Cherry Pancake

Posted December 30th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Here is the recipe of cherry pancake I made on Christmas day.  You can prepare the mixture ahead and keep in the fridge until needed.  Try adding different fruits instead of cherries for a variety!

<Cherry Pancake>  makes about 6 

  • 1 handful of cherries, pitted
  • 1 egg
  • 25g sugar
  • 150ml milk
  • 30g butter, melted
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 5g baking powder
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  1. Whisk egg and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add butter, milk and vanilla.  Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Shift in the dry ingredients and cherries.  Mix with a spatula.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat, and spray with oil.  Drop one scoop of mixture into the pan, and cook until the surface is bubbly.  Flip it around, and cook another side.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  5. Enjoy with your favorite accompaniments – syrup, whipped cream, butter or icing sugar.
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Third Trimester – Week 28~ 40

Posted December 29th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

 

babycentre.com.au

Believe it or not, I’m on the third trimester already!  I’m at week 29, and the baby can be born at any time now (with lots of help by hospital if he is born now, of course).  People started to ask me when my due date is (finally!) because my belly is obviously big.  

I had the glucose test this morning. I had to drink sugar water (it was like soda) and wait for 1 hour to get my blood taken.  While waiting I felt so sleepy…  too much sugar!  Now, I feel little fainting too.  I think I will eat beef steak tonight to boost up my iron level.

It’s just 10 weeks to go, but I realized I haven’t prepared everything for my baby’s arrival yet.  Time flies…  Am I really going to be ready?  I haven’t applied for the paid parental leave to Centrelink yet.  Am I aware of all the medical expenses?  Am I getting enough exercise everyday?  Is my baby doing well?

On my last visit to my OB, my baby was in a breech position.  OB told me that baby will move around, so I didn’t really worry about it.  But now, I don’t know if he is still in a breech position or in a head-down position.  As he grows bigger he won’t be able to move his body around anymore, and if he stays in a breech position giving birth will be difficult.  Just in case he is still in a breech position (which I will find out on my next visit to OB) I found some tips I can do to help my baby into an anterior position (the best position for an easy labour/birth)  

  • When sitting, make sure your knees are always lower than your hips (My work involves lots of sitting, so I added a couple of cushion on my chair to make my knees lower than my hips)
  • Scrub the floor.  When you’re on all fours, the back of your baby’s head swings to the front of your belly.
  • Move around during the day, and take a good night’s rest
By the way, I thought a maternity cover with private health insurance covers all the cost related to delivery at private hospitals, but it apparently doesn’t.  With my insurance level, it covers 100% on hospital fees for the first 3 days and 100% on OB’s delivery fees, but it doesn’t cover OB’s planning & management fee for a delivery.  There’s some out-of-pocket money that I needed to pay, and I also need to be aware of anaesthetist and paediatrician charges.  
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And, there are few things I need to do after the baby is born : I need to do both Australian and Japanese birth registry, need to apply for his Australian and Japanese passports, etc etc.  I write down what I need to do, but am little worried that if everything goes well.  … thinking about all these things makes me have headache. 🙁   I think I’d just better worry about giving birth to a healthy boy at this stage! 
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Christmas Holiday

Posted December 26th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Christmas cookie tree.

In the morning of Christmas we woke up with sweet delicious pancake.  I added cherries to the pancake, but D didn’t want any cherries.

After breakfast we sat on a sofa and watched tv for awhile…  It was too hot to go outside!

D started to act weird…  and I knew he was preparing to give me a Christmas present!  We didn’t talk about present until today, and we didn’t even mention about giving a present to each other, but I prepared one and I knew he prepared something for me secretly too.  So, I went outside to get his present ready…

We were trying to act normal, but I couldn’t help laughing.  He gave me a 2011 diary that I wanted!  And, a watch!

