Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Can you guess what the most common New Year's Resolutions are?

According to researh by StatisticBrain the top 3 New Year's Resolutions are:
- Lose weight
Getting organised
- Spend less, save more

For me personally, in the past I'd set myself unrealistic goals to lose weight and become healthier and desperately failed.

If losing weight and/or becoming healthier is one of your New Year's Resolutions then I want to share with you the Japanese way of eating and why Japanese people tend to be slimmer and have a drastically lower obesity rate than we have here in the West/ Ireland. The Japanese diet has helped me to maintain my weight without having to diet or deprive myself of some of my favourite treats. 

The Japanese Way of Eating
People who attended my cooking classes in 2015 have given me feedback to say it had a drastic impact on their lifestyle, health and weight. They did this by adopting some of the elements of the Japanese way of eating. 

The Japanese way of eating is not about dieting or depriving yourself of specific foods. It's about balance, changing your eating habits so you enjoy eating and love the food you eat e.g. eating until you are 80% full (in Japanese it's called "hara hachi bu") so you don't feel an energy slump after eating. 

Click on the link below if you'd like to read an article published about my cooking classes by author (of the Flower Arrangement) Ella Griffin who describes the benefits of adopting the Japanese way of eating after attending my cooking class.

"Japanese Food Made Easy" cooking class dates 2016 :

Howth Castle Cookery School - Thursday February 25th from 7pm
Howth Castle Cookery School - Friday February 26th from 7pm
Blackrock Cookery School - Monday February 1st from 7pm
Miele Gallery Citywest Dublin - Saturday March 6th from 10:30am

Overview of my cooking classes "Japanese Food Made Easy"

- Introduce the Japanese way of eating and how to adopt the elements of the Japanese diet which are well known to contribute to weight loss and well being
- Explain the basic Japanese ingredients which can be found in large supermarkets and how to stock your cupboard at home so cooking doesn't become a chore
- Demonstrate how to make some well known Japanese dishes within 30 minutes or less from scratch such as teriyaki, yakisoba, miso soup, simple sushi rolls etc

Contact details
General enquiries - email or phone 0860704052
Miele bookings - email or phone 0860704052
Howth Castle Cookery School -  email or phone 01 8396182
Blackrock Cookery School - email or phone 01 2100555

Wishing you a healthier 2016 and happy cooking!


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas - quick & personalised Christmas Gifts

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift idea then look no further. I have gift vouchers for my hands-on Japanese cooking classes "Japanese Food Made Easy" in 2016. If you want more details email or call 0860704052. I can pop it in the post today! 

I'm also sending signed copies of my cookbook "Japanese Food Made Easy" along with a personal note wrapped to anywhere in Ireland or the UK for only €25. I can post it to other countries but the price will vary depending on postage. 

Happy Christmas, Fiona xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Power Breakfast - Matcha Granola with Kaki Fruit & Natural Yoghurt

This is a great way to start your day with the power of matcha (green powder tea) which slowly releases caffeine compared to coffee. I've also included a tip below to show you how this can be packed and eaten on the go using an old jam jar. You can get small bags of mixed nuts & seeds in most supermarkets for this recipe. Enjoy!

200g oats
Few handfuls of your favourite mixed nuts (almonds, pinenuts etc) & seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds etc)
2 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
2 heaped tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon matcha
1 kaki (persimmon/ sharon) fruit, peeled and thinly sliced

I prefer to use fresh fruit than dried fruit as I think it's a healthier option. However if you'd like to add dried fruit you can simply add it when the granola is removed from the oven and cooled. 


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Place the oats in a large flat pyrex dish.
3. Toss in the nuts and mix well together.

