This unpronounceable word was still foreign to me – until I made myself a home in Senta’s living-kitchen area where she cooked for us while I cuddled with her cats. I would find out soon enough that ‘okonomiyaki’ would become an inherent part of my vocabulary. (Cat photos can be found at the end of the post ; )
Food from Friends
For the project ‘Food from Friends’ I visit dear friends or those who could potentially become just that. We cook together, I photograph and we talk about all and sundry. In sum: We spend a nice afternoon together (in some cases even longer) and you get to read about it here on this blog. The lovely Senta is one of my fellow students and studies photography as well. When I told her about this project she was immediately hooked and I noticed how she was already planning out a meal in her head. I’m so glad we found a date at which we both had time. The meal Senta prepared was hella delicious and I’m still thinking back to this afternoon.
Cosplay & Cats
Senta has specialized on a very specific branch of portrait photography. She’s at home in the cosplay scene and collected an impressive portfolio over the years.
Cosplay means to embody a character from Mangas, Animes, Comics or even films or computer games as true to the original as possible. The extravagant costumes and wigs can often be bought for more or less money but the actual fun and passion lies in creating all the components of a costume yourself. Costumes therefore usually take hours and hours of work. Unsurprisingly cosplayers love to have great photographs of themselves that go further than a loveley phone photo. Sentas photographs take you into another world. I completely fell in love with her series that she took of Merida from Brave on her Scotland trip last summer.
You can find more of Sentas body of work on Facebook: Midgard Photography & Cosplay
Apart from cosplay Senta finds great interest in lots of other things that derive from Japan. Mangas and Animes – naturally, but also the Japanese cuisine. When I visited her back in Summer she did not only prepare on single meal. Before we even started cooking she served a bowl of Edamame and a bowl of crisps. So began the big feast!
The little appetizers were followed by Gyudon, marinated beef with veggies and rice, and Okonomiyaki, a Japanese kind of pancake. As this dish was the most mind blowing for me I’d like to share with you the recipe for Okonomiyaki. Damn that was good! Using the basic ingredients flour, eggs and green / white cabbage you can alternate this recipe however you like. After Senta showed me the stuffing and mighty version with lots of sauces, I tried some lighter ones for a light dinner back home with mushrooms and tomatoes. Your imagination is the limit.
So here’s the recipe for Okonomiyaki
- 300g flour
- 220 ml water
- 2 eggs
- ½ package baking powder (2-3 tsp)
- ½ package dashi powder
- ¼ green cabbage, minced
- 4-5 spring onions, minced
- corn etc.
- Okonomiyaki Sauce (from the asian supermarket, alternative: Curry ketchup)
- Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi = dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna)
- (optional) algae powder
- Your imagination is your limit. In Japan the dough is prepared to taste as well.
- Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the eggs and water.
- Whisk the dough until smooth.
- Add cabbage, spring onion and other optional ingredients to taste.
- There should be enough batter to cover all ingredients while the ingredients shouldn't be swimming in it.
- Heat oil in a big pan on medium heat.
- Add one big scoop of the batter to the pan and press it on a little.
- On low to medium heat let the dough simmer until it starts to get cooked on the upper side.
- Carefully turn your okonomiyaki over once the bottom is golden brown.
- Once the other side is cooked golden as well it's ready to be served.
- Evenly spread both mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce on top.
- Add a dash of algae powder and lastly the Bonito flakes. (Note: The bonito flakes will begin 'dancing' because of the heat. Weird but harmless)
And while Senta was posing for some nice action shots and told me about the world of cosplay, there were to beautiful cats playing around our legs. And as cats win the internet I’ll end this post with some cat photos. For you people of the internet and for the clicks.