Azuki with Home Made Bread

Posted April 30th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Azuki is red colored tiny beans which oftenly used for Japanese sweets.  In Japan we use azuki bean paste (paste is called “An“) as a filling for manjyu (Japanese cake), steamed buns, bread (An Pan), etc,  or as a topping for pan cakes, sticky rice cake, ice cream…  there is azuki ice cream too.  I’m sure you’ve seen azuki ice cream in Japanese restaurants. 

An has actually different types: very smooth to chunky.  I like chunky An as I can enjoy the texture of beans.  

Here is the recipe for “An” …

  • 250g azuki beans (raw)
  • 250g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Place azuki beans in a large pot, and fill with water.  Bring to boil and then drain.  Repeat this action 2~3 times.  
  2. Place beans in the pot and fill with water.  Bring to boil, and then turn down the heat.  Simmer over law heat until beans easily break when you squeeze with two fingers.
  3. Drain beans well.  Place beans in a clean pot, and add sugar and salt.  Turn on the heat and dissolve sugar over law to medium heat.  Stir occasionally.
  4. When you scrape away the beans and you can see the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat.  Spread beans onto a flat tray or plate.  Let it cool. 
Softer you boil beans at stage 2, smoother the An becomes.

My friend gave me this beautiful loaf the other day, and I enjoyed thick toast with chunky An.  I love this bread!  It’s dense, and chewy.  Scent of honey really whet my appetite.  I can’t get enough of this.  So nice ♪ 

An Dango

Posted November 13th, 2016 in Food | No Comments »


Here in Perth it’s Spring and the weather has been strange – hot day, then rainy day, then cloudy day then again hot day! Hmmm I know Summer is just around the corner but I am not really looking forward to these scorching hot days..

Today was a hot day, and usually I would take my kids to the park in the early morning or to the swimming pool but we had someone come over to fix the garden today so we stayed home. Staying home with 2 kids means lots of food preparation. To combine the “cooking” and “playing”, I involved them in cooking and this is one of the things we made together – dango.

I love dango – I love the chewy texture! In Japan we normally use “shiratama-ko”  or “joshin-ko ” to made dango, but I do not have neither at home. Instead, I stock up this rice flour from Coles.


Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour. It has to be this green package! It’s just over $2 a packet and so easy to make sticky dango snack.

The recipe is roughly measured, so please adjust the amount of water. And, I mixed tofu to the mixture this time, but you don’t need tofu if you don’t have. Just water and this flour is fine.

<recipe> makes around 20

• Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour … 1 cup

• Tofu (silken or momen) … 50g

• Water … around 1-2 tablespoon

Anko (or some alternative shown below)


  1. Drain the tofu from water, then wrap with kitchen paper. Microwave for 30 seconds ~ 1 minutes. This drains more water from tofu.
  2. Place flour into a bowl. Add cooled tofu, then smash the tofu and mix well.  Add water bit by bit to adjust the consistency of the mixture. It should be as firm as your earlobes.
  3. Boil water in a deep pan. Shape the mixture into small balls (1.5cm) then press lightly in the centre to flatten a bit. Drop the balls into boiling water.  Once the balls start to float, count 10 seconds then take them out of the water, and then drop them into a bowl of cold water.
  4. Drain the dango. Skewer them onto toothpicks, then place anko on top.
  5. Enjoy ♬


I made koshi-an (strained smooth Anko) but you can just buy a can of Anko from Asian grocery store, or you can eat dango with kinako (sweet soybean flour) or sweet soy sauce (Japanese soy sauce + sugar).   It’s all up to you!


Custard Dorayaki

Posted June 1st, 2013 in Food | 5 Comments »

My oven had broken down…!!  I can’t bake until Tuesday as this is long weekend and no-one could come down and have a look at it.

Since I can’t use the oven, I’ve made something using the stove – this custard dorayaki.  … They look like pancake sandwiches :p

Dorayaki is one of Japanese sweets which usually contains azuki bean paste inside.  My husband doesn’t like azuki bean paste, and custard is much easier to make, so I went with custard dorayaki.

I don’t like it too sweet, so if you like sweet custard add more sugar to the recipe.



  • Milk 100ml
  • Granulated Sugar 20g
  • Egg Yolk 1 (L size)
  • Plain Flour 10g
  • Condensed Milk 5g
  • Vanilla essence few drops


  1. Whisk egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Shift in the flour.
  2. In a sauce pan, warm up the milk.  (not too hot, around 36℃)  Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture through a sieve.  Stir.  Pour the mixture back into the pan, and heat over low heat.  Stir constantly.  Heat until the custard thickens.  Off the heat, and add condensed milk & vanilla essence when the custard is slightly cool.  Mix well, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Keep refrigerated.


<Dorayaki>  makes 16 mini pancake = 8 dorayaki

  • Plain Flour 100g
  • Baking Powder 1 tsp
  • Honey 2 tbs
  • Sugar 2 tbs
  • Milk 4 tbs
  • Egg 2


  1. Mix everything in a bowl.  Heat a small frying pan, spray with oil, and pour a small ladle of mixture to make a small pancake.  Repeat until you use up all the mixture.
  2. Once the pancakes are cooled down, spread custard cream between 2 pancakes.  Serve immediately.