A baby bonsai I gave him…  I only prepared one for him 🙁

The wind was still warm in the evening.  It was really tiring day…  I wouldn’t be able to survive without air-con.  After dinner (inari sushi and chicken karaage), we drove to a park near Swan River for walking.  It was 9 PM and quite windy, but the heat was finally off.  It was very hot Christmas…

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Cookies for a Christmas Tree

Posted December 24th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Baking cookies is one of the fun activities you can do for Christmas!  You can create them in any shapes, and decorate with your favorite color.

Poke a hole on the cookie dough before baking so that they can be hung on your Christmas tree. 🙂    Make sure the hole is big enough as the hole will go smaller after baking.

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<Cookies> makes about 30~40 of 5cm Christmas trees

  • 160g butter, unsalted
  • 120g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 320g plain flour
  • a drop of vanilla extract

<Icing>  makes enough for 60 cookies

  • 1 tsp vanilla yogurt
  • 4~6 icing sugar (adjust the consistency: hard, but soft enough to pipe out)
  • coloring 
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  1. Cream butter in a bowl using a whist or hand mixer until whitish color.  Add sugar, and mix until the butter is fluffy.
  2. Add
  3. Mix until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic, and rest in the fridge for more than 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough into 5mm thick.  Cut the dough into decorative shapes, using cookie cutters.  Arrange cookies on lined oven tray, and bake at 180℃ for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are golden. 
  5. Once the cookies are cooled down, mix the ingredients for icing and put it in a small piping bag, or plastic bag.  Make a tiny hole on the tip, and decorate your cookies.
  6. Leave until the icing is set.  

 

Merry Christmas to you all !! (^0^)-☆



Yakiniku

Posted December 23rd, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

I need red meat!! Great source of protein and iron.  Craving for chunks of meat sometimes happen to me, especially on Friday/Saturday evenings when I smell BBQ from neighbors houses.

I went to out to a restaurant the other day and ordered steak.  I told waitstaff to make sure the meat is cooked well-done.  But, when I cut the steak the meat inside was slightly pink.  It may be just because of the lighting at the restaurant (the lights were red-ish color which made everything look red).  I wasn’t sure if I should eat it – it maybe ok, but it maybe not.  In the end I asked waitstaff to cook the meat more.  I should have ordered chicken or pork instead of beef, so that I know the meat is fully cooked at least.  From the experience, I only eat steak at home now.

Last night I made yakiniku at home.  It’s one of the easiest meal because what I need to do is prepare meat (and some vegetables, rice and soup to accompany).  This time I marinated the beef with grated pear to give additional fruity taste.  It also softened the meat.

Cook meat in front of you while watching tv, and enjoy the freshly cooked meat with sauce and rice!  Yum.

In Japan, beef and port for yakiniku is normally sliced into about 5mm thick.  You can buy a bulk of meat and slice by yourself too.  It is more economical.  After slicing the meat, marinate in the home-made sauce, and keep in the fridge until you  start your feast.  Don’t forget to cook rice too!

<Yakiniku>  for 2 people

  • 500g beef
  • 40ml soy sauce
  • 10ml sake (cooking wine)
  • 40g pear, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  1. Slice beef into about 5mm thick.  Mix all the other ingredients, and marinate the beef in the sauce for 10~20 minutes.
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<Accompaniments>
  • cabbage, capsicum, pumpkin, onion etc 
  • steamed rice / soup
  • sauce (ponzu, yuzu juice with salt, or try making this sauce ↓↓)
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<Yakiniku Dipping Sauce>
  • 1/2 onion, medium
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs miso paste
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbs white sesame seeds
  1. Grate the onion.  In a frying pan, saute the onion over low heat.  
  2. Add other ingredients to the pan, and simmer until the liquid is thicken.
* You can keep this sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge for few weeks.

Word Lens for iPhone … sugoi

Posted December 22nd, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

A new app just hit the iTunes App Store – called “Word Lens”.  I saw the video of this app and it’s pretty cool!  At this moment they only have one language pack though, for translations between English and Spanish.  The app is free to download, but each language pack will set you back $5.99 a pop.

