Swan Animal Fete!

Posted March 31st, 2009 in にほんご, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Are you free this Sunday 5th April 2009??  If you live around Perth and would like to help cute doggies, why not attend this annual garage sale at Swan Animal Haven?

This dog home is located at 21 Kalamunda Road, South Guildford in Western Australia.  Donations of cakes, jams, plants and bric-a-brac would be much appreciated.

For more info, visit their website. 🙂

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South GuildfordにあるSwan Animal Havenというアニマル施設で、今週の日曜日4月5日にガレッジセールが行われます。



Sunday in Freo

Posted March 29th, 2009 in Perth WA | No Comments »

This afternoon D and I were wondering around Fremantle area.  I wasn’t looking for anything to buy, but when we stepped into E-shed market I found these wooden plates at a small shop inside of market.

It’s a set of 6: 2 wooden plates and 4 small forks, and they were $2.00.  Yes, $2.00 for 6 pieces.  Pretty cheap, huh??  All the products in the shop are from 100 yen shop in Japan, and they are selling them here at $2.00.  Considering the current currency rate, I think it’s a good deal.  I suddenly remembered how things were nice and cheap in Japan compared with Perth.  If you want to buy this type of thing somewhere else here, I assume that it’ll probably cost around $10.00!

I was already happy when I left the shop, but then one bonsai stall caught my attention.  There were varieties of bonsai trees as well as some ornaments and bonsai instruction booklets.  I decided to buy one bonsai kit: including one bonsai tree, plate, soil, bonsai food, wire (to re-shape the bonsai tree), one ornament and instruction booklet.  It was $15.00.  The lady was so nice, and she taught me how to maintain the tree and soil.  And, she said that we can bring in this tree every Sunday to show her and check how the bonsai condition is.  of course free of charge.  I was so lucky that I came here today!  If you are interested in bonsai, check out her website  Bonsai Palace.  It’s got lots of tips and hints for growing beautiful bonsai trees.

I love this turtle ornament.  So cute 🙂

Japanese Sommelier

Posted March 27th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Since in-laws are back in Perth, I haven’t been cooking at all at home :p  Kind of nice, I just eat whatever she cooks.  But, I’m actually fussy about food:  fussy in nutrition, not in taste :p  I eat anything, but prefer healthy food.  Lots of vegetables, not oily, light food is the best! – like Japanese food…  On the other hand, she always cooks food with oil.  Deep-fry, most of the time.  I can’t eat them everyday…  make me feel not good (><)

Well, I can’t complain, I know.  She is cooking for us.  So, I keep fresh vegetables in the fridge for myself to eat with her food everyday.  

… anyway,

Change of subject.  

Do you know what “sommelier” is?  “sommelier” means trained and knowledgeable wine professional.  So, it originally supposed to be pointing at “wine person”, however there are many unique professional people called “sommelier” in Japan.

Cheese sommelier, Liquor sommelier should be common in other countries too ( I think), but there are knife sommelier, herb sommelier, rice sommelier, air sommelier, vegetable sommelier, etc… in Japan.  Recently I was surprised when one of my friend sent an email saying “hey I got a certificate for Onsen sommelier”. 

Onsen means “hot spring spa” in Japan.  I didn’t know there is such an occupation for being a professional about hot spring!  She passed the exam to be Onsen sommelier, so she must know lots of nice Onsen in Japan.  I will definitely ask her for recommendation!  I really want to go to nice Onsen in Japan.

Bintang Cafe

Posted March 24th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

Other day sister_in_law picked us up for quick lunch.  She likes eating out and knows lots of nice places.  This time she took us to this Bintang Cafe in Victoria Park. 

This cafe serves Indonesian food.  I think their menu is real Indonesian food and comparable to ones you get in Indonesia as I ate similar food when I was in Jakarta.  

