Thursday, 5 November 2015

Have you ever heard of kaki?

I remember collecting buckets of persimmon fruit (also called sharon fruit) with the elementary
school children behind the local school where I worked in Japan. It reminded me of how we
pick apples here in Ireland. 

In the past few years I was delighted to see this beautifully coloured fruit in my local supermarket. It is best eaten ripe otherwise it will be hard and bitter. 

To check if it’s ripe just press on the skin and it should be soft to touch. A really ripe persimmon can be eaten by slicing the top off the fruit and scooping out the flesh with a spoon. 

You should try the "Persimmon and White Chocolate Cream" recipe in my cookbook Japanese Food Made Easy. It's so easy and really delicious!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

NHK (Japan's National Broadcaster) to air programme on my return trip to Japan

I had to pinch myself when I got a call from NHK in Tokyo telling me that they want to air a programme on my return trip to Japan.

In my last blog post I talked about my return trip to Japan through JET called "satogaeri":

As part of NHK's feature programme on me and my Japanese food journey they wanted to get some footage of my family, home and work here in Ireland. So they came along to my Japanese Cooking Demonstration & Craft Beer Pairing with O'Hara's Brewery at Savour Kilkenny Food Festival. NHK's team said they were more than happy with the footage they captured for the programme. The sun was shining in Kilkenny, the atmosphere of the festival was amazing and with with the scenic view of Kilkenny Castle behind the demo tent everything was on our side for filming. 

After the demonstration we headed back to our home for more filming. They wanted to get footage of our family preparing a typical dinner and eating it. Our 4 year old slept through the whole thing but our baby was full of energy and managed to eat all his rice and miso soup!! 

In 4 days I'll fly to Japan and return to my Japanese hometown in Niigata called Nishiyama. NHK will follow my journey and then air a programme on NHK Niigata in Japanese and NHK World in English (channel 507 on the sky box).The airing date hasn't been confirmed yet but I'll let you know as soon as I find out! 

I'll also be keeping you updated on my foodie journey online through FB, twitter and instragram so stay tuned!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


I was selected along with 10 other people worldwide to return to my hometown in Japan through an organisation I worked for previously called JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching). It's called the JET Programme Alumni Satogaeri Project (Return to your second home in Japan). It's part of the JET progamme celebrating their 30th anniversary next year. 

My Japanese hometown is a beautiful village called Nishiyama located in Niigata prefecture. I worked there as an English teacher for two years in the local Junior High School and three of the local Elementary schools. It's going to be an exciting and emotional journey as I'll be reunited with old friends and students that I haven't seen for over ten years. 

I'm bringing my husband and two boys on this amazing trip to Japan next month. I'll be sharing all my experiences online through my blog, FB and twitter. Of course Japanese food will be a big part of my journey. So while I'm travelling around Japan and to my Japanese hometown I'll be sharing all my wonderful experiences with you online including a visit to a sake brewery, meeting a rice farmer, helping prepare and of course eat a junior high school lunch in the school where I worked, experiencing a Japanese kaiseki meal and much more.
So keep an eye out for my adventure which starts on November 7th when I depart for Japan. I can't wait. Fiona x

Sunday, 4 October 2015


I wanted to share an article written by Margaret Jennings from the Irish Examiner as I received so many public and private messages of support after the publication of this article complimenting how well it was written. Fiona x

Irish Cook, Fiona Uyema, on Japanese Food Made Easy

She once called Japan home. Now Fiona Uyema is bringing Japanese recipes to Irish kitchens with a new book, writes Margaret Jennings
IT’S a long way to Tipperary — from Japan, but for Irish cook, Fiona Uyema, who grew up in the small Shannonside village of Lorrha, that distance has been shortened by just the right mix of ingredients in her life.
As you might guess from her surname, she found love, at the tender age of 21, when she met her husband Gilmar, while doing an internship in a company in Japan as part of her international business degree at DCU. 
Throw their mutual passion for Japanese cooking into the pot and their destiny was sealed.