Word Lens creator, Otavior Good, speaks on his company website that once he was in overseas there was a sign he couldn’t read and he thought, ‘Why doesn’t my cellphone do this?'”.  I think it’s one thing that many people would hope when they are traveling another country.

The great thing is, you don’t need internet connection to use this app.  Once you download it on your iphone, it will translate the sign board within a second.  The bad thing is that the font of the sign board has to be something like Centurion or Helvetica.  So, if the words are written by hand or in other unique fonts it can’t be translated.    … Well, it still works!

I can’t wait they launch of other languages!  What language you want this app to translate the most??  Actually the creator’s friend wants there to be one for Japanese.  But, unlike Spanish, we don’t use ABC alphabet – we’ve got four other alphabets that we use.

“There’s Kanji Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji — Romanji uses roman letters, but that’s not very common for the signs in the street.”

Right… but it could be fun though if it could translate Japanese too. Maybe in future.. 🙂

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Planning a Homecoming Trip

Posted December 21st, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

 

Planning a trip is always a fun thing to me – especially when the destination is my home country!  Imagining what I could do there makes me daydream 🙂

Well, I should be thinking about the birth plan or something related to my baby (I do though) but part of my head is already planning what to do in Japan next year.  As the trip will be a whole new experience to me (first time with a Jr) I know what I can do there is limited.  But, it’s just a plan, and planning is always a good thing to prepare for the trip.

 

This time, I’m thinking to go driving around Biwa Lake in Shiga.  I always drive Kei-truck (you can read about it here, or my Japan Trip posts here) when I go back, but there are only two seats in the car and three of us (me, D and Jr) won’t be able to fit there.  It’s also very uncomfortable to drive for long distance.  So, I’m planning to hire a car for few days and go driving around the Biwa Lake side road.  

My grand-parents’ house is 50 km away from my house and D and I normally take a train to visit them, but the road between our houses has such beautiful views.  I love driving to their house because I could stop at convenience stores or shopping malls to get a cold drink and snack on the way, and get off the car and walk around the lake shore if I want to.  

Having your own car is very essential in Shiga (same as Perth).  If you go shopping you will need a car to put all the stuff you bought.  We are going to buy many things in Japan for sure, so renting a car is one “must” thing to do.

I don’t think we will be traveling around much this time.  Just within Shiga, I think.  We can do so many things already just in Shiga and I don’t want to take a tiring train trip to other prefectures with Jr.  (Of course I can’t drive there, driving to Kyoto and Osaka is much more stressful than taking a train!)  It’s ok.  D hasn’t explored entire Shiga yet.  There are so many things he has missed out on his last visits!  

If we go there in summer we can enjoy fireworks and summer festivals wearing yukata.  If in autumn we can enjoy the scenery and delicious food.  If in winter we can play with snow!  Still thinking when is the best…

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Cajun Chicken Citrus Salad

Posted December 20th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

It’s hot ~ …..  I’m very weak against the heat.   I can just eat watermelon everyday for 3 meals! … if I’m not carrying this cauliflower-sized bub in my belly.  

Now, salad is a perfect dish to cool my body down and it also gives me great nutrition.  This is one of my favorite salad – grilled spicy cajun chicken with citrus and creamy avocado. 

You can also add pitted olives, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, capsicum etc etc for extra texture and color.

 

<Cajun Chicken Citrus Salad> serves 2

  • 200g chicken breast, skinned
  • 1 tbs cajun spice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/8 red onion
  • 2 handful of green leaves
  • 1 tbs olive oil + 1 ~2 pinch of salt
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  1. Slice chicken.  In a mixing bowl, marinate chicken with 1 tbs olive oil and cajun spice for 5 minutes.  (adjust the amount of cajun spice to your liking)
  2. Meanwhile, slice onion very thinly.  Segment the orange (take out the flesh from the skin).  Reserve the juice.  Wash lettuce and drain. 
  3. Place the lettuce, onion and orange segments in a clean mixing bowl.
  4. Heat a frying pan over high heat, and grill chicken until cooked.  Transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl, and pour orange juice and 1 tbs olive oil.  Sprinkle salt, and toss gently.
  5. Immediately arrange on the serving plate.  Top with sliced avocado.
  6. Serve immediately!
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* You can use your favorite salad dressing instead.  
* Prawn or squid can be replaced with chicken 
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Tomato Chicken Rice with Omelet (Omu-Rice)

