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@nigelslater
Magnolia, Highbury. There is a certain grace to a magnolia. Even at their most majestic the trees bring a feeling of peace and tranquility to a garden. Now is their moment. I have a small Magnolia stellata in flower at home, it’s star-like petals as soft and pale as a marshmallow. I am very tempted to plant another, larger one, for future generations to enjoy.
Sat 16th March 2019
@nigelslater
At the bottom of the garden is a high walled rectangular space, no more than 6 x 10m, that is almost hidden from view. There is a mulberry tree and a plum, ivy and ferns but the space is essentially wild. I leave mounds of twigs on the ground in the hope they will provide winter homes for insects and other diminutive garden creatures. I never disturb them but I do often wonder who lives there. They are currently occupied by tiny pink cyclamen, if nothing else.
Fri 15th March 2019
@nigelslater
Sneak peek. GreenFeast covers being printed on a beautiful old Heidelberg press in Slovakia.
Thu 14th March 2019
@nigelslater
Paperwhites. Kitchen table. The scent is teasing, carrying both notes of deep midwinter and the first hint of spring. Like the weather today, blustery and bitterly cold, with intermittent shafts of warm spring sunshine and an ice blue sky.
Sun 10th March 2019
@nigelslater
Early each morning, I come downstairs and grind beans for coffee. It’s one of life’s little rituals. I use the same coffee mug every time and cherish those first few, peaceful moments of the day. Just me and the coffee. I’ve had the same mug for a while now and I feel it’s due for a rest. (Though I have told it to think of this as a holiday rather than retirement.) The new mug, pictured here, is once again just the right size and weight and holds just the perfect amount of coffee. (I don’t like cups or mugs that are too large or too tall.) My new one, like its predecessor, is by @steve_harrison_pots , a potter whose work I admire enormously. I love the handles, often at an unexpected angle but always supremely comfortable to hold, and how his mugs are surprisingly light in the hand. Details matter (at least to me they do). Somewhat absurdly, this one travelled from Britain to Japan and back again. It’s home now. @galleryKuga Photo Tomoko Osada.
Wed 6th March 2019
@nigelslater
Breakfast is different on holiday. You have a licence to eat things you wouldn’t normally. On this trip I abandoned my usual bowl of sheep’s yoghurt for, amongst other things: French toast at Café Kitsune in Tokyo; papaya at Aman Tokyo; toasted cheese and ham sandwiches at Bird Café in Osaka; grilled fish at Aman Tokyo; pork dumplings and mango yoghurt at the Four Seasons in Seoul. I’m back at home with my yoghurt now.
Tue 5th March 2019
@nigelslater
Osaka (seen here from the 40th floor skybar at the Conrad) has long been one my favourite cities. I think of it as the belly of Japan. The restaurants, especially the cheap ones, are awesome and despite a counter being rammed, everyone seems happy to shuffle up to make room for one more. Yes, the great food, the tranquil Museum of Oriental Ceramics and the brilliant Truck Furniture Store and Bird cafè, but I suspect what really appeals to me is that this city has more than a touch of Bladerunner about it.
Sun 3rd March 2019
@nigelslater
More good things from #Musashi at @aman_tokyo including sushi with ice fish, marinated sardine and snapper. It might be a wee bit too early to look the red arc shell clam in the face but that sake from Hokkaido might go down well in an hour or two.
Sun 3rd March 2019
@nigelslater
I eat a lot of sushi, both at home and when I’m away. I was over the moon to discover the arrival of Musashi, the new sushi restaurant at @aman_tokyo . Chef Hiroyuki sends out some of the best I’ve had in a long time (sea urchin, needlefish with yuzu and sea eel with nori to name but three.) Other good things too, like fatty tuna with sancho peppers and Sancho leaf. (The one that makes your lips tingle) and a little dish of puffer fish milt with Japanese radish and ponzu sauce. (Really quite spicy, almost hot.) I have always felt that fine Japanese food was the one thing missing at Aman Tokyo, and now we’ve got it. Thank you Chef Musashi and thank you Aman who organised this sublime dinner.
