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.
or,
you can dip into melted chocolate,
or,
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. 🙂

Milk and Honey

Posted August 28th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | 2 Comments »
 
I found a nice-looking cafe in Northbridge, called “Milk and Honey”.  The naming is cute, and I like the shop : looks clean and tidy.  The logo of a cow in yellow and white color is adorable. (‘v’)
  
Unfortunately, the shop was closed when I walked pass, but I had a chance to have a quick chat with the owner couple : they’re so friendly and kind.  (I think the husband is from somewhere around Europe?)  
  
I think this place is perfect for someone who wants to have a nice breakfast, or a relaxing coffee time in the afternoon.   I found that the menu at Milk and Honey sounds pretty good 🙂  I was always thinking that lots of cafes around Perth have very similar menus, very basic ones (bacon + egg, eggs benedict etc) but I feel like eating something different sometimes!  According to the menu at Milk and Honey, they have some basic menus such as Bacon and Egg, Croissants and Big Brekkie (at Milk and Honey it’s called “The Big One”) as well as .. ↓↓↓ 
   
Salmon Twist – Smoked salmon and poached eggs on a bed of rocket, and drizzled with basil EVO oil.
   
Spanish BK – Spicy scrambled free-range eggs with grilled chorizo, roasted Roman tomatoes and rocket. 
   
All day breakfast salad – Bacon, poached eggs, grilled tomato and mixed greens.
   
And, their roll menu is tempting too: I like Beef and Veg roll – Real roast beef, marinated & grilled vegetables, avocado spread, herb mayo and mixed greens!
   
They only open on weekdays from 7 am ~ 4 pm at the moment, but they are planning to open on weekends as well from sometime in September.  And, as an opening promotion their coffee (limited items) is $2.00, and coffee + muffin is $5.00.  I can’t go there on weekdays (as I have to stay in the office :p ) but I would like to have breakfast or lunch there when they open on weekends.
  
82 James St
Northbridge, 6003 
(08) 9227 0500   

Fremantle Chocolate Factory

Posted August 26th, 2009 in Perth WA | 1 Comment »

When my partner and I were riding around Fremantle the other day, we decided to drop by this factory and have a look around.  Although this place opens 7 days a week, and has been advertising on one of Japanese news magazines in Perth, it was my first time going there.  

While we were parking our vespa, I saw few Japanese people (I could tell!) going towards this factory.   Hmm seems that the advertising on the Japanese magazine is really effective, otherwise this place is hard to be found and no one would realize there is a chocolate factory in Fremantle – especially tourists. (‘x’)

As we entered the factory I saw Japanese news magazines on a rack, and a sign board on the wall written in Japanese!  Wow lots of Japanese people must come here often.

They sell chocolate with a wide variety of flavors, and the packaging has a logo of “Chocolate Factory Fremantle”, so they make great souvenirs.  There are free tasting chocolate (milk, dark and white), and I tasted white chocolate buttons.  They are pretty sweet.

What I found interesting is that they also sells some molded chocolate : shaped into some animals, gift basket etc.  I thought they are really cute, and I almost bought a treasure box shaped chocolate.  Then I realized “wait, who am I gonna give this to??  I can’t bring it to Japan as it might melt (as it is hot in Japan), and partner’s parents can’t have lots of sugar.”  It would be a good gift if you have someone who loves chocolate.

They also sell some handmade fudge delivered from Margaret River Fudge Factory as well as Morish Nuts products.

You can see inside of factory through windows.

 

Fremantle Chocolate Factory
312 South Terrace (cnr Lefroy St) South Fremantle WA 6162
08 9335 5529
website

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.  🙂


News From Japan

Posted August 24th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

I talked to my brother over skype on Saturday night asking how the things are going and what’s new in Japan.  Then, he told me about the climate…

Japan has 4 seasons: spring (Mar~May), summer (June~Aug), autumn (Sep~Nov), and winter (Dec~Feb).  Usually June is the rainy season, and after it finish summer comes.  Around August the winds start to get cool and there’re typhoons around September. (typhoons indicate “it’s the end of summer)  And, around October the trees and mountains start to change its color to yellow, orange and red.  (autumn)  You get to see dragonflies, and hear some autumn insects singing.  Around the end of November ~ December the air gets cold and cold, and some places have snow.  March, you can see some buds on the ground and notice the sky is getting blue.  That’s what I know about a whole year in Japan.

