Dreamy Donuts

Posted September 30th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

Dreamy Donuts was started in Australia and New Zealand, and currently there are 16 shops within Australia.  The shop in Carousel shopping centre (WA) opened just few months ago.  When I saw the sign of this shop in Carousel shopping centre before it’s opened, I actually thought “hmm just another donut shop”.  I didn’t really think that I would want to try them.  

After the shop opened I passed the shop and I noticed that they’re pretty busy.  All the donuts in showcase looked delicious and cute!  

I didn’t still buy donuts from them that time ( :p), but yesterday my sister-in-law bought a dozen of Dreamy donuts and I tried one.  It was really fluffy, soft and moist.  Yes it was delicious, almost like a cake. 🙂   Look at the photo!

I will buy them in the future for sure!  If the price was little cheaper it’d be great though … but I guess it’s the standard price for donuts in Perth 🙁


Souvenir from Japan Sep/09

Posted September 28th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Here are some of the souvenirs I bought from Japan trip.

Most of them are junks from 100 yen shop. :p  In the photo, the two banana cases, pink square kitchen timer, frog looking silicon pinch, yellow shower head are from Seria – one of 100yen shop in Japan.  I actually prefer Seria to Daiso now because the products in Seria are nicer and stylish.  And Daiso sells not only 100 yen products but also 200 yen ~ 500 yen products in the shop, so it’s bit confusing…  although I bought a tea pot from Daiso for 300 yen and it was a good shopping.

The green bean looking toy and white & black square things are from local electric shop near my house.   The green bean toy is called “Puni Puni Edamame” – Electric Popping Soybean Pod Keychain.  It’s just a funny stuff…  The white & black “Human Player” is a toy that you answer 50 questions on the initial setup and create another “you”, then you can watch what another you is doing on the screen anytime.  You can also create other people like your friends or family and play games too.  The personality of another you is made based on your answers.  I bought it because it’s cheap: retail price was about 3600 yen but the shop was selling it at 300 yen!  

The round looking white machines are from Yodobashi Umeda (I wrote about this shop in my previous post).  The one in the box is “Aqua Rain”, a floating fountain with prismatic color light and quiet sound of waterfalls.  The another machine next to it is “Relaxing Spa Light”, a floating mood light with 4 different nature sounds (river, insect, bird and wave).

  Those type of machines are for Japanese people who take bath every night.  We bought them just to remember Japan, even though we hardly take bath in Perth. :p

I just love shopping in Japan.  Every time I go back, there are always something new and they are not that expensive.  In the shops I saw more interesting toys such as Bowlingual Voice – a machine which translates dog’s bowwow into message, Home Star – a home planetarium machine which projects beautiful stars on your ceiling, and you can also chose which day’s stars to be projected: eg 21/Sep/08. etc etc.

If you like these gadgets it’d be fun to just look for some “treasures” in electric shops in Japan.


Shopping Day

Posted September 26th, 2009 in Perth WA | No Comments »

What a fine day today!  It sure is getting closer to spring.  Maybe summer is just around the corner already.

Today I did my first shopping after coming back from holiday.  My hubby and I went to Joondalup around 9am, window-shopping around the shopping mall and, then went to IKEA to buy some small staff.  The small kitchen trolley is going to be on sale from 28/Sep till 05/Oct ($69.00)!  I have similar looking kitchen island at home, and might as well buy this too 🙂  Need to come back next week..

Then we went to Garden City shopping centre.  (Yes we were driving around Perth from North to South :p ) In Garden City we were wondering around Myer, then noticed that they’re doing a sale.  We went to kitchen section on 3F and found out that some of the mixers are 15% off.  I’d been wanting to buy one nice mixer for myself, (I’d been using mother-in-law’s).  We actually had few Coles/Myer cards from friends for our wedding, so we decided to use them to buy the mixer.  

My first mixer ♪  Before buying this Sunbeam mixer we’re actually thinking to buy KitchenAid‘s mixer (very popular, cheaper than Dualit but still expensive!).  The reason why we chose this mixer is the price, and other features like strong 850 watt.  I used the gift card to buy this $369 mixer, thank you guys…   BTW 15% off sale ends on Monday 🙂 

After coming home I finally had a chance to wash my car.  It was super dirty…  that’s the demerit of having a black car, isn’t it.  Aware of this, however, I still wanted to buy black car anyway.  So I need to wash it occasionally.  Now my car is clean, I wonder what to do tomorrow 🙂

 


September Food in Japan

Posted September 25th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Bi-Bim-Ba and Yakiniku at local Yakiniku-Ya (restaurant)

September is the beginning of Autumn in Japan, but I was expecting the climate to be hot as I had been told from my family and friends that it was still hot and humid around the end of August.  However, it seems that air temperature dropped very quickly: the climate was like Autumn by the time we arrived Japan.  My dad told me that it was raining everyday until the end of August, then became very hot and humid, but the air started to cool down after few days.  So basically they had summer for just one week :p  

Luckily lots of Autumn food ware already in the shops while we were there.  Nashi pears, grapes, sweet potatoes, maron (chest nuts)…  Lots of Japanese snacks and sweets had their “Autumn flavor” such as sweet potato danish and maron ice cream.  Convenience stores were selling oden already too.

