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 :)

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

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Food & Hospitality Ireland 2015

They call it Ireland's most vibrant food, drink, hospitality and retail event.

I'll be there on September 16th from 2-4pm to talk about all things related to Japanese cooking and to showcase my new cookbook #japanesefoodmadeeasy.

Under one roof you'll find some of the best products in the Irish Retail Hospitality and Food & Drink industries.

It's the ideal place to discover fantastic new products, to network and to develop new business.

This great event takes place on September 16th from 10am to 5pm and on September 17th from 10am to 4.30pm.

Friday, 4 September 2015


Counting down the days to my book launch, only 13 days!!!
To celebrate I'm giving away a hamper filled with my favourite ingredients from Goatsbridge Trout Farm Asia Market Sea of Vitality. To be in with a chance to win go to my facebook page ( and simply like, share and tag one of your friends (feel free to tag more)!!
Best of luck, I'll announce the winner next Tuesday September 8th. 


Friday, 28 August 2015


The graphic design by the very talented Peter Dawson.

I'm really excited to have the opportunity to direct an event at Savour Kilkenny this year called TASTE OF JAPAN

If you're looking for a unique dining experience with a Japanese twist you can book tickets on EVENTBRITE! See details below:

Fiona Uyema in collaboration with Dublin Pop Up, are bringing you an extraordinary Japanese feast for all your senses. You will enjoy a hand-picked menu especially designed to showcase the best of Irish produce fused with Japanese flavours matched with O’Hara’s Japanese inspired Sorachi Ace and sake cocktails.
During this exclusive event you will also experience a fantastic line-up of Japanese entertainment taking you on a unique Japanese culinary and cultural adventure; details will be released soon.
Date: Saturday 24th October
Time: 8pm
Venue: Butler House, Patrick Street, Kilkenny
Admission: €60 (plus online booking fee) to include food, drinks and entertainment
To Book: Https://

Photographs taken by Smiles! Photography in Dublin

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Birthday Foodie Tour in Dublin City

Hubby organised babysitters and brought me up to Dublin for a foodie adventure for my birthday. Rather than going on a pub crawl we went on a cafe/restaurant crawl! It was a late Sunday morning and a really enjoyable way to explore Dublin's best foodie spots. 

After parking the car we found a quirky little coffee and pastry bar called SASHI HOUSE PETITE . The have a selection of different coffee beans and will give you guidance to which one you'd like best. I went for the Brazilian coffee bean in a cappuccino. It made sense as hubby is Brazilian/Japanese! What coffee are you?!

Next we popped into a restaurant called SUPER MISS SUE. We'd read good reviews about this place and I noticed that they had the weekend papers for customers to read (this is a big treat for me as with two little ones reading the paper is a real challenge these days!).

We ordered a glass of prosecco and a dish to share from the brunch menu "Marinated Salmon, watercress & wasabi mayo, mini brown shrimp omelette, bonito crumb". I loved the fusion element of this dish. The Japanese bonito flakes mixed with breadcrumbs worked really well as a topping.

The streets off Grafton Street are full of shops with character. We loved this chocolate boutique called COCOA ATELIER. Ketty from FRENCH FOODIE IN DUBLIN wrote a detailed review about this place, definitely worth a read and a visit if you want to treat yourself or someone special.

As we were passing the ASIA MARKET I had to pop in to say hello and pick up a few things.

They stock unusual vegetables that are used in Japanese cooking. I usually replace with local root vegetables but every now and then it's nice to use these for my cooking (Japanese mushrooms, renkon (lotus root), gobo (burdock root).

We stumbled across the INDUSTRY home and lifestyle store which I read about on twitter a few times. I love their household items and now they have a cute little coffee shop inside. 

It was time to eat again and we spotted organic pulled pork in COPPINGER ROW.  

This dish was a nice twist on a traditional Irish breakfast, we loved it and would recommend it. 

By pure coincidence we noticed that they their cocktail of the month was "TURNING JAPANESE"! 

We couldn't leave Dublin without browsing through some bookstores. In Japan they call this YOMITACHI, literally translates as reading and standing. It's used when people spend hours reading books and magazines on display!  

Unfortunately, it was time to go home so we grabbed a take away juice in ALCHEMY JUICE CO.....

and a sushi bento in KOKORO SUSHI BENTO.

What a day and a really enjoyable way to spend my birthday. You should try a foodie crawl around Dublin. Fiona x
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