CN Mart in Myaree

Posted June 12th, 2012 in Perth WA | No Comments »

Near the entrance of Hulme Court, just off Mc’Coy street, there is a new Korean grocery shop in Myaree.  This CN Mart (Corean N oriental grocer) is owned by the same owner as Hanaro Mart (just few minutese drive from CN Mart), and they have wide range of food, drinks and household items.

Most items are Korean, of course, but they carry lots of Japanese food as well.  I used to go to Hanaro Mart often to buy a tin of boiled azuki bean.  Korean one is much cheaper than Japanese one, and it taste the same.  My friends also go there to get some cosmetics and massage items.

Why they have 2 shops in the same suburb?  It’s because owner wanted to separate the items each shop carries.  CN Mart carries grocery items, and the original Hanaro Mart (address below) carries  only liquor, including Japanese sake and shochu.

I wanted to buy kinako (soy bean powder) but I couldn’t find anywhere.  Nippon Food in Subiaco always didn’t have it in stock.  So I called CN Mart and they said they have the Korean version.  They actually got 2 types, roasted and non-roasted.  I didn’t know the difference as we only have one type of “kinako” in Japan, but the staff said the roasted one is more common and is for mochi etc.  That’s what I was after!  So I bought it.

I also bought Korean sake (cooking wine).  Just wanted to try if there is any difference between Korean and Japanese.

The owner is super friendly and kind.  I’m sure I will be using this shop very often.

Hanaro Mart

7/67 North Lake Road, Myaree WA
0411 38 1101

CN Mart 

Hulme Court, Myaree WA
08 9317 4885

Nippon Food Subiaco April Special

Posted April 8th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Sale items for April (01 – 30) 2012 at Nippin Food in Subiaco!

  • Dashi powder 60g $6.80 → $5.40
  • Inari skin 12P $6.80 → $5.40
  • Frozen Japanese sweets Azuki 8P $8.00 → $6.00
  • Frozen Japanese sweets Matcha Green Tea 8P $8.20 → $6.20
  • Frozen Japanese sweets Mochi Azuki 8P $8.60 → $6.60
  • Katsu Sauce 500ml $7.90 → $6.30
  • Shiratama-ko Powder (dango powder) 200g $6.20 → $4.90
  • Sticky Mochi Rice 2.27kg $12.50 → $10.00
  • Goma-dare (sesame dressing/sauce) 500ml $5.90 → $4.50
  • Ponzu with Konbu Dashi 600ml $8.70 → $6.90
  • Chewing Gum (black/ume) 9P $2.80 → $1.50

New Items:

  • Japanese Rice (made in USA) – New Crop
  • Frozen Tuna for Sashimi $34/kg
  • Mix & Serve Pasta Sauce


Nippon Food Subiaco

Shop 26, 180 Rokeby Rd
Subiaco WA 6008

(08) 9380 6783

Mon – Fri 10AM – 6PM
Sat 9AM – 5PM
Sun 11AM – 5PM
Closed on Public Holidays

Yummy Japanese Drinks at Starbucks

Posted January 12th, 2012 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Today my friend picked us up and went out to had little snack at Starbucks. Unlikely I didn’t feel like having coffee (I’d already had 2 cups this mowning) so I ordered Double-squeezed Fruits Juice ¥220 (Starbucks brand drink in a paper pack). I didn’t feel like sweets either coz I had 2 donuts this morning, so ordered chicken and roots vegetable salad wrap ¥290.

The location is lovely – this Starbucks is located just near Biwako Lake shore, and I could see many cute ducks floating on the water throu a window. Because it was cold there’s no one siting on the chairs outside. Drive-thru got lots of cars with people wanting to get hot drinks.

My fried ordered caramel latte, cheese cake and pancakes. Looks yummy 🙂

My wrap was smaller than I thought : it was just half size. But I felt good eating salad and root vegetables because I’ve been eating meat and fish most of the time here.

It tasted ok. 🙂

It was shame I didn’t feel like sweets because I saw a big board with a photo of delicious-looking drinks!

Azuki Matcha Latte…

Matcha White Chocolate!

Soy Ho-ji-cha Tea Latte!

There are cold version of Azuki Matcha Latte & Soy Azuki Matcha as well, but in this cold weather people will go for hot drinks (unless they are thirsty or feel already warm after exercise).

Unique Japanese Drinks

Posted January 9th, 2012 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Suntory, one of Japan’s leading beverage companies, is selling something that some people were looking for…..  All Free!  This All Free is a drink with no calorie, no sugar, and no alcohol.  Yap, all free.

Some may ask what’s the reason of drinking this…  Why don’t you drink water or herval tea instead?  Well, this All Free is actually a non-alcohol beer.  It tastes like beer, but has no alcohol, sugar, or calorie.  This is selling well in this busy drinking season…

Georgia, a popular brand of coffee-flavored beverages sold by The Coca-Cola Company in Japan, sells this unique can of coffee.  It’s a mixture of “coffee” x “green tea”.  It’s not green tea latte.  It still has color of coffee, brown, and contains matcha powder from Uji in Kyoto.