“Try our best home made egg noodles”  According to their menu, it seems that egg noodle is their speciality!  I normally prefer rice noodles, so I ordered kway teow noodle but I tried little bit of egg noodles from partner’s bowl.  He ordered Mie Ayam Jamur & Bakso = egg noodle soup with chicken pieces and beef meat balls.  I knew Bakso means “beef meat balls” and I ate this type of noodle back in Jakarta.  It was nice.

At first I thought the portion was quite small, but I was pretty full after emptying the bowl.  The soup was tasty 🙂  I heard that some Indonesian places in Perth use MSG though…  do they??

We also ordered chicken satay.  It was really nice.  I like the frame-grilled flavor… and the peanut sauce!  Yum.

I saw people eating some fish and chicken dish with rice.  They looked really nice.  The fish was grilled (or fried) and served with some sambal?  I don’t know, I should try it next time.

By the way this eating place is quite small, and the atmosphere reminds me of Indonesia.  If you want to try typical Indonesian food (noodle, rice dish and some side dish) I recommend this place.  This place is always full with Indonesian / Malaysian customers.

Japanese Omelet with Roasted Eel (U-maki)

Posted March 22nd, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

  • 1/2 ~ 1 packet of frozen unagi
  • 4~5 eggs
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt
  1. Defrost unagi.  Cut it to about 5cm width.  Adjust the length of unagi to match the pan you are using.  (you may be not using even 1/2 of unagi, it depends on its size)
  2. Mix all the liquid together with egg.
  3. Heat up tamagoyaki ki (frying pan for tamagoyaki – Japanese rolled omelet) and pour 1 tsp of oil.  Wipe off the excess with paper towel.  Pour about 1/4 of the egg mixture into the pan and scramble as you would lightly cooked scrambled eggs.  Over low heat, let the bottom of egg set.
  4. Once the bottom of omelet is set, place unagi on the egg; about 3 cm from the edge of the pan.
  5. Carefully roll up the egg,  (same as making sushi roll)  and push the omelet to the edge of pan.
  6. Clean the surface of pan with oiled paper towel.
  7. Pour another 1/4 of egg mixture into the pan and rotate the pan so that it coats the entire bottom. Quickly lift the cooked egg mass up and let the egg mixture flow underneath before putting it back down. This step is crucial in getting the layers to adhere.
  8. When the new layer of egg is almost cooked through but still a little wet on top, roll it up like step 5.
  9. Continue the process until you use up all the mixture.
  10. If the roll seems undercooked or unstable, you may want to turn the roll on its side and cook briefly to firm things up.
  11. To make it look nice, use makisu (bamboo mat) to re-shape the omelet.  Let it cool the omelet in makisu.  (this process is not necessary if you don’t care the shape 🙂
  12. Cut and serve.
*** You can use normal frying pan, but it’ll be little difficult to shape like how it should be.

Ume in Perth

Posted March 18th, 2009 in Japan, Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

People get surprised when I tell them this, but I have never been outside of Western Australia.  I’ve been living in Australia for almost 6 years, but never been to Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast etc…  I originally love traveling, but I guess I haven’t had chance to go anywhere.  It’s surprising to me too actually, I really think I should explore outside of WA sometime soon!

More surprising thing is, I don’t even leave Perth Metropolitan area often.  Plus I’ve never been to popular tourist destinations even around WA such as Monkey MIa, Wave Rock, Ayres (Airs) Rock, Albany etc.  The places I’ve been since I came to Perth are Swan Valley, Rottnest Island, Margaret River, Pemberton, Busselton and Bunbury.  Wow..

So, I’m planning to travel somewhere this year if I can.  Does anyone have recommendation where I should go?  I’m thinking maybe Melbourne… or Gold Coast.  Melbourne, I have a friend over there and I can visit her.  Or go to Gold Coast and pretend like I’m an ordinal Japanese tourist who just flew from Kansai airport :p

By the way I’m actually going back to Japan around September (as I promised my grandma on my previous homecoming), so the trip within Australia might going to happen next year.  If I had a chance to fly to Japan I prefer it to anywhere else.  This time the Japan trip will be a different one as I’m planning traveling around Japan and stay at Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) with Onsen (natural hot spring)  (our pre-honeymoon :))  I can’t wait!  Traveling really eases my tension and stress.