Posted December 18th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Besides the traditional Japanese food, there’re Western style food created by Japanese chefs in Japan.  This cuisine is called “yo-shoku” (Japanese Style Western Food) and I had more chances to eat these yo-shoku dishes than traditional Japanese food when I was little.

This dish “omu-rice” (omelet rice) is one of the popular yo-shoku dish in Japan, especially among kids.  The rice is stir-fried with frozen mix vegetables and chicken pieces, usually flavored with tomato based sauce.  Normally the rice is wrapped with omelet completely (like you wrap something with plastic wrap), but placing omelet over the rice is much easier when making multiple omu-rice, and it tastes just as good as the wrapped one.

In some restaurants chefs make omu-rice this way – make soft omelet over high heat, and place on top of prepared rice.  Then, they insert a knife to the omelet and the omelet opens and cover the rice.  I love when the egg is soft and fluffy!  (I’m sure you’ve tasted one of these if you had been to an omu-rice restaurant)

<Omu-Rice> serves 4

  • 200g chicken thigh, diced
  • 1 onion, medium, chopped
  • 50cc white wine
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 400g cooked rice, cold
  • 3 tbs tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbs milk
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  1. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan over high heat.  Grill chicken thigh pieces.  
  2. Turn down the heat, and add onion.  Saute until the onion is almost transparent.
  3. Turn up the heat again, and pour white wine.  Simmer to reduce the liquid.
  4. Add cold rice. Using a wooden spatula, break the rice as you stir-fry.  Add frozen vegetables, then mix through.
  5. Once the rice is all broken down and heated through, add tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix through, and season with salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat.  Set aside.
  6. Break eggs into a medium bowl, and mix with milk and salt.
  7. Heat 1 tbs in another frying pan (clean).  Once the oil is hot but not smoking, pour the egg mixture and stir with spatula or chopsticks to make soft scrambled eggs. 
To serve:
Divide the tomato rice into 4 serving plates, and top with scrambled eggs.
Enjoy with extra tomato sauce ♪

Bagelier is Closed

Posted December 17th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

First, I’d like to say sorry to people who left messages on Bagelier website!  I put the message “close of business” on the website quite long time ago, and didn’t check the message box since then.  Recently, I just opened the website casually to check the admin page and I found so many people had left messages and placed orders since November! (><)

Bagelier is currently closed, and I’m not sure when I will re-open the business, as I’m still working full-time and do something else at home…  It’s bit too much now with my big tummy.   I can arrange some orders depending on the size and my conditions etc though, so if anyone has a question you can directly write to me at me@umeboss.com

Thank you very much for your support and also reading Umeboss 😀

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe New Years … from UME xoxo

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Pupusa – Thick Corn Tortilla

Posted December 16th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Pupusa –  a traditional Salvadoran dish made of maize flour dough, seemed to be really easy to make.  I watched my friends preparing the dish few times now.  There seem to be many varieties in the fillings, but I want to write down the recipe of this El Salvador food that she makes for her husband everyday.

Her ingredients are very simple – zucchini, onion, garlic and Mozzarella cheese.  You just need to chop up all, season with salt and coat with dough which is made of maize flour and water.

You can buy the maize flour at oriental grocery shops.  Just mix with water until it comes together.

