Porridge provides that lasting inner warmth we sometimes need to get through winter.

With a bit of forethought, a rice cooker can be used to make morning meal prep a little less onerous. Select the gentle okayu button (usually written in hiragana as おかゆ) on your cooker, set the time you want to eat and let technology make the start of your day a little easier.

Another hidden gem of the Japanese kitchen is amazake. In the summer, this low- or no-alcohol sweetened sake makes for great chilled smoothies. The same probiotic enzymes in those deceptively healthy smoothies once again shine bright in this recipe, where they lightly culture milk left to cook overnight. This makes the milk protein and lactose, a common allergen, more easily digestible.