Pepsi in Japan sells these unique flavour drinks.  Azuki, Cucumber and Shiso!  I’ve never tried these, but I think shiso may taste better than others.  It’s just my guess…

I love that cute little tirol chocolate – love the cute little square shape, and their variety of flavours.  But I didn’t know that this popular chocolate snack “tirol chocolate” has its drink version!  Tirol chocolate drink tastes like its original chocolate.  It should taste very rich?

Happy New Year 2012

Posted January 2nd, 2012 in Japan | No Comments »

Happy New Year!

It was a sunny new year’s day yesterday.  My mum came over, and we stayed home eating all day on the 1st Jan.

We grilled mochi (rice cakes) on the stove.

Mochi was little burnt, but it was delicious.  This is zenzai (azuki bean soup with rice cake).

We had sukiyaki, funa-no-nitsuke, zenzai and seasoned rice in the morning!  Oh, plus red wine (not me though).

Funa is a fish which lives in Biwa lake.  It has distinguished taste, texture, and smell.  Its eggs are delicious 🙂  I’ve been eating this since I was a child, but I guess it’s what only Shiga people do.

On the 2nd, we went to hatsumode (first visit to shrine to celebrate the new year).  We thought there’d be many people on the 1st, and wanted to avoid all the crowd.

We prayed, and bought taiyaki, okonomiyaki, takoyaki & mochi from food stalls outside.  It was our lunch.

Dinner was this huge steak…..  The fat is marbled.  It was very tender and delicious.

It was eat→ sleep → eat → sleep ….  day.  Just what New Year should be in Japan!

First Kitchen

Posted November 23rd, 2011 in Eat out in Japan, Japan | No Comments »

First Kitchen, known as City Convenience Restaurant, is fast food chain serving variety of foods including burgers, soup, and pasta.  It’s not a place I go often, but D and I had lunch inside food court in a shopping mall.  The price for burgers is bit more expensive than McDonald’s and other chains, but we both liked the food.

D ordered teriyaki burger meal, and I ordered kid’s chicken nuggets meal.  Teriyaki burger meal came with fries and drink, like other chains, but you could chose the flavour of the fries – called “flavour potato”.  It’s like shaker fries of McDonald’s.  The flavours are unique: corn potage, flame-grilled mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock), soy BBQ, sizzling butter and soy sauce, butter, consomme, and French fries.  D chose soy BBQ.  It was good 🙂

There is sauce bar at the counter where you can get any sauces as much as you want.  The sauces are BBQ sauce, mentaiko mayonnaise, cheese sauce, and garlic mayonnaise.

I love Japanese fast food because their drink menu has more varieties.  I always chose tea (usually oolong tea).  You can also get hot/iced lemon/milk tea and cocoa with meals with no additional cost.

It may be just because it was weekday and there’re not so many people around, but they made all the food on order including fries and nugget.  Crispy and super hot.  With kid’s meal I got to chose a toy from a basket, and I got Stitches stationery kit.

We were thinking of getting some sweets there as well, but didn’t.  Their tapioca coconut milk float and shiratama cream zenzai (chewy dango with stewed sweet azuki bean and soft serve) looked yummy!

Nippon Food Subiaco November 2011

Posted November 3rd, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Here is Nippon Food Subiaco’s this month sale items…. :

Monthly Special 01 ~ 30 November 2011

• Sake 1L (brand: Morita)  $12.30 → $9.80

• Okonomiyaki Flour 600G (brand: Nisshin)  $8.20 → $6.60

• Hotcake Mix 350G (brand: Showa)  $4.90 → $3.90

• Noritama Furikake (Rice Seasoning Powder) 20P (brand: Marumiya) $7.20 → $5.80

• Shittori Chocolate/Shittori Kinako (sweet snack) 80G $2.90 → $2.30

• Azuki Ice Candy 70ML (brand: Imuraya) $1.00 → $0.80


New Products

• Mochi-mochi Bread/Cake Mix 200G (brand: Showa) $6.70

… Create mochi-mochi bread in just 20 minutes!  What you need is just egg, milk, and vegetable oil.

• Karaage Flour for Microwave Cooking 80G (brand: Showa) $5.10

… Make karaage in microwave!  Save time and calorie.  Just dust chicken or any ingredients with this flour, and cook in microwave.  It stays delicious even when it’s cool.


• Manna Boro Snack for and Kids 52G (brand: Morinaga) $4.40

… Small enough to hold with little fingers.


• Manna Biscuit for Kids 86G (bbrand: Morinaga) $3.10

… Contained no egg.  With added calcium, iron, and vitamins, great nutritious snack for kids.