I saw few shops in Kyoto and Shiga that sells white-Taiyaki.  (fish shaped cake with fillings)  Usually taiyaki is just normal pancake-like color, but someone decided to make it in white color for some reason and it became popular.  I’m sure the taste will be same as normal taiyaki though… 

       

And, after a boom of super sized food (eg: GIGA Pudding , Quarter-pounder Burger etc  ) in Japan, there seemed to be an another new boom this time : petit food (small size food).  In department stores, supermarkets and on tv, I saw shops selling petit taiyaki, petit donuts, and petit gyu-don (beef bowl).  Japanese people sure like new stuff.. :p

Anyway,

At home I could enjoy some Autumn food: grilled samma (saury), kuri-gohan (steamed rice with chestnuts) etc.   So delicious … !  Outside, the wind was slightly cool and we could hear Autumn insects singing at the garden at night.  Relaxing in the living room with my family, listening to the sound of Autumn and eating nashi pears .. it was exactly how I wanted to spend a time in Japan! 🙂


“Death Note”

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

On the plane from Singapore to Osaka, I was watching this Japanese movie “Death Note” and “Death Note ~The Last Name~”.  This movie was made in 2006, 3 years ago, but I never had a chance to watch it although it sounded interesting to me.

“Death Note” is a Japanese manga (comics) series which had been serialized in a popular Japanese manga magazine “Weekly Shonen Jump” for almost 3 years.  The movie, in my opinion, really followed the original comic well.  I enjoyed watching it!

A brief description of the story is … The series centers on Light Yagami, a university student who discovers a supernatural notebood, the “Death Note”, dropped on Earth by a death god.  The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose face they have seen, by writing the victim’s name in the notebook.  The story follows Light’s attempt to create and rule a world cleansed of evil using the notebook, and the complex conflict between him, his opponents and a mysterious detective known to the world only as L.  (from wikipedia

Together “Death Note” and “Death Note ~The Last Name~” and the third film “Death Note ~L; change the worLd”, the movies earned over $80 million in Japan and stayed at #1 at the box office not only in Japan, but also in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. The cult hit broke into the Asian mainstream and almost got banned in China as a smattering of copycat true crimes became associated with the movie.

The actor who played Light Yagami is Tatsuya Fujiwara.  He’s been on many films, plays and tv series drama etc, but I never had any interest on him… until now!  After watching this movie I realized how cool he is :p  And, the scene where both Light and L believe themselves to be on the side of justice and the two match wits in an intricate game of cat-and-mouse is very interesting.  If you like watching Japanese films I recommend this.  Guess which one, either Light or “L”, wins in the end. 🙂


1 day in Kyoto

Posted September 23rd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

I was actually excited to go to Kyoto as I knew that in-laws will love seeing Japanese temples/shrines, but it was a tiring day… (>0<)

We arrived JR Kyoto station around 11 am.  Kyoto station is just 3 stops away from Osaka station.  Because we only had one day to explore Kyoto (tight schedule!), I was just going to take them to Shijo-Kawaramachi and Gion area.  Then they told me that they want to go to see To-ji temple, which is just near the Kyoto station, so we all headed to the temple on foot.  According to the map To-ji temple is just across the street, but it actually took 30mins to get there.  It was very sunny day in Kyoto and sunlight was pretty strong :p  My head was burning~… should had brought a hut.

To-ji temple consists of several buildings, and each buildings has several buddha statues- most of them are Japan’s national treasures – inside.  The picture above is Goju-no-tou (five level tower), the tallest wooden structure in Japan.  It’s 55m tall, rebuilt in 1644.