<Pupusa with zucchini>

  • maize flour (masa harina flour)
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
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  1. Chop up (or grate) zucchini and onion.  Mince the garlic.  
  2. Place them in a mixing bowl.  Add salt and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Add the Mozzarella cheese, and mix through.
  4. In another mixing bowl, mix the maize flour and water to achieve the dough-like consistency (not too firm, not too soft) – about 1 cup flour + 2~3 tbs water.  
to make:
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  1. Place about 1/2 handful of dough on your palm.  Roll into a ball and flatten between the palms of your hands to about 1/2-inch thick. 
  2. Put a spoonful of fillings into the center of each pupusa. Bring it upwards to close it. Flatten again with the filling inside. 
  3. Lightly grease a frying pan with oil, and heat over medium-high heat.  Drop 1 tbs of margarine, and spread to coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Grill pupusa both side until colored.

 

Serve immediately!  Hot and crispy pupusa is the best.  Tomato salsa is the typical condiment to pupusa, but you can enjoy it with pesto or chutney – whatever you feel like. 🙂

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Christmas Party 2010

Posted December 14th, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »

Christmas is just around the corner!  People must be busy for attending Christmas parties at this time of the year. 😀

My friends and I had a small Christmas party last weekend.  One of them are flying to Taiwan and Malaysia soon to spend her Christmas and New Year’s Day there.  Other friends have been already back to Japan.

We brought so many food….  Temaki-sushi (hand-rolled sushi), pupusa (El Salvador’s food), roasted pumpkin salad, Japanese style roast beef, osuimono (soup), and KFC (who brought KFC chicken!?)

I was the first one to arrived my friend’s house, and started to prepare the food on the plates.  I was munching on the pupusa and edamame, with lemon lime n bitter, so by the time everyone arrived I was pretty full.  

As friend told me that her house might get stuffy and hot, I told everyone to wear bikini on the day.  I could be fun, right?  It’s a gathering of just girls anyway.  But, no one did. :p  Maybe next year?  We could be wearing yukata too. 

 

Itadakima~su!  

Merry Christmas to everyone (^0^)/


Tea During Pregnancy

Posted December 13th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

I used to be a heavy coffee consumer before I got pregnant.  I loved having a cup of strong black coffee in the morning, after each meal, and before going to bed.  Drinking coffee was part of my lifestyle, and there’s not even one day that I didn’t have coffee as far back as I can remember.  My dad also loves black coffee and I think that’s the reason why I love coffee so much.  Going to cafes is our thing when I’m in Japan.

Now, since I’m pregnant, I don’t drink coffee anymore.  I could still drink few cups a day, or decaffeinated ones, but I actually don’t feel like coffee at the moment.  I like the smell of coffee, but when I imagine drinking it I know I will have strong heartburn.  It actually stops me drinking coffee.

I still feel like drinking something besides water, soda and juice, and in that case tea is another option for me.  Western tea (e.g. English breakfast, earl grey tea) wasn’t really my drink, but I grew up with lots and lots of Japanese tea since I was a kid.  I searched about teas in Japan and I found that some Japanese tea contain very little caffein, and there are few non-caffein teas too.

Teas made from cereals, such as barley tea (mugi cha) and black bean tea (kuromame cha), contain no caffein.  Barley tea is the most common drink consumed in Japan during summer.  After making the tea we chill it and keep one or two bottles in the fridge.   Black bean tea (kuromame cha) has such distinct aroma and I love the flavor of roasted bean.  Very delicious and healthy.  I’ve never seen kuromame cha in Perth, do you know if any shop sells this tea?

According to “Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition”, Gyokuro (玉露) contains the highest level of caffein.

There are quite big differences between each kind of tea!  I never cared about the quantity of caffein in a drink, as drinking black coffee didn’t affect my sleep at all, and my blood pressure is normally low so drinking coffee actually helped me to focus on something every day.
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You can also drink herb tea while pregnant.  Rosehip and nettle are the good ones.  Rosehip helps absorbing iron, vitamin and mineral to the body, and nettle helps to prevent anemia.  If you have strong morning sickness, lemon balm tea may calm you down.  Sage and lavender are not recommended for early pregnancy as they actually have an effect of shrinking the womb.
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Until I feel like drinking coffee I will be drinking lots of mugi-cha, I think.  This is a perfect season to drink mugi-cha and you can buy the tea leaves / tea bags at Asian grocery shops. (look for a Japanese food section) 🙂

What to Give This Christmas…

Posted December 11th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Deciding what to give on the Christmas and birthdays are sometimes hard job for me.  For some people it’s easy – for example, for a friend who likes taking bath I will give her a set of bath salt or something she can use in her bath time.  For some people, on the other hand, it’s difficult to imagine what will please them.  