Gilmar was born in Brazil as his grandparents emigrated there from Okinawa, a chain of islands off the south of Japan, famed for the longevity of its residents, which researchers have partially attributed to their diet. 
His grandparents set up a Japanese food business and his mother worked there also — passing on to him a love of his ancestors’ food culture.
But what made Fiona more at home at cooking noodles than a pot of spuds?
It’s been a long way indeed, since she first had a “crazy” notion to study Japanese for her degree in 1998, she says. It was tough to learn the language at college but it led to her living in Japan for a year as a student and afterwards for three more years, teaching English in schools.
From an early stage she was lured by the Japanese food culture and being fluent in the language, was able to learn at grassroots level all about it. 
And although she has never formally trained as a chef, to borrow from the t-shirt phrase, she has been there, done that and has the apron to prove it.
Her interest obviously first began with her taste buds, but she says that Japanese people bring the philosophy of “balance” to all their cooking which means they “eating with their eyes first — absorbing the colours”, as well as appreciating the blend of different flavours on the tongue. This initiation first started for Fiona when during her college year she stayed with a Japanese family. 
“In the evenings I would sit at the kitchen table chatting to my homestay mother and watch her prepare that evening’s meal in her small Japanese kitchen,” she says.
Then, after completing her degree, aged 22, she went straight back to Japan to work. 
“I decided to live in the countryside and ended up literally in the sticks, a beautiful area near rice fields, on the coast of Japan near the beach and mountains. I was the only foreigner in the village and my only mode of transport was a bike.”
She got involved in activities in the evening, including learning calligraphy and the elderly women attending also shared their cooking tips with her.
Returning home to Ireland a decade ago was a let-down, though, as Japanese ingredients were in short supply, but this is no longer the case. In her book she explains those basic ingredients and tries to “bridge the gap” between East and West.
AND there are, when you probe, similarities with Ireland; both countries are island nations with an abundance of seafood and root vegetables, but also seaweed, which was harvested by our Irish ancestors for at least 4,000 years.
Fiona says Japanese food is one of the healthiest diets in the world. It is low in fat, and provides calcium from tofu, seaweed and dark green veg, while protein is found in fish or soya-based products. 
Green tea aids digestion, while miso — a paste made from fermented soybeans, salt, rice or barley and koji (a fermentation starter) — is high in antioxidants.
It was to miso, and other beloved Japanese foods, that Fiona turned for comfort, when recovering from treatment for ovarian cancer. 
“I was really horrified when I discovered I had cancer at 28. I was thrown into the Irish public health system and the standard of food was appalling, especially after having chemo, which caused me to be nauseous,” she says.
Gilmar brought in a bento Japanese lunch box every evening while visiting her.
“I yearned for Japanese food, which is simple and tasty — it didn’t turn my stomach. Plain seemed so right for my body,” she says.
With the loss of one of her ovaries it was an “absolute blessing” that she afterwards got pregnant, against the odds, and now has two boys, Scott, 4, and Matthew. eight months.
While it took her body some time to recover, Fiona feels that Japanese food helped her heal. 
“After my treatment I went back eating a 100% Japanese diet again. I definitely think it is full of antioxidants and anti-cancer abilities. 
"The miso soup which I have every day, for instance, is good for your gut and I was on so much medication, my stomach was in bits.”
Now, little Scott is an enthusiastic Japanese food lover, too, bridging even further that link between East and West, that all began when his mum wanted to study something different for her degree.
Japanese Food Made Easy, by Fiona Uyema, €24.99 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Japanese Food Made Easy by Fiona Uyema LAUNCH

I launched my first cookbook "Japanese Food Made Easy" two weeks ago in Arnotts Department Store in Dublin. Smiles! Photography captured all the special moments with her beautiful photography (I'm sharing some of them in this post). 

I want to say a big THANKS to everyone who came I was honestly overwhelmed by the amount of support I received on the night. 

Before the book signing I gave a short demonstration of some of the recipes from my cookbook. 

Everyone got to taste a bit of everything to give them a flavour for the type of food in my cookbook! 

I couldn't believe some people queued for 1 hour or so to get a signed copy of my cookbook, thanks for your patience and support. I really hope you'll think it was worth the wait. 

Now start sharing pictures of your Japanese cooking with me!! Fiona xxxx

Thursday, 24 September 2015

RTE 1 Taste of Success Fiona Uyema

I was one of the six contenders to make it to the Leinster final for the Taste of Success on RTE 1. It was such an amazing experience. I was so happy when judges Catherine Fulvio and Daithi O Se gave positive feedback on my dish "Japanese Style Risotto with Irish Fish & Seafood". The only challenge was whether Ireland is ready for my Japanese cooking? 

In case you missed it, you can see me on the Taste of Success on RTE 1

Monday, 21 September 2015


You are invited to an exclusive event with author and Japanese cook Fiona Uyema, on Wednesday 23 September from 10.00 until 12.00 in our VIP Lounge. Fiona will discuss 'The 5 Elements of the Japanese Diet' to live a longer, healthier life. Enjoy light bites and refreshments, the chance to win Fiona's book Japanese Food Made Easy and 10% off in your favourite boutiques.

To reserve your place at this exclusive event, RSVP to
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...