• Pokky Coconut Flavour / Mint Flavour 40G (Griko) $3.30

Featured Dish November : Okonomiyaki

< Recipe >

  • Pancake batter : flour, egg, cabbage, water
  • Topping : sauce, bonito flake, ao-nori, mayonnaise
  1. Mix the pancake batter with ingredients (e.g. seafood, thinly sliced pork).
  2. Heat little oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and spoon the okonimiyaki mixture into the pan.  Cook both side.
  3. Garnish with sauce, bonito flake, ao-nori and Japanese mayonnaise.

Okonomiyaki Flour (several kinds) $5.50 ~ $9.60

Ao-nori 20G $3.00

Dried shrimp 25G $2.80

Bonito Flake 15G $3.00

Otafuku Okonomi Sauce 500G $7.80 / 300G $5.60


Onigiri Breakfast

Posted September 23rd, 2011 in Food | 4 Comments »

Since my friend told me that her kids eat either toast or onigiri (rice balls) for breakfast, I’ve been having a craving for onigiri!  Why not eat onigiri in the morning?  I ask myself.  Sometimes I wake up with empty stomach and onigiri may be a good food to eat for breakfast to fill me up.

There are many many fillings and flavors for onigiri you can find in Japan.  The typical ones include umeboshi (pickled plum), katsuo (seasoned bonito flakes), konbu (seasoned seaweed), and sha-ke (cooked and seasoned salmon), and unique ones include pork katsu, raw fish roe, sweet azuki bean paste, cheese, yakisoba, kimuchi, and natto.  I like these onigiri with fillings in the centre, but also love origiri which the ingredients mixed with rice (mazekomi-onigiri).  My favorite mazekomi-onigiri is shake-wakame (cooked & seasoned salmon and wakame seaweed).  Yummmmm!  Onigiri is usually triangle shape so that you can get to the filling in the centre on each bite from any angle.

People make onigiri in different ways : some use hands, and other use plastic wrap.  I use my hands because that’s how my mum used to make onigiri for me 🙂  It may get messy, but is the original way to make onigiri.  You will need a bowl of water to dip your palms each time you make each onigiri otherwise the rice sticks to your palms.  Here is a short video of how to make triangle onigiri by hands:

This time I made onigiri with katsuo filling in the centre, and wakame & goma (roasted sesame seeds) mazekomi-onigiri.  I’ve also posted few onigiri recipes here and here.

<Onigiri  > makes 6

  • 1.5 cup short or medium grain rice
  • salt

katsuo onigiri :

  • 5g bonito flakes
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • seasoned nori sheet (you can use non-seasened one, if you like)

mazekomi onigiri:  (for about 1 cups cooked rice)

  • 1 tsp dry wakame
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Cook rice according to pack instructions. (with just water) Stand it for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix bonito flakes with soy sauce, and set aside. In another bowl, soak wakame in little amount of water (about 1.5 tbs). When the wakame absorbs the water and becomes soft, drain and chop up. Mix with sesame seeds and salt, and set aside.
  3. Prepare a bowl of clean water, a bottle of salt (e.g. table salt), shamoji (a flat rice paddle), seasoned bonito flakes, wakame, and seasoned nori sheets next to steamed rice. (hot)
  4. Wet your hands and sprinkle salt over the palms. Scoop about 1cup of rice and place on a palm. Quickly make a hole in the centre, and place the filling (seasoned bonito flake) inside. Shape the rice into triangle, and decorate with nori sheets. Make two more.
  5. Mix the leftover rice with wakame mixture. Wet your hands, and scoop 1/3 f the rice into a palm. Shap the rice into triangle. Repeat to make two more.


* You can use plastic wrap to shape onigiri instead of using your hands. The rice is pretty hot, so it may burn your hands if you do the shaping too slow.

If you are using plastic wrap:

Place about 20cm x20cm plastic wrap on the kitchen bench.

Spray water on the surface of wrap, and sprinkle salt. Place about 1 cup of rice and make a hole in the centre.

Place the filling inside the hole, and close the 4 edges of the wrap together and shape the rice into triangle over plastic wrap.

* Onigiri doesn’t have to be in triangle shape. Make them in ball or square too.



Posted May 24th, 2011 in Food | 12 Comments »

Taiyaki, fish-shaped baked Japanese sweet, is one of my favourite snack.  This is a kind of stall-food you buy at festivals or shrine on New Year’s Day, but now you can also buy from the food courts in shopping centres or some convenience stores across Japan.  The original filling is azuki an – red bean paste, but there are more varieties such as custard cream and chocolate.

At the shop they use this type of big grill to make taiyaki, but there’s a small version of this to use at home.

The weather like today makes me miss taiyaki. It should be eaten warm, and is kind of a winter sweet.  I don’t have a taiyaki maker at home, so I bought a pack of frozen taiyaki from an Asian grocery shop.

I warmed it up in the microwave, then toasted in a toaster oven to make it crunchy outside.  Eating it with vanilla ice cream gives you the contrast of hot and cold, and the texture of crunchiness of the skin and melty ice cream.