My in-laws suggest to do secret santa each year on Christmas.  It’s actually a good idea as I don’t need to worry about buying something for everyone (my husband has 7 sisters, brothers and nephew).  But, it’s bit hard if I pick brother-in-laws because I have no idea what he is interested in and would like.  One sister is also a difficult one because she seems to have everything.  If something becomes a trend on the year, she has it.  

But, the person who I find it’s most difficult to get exactly what he wants is D, my husband.  He knows so many things than I do – if there is an earthquake in Japan, he knows before I hear from my family.  It’s because he is always online and check news and other geeky stuff everyday.   So, he knows where to buy some stuff at cheapest price, and which product and brand is nice and works well.  He likes computer stuff and I always think I should buy him something he can use, but I’m not really familiar with these things and have no idea where and what to buy it.  And, as he can get lots of information on the internet, he always find an unique gift for someone else.  This year he is the secret santa for his brother-in-law, and he bought this:

Bacon band aid…  very unique, and I think it’s a perfect gift for the bacon-lover.

It’s kind of a funny story, to think about it.  I start planning around September what to buy for D for his birthday and Christmas each year (his birthday is on December), but I always end up rushing on deciding one or two weeks before his birthday.  Few years ago, I planned so hard that I got confused, and in the end I gave him a cushion.  I don’t really know why I bought a cushion for him, but that’s what I did.  This year was also terrible.  I had a list of “things I may buy for his birthday and Christmas”, but as closer it gets to his birthday all the things on the list started to seem boring.  In the end, I bought him a cleaner kit for glasses.  Why!?

There are still 2 weeks till Christmas, and I still have a chance to regain his love.. (* Ŏ∀Ŏ)  This time I decided to write down a memo whenever he talks about things he wants or is interested in : anything, e.g. last night he was browsing a site about space invader game and pacman.  Yeah, right, he likes retro stuff.  And, I remembered he likes bonsai and vespa.  This list will be kept for next year in case I forget what he likes (I really have a short memory).

  


HONDA INSIGHT

Posted December 10th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

The new INSIGHT,another HONDA’s hybrid car, has been on sale overseas for over a year now and will be hitting Australian dealerships from December 2010.   INSIGHT is not available to purchase in Perth WA yet, but demonstration is available at HONDA dealers.  My sister-in-law is interested in buying this car, and she told me she was going to test-drive this car soon.

The top reason why this car has been very popular overseas is its price – a list price of just under AU$30K for the base model (depends on the area in Australia).  In Perth, $32737 for the base VTi model and AU$36536 for the higher-spec VTi-L. (metallic paint: about $500 plus)  It’s the cheapest hybrid vehicle in Australia.

Besides the low price tag and the Toyota Prius-like outlook, INSIGHT has an interesting feature.  Driving this car is like a game!  Called “Eco Assist”, a part system and part game, there is a digital speedometer changes colours as you drive. Green means you’re being good, and blue means you could be doing better. Drive greenly for long enough and you’ll also start earning leaves on your dashboard. 🙂  You can do the simulation of INSIGHT driving experience here.  The lovely pink bird will tell you how you are doing as you proceed.

Furthermore, when you’re done, Eco Assist will let you know how you’re going with your overall, long-term, fuel-efficient driving, giving you an Eco score by growing a flower on the screen! 

HONDA tried to make this car lighter and cheaper.  The engine is 4 cylinder and Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) for both models.  Yes, the interior may look cheap, but the specs are pretty good.  Even base model has Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, Auxillary jack, and alloy wheels. 