(photo from lonelyplanet)

Satsuki Japanese Restaurant

Posted March 15th, 2009 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | 6 Comments »

Both my fiance and I have been very busy over the last few weeks, so we agreed to take a break and have a relaxing dinner out.  We both like any cuisine, but I felt like something “Japanese”.  Not like “teriyaki set” or “tempura set”… real Japanese food!  After thinking where we should go, we made a phone call to Satsuki Japanese restaurant to book a table.

I’m glad that I choose this restaurant.  The staff was so kind and polite.  When I was making a reservation on the phone, the staff kindly told me “there is one table available for two, and counter seats.  The available table is actually at between 2 large group bookings, so it may be little noisy.”  After her suggestion, I booked counter seats.  It was a great decision as those large groups were quite loud.

At the restaurant, we ordered Beef Tataki, Deep-fried Spicy Tuna Rolls, and Slowly Simmered Pork Belly.

Deep-fried sushi rolls sounded interesting to me.  Did they really deep-fry sushi rolls??  … yes, they did!  The tuna inside of the rolls was still raw as “sashimi”, and the tuna and spicy chili powder were well matched.

I loved the way they arranged the food on plates.  They use chic looking dishes, and the garnish is well presented.  The crispy lotus root chips, garnish for Beef Tataki, were lovely.

They close on Sun and Mon, and I recommend to make a booking on weekends.  You can browse their food and drink menu from here.

Scattered Sushi with Salmon (Chirashi Zushi)

Posted March 11th, 2009 in Food | 2 Comments »

Why don’t you try this colourful Japanese dish?  Chirashi-zushi is a kind of sushi: seasoned vegetables (carrots, shiitake mushrooms..) are mixed with sushi rice, and sometimes we decorate the top with sashimi (raw fish / fish roe / seafood), shredded thin omelet and kizami-nori (shredded nori seaweed sheet).

I made this dish with grilled salmon fillet.  No complicated job, as there is no need to roll up the rice and stuffing on nori sheet like sushi rolls.  Once you have all the ingredients you can just mix them up ♪

<Salmon Chirashi Zushi> for 2 people

  • 100~150 g Salmon Fillets (no skin)
  • 1 tbs sake (or white wine)
  • 2 cups steamed short grain rice
  • 1 egg
  • kizami nori
  • sushi seasoning powder/liquid, salt
  1. Mix sushi seasoning into hot steamed rice.  Allow to cool.
  2. Sprinkle sake to salmon, and leave it for few minutes.  Season salmon with salt and grill until just done.
  3. Whisk egg with few drops of water, and cook into very thin sheet.  Remove from the pan and allow it to cool.
  4. Cut the egg sheet into thin strips.  Break salmon meat.
  5. Arrange seasoned sushi rice with salmon, egg strips and kizami nori.
It’s quite cheap to make if you don’t use sashimi or fresh fish roe (even though I love those expensive things :p) , or you can actually buy “chirashi zushi seasoning” which comes with kizami nori, and all the seasoned vegetables in the packet.

Japanese Style Garlic Steak

Posted March 7th, 2009 in Food | 6 Comments »

I try to eat red meat often as I have very law blood pressure and need to eat iron rich food.  I seldom ate beef when I was in Japan, but now I eat them a lot as they are pretty cheap in Australia (oz beef) and healthy.  (Japanese beef got marbled fat, so they are high in calorie and fat)  Some people say that red meat is very dry and tough, but I actually like it.  When you eat tough food, you need to chew and it strengthen your jaw.  You can cook meat medium or medium-rare if you like it moist.