Korean Ice Cream

Posted February 28th, 2011 in Food, Perth WA | 9 Comments »

I know I say this too much, but can I say it again?  …..  It’s soooooo HOT!!! (><)

People say that pregnant women feel hotter than normal people do.  I’m originally weak against hot & humid climate, so I’ve been staying in air-coned room all day.  It was rather depressing to see the glaring sunshine and feel the hot air at 7:30 AM.  …  Yeah, this might be the pregnancy thing –

The other day I got some Korean ice-cream from Hi Mart, one of Korean grocery chains.  They were selling some individual packs of ice-cream for “any three packs for $5.00” (my memory may be wrong – it may be $6.00?).  Cheap!  There’re 6~7 kinds of ice-cream in the showcase, and all of them looked so familiar – very similar to Japanese ice-cream!

This vanilla ice-cream sandwich with crunchy chocolate bits : This is my favorite!  It’s like Morinaga Choco-Monaka-Jumbo ice-cream , but more chocolate inside.  The texture of crispy chocolate and soft wafers are the best match.

I used to eat this Morinaga Choco-Monaka-Jumbo ice-cream quite often during summer in Japan.

Taiyaki-shaped (taiyaki = a Japanese fish-shaped cake) coated with thin crisp wafers.  The inside contains vanilla ice-cream and azuki bean paste.  We have few Taiyaki-shaped ice-cream sold in Japan, and I guess this is the Korean version of it.  I thought the amount of azuki bean paste was too little compared to the amount of vanilla ice-cream.

The original Taiyaki-shaped ice-cream in Japan is Imuraya brand.  They have black (dark sugar) and pink (strawberry) versions.

This is cookie n cream sandwich ice-cream.  The ice-cream was quite sweet, and the thin layer of sponge cake was soft and fluffy.  I preferred the above two to this one, as it is too sweet to me, and there was no texture in the ice-cream.

I want to find more delicious ice-cream!

Hello 2011

Posted January 1st, 2011 in Japan, Perth WA | No Comments »


Happy New Year!!

It seems that Japan is getting lots of snow since yesterday.  My mum said it started to snow yesterday morning in her city in Shiga, and in the evening she couldn’t move her car because of the snow which had been built up.  My friends also said that it’s snow storming outside.  Regardless of whether they are enjoying the snow or not, I do miss snow and wish I was there!

Perth is, on the other hand, in middle of summer.  I had Nachos and watermelon for dinner yesterday.  Oh yes, I didn’t forget to eat toshikoshi-soba 年越しそば this year too.  It’s just one of Japanese tradition I don’t want to miss.  I remember eating soba on the New Year’s eve two years ago at my house with my family, while watching a countdown to 2009 on tv.

In the morning of New Year’s Day, we eat special food called osechi, and zenzai or ozoni in Japan.  Zenzai is a sweet red bean soup with mochi (rice cake), and ozoni is sweet miso soup with mochi.  I had delicious osechi food and ozoni in Perth last year at my friend’s house (I wrote about it here), but this family has gone back to Japan for good and I can’t experience it anymore.

I was actually going to make zenzai at home, but just couldn’t find time.  It’s too hot to make hot azuki soup here anyway…  So, instead, I made mitarashi-dango.  (rice flour dumpling with caramelised sauce)

The process of making dango was fun.  But, after eating just a couple of these I became so full!

Well, at least I started this new year with some Japanese traditional food.

My family is going to visit a shrine for hatsu-moude 初詣 to pray for a new year tomorrow.  My mum said she will pray for me, D and my baby, and buy an amulets and send it to me.  I really wish I was there too.

Today is a start of new year.  My New Year’s resolution is to be honest.  I want to be honest to my feelings and try to share it with other people.  I hope this year will be one of the wonderful year of my life.


Cot and Moon

Posted November 16th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

I haven’t been cooking lately: just eating in-law’s food at home (^^)  Eating Indonesian/Chinese food everyday does make my stomach upset sometimes.  In that case I just make salad or eat fruits.  I don’t have a big appetite at night anyway..

Last night was shumai – … well, it doesn’t look like the normal shumai we eat at dim sum restaurants, but it’s how they (my in-laws) call this dish.  In Indonesia, shumai can be like this steamed meatballs with spicy peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce.  In-law attaches the meatballs with boiled eggs, tofu and potatoes and steam together.  The photo looks very messy, but that how you are supposed to eat (^^;).  Pour sauce, and mix all together!

After a cot arrived, our “spare room” started to look more like a nursery room.  I got this cot from an online shop on a 1-day-free-shipping-sale.  This walnut coloured cot can adjust the height, and has hidden drop sides and is convertible to a toddler day-bed.  The thing I appreciate the most is the removable casters.  This cot is pretty heavy, but I can easily move it around thanks to the lockable wheels.

The mattress and IKEA changing table is from in-law.  We’ve got some nappies, baby wipes, wraps, pacifiers, cot cover, sheet, clothes, etc etc, but need to buy more things – a cushion for the changing table, mattress protector (as this mattress is not mine), bottles, etc etc.

We bought some junks too.

This remote controlled Moon In My Room shows 12 lunar phases of the moon automatically/manually, lights up when it’s dark, and shuts off automatically.  It certainly is not a toy for a baby, it’s just for us to enjoy..