So, in September I was expecting to see beautiful autumn color mountains and eat lots and lots of autumn food…  until I talked to my brother (>0<)

My bro told me that this year has been really weird.  The rainy season just finished few weeks ago (usually it’s supposed to finish around June~July) and now it is the middle of summer!  So, it’s like one month behind…  Oh no, when we go there it’s gonna be really hot and humid 🙁  I asked him if we need some jackets or coats just in case, and he said “are you crazy?” :p

… I hope I can still eat nice food there.  I’m sure I’ll be eating lots of soft serves and snow cones!  Maybe I can just wear yukata (casual kimono-like summer wear) and walk around the lake and rivers 🙂

And, a bad news (T_T).  I sent an inquiry email to Softbank (a Japanese mobile company) asking if I could rent a 3G SIM card and use it on iphone/3GS.  (I wrote about this on here.)  They said that 3G SIM card rental service for iphones is only available at Narita airport (Tokyo) at the moment…   Whaaat (>0<)  So, I can’t get SIM card rental service at Kansai airport!  Hmm…  

Now I’m thinking to buy a pre-paid mobile in Japan.  Having a pre-paid mobile in Japan is really unusual thing…  My friend, who also had a same issue as me, went back to Japan to stay for just 3 months.  She needed a mobile, but didn’t want to buy on contract.  (in Japan mobiles are usually sold on contact bases)  She went to Softbank to buy a prepaid mobile, then the shop staff asked her many times “are you sure you want to get a pre-paid mobile?!  We have a low cost plan here.”  …

These days prepaid mobiles are only available from limited companies.   Even Docomo stopped selling prepaid mobiles in 2005.  Prepaid mobiles are not popular in Japan, but i guess I will need to buy one (phone itself costs about 5000 yen).  It is really really inconvenient being in Japan without a mobile.


Night Out in Northbridge

Posted August 22nd, 2009 in Perth WA | No Comments »

My fiance and I went to Northbridge last night.  It was just because 1: we wanted to have time away from his parents (:p), 2: my fiance’s friend and his girlfriend flew from Singapore/Malaysia 2 days ago and staying in Perth for 5 days, so maybe we could catch up with them.  Though we weren’t so hungry we were just wondering around to find a place where we can sit down and call the friends what they’re doing. As we enter the centre of Northbridge I noticed there are lots of racing-type cars and many people were gathering around them. …wow what’s going on? :p

  

My fiance told me that maybe they just finish a race somewhere and were having dinner. The road was closed and these cars were parked on James St.

Then we proceeded to find a place to sit down!  We didn’t feel like eating “proper dinner food”, so we decided to munch on a kebab.

We went to Alto’s Kebab House on 39 Lake St. I had a chicken kebab with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. It’s nice that you can choose as many kinds of sauces as you want. ( I only got 2 sauces anyway though)

The bread (pitta?) was not that thin but not too thick, and kinda chewy. I remember I had a kebab in somewhere Margaret River and the bread was like 1.5 cm thick, and I didn’t like it :p I liked this chewy texture on Alto’s bread, but I also don’t mind if it was little thinner and crispy texture. 🙂

In the end we found out that friends were watching movie at Garden City, so we just headed to il gelato and I had a scoop of chocolate cinnamon – flavor of the month. My fiance had a scoop of pistachio at Gelare.