Beautiful garden…

Then we headed to the nearest subway station to go to Shijo-Kawaramachi and Gion.  Map showed there’s a subway station with Shijo line near-by, and it directly takes you to Shijo station.  We walked, and walked…  and in the end we walked for about 50 mins!!  … No joking. (T_T)  We were exhausted by the time we arrived the subway station.  The map was small, so everything around the area was shown as if they’re gathered up in one area.  Hmm

Finally, away from the sunbeam, we sat down on chairs in subway plat home.  We took a subway to Shijo-Kawaramachi.  Everyone was hungry, it was already 1pm (!), so I tried to find a place to eat.  They wanted to try Mos Burgers’ teriyaki burger and rice burger, so we AGAIN walked to the nearest Mos Burgers.  … it took about 30 mins on foot. (T_T)  We were all exhausted and sweating.  Plus, unfortunately it was lunch time, so the Mos Burgers was packed with people 🙁  We had to Q, then wait for our seats.

After lunch we walked around Shijo and Gion area.  Everyone bought many souvenirs there. 🙂   And, we had a quick visit at Yasaka Shrine.

Then, finally, we decided to take taxis.  We couldn’t even take another step; our feet were seriously damaged! (*_*)  After arriving JR Kyoto station in-laws went back to Osaka, and my hubby and I went back to Shiga. (opposite direction)

It was a super tiring day for everyone… walking around for hours under the sun.  I knew I wasn’t going to be a good guide! (>o<)  But at least everyone seemed to enjoy Kyoto, so it’s ok. :p


6 days in Osaka

Posted September 22nd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

We stayed 5 nights at Osaka Hilton.  Osaka Hilton is located in front of JR Osaka train station, and this area is called “Umeda”.  Umeda, the north centre of Osaka, is the urban transport network centre of Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka region.  You can catch trains of JR line, Hankyu line, Hanshin line, and subway & buses etc from Umeda.  There are lots of office buildings as well as department stores, restaurants and other shops.  And, Umeda has the biggest underground complex among other cities in Japan.  We couldn’t walk through this complex even though we had 6 days there.

The main thing we did in Umeda was shopping.  Yodobashi Umeda and HEP FIVE area are the places I usually go to.  Yodobashi Umeda building mainly consists of Comme Ca Store, Yodobashi Camera and cafes&restaurants.  There are also some other shops inside including clothes shops and gazette shops.  On each floor between 1F~6F the half space is Yodobashi Camera shop where huge range of electric related products are available.  I found many cool stuff there, including egg shaped digital photo flame (cute!), waterproof portable 1seg tv/radio and auto-cleaning robot.  Each floor sells different kind of products (eg: 1F = mobiles and beauty related products, 5F = toys, games and DVD) and there are huge varieties!  Even in “rice cooker” section there are 20~40 rice cookers to chose from…  I can spend a day there.

I bought a hair iron from Yodobashi camera, and clothes and zakka (gazette) stuff from UNIQLO and some individual shops.  During shopping we had a quick break at Yami Yogurt: frozen yogurt (ice creamy yogurt) shop on the 7th floor.  I actually thought Golden Spoon was much better.  Yami Yogurt had only one flavor, vanilla, and it tasted bit too sugary and sour.  At least Golden spoon has 8~12 flavors to chose from.

This time I didn’t buy anything from HEP FIVE as I had no time to walk through each floor this time.  (I had nothing to buy from there this time anyway.)  Because the ferris wheel on the top floor was under repair while I was in Umeda, and all the illumination was off, we couldn’t see where the HEP FIVE was from Yodobashi.  (I usually use the ferris wheel to get direction)  I was a terrible guide! :p

The room in Osaka Hilton was cozy.  I loved the sliding window cover made with wood and paper (Japanese thing).  I’ve stayed in four different Hilton hotels in this trip (Hilton Perth, Singapore Hilton on Orchard street, Conrad Hotel in Singapore, and Osaka Hilton), and this sliding door is the thing that was different from other Hilton hotels.  My house in Shiga has these paper sliding doors and window covers as well, and my hubby is saying that he really wants to have these in Perth.  I also want to have some Japanese-looking rooms or spaces in our house in Perth, but I guess it’s gonna happen only when we buy our own house here :p  We can’t modify his parents’ house just for ourselves!  Umm I really really want to have our own house now..


24 hours in Singapore

Posted September 17th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

We had 24 hours to transit in Singapore, so we booked our rooms in Hilton hotel so that we can take a rest before arriving Japan and also have a little shopping there.  It was actually my first time to go out of Singapore airport.  Now Singapore is the 3rd country that I’ve been to!  (1st: Australia, 2nd: Indonesia)

Oh my gosh, Singapore is very humid…  I was wearing tight jeans, and it was so hot :p  I should had worn short pants or something…  And, I was wearing mule with heel, so my foot got tired after walking around Orchard street.  Silly me, why I chose to wear this mule..  The first thing I bought in Singapore was a pair of flat sandals.  (><)

I knew that our first day in Japan will be a very tiring day as we need to travel around, so I had a deep sleep!  Then we went out to have dinner in the food court in Takashimaya department store.