(The actual colour is more whitish)

When I browse nursery rooms online, they look so cute and most of them have the theme –  yellow, blue, princess, ocean, etc.  Our room looks like just a room!


Japanese Pancake with Sweet Red Bean (Dorayaki)

Posted June 22nd, 2010 in Food | 6 Comments »

A fluffy pancake sandwich with chunky azuki bean paste….

You may have seen Doraemon, a cat-shaped robot in Japanese cartoon, eating dorayaki.  Dorayaki is a Japanese sweet which consists of two small pancakes and a filling of anko (azuki bean paste).

I list 2 recipes below : ↓↓

It’s always the best to use an electric grill pan so that cakes turn evenly brown.  And, controlling the heat is the another key to make this moist pancake.
The standard dorayaki has a filling of azuki bean paste, but nowadays you can get with custard cream filling, white bean paste (shiro-an), whipped cream, etc in Japan.  I spread margarin to the pancakes, but normally you just add azuki bean paste.  I thought a filling of grated cheddar and condensed milk would be a nice match too.  (like Indonesian Martabak)
<Dorayaki> makes 4 (small batch)
  • 2 Eggs (M~L)
  • 4 tbs (60g) Sugar
  • 2 tbs Honey
  • 80g Plain flour
  • 20g Baking flour
  • 1/2 Baking soda
  • about 4 tbs Milk (to adjust)
  • 80g tsubu-an (chunky red bean paste) (recipe here and here)
  • margarin to spread (optional)
  1. Place egg, sugar, and honey in a bowl and whisk until fluffy.
  2. Shift in the dry ingredients.  Mix using a spatular quickly. (don’t mix too much)
  3. Add milk gradually.  Mix with spatular, but do not stir too much.  Move the spatular as if you are cutting the batter.
  4. Heat an skillet or hot plat, and spray oil lightly.  Using a small ladle, pour a scoop of the batter into the skillet and make a small pancake.
  5. Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface. Repeat this process with remaining batter to make 8 pancakes.  Cover the pancakes with plastic wraps to prevent from drying.
  6. Spread margarine on one side of pancakes, and sandwich a scoop of azuki bean paste.
I used this recipe when making dorayaki last night.  This recipe uses less ingredients, and still turned out to be delicious :))
<Dorayaki> makes 2~4aa
  • 1 Egg (L)
  • 30g Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • 50g Plain flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon Baking powder
  • Anko (red bean paste) (recipe here and here)
  1. Beat egg with sugar in a bowl.  Add honey, and mix until smooth.
  2. Shift in flour & baking powder, and mix with a spatula until the mixture is smooth and has shiny surface.  Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Take the pan off the stove and place the bottom of the pan on a wet towel to even the heat.  Place the pan back to the stove, over low heat, and spray oil lightly.  Pour the mixture (about 2 tablespoons) into the pan and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Flip the pancake and cook another side.  Keep the cooked pancakes on a plate covered with plastic wrap to prevent from drying.  Repeat with remaining mixture.
  4. Spread anko between 2 pancakes and press lightly to shape.

Sleeping in

Posted June 10th, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

As I have a terrible low blood pressure, I sometimes have huge headache as I wake up.  Not only my head, but neck, shoulders….  Don’t tell me it’s because of my pillow :p

After taking hot shower it feels better.  Then I just sit down on a chair and think about stuff –  anything: thinking about my friend who just went back to Japan yesterday, about work, about food I’ve been eating, about a trip I’ve been planing, about my dad who is planning to visit Perth soon etc etc.

My friend is staying in Japan for 2 months!  Then she is flying to Malaysia for shopping, and to Phuket to get massage…  That’s the kind of holiday I need right now!

I had toasted health bagel this morning.  This bagel is new, and it contains poppy seeds, linseeds, azuki beans and walnuts.    I toasted well done, as usual, and spread fig jam on one side, and cream cheese on another side.

My husband, on the other hand, had one piece of garlic bread, two boiled eggs, and small serve of coleslaw salad.

It was pretty healthy breakfast for him.  He sometimes spend a day without eating any vegetables….  (>0<)

A shot of a bird that was resting its feet on our chilli seedlings.  I was so slow to grab my camera and shoot a photo, and a second later it flew away!

These days I’ve been having opportunity to do bit of my work (new project!) and it’s been pretty good so far.  I’m not sure if it’ll ever going to be shown to the public, but let’s see…

A Mochi Maker

Posted April 10th, 2010 in Food | 7 Comments »

I have been making mochi – Japanese sticky rice cakes  since I came back from Japan.  I bought this SEGA toy called “kururin-mocchi” which is a mochi making toy for kids.

When I was little, my grandma used to make mochi with a big mochi machine (proper one) at home on New Years Eve, and we ate fresh made mochi on the morning of New Years day every year.  The machine we had was automatic, so we didn’t do the traditional mochi making method (with huge wooden equipments) but dividing hot mochi rice into small pieces and shaping them were such hard job to do.  