What to Wear When You are Pregnant

Posted December 9th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

My memory is getting worse…  I mean, really worse!  And my body…  I feel tired, I feel sleepy, and I am cranky.  Even though I sleep early, I need 10 to 20 minutes to move my body and get up from the bed each morning.

Weather has been eased and it’s been pretty cool this week (thank god), but it was terrible when it was around 40 degrees (few weeks ago).  I don’t like hot weather.  To me, dry climate is much better than humid and wet climate like summer in Japan, but the heat still makes me cranky.  Plus the discomfort of my body… (Sorry D, friends, and colleagues!!)

I know being tired, sleepy and cranky are the common symptoms, but I also have really short memory now.  Like yesterday, I lost my house key and a key for the safety box for the office…  I realized it when I arrived home.  Luckily manager found them near the printer in the office, but I don’t even remember going near the printer yesterday!

I think one of the things making me so uncomfortable during the day could be the bra (sorry, male readers!).  Non of my clothes fit my body anymore, and so do my bras.  Before getting pregnant I used to wear pretty tight clothes that fit my body, and it was more comfortable than wearing lose clothes.  But now, everything has to be lose – especially around my belly and chest – otherwise I get really annoyed and cranky.  

I remembered that I had nude bra in the closet which I brought from Japan.  I haven’t worn it for a long time, but I thought it’s a perfect bra for me now as it doesn’t have any straps.  

I can also buy some more maternity bras, but I have no idea what is my size here and they are quite pricy.  I’ve got few from Japan and I think I try to survive with these bra and this nude bra…  Summer here is too hot for pregnant women!


Tsumire Soup with Ponzu

Posted December 8th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Tsumire – fish meat balls – is a great item for soup or steamboat.  I got frozen tsumire from an Asian grocery shop recently.  This Kibun brand tsumire doesn’t contain any flavorings or preservatives, and the ground fish bones are also mixed into the fish balls to boost the calcium level. 🙂

I made a quick soup with this tsumire for my breakfast this morning.  Very simple – simmer the ingredients in dashi stock, and eat with ponzu

<Tsumire Soup> serves 2

  • 150g tsumire (fish meat balls)
  • 1/2 cup frozen shiitake mushroom (or 2~4 fresh shiitake mushroom)
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 cups dashi 
  • few teaspoons of ponzu (adjust to your taste)
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  1. Wash and cut spinach into 3cm.
  2. Place dashi and shiitake in a sauce pan, and bring to gentle simmer.  
  3. Add tsumire, and simmer for 2~3 minutes.
  4. Add spinach, and enjoy with ponzu.
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Sunday Lunch and Heartburn from Oily Food

Posted December 7th, 2010 in Food, Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

This is one of my favorite lunch – bihun sup ayam (rice noodle soup with chicken).  Mother-in-law makes lunch on every Sundays and it has been this family’s tradition (?) for a long time -since my husband was a baby.  Sometimes the food is chicken porridge, sometimes it’s egg noodle soup, but I like this bihun sup ayam the best.

If someone asks me what noodle I like, I would say “bihun”.  I don’t hate egg noodles, I just prefer rice noodle.  I also like kway teow noodle.  Some rice noodle is thick – like those you get at Vietnamese noodle house.    I’m not really a big fun of the thick rice noodle as it’s easy to break (different to udon noodle which is supposed to be chewy).  Rice vermicelli noodles doesn’t fill my big stomach enough, but I like eating it as snack.