4. Over a low to medium heat melt the coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan.

5. Once melted stir well and pour evenly over the oats and nuts.

6. Use a large spoon to completely cover the oats and nuts in the coconut oil and honey.

7. Place in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes (during this time stir a few times).

8. Remove from the oven and once cool, add the matcha powder and mix well.

9. Add a few large spoonfuls of the granola to a cereal bowl and serve with natural yoghurt and sliced kaki fruit.

10. Store the remaining granola in an airtight container.

Also great on the go breakfast to bring to work

Friday, 11 December 2015

5 things I miss about Japan (apart from food of course)

Here are the 5 things that I really miss about Japan after returning home from my trip in November.

1. Outdoor Vending Machines

You can get hot and cold drinks in these machines. You can even get beer in some machines! I would love to see these in Ireland but I don't think they'd work as vandalism and theft might be a problem.

2. Transport system 

I often tell people that it's so easy to live in Japan and one of the reasons for this is the amazing transport system. If you've never lived in Japan and you're reading this post you'll will find it hard to believe that buses and trains are NEVER late in Japan. I've taken buses in terrible weather conditions including rain and snow and they still arrive on time! The Japanese subway system is so efficient and it's so enjoyable to ride on a SHINKANSEN (Japanese bullet train). 
I wouldn't recommend bringing a buggy on the subway though, I made this mistake in rush hour traffic and it wasn't pleasant! Japanese women tend to use baby carriers more than buggies especially in busy places like Tokyo which don't really accommodate buggies. 

3. Japanese Convenience Stores

On my first day back to Japan I was so excited to go to a convenience store! The staff are so polite and accommodating. They sell everything you need including food, alcohol, toiletries, stationery and limited clothing. They also sell a fantastic selection of healthy convenience food including small salads, rice balls, boiled eggs, individually wrapped bananas. My 4 year old was thrilled that they had children's shopping baskets too! 

4. Wet Cloth (oshiori)

It is custom in Japan for restaurants and coffee shops to give customers a wet cloth before serving them to clean their hands. Sometimes you get a cold cloth in a plastic wrap and other times you get a hot face cloth (as shown in the photo above taken from Wikipedia). After living in Japan I got used to this custom, it makes sense!

5. Toilets

You might think this is a strange one but I'm intrigued by Japanese toilets! Apart from the traditional Japanese toilets where you have to squat, Japan's Western style toilets are so advanced. They are plugged in so the toilet seat is always warm. There's also a selection of buttons on the right side of the toilet which do a range of things including making white noise. If you can't read Japanese I would advise against using these buttons as you may get a fright! 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Looking for a unique Christmas gift - my cookbook

If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift then I've got it sorted for you!

To celebrate Christmas throughout December I'm sending my cookbook "Japanese Food Made Easy" to anywhere in Ireland or the UK for €25. This includes a personalised note inside the book, wrapping and postage. The orders are being sent daily so you should receive them within a few days of placing the order. I can also post to other countries worldwide however due to postage the price may vary.

If you'd like to place an order simply comment here or send an email to

Happy Christmas!

Fiona x

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

NHK's TV news feature on my return trip to JAPAN

Last month a dream came true when my family and I returned to my Japanese hometown through the JET Satogaeri Programme. Over 10 years ago I worked as an English teacher through the JET programme in a small rural village in Japan called Nishiyama located in Niigata prefecture. 

NHK (Japan's National Broadcaster) filmed my return trip to Japan. This meant that NHK's correspondent and camera crew followed my family and I around Japan for 3 days!! It was an amazing experience, one we'll never forget and treasure! They also popped over to Ireland prior to my trip to Japan to film me at work and at home. It was aired on NHK Niigata in Japanese and NHK World in English. Here's the link to the English version from NHK World.

I popped into NHK's studio in Tokyo for a live interview during the airing of the news feature! The other presenters were so friendly and easy going they settled my nerves.

I wasn't complaining when they offered to do my hair and make-up.

And the studio is very close to the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo which I remember from my time in Tokyo as a student. It's astonishing to see the stark contrast between Tokyo and Japan's countryside, both completely different experiences but still Japan :)

I hope you enjoy watching my return trip to Japan, we certainly enjoyed making it :)

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