one will help you, everyone will judge you.

14. Lentilly Cottage Pie

15. Beyond Beef Burger @BeefandLiberty HKG

16. Lemon & Sugar Pancakes

Halloween and Pancake Day are in constant competition for my favourite holiday so you know that when that special day comes around I’m going to be inhaling pancakes left right and centre. Even on non-pancake-day days, let’s be honest.

17. Spaghetti & ‘Meat’balls

18. Temple Dahl & Paneer @Mowgli

19. Pizza

Fun fact about me- I didn’t like pizza until I ate it in Japan. I went 21 years without it because I’m not a fan of ‘cheesy’ cheese. But when I got to my countryside town full of meat-eaters and empty of English-speakers, I had to play it safe to keep it veggie and there my love of Margherita pizza began.

20. Fry’s Vegan Nuggets

21. Arrabiata Pasta

22. Chocolate Fudge Cake

Another fact about me, I used to order this every time I was eating out as a kid. I ordered it so much that I even started my own ‘chocolate fudge cake rating system’. Sad, I know.

23. Haruka’s Veggie Plate

If you’ve been on this blog for a while you’ll already know of Haruka, the culinary master chef of Sanpo Cafe in Hitoyoshi City. This woman opened my eyes to the possibilities of vegetarian and vegan eating in Japan. Sitting in her second-floor cafe, overlooking the river with hot tea and lo-fi beats playing in the background is a vibe that I’m always looking to recreate. While she’s moved on to other things, I know she’s still cooking amazing food and I wish her the best of luck!

Sanpo Cafe, Hitoyoshi, Japan

24. Daifuku

For anyone who doesn’t know, daifuku is a dessert that’s really popular in Japan. It’s made of mochi or pounded rice and is usually filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) or sometimes strawberries! When I first got to Japan, anko and mochi were big no-no’s for me, but after a year of people telling me to keep trying them- they grew on me!

25. Veggie Beans & Sausage

26. Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Fajitas

27. Bistro Salad

While salad started out, as it always does, as an attempt to lose weight and be healthy I’ve ended up really enjoying it! I look to have this kind of salad with most of my meals now, especially for the crunchy beetroot texture!

28. Strawberries

The ultimate fruit, no question.

Asagiri, Japan

29. Bananas

The second-best fruit; full of potassium, vitamin C and great for digestive health and skincare. I eat one of these every day for breakfast, they give me loads of energy and get me through till lunchtime without a rumbling tummy!

30. Focaccia & Balsamic Vinegar

31. BBQ Jackfruit

32. Halloumi

What’s better than having one of your favourite foods? Having two at the same time! Halloumi Pizzaaaa

33.Pathia & Garlic Naan

Pathia, Dhansak, Bhuna, Dopiaza, Balti, Rogan Josh… it’s all good for me. The flavours are amazing and there’s so much history behind these dishes. While there’s a lot to learn, I really enjoy finding out new information- if you have any let me know!

After writing this list, I realised how many foods I’d listed because of the memories I have attached to them. It’s nice to know that the people and places I’ve encountered have actually affected the way I think about food. When I’m feeling down, comfort food is the way forward. And I don’t mean running to Maccies or devouring 15 treat-size Fudge bars…although that may happen on occasion.

When I say comfort food I mean the food that genuinely comforts your soul. The food that when you cook it, it transports you back to that time your hungover friends were laughing in the kitchen as you made breakfast, when you sat on the wall in your front garden eating hot stew and watching the Bonfire Night fireworks displays or when you sat alone in a cafe, took your first bite and realised how far you’d come.

I hope that you make something delicious for dinner tonight. What would you have on your favourite food list? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Positive,

Love,

Jess x

<a href=”http://<span>Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@wizwow?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Donald Giannatti</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/cutlery?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash</a>Feature Image from Unsplash

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