Shiratamako, Sunsets, and Storms

Last week I went to a friend’s flat (the one I met at the opera a couple months ago), and made shiratamako—little green mochi balls with macha ice cream and anko. Quite fantastic, and surprisingly easy to make—there’s a crusty sort of white powder, to which one adds some macha tea and a small quantity of water, all of which is then mashed into a thick paste—the density of an ear-lobe is the suggested rule of thumb. Then small quantities, roughly the size of a large marble, are rolled into spheres and boiled for two or three minutes. Run them under the cold water, and there they are!

Here’s the finished product: Shiratama, anko, and macha ice cream. My friend actually made the ice cream, which impressed me a good deal. We also added some vanilla ice cream from the Gelateria Hoher Markt (the best in Vienna, in my opinion). She also sprinkled a tan sort of powder over the whole thing, though I don’t know what that is…Delicious.

One more picture: around a week ago I was lounging on the terrace, watching the sunset, and it was so lovely that I was inspired to take a picture. Sunsets in Vienna usually aren’t that impressive, so this one was something special. The sun had already gone down, but it created an incredible glow of reds, oranges and yellows on the masses of clouds over the city. It’s been extremely hot the past few days, with a dense, humid heat most of the morning and afternoon, with clouds rolling in towards evening delivering intense but brief thunderstorms. The shorter spire in the middle of the picture is the tower of the Rathaus, the center of the Euro 2008 Fanzone. Last night’s broadcast of the semi-final between Germany and Turkey was interrupted during the crucial final minutes apparently because of the wild weather here in Vienna—a real King-Lear-on-the-heath, “Pour on, I will endure!” sort of storm, which apparently cut the power to the station from which the signal is broadcast worldwide.

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