While we were eating dessert, all the racers started to drive away. .. with a extreme noise. :p   That recalled a memory of a Tokyo trip when I was 15.  It was a school trip to Tokyo Disneyland and the surrounding area, and we were staying at Tokyo Bay hotel.  That night, as it was almost 1 am and I was so tired after a whole day at Tokyo Disneyland, I was in the bed about to sleep.  Then, suddenly I heard a huge noise thru the window.  A noise of cars or motorbikes!  Some people must had been enjoying their night race or something… but it was toooo noisy! (>0<)  I couldn’t sleep.  After a while the noise stopped, (I think someone called polices maybe) but I was really pissed that night..   Watching car race is fun!  but not when you want to sleep .. 🙁

 

 


Soy Sauce

Posted August 21st, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

 

  

There are numbers of ingredients which are essential in Japanese cuisine.  The most important one is soy sauce, I believe.  Some people think that all Japanese food is seasoned with soy sauce (which is not true :p ) Some Japanese people do carry a small bottle of soy sauce when travel around the world.   Now, what is soy sauce anyway?  Soy sauce is called “Shouyu” in Japanese, and there are variety of flavors.  Standard soy sauce is a fermented sauce made from soy beans, roasted wheat, salt and water.  From what I have read the roasted wheat gives the aroma to the soy sauce.

Here are 8 popular types used in Japan (and in other world too).

Koikuchi:

This is the “standard” of Japanese soy sauce.  It is made from equal amounts of soy beans and wheat.

Usukuchi: 

This is a light Japanese soy sauce. It is used regularly in cooking. Even though its name means “light seasoned”and “Thin Taste”, Usukuchi soy sauce actually contains more salt than the standard Koikuchi sauce.  This soy sauce has lighter color than normal soy sauces, so it doens’t overwhelm the color of food.  Therefore people chose to use this soy sauce when they want to retain the color of ingredients in the dish.  (eg: Osuimono (clear soup)

Tamari: 

This sauce is made mainly from soy beans. There is only a small amount of wheat added. The flavor is richer than Koikuchi Shoyu.

Shiro-Jouyu: 

Meaning “white shouyu”, this soy sauce has a similar looking to starch syrup.  Shiro-jouyu contains high % of sugar than other soy sauces.  This soy sauce is also used to retain the color of ingredient in the dish. (eg: udon soup, clear soup, steam board)

Sashimi-Jouyu: 

This is a soy sauce mainly served with sashimi.  As this is a kind of Tamari soy sauce, it has dark looking color and rich flavor.  Other than sashimi, this soy sauce is also used to produce dark red color for teriyaki dish and simmered fish dish.

Gen-En-Jouyu: 

This salt reduced soy sauce contains 50% less salt than normal soy sauces.

Usushio-Shouyu: 

This salt reduced soy sauce contains 80% less salt than normal soy sauces.  

 

 


These days..

Posted August 20th, 2009 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | No Comments »

It’s been rainy days …   I found that the roads in Perth tend to have lots of small puddles when it rains.  These puddles really scare me off … when I drive in the rain my car floats on the water, and I think “aah, this is the end of my life ..” :p  Never had such experience before I came to Perth..  I think the road condition or drain system is not really good here.

By the way Matsuri Japanese restaurant opened it’s second shop today.  The new place is not a restaurant, it’s a takeaway shop, so I think they open only for lunch time selling bento or donburi type of food.  It’s in the city, near the new Woolworth on St George Tce.

Seems that there are few Japanese restaurants opening around Perth.  Hana Gozen, a Japanese takeaway food shop was opened nearly one month ago in the city.  This shop is owned by Indonesian, and I like how they named their shop.  When I went to Jakarta last time I noticed that Japanese restaurants there had very Japane-like names.  (eg: Hanamasa)  I don’t think they can speak or know Japanese words, and wonder how they came up with these names..  If I’m thinking to open up an Italian restaurant and thinking to decide the name, what I can think of is just simple Italian words such as “grazie” “Ciao” etc..   Did those Indonesian people asked some Japanese to make up a name, or they searched on dictionary ??  But I don’t see how they came up with “Hanagozen” Tokinowa” etc  Sugoi!
I heard that there’ll be a new Japanese restaurant in the city, and their menu and prices are similar to Taka’s Kitchen’s.  And, a Japanese restaurant Bonsai Restaurant & Cafe Lounge will open in Northbridge next month (September).  There’ll be up to 100 seats inside, and the Japanese head chef seems to have lots of experiences serving high quality food.
I’m not sure about this but I also heard that Ohnamiya in Applecross will open its second shop in Nedland.  
  