Sun 3rd March 2019
@nigelslater
Garden fence, Kyoto.
Sat 2nd March 2019
@nigelslater
Fugu dinner at Shointsurumizu in Setagaya. One chef, six counter seats. Very much a local restaurant that I would never have found by myself. We made the most of the fact that the chef is licensed to sell fugu. (It takes at least two years of training and an exam to be allowed to sell what can, in the wrong hands be deadly poisonous.) Pics are poached radish with bottarga; fugu sashimi; grilled fugu and its milt; an intense broth of clams and an extraordinary tea made with dried fugu fins. So many restaurants here are simply a short counter with one owner chef and one helper. The chef, Yosuku Tsurumitzu and his spirited, utterly delicious cooking has a loyal local following and it is easy to see why. Thank you Kyoko for leading me to Yosaku’s restaurant and for an amazing evening. @syouintsurumizu @gallerykuga
Fri 1st March 2019
@nigelslater
The early blossom - almond, apricot and peach is amongst the loveliest of all. I find the single flowers more pleasing than the more flamboyant ‘frilly knickers’ cherry blossom that I find a bit suffocating. Single cherry blossom tends to come a little earlier too, and is so beautiful against the bare grey branches (and here, with the grey lobby walls of #amantokyo). I’m sure nothing will be out at home yet despite the warm days I’ve been reading about, which means I have my own little plum and greengage trees to look forward to on my return. 🌸
Fri 1st March 2019
@nigelslater
Tokyo from the 38th floor. A great view (even on a misty day), a comfy bed, a welcome plate of chocolates. So good to be back in my favourite city and at my favourite hotel. #amantokyo
Fri 1st March 2019
@nigelslater
‪No matter how many times I do it, there is no journey I find quite as exciting as travelling on The Shinkansen to Tokyo. 🚅🎧🎼📖🍱💓🧡🚅‬
Thu 28th February 2019
@nigelslater
The large formal gardens of Japan are a testament to the art and poetry of gardening and I admire them and their creators enormously, but I wonder if I don’t enjoy the smaller, domestic spaces even more. The neatly trimmed courtyards, the moss covered pathways and stands of bamboo that you meet, by surprise as you walk around Kyoto. Every doorway seems to have a collection of pots of some sort. Some of them pruned within an inch of their life, others allowed, enchantingly, to do their own thing.
Thu 28th February 2019
@nigelslater
Hidden amongst the back lanes of Kyoto, the tiny Raku Museum is full of quiet delights. It is everything I had hoped, thoughtfully curated and nicely lit (the dodgy lighting in this post is all mine) and each piece is accompanied by a good story. I caught the constantly changing collection, showing mostly 19th century tea bowls, early in the day with only one other visitor. It was like having a private viewing. I especially like the way visitors are required to step into the museum’s velvet slippers, avoiding the clacking heels that echo throughout so many of the world’s museums and galleries.
Wed 27th February 2019
@nigelslater
I have yet to master the grace and effortlessness with which the Japanese slip their shoes on and off. So I am grateful to whoever made and installed this wooden seat of such tactile beauty outside the Raku and had the thoughtfulness to also provide a usefully long and elegant shoe horn.
Wed 27th February 2019
@nigelslater
Velvet slippers awaiting visitors to the Raku Museum, Kyoto.
Tue 26th February 2019
@nigelslater
Ifuki, Kyoto. Hand made soba noodles; deep fried oysters. (We had grilled Kobe beef with wasabi too.) I love the use of contemporary and antique ceramics here. There is a nine-seat counter where you can watch your dinner being cooked if that’s your sort of thing and to where we moved at the very end of the evening. Huge thanks to Chef Yamamato and everyone at Ifuki and to @takachakan for such a brilliant evening.
Tue 26th February 2019
@nigelslater
Dinner at Ifuki, Kyoto. Abalone broth with clams (comforting, deeply savoury and quite definitely the best thing to do with an abalone). Sea eel (sticky, smokey, moreish,) Snapper with seaweed and white asparagus with shirako sauce. I’ll leave you to Google shirako (💦)
Tue 26th February 2019
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