Now, here in Perth, I’m making mochi again :p  Since this Sega machine is pretty small, I can only make small portion at once.  But, it’s enough for two of us 😀

I looooove fresh mochi with vanilla ice cream!  I normally make mochi in bulk, and portion them in plastic wrap so that I just need to heat up one in the microwave whenever I want to eat.  Warm mochi and melty vanilla ice cream … yummy!

You can make mochi without this Sega toy, and it is pretty cheap to make 🙂  You can also enjoy mochi in azuki bean porridge.

Cooking azuki beans from scratch does take time, but it worths when making a big portion.  Buying tinned azuki paste is pretty expensive here.


  • 140 g mochi rice (sticky rice)
  • 150 cc water

  1. Wash rice, and soak in water for 30 minutes.  Cook rice in the same way you cook normal rice.  (I cook in the microwave as this is such a small amount of rice)
  2. Pound steamed rice into a piece of sticky cake while the rice is hot.  It should be smooth, and very sticky. 
  3. With hands dusted with corn flour, divide the mochi into small balls.  

You can keep them in the room temperature (covered).  If you keep in the fridge, the mochi will become hard.  You can microwave them before eating to make softer.

    <Azuki Bean Porridge>
    • 1 cup azuki beans, uncooked
    • 1 cup sugar (I use raw sugar)
    • a pinch of salt
    1. Wash azuki beans.  Place beans to a large pot filled with water.  Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Discard the water, and fill up with water again.  Bring to the boil, and discard the water.  Repeat this for 3~4 times.
    2. When the beans are soft enough to squash with two fingers, drain the beans and place in a clean pot with sugar and salt.  Turn on the heat, stir constantly,  and cook until the sugar dissolves.  Turn the heat to very low and cook, stir constantly, until most of the liquid is gone.  Turn off the heat.
    3. Pour azuki beans in a serving bowl, and add hot water to make it soupy.  (adjust the water amount to your liking)  Enjoy with mochi.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Simple Food

    Posted March 9th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

    It may be because I’m trying to do so in my head, but my mind is already in Japan.  Wouldn’t it better and more fun if I think about Japan a lot and tell myself “hey you are going to be there in few days!”  It’ll make myself feel more exciting once I arrive Japan.  🙂

    What certainly enhanced this feeling was this sekihan (red sticky rice)

    Sekihan is sticky rice cooked with azuki beans, and it’s a traditional Japanese dish for celebrations.  My friend cooked it for me when I visited her house last week 🙂   As you can tell from the photo, it was so delicious…!  

    Sekihan with soup and pickles: it may look like a tiny meal, but this is how I like the meal to be!  I always thought a meal in Australia is such huge portion.  I’m even happy to just eat a bowl of steamed rice with pickles and a bowl of soup every night!  (especially after watching Grave of Fireflies)

    Too much is not a good thing, I believe.  “Just right” or “little less” is the best. (腹八分目)  It’s not only for food, but other stuff as well such as toys, clothes, time, etc.  If there is a limit, whatever it is, you will appreciate it.

    I’m seriously thinking to stay in a temple while I’m in Japan!  Even one day, experiencing monk’s life in a temple may clean up my mind and spirit.  … I don’t think staying in a temple will happen to me this time, but I hope to visit a temple and sit down there, listening to myself.  While I was a elementary school student, it was a school’s event that all students had to visit a temple to listen to a monk’s story.  Back then I kind of didn’t like it and thought “why we had to come here in such a hot day” etc.  I didn’t appreciate it.  So were other students.  Now, however, I miss it, and appreciate the monk who took his time to do even though we (students) weren’t keen to the story.

    Hard and Soft

    Posted January 16th, 2010 in Bagelier Bagel | 3 Comments »

    I think I really messed up…  I started Bagelier because I thought I could make some bagels similar to what I used to eat while in Japan.  Actually the bagels I make are not traditional ones, they are more “Japanese” style: which the dough is little softer and ingredients such as azuki paste are rolled inside of the dough while it’s been shaped into a ring.  I should have mentioned on the website and to everyone that “Bagelier bagels are little different from traditional Jewish bagels”.

    One of my customer asked me why not sell the bagels and sweets in a newly opened market in Bentley. I went down there and had a look around.  I was surprised to see many cars turning left into the market from Manning Road, and the market was packed with people.  I had a chat with an organizer of the market, and he was saying “it’s funny that we have two bakeries in this market and they are Jewish, but they don’t sell bagels.  Instead, a Japanese girl wants to sell bagels!” 🙂

    I don’t think I can sell bagels there as there are already few shops selling bread, cakes and biscuits.  He said he is looking for someone who wants to sell hand-made clothes and crafts.  If someone is interested in..

    Some of Japanese bagels are soft because some fillings are rolled inside of the bagels.  I like hard crust and chewy dough inside.  If you buy bagels and eat at home, I recommend to toast them before eating so that you can enjoy the nice crust.

    I was trying out some new flavor bagels.  Oven-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese (right) and Earl Grey Tea (left).  These two bagels on the photo are made with softer dough (looks fluffy).  I still prefer more “crusty” and “heavy” dough like the photo at the top :p  

    Tomato and Cheese bagels has a nice flavor.  I don’t know which dough would be nice: soft and fluffy or hard and dense for this flavor.  Earl Grey bagel, personally it’s not for me.  Some bakeries in Japan sell “milk tea bagel” with Earl Grey.