Still now, oily food (e.g. deep-fried food) and garlic make me feel sick.  I don’t think it will go away while I’m pregnant!  It’s one of the things that I feel uncomfortable about living with in-laws, as they like eating Chinese food very much (everyday) and you know Chinese foods often contain lots of oil.  Besides the fact that I am Japanese who loves plain Japanese food, I’m an extreme on-oily food lover.  (tempura, karaage, only once a month!)  I really appreciate D’s mum cooking every day as I don’t feel like cooking at all these days, but she cooks deep-fried stuff almost everyday and if the food is in front of me I’d eat anything.  Afterwords I suffer from heavy heartburn. (*_*)

Hearty rice noodle soup is what I crave for quite often.  As I don’t cook myself much now and eat Chinese food often (e.g. chicken stock based soup, not udon soup), I’m thinking my baby may like Chinese food when he grow older!  There is a saying that what you eat during pregnancy could be baby’s favorite food.  I’m not sure if it’s true, but 85% of what I eat is Chinese food now so I’m guessing it could be true! (@_@)


Happy 4th Birthday!

Posted December 6th, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »

… I know I’ve been writing similar topics over and over!  There are so many people born this month around me… (^^;)

Last Friday was D & D’s nephew’s birthday.  (Yap, uncle and nephew born on the same day)  We had family dinner at a Chinese restaurant, and shared a birthday cake together at home.   This is one of the thing I admire about his family –  they always get together for family’s birthday, and shoot a video of cake-cut each year.  (with candle-blowing and singing “happy birthday”.)

I made the birthday cake, as usual.  As D requested, I made a simple sponge+cream+little fresh fruits cake.  Just for a change, I made it into a dome-shape : just like a snow mountain!

Each year, nephew’s birthday party change its theme : for the first birthday it was Ratatouille, on 2nd birthday it was Elmo, and third birthday was jumping castle (sister-in-law hired a jumping castle for kids).  This year, it’s fire truck.  She hired a fire-fighter Kevin to come to the party (not a real fire fighter, of course!).

Kids rode on the fire truck and circled around the house.

Nephew taking a photo in a fire fighter costume.

Kevin gave nephew a certificate as well!  


Happy Soda

Posted December 3rd, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

If you go to Indonesian restaurant (e.g. Bintang Cafe 1 / 2 ) you can find this drink on the menu – happy soda.  It’s a soda drink with sweet milky taste… It tastes quite similar to Japanese melon soda.  The difference is that melon soda is green color, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream floats on top of soda drink.

To make happy soda, you will need red syrup – we had been hunting for this syrup, and finally found at an Asian grocery shop in Market City, Canning Vale.  If you are looking for something Indonesian or middle-eastern Asian food, you may find it at this shop. 🙂

First, you pour 1~2 tsp of condensed milk in a glass.

Then, pour 1~2 tsp of the syrup.  You can adjust the amount of milk and syrup to your liking.

Add 6~7 ice cubes, and top up with soda water.

Nice refreshing summer drink (sweet!) for hot afternoon. 😀

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Japanese Curry House

Posted December 1st, 2010 in Eat out in Japan | 2 Comments »

I haven’t had craving for curry for a long long time – any curry including Japanese, Indian, Thai and Indonesian.  But, I suddenly feel like the saucy curry and I can’t stop thinking about it!

The curry restaurant first came up to my mind was Curry House Coco Ichiban.  It’s a curry restaurant chain and is currently in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Hawaii.  

I started browsing the website, and their limited time special curry look so nice….  There are 7 curry including Oyster Katsu Curry and Sukiyaki Curry, but this Hash De Beef & Mushroom Curry is the one for me!

Like other family restaurants, Coco Ichiban has a huge variety of menus including salads and desserts, and the curry menus are more than 50!

IF, you like Japanese curry (I know some people hate Japanese curry) I recommend you to go to Coco Ichiban and try the curry. You can adjust the rice size, spiciness of the curry and add extra toppings if you like.  At Coco Ichiban the level of the spiciness starts from mild, and as the level goes up it becomes spicier.  There are 12 levels of spiciness to chose from, and the top 5 levels are only available to people who have eaten the one level below in the past.  You can’t order mild, then next day level 10!  According to the menu the spiciness is deadly and you may need to call an ambulance…

They also have breakfast menu – of course all curry dishes.  I remember eating curry in the morning when I was a kid…