If you go to Japanese restaurant here you might find a menu “teriyaki beef”.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is no such food “teriyaki beef” in Japan.  In Japan we’d call it “steak” or “yakiniku”, maybe.  Japanese steak is often eaten with steamed rice.  The sauce is soy sauce based, and most of the time it’s flavored with garlic.

It’s very easy to cook.  Well, it’s a steak: you basically just need to grill the meat.  What you can do to make it Japanese style (wafu) is the sauce.  It’s also easy to make too.

<Garlic Steak>

  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 clove garlic
If you are cooking the steak in a frying-pan
  1. Slice garlic.  Place 1 tsp of oil in a pan and sliced garlic.  Turn on the heat and cook them till crisp and lightly brown.  Take the garlic chips out from the pan and set aside.
  2. Season the meat, and grill in the same pan.  Arrange the cooked steak on a serving plate.
  3. Pour soy sauce and sake into the pan and bring to boil.  Add garlic chips, and turn off the heat.  Pour the sauce over steak.
If you are grilling the meat using grill plate/BBQ
You can make the sauce separately.  Cook garlic chips in a frying-pan, and take them out from the pan.  Add soy sauce and sake to the pan and bring to boil.  Add garlic chips to the sauce.

My “Must” Item

Posted March 5th, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »

What do you feel like eating when you are really really hungry??  I mean, the situation where you can almost eat a horse.  Would you run to KFC, or do you cook steak quickly to fill up your stomach?  I, on the other hand, rush to cook rice first.  When my stomach is empty I need to fill it up with steamed rice!  Yes, that’s right.  I am Japanese :p

I also love bread, pasta, chips, hotdog etc… but I always come back to simple steamed rice.  My family owns few rice fields in Japan, so I grew up with rice everyday.  

What do I eat with steamed rice?  Well, steamed rice is like “main dish” in Japan.  In every meal there is steamed rice, and some side dishes like grilled fish or miso soup.  I can even eat one bowl of steamed rice with just few pickles.  That’s what people used to eat in old era in Japan.

There are many rice dishes in Japanese cuisine, such as rice balls (Onigiri), Chirashi Zushi, Omu-Rice, Domburi, 3 Shoku Gohan etc.  Some people eat noodle or Okonomiyaki as a side dish of steamed rice.  It’s very easy to eat rice everyday in Japan, even you are away from home, as you can just grab Onigiri or Bento from convenience stores nearby.  (they’ll heat up the food for you)  

When I get hungry my character changes.  I don’t know why I can’t control myself, but it’s been like that since I was a child :p  So, rice is quite important food in my life, I guess.  I can keep myself calm 😉

Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

Posted March 4th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

The weather in Perth was pretty cold last weekend.  It was windy, and I had to wear extra jacket to cover up my body.  I actually love this type of weather.  I think most people prefer sunny days, but I’m little different.  I even like typhoon or stormy weather since I was a kid.

Anyway, I decided to cook lamb shanks for dinner.  Lamb is not my favorite meat, actually.  I would normally go for chicken, beef or pork, but I just felt like lamb on that day.  I love stewed meat which is very tender and melts away on the tongue (beef, especially) so I slowly cooked lamb shanks in a pot for more than 2 hours.

It turned out just fine.  If I used a pressure cooker it’d probably be much quicker to cook, I think.

<Lamb Shanks>

  • 500 g Lamb shanks
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsley stalk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  1. Slice onion and carrot.  Crush garlic.  Marinade lamb, vegetables, garlic and parsley in red wine for overnight.  
  2. Drain meat and vegetables.  (keep the wine)  
  3. Heat up olive oil in a pan.  Season lamb and sear.  Once the meat is nicely colored, take them out from the pan and set aside.
  4. Saute vegetables and garlic in the same pan.  When the onion become slightly transparent, place the lamb back into the pan.
  5. Add red wine.  Turn up the heat, bring to a boil and remove scum.  Place a lid and simmer several hours. 
Nice to eat with mashed potatoes, boiled pasta or fresh bread 🙂