    Sweet Pumpkin Doughnuts

    Posted August 29th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
    This morning I woke up early and was wondering around the kitchen.  I like having coffee in the morning so I made a cup of black coffee, and opened the fridge if there’s anything to munch on.  I was kind of half asleep, and sipping hot coffee and walking around thinking whether I should turn on tv or just enjoy this quite moment … if someone sees me in the morning I must look weird, but that’s me :p
    When I was looking inside of the fridge I found a small piece of pumpkin.  It’s just a leftover from roasted pumpkin I made the other night.  Then I thought ” hey maybe I make some doughnuts using the pumpkin.”
    I used to make many kinds of doughnuts when I was back in Japan, such as sweet potato doughnuts, carrot doughnuts,  kinako (soy bean powder) coated doughnuts, doughnuts with vanilla ice cream and azuki an (chunky azuki paste), etc.  I love doughnuts with carrot, sweet potato or pumpkin as they are not too sweet and high in nutrition.  Good for kids 🙂
    Here is the recipe :
    <Pumpkin Doughnuts>
    • 100 g pumpkin
    • 150 g plain flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 50 g sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • vanilla essence
    1. Cut pumpkin and peel the skin off.  Steam or microwave until it’s soft.  Drain well, an  mash up until smooth.
    2. In a bowl, place mashed pumpkin, egg yolk, sugar and few drops of vanilla essence.  Mix with a wooden spoon or a spatula.
    3. Shift in flour and baking powder and mix well.  (* at this point add 1 tbs of water into the dough if the mixture is too tough.  If the dough is already soft, there is no need to add water.)
    4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
    5. Heat up oil to 160~170 ℃.  Using two table spoons, slowly drop half table spoon of dough into oil, one at a time, and deep-fry until it’s golden.
    6. Drain, and serve on a plate.  Dust with icing sugar.
    As I mentioned earlier this doughnut is not too sweet, so if you want to add more sweetness you can either:
    drop into a tray of cinnamon sugar while it’s hot.
    you can dip into melted chocolate,
    enjoy with some icing.  🙂
    You can also make them in different shapes such as rings and sticks.
    Ring : cut baking paper into appx 10cm square, and pipe out the mixture into ring shape onto the baking paper.  Slowly drop the paper (with the mixture on) into 160~170 ℃ oil, facing the doughnuts side down, and deep-fry.  The paper will come off itself.
    Stick : Drop a tiny amount of oil on your hands, and shape the dough into a stick, then quickly drop into heated oil.  Be careful not to burn yourself!
    Now, if you excuse me I need to go back to the kitchen and finish up my doughnut while it’s hot. 🙂

    Home Made Asian Sweets

    Posted August 25th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

    My mother-in-law (M) cooks everyday.  She sometimes cook Indonesian sweets for us and they are really nice.  Since the parents came to Perth I haven’t cooked any food at home. :p   She is always in the kitchen doing something, so there is no space for me!

    Here are some of Indonesian sweets she made…

    <Ketan Hitam>

    Ketan = glutinous rice, hitam = black in Indonesian (according to M)

    If you browse on internet you’ll see various forms of this dish, but M always make like this ↓↓↓

    Like porridge.

    On the photo it looks like azuki beans, but the texture is totally different.  This black rice is very chewy and juicy.  I love the texture!


    • 400g black glutinous rice
    • 1300ml water
    • 2 pandan leaves
    • 125ml palm sugar syrup (dissolve palm sugar with hot water)

    You can buy a small packet of black glutinous rice from Asian grocery shops.

    1. Wash rice.  Soak the rice in water for few hours (to soften up).
    2. Place rice in a sauce pan with water and pandan leaves.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low.  Cook for about 40 minutes.  You’ll need to stir constantly.
    3. Add palm sugar syrup, and stir until the liquid almost evaporates.  Add a pinch of salt.
    4. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.

    They usually eat this Ketan Hitam with coconut milk.

    <Biji Salak>

    This is also a chewy sweet ♪

    • sweet potatoes
    • tapioca flour
    • palm sugar syrup
    1. Steam (or microwave) sweet potatoes.  (as much as you like)  Mash up.
    2. Add tapioca flour, 1 tbs at a time, and mix well.  Continue until you can roll up the mixture into a long stick shape.  Chop up  into 2~3 cm length.
    3. Boil water in a sauce pan, and add the sweet potato dumplings.  (not too much at a time)  Once the dumplings float to the surface, scoop them out.
    4. Serve with palm sugar syrup.  (and coconut milk)


    They are very easy to make, but to me they are “foreign food”.  In Japan we don’t eat coconut milk/cream (now maybe they do) as well as palm sugar, tapioca flour etc.  These food are all foreign things in Japan, and the food contained these ingredients are called “Asian food”.  Japanese food is pretty different from other “Asian” food.  🙂