 

 

We had chicken rice, rojak, prawn & spare rib noodle soup, laksa, ice kachang, chandol, green tea egg tart, and taro potato bread.  Parents were having some food, I don’t remember..  It was good, I love Asian food 🙂 and we won’t be able to eat these type of food in Japan anyway.

At midnight we took a plane and headed to KIX (Kansai airport) in Japan.


Miso

Posted September 15th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Same as soy sauce, miso paste is one of the ingredients we can’t miss in Japanese cuisine. These days miso paste with dashi (=a kind of stock, mostly made with dried bonito flakes and kombu seaweed) is available at Asian grocery shops.  (called “dashi iri miso“)  Because this dashi iri miso already contains dashi, you don’t need to use dashi powder separately in cooking.  I think this item is very useful for miso soup and some other dishes.  What you do is just dissolve the dashi iri miso into hot water, then cooking miso soup is done!

The basic miso paste, however, doesn’t contain any dashi or favor.  
There are 3 kinds of miso paste we use in Japan.
  
<Rice Miso>
Made with rice malt (kome kouji), this miso paste is the most basic one in Japan.  There 3 kinds of rice miso with different colors.
 
White Miso: As this contains large % of rice malt, its taste is sweeter than others.  Due to its short aging term, this miso paste has short shelf-life.
 (Example of white miso: Saikyo Miso)
Light Colored Miso: This miso has a little sour taste and flavor.  30% of miso paste Japanese people use is this miso.  
(Example of light colored miso: Shinshu Miso)
Red Miso: Miso paste with dark red color.  It has a thick sweet taste. 
(Example of red miso: Sendai Miso, Gozen Miso)
  
* The color of miso varies because of its aging period, not because of the ratio of salt contained in the miso.
Red    .. long-term aging.
White .. short-term aging.
  
<Soy Bean Miso>
Miso paste made with soy beans and salt.  It has deep rich taste with a little bitterness, and this is an essential item for Kaiseki Ryori.
(Example of soy bean miso: Haccho Miso)
  
* Kaiseki Ryori = Basically designated to be served at a full tea ceremony. Can be eaten at restaurants where formal, high-class Japanese cuisine is served. Made under strict rules : such as the food must highlight the season, and must appeal to the eye ,as well as to the plate.
  
<Wheat Miso>
Made with wheat instead of rice malt.  It has plain taste with sweetness.
(Example of wheat miso: Inaka Miso)
  
  
I like white miso (rice miso) and my house in Japan always use this for miso soup and other dishes.   Some people like red miso, and some like white.. it really depends on which miso they use in their area. 
   
I’ve posted few recipes using miso.  You can basically use any type of miso, it’s really up to you 🙂
  
I will post more recipes with miso paste in the future.  Miso paste is not just for miso soup! 🙂
 

With Pancakes!

Posted September 9th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

I love eating pancakes in the morning!  The soft and sweet pancakes with maple syrup and butter…  I’m sure lots of girls will be happy when her boyfriend or husband makes a sweet pancake for her in the morning.  Or even some guys like pancakes as breakfast.  It’s easy to make pancakes using pancake mix packets, or if you want to make them from scratch here is how.

Now, what do you usually eat pancakes with?? 

The typical accompaniments are maple syrup, butter, freshly whipped cream, honey, ice cream… and some fruits!  I usually make fruits sauce for pancake and eat with maple syrup and whipped cream (and sometimes vanilla ice cream).  I know it’s high in calories, but that’s why I eat it in the morning.  It’s always best to consume “carb” and “fat” in the morning rather than at night.  

The fruit sauce is very easy to make!  I use frozen berries.  

 

  1. Place berries in a micro-safe bowl or a cup.  Sprinkle vanilla sugar (how to make: keep sugar in an air-tight container with split vanilla pod) and heat up in the microwave. (appx 1 ~ 1.5 minutes)   If you don’t have vanilla sugar you can sprinkle normal sugar and a drop of vanilla essence.
  2. Once the sugar dissolved, stir with a tea spoon.
  
You can decorate the pancake with a scoop or vanilla ice cream, berry sauce, icing sugar, mint leaves and a drizzle of maple syrup (or honey).  If you love chocolate you can drizzle chocolate sauce over the pancake.  Why don’t you try making pancakes for your loved one this weekend? 🙂