I’m actually waiting for someone opening an inexpensive Izakaya restaurant in Perth :_)  Or, something like family restaurants such as Denny’s or Big Boy.. just a place where I can hang around with cheap/casual food.  Can anyone?? :p

Next Cafe

Posted August 18th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | 12 Comments »

Next Cafe, a newly opened car themed cafe is located on Ardross street in Applecross. Although the size of the cafe is not that big, I was pretty impressed by their service and menu.

As I entered the cafe a lady (staff) gave me a big smile and kindly showed us their menu. I had to sit down and think what to have… they have a wide range of drink menu.

They have normal cappuccino and also some unique flavored coffees such as Iced Strawberry Espresso with Soda and Hawaiian Coffee, as well as Iced Red Bean and Iced Fruit Punch. One of their menu “Passion Me” is often consumed in Italy in summer, as the combination of passion fruit juice and coffee gives very sweet and refreshing taste. “Alpes Coffe” is named after its looking – a white snow (thick milk froth) topped on a double espresso and hazelnut syrup.

After browsing the menu for few minutes, my fiance and I decided to have orange latte and coconut cappuccino.

The staff asked me if I needed some sugar with coffee. I told her “no” as I don’t usually put sugar to my coffee. Then she said “this coffee is already pretty sweet.” I tasted orange latte, and it was, yes, really sweet! Ummm it was too sweet to me but I’m sure lots of people will like this type of sweet coffee. Then I tried coconut cappuccino; it smelled coconut syrup, but didn’t really taste coconut. :p Well, I loved nicely brewed coffee and fluffy milk froth very much though. The decoration on the milk froth was really cute, and I could feel that these coffee were made with care. 🙂

i will definitely come back here to try other drinks. Currently they are doing “$2.00 coffee on Tuesday” and “$3.50 cake on Thursday”.

Oh, and, I loved their interior too 🙂

 


Kit Kat in Japan-2

Posted August 17th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

I’ve wrote about Kit Kat long time ago (here) featuring the unique flavors of Japanese Kit Kat, and recently I had a chance to try few of them. A couple, friends of mine, just came back from Japan last week and brought me some Kit Kat as a souvenir. 🙂

Lemon Vinegar / Soy Sauce / Ramune

(yellow: Lemon Vinegar . purple: Soy Sauce . Blue: Ramune)
I knew about this “soy sauce” flavor, but not these “lemon vinegar” and “ramune” flavors. They must be new! Japan’s Nestle keeps producing new flavors…
I’ve read someone describing the soy sauce Kit Kat before, he was saying “it tastes like caramel”. I guess it’s because the sugar in soy sauce somehow produced “caramelized” flavor. …
Soy Sauce Kit Kat was coated with white chocolate, and it smelled very sweet.  It actually smelled like caramel puddings!  The guy was right (‘x’).  It was really milky and sweet.
Now, Ramune Kit Kat.  Look at the color!  It’s blue :p  As soon as I opened the package I could smell “ramune”!   … well it was more like a bubble-gum-like smell, actually.   I hesitated a little…  wow it’s weird, it’s chocolate but smells like a bubble gum.  (>0<)  But, when I put it in my mouth the smell was gone and I could simply taste the chocolate.  Ummm …
The Lemon Vinegar flavor .. very weird for chocolate, isn’t it.  Fortunately there’s no smell of vinegar much, and it tasted fine actually.  The taste was like chocolate with lemon.  (citrusy chocolate)
Overall, every flavor Kit Kat was pretty sweet.  I mean, really sweet..
Well, it was fun to try those unique flavors though,
I still like Sakura flavor, Maccha green tea flavor and strawberry cheesecake flavor! 🙂