Cooking for New Year’s Day

Posted December 31st, 2012 in Food | No Comments »

It’s been sooo hot (+ humid) here and I don’t feel that tomorrow is next year already!!  I really miss white Christmas and snowy New Year’s Day.

I decided to make some sushi and zenzai (mochi in red bean porridge) just to make myself feel like it’s a special day.  We eat zenzai on New Year’s Day in Japan 🙂

In Japan, New Year’s Days (usually 1st ~ 3rd of January) is supposed to be doing nothing but relaxing with families, so people make lots of food before New Year’s Eve that can be kept for at least few days – idea is that no cooking in the first few days of January.  But here in Perth it goes up to 40℃ and I can’t cook food and keep them for a long time.
I just made inari-sushi, zenzai, kinako-mochi (mochi dusted with sweet soy powder), and soup for Hiro.

I couldn’t find Japanese kinako (soy powder) so I used Korean one instead.  No sugar, just plain kinako.  For dusting mochi, I added sugar to the powder to make it sweet.

I haven’t used this mochi-pounding machine for a long time! I got it from Japan – it’s actually a kid’s toy, but it works in a small amount of mochi rice.

We are gonna eat zenzai in the morning on New Year’s Day. Hopefully we can eat noodle  (toshikoshi-soba) at midnight of  New Year’s Eve!!

Simple Rolled-Cake

Posted December 23rd, 2012 in Food | No Comments »

Soft and fluffy, simple cake − rolled up with whipped cream and strawberry jam, topped with cocoa cream and chocolate.

As the sponge is baked in thin, flat square, it cooks & cools down quickly.    It only takes 1 hour to make!

You can add fresh fruits inside the roll, but today I just made it simple.

I didn’t add too much sugar to whipped cream as I added strawberry jam.  The sweetness is just right to my taste 🙂

<Simple Roll-Cake>

Sponge  30cm x 30cm

  • Egg (L) 4  – at room temperature
  • Granulated Sugar 60g
  • Plain Flour 40g


  • Whipping Cream 100ml
  • Sugar 1 tbs


  • Strawberry Jam
  • Whipped Cream with Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate to dust


  1. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature.
  2. Line 30cm x 30cm shallow oven tray with baking paper.   Set oven at 180 ℃
  3. Separate egg yolks and whites.  Add 1/2 of sugar to the yolks, and whisk until creamy and pale colour.
  4. Shift in flour, and mix until just combined.
  5. Add a pinch of sugar to egg whites, and whisk until fluffy.  Add remaining sugar gradually to form a stiff peak meringue.
  6. Add 1/3 meringue to the yolk mixture.  Mix well.  Repeat with remaining.
  7. Spread the mixture onto lined tray.  Tap lightly to release any air bubble inside the mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Leave to cool.
  8. Whip cream with sugar.
  9. Peel off the baking sheet, and place the sponge on a piece of clean baking paper.  Spread 1 tbs of strawberry jam & whipped cream, then roll up using the baking paper.  Chill in the refrigerator before slicing.
  10. For topping; mix whipped cream with cocoa powder.  Spread on top of rolled-cake.

Sugar Donut Balls

Posted December 19th, 2012 in Food | No Comments »

(Christmas) tree made of sugar donuts 😀

This super-easy-to-make donuts needs just a plastic bag from mixing the dough till dropping into hot oil.

<Sugar Donut Balls> makes about 10

  • Plain flour 100g
  • Baking soda 1/4 tsp
  • Egg 1
  • Raw sugar 1 tbs *
  • Unsalted butter 1 tbs
  • Milk 1 tbs
  • oil to deep-fry / sugar to dust


  1. Place all dry ingredients in a plastic bag.  Close the bag with hands and shake to mix the ingredients.
  2. Melt butter.  Once it’s cool enough (but not cold) add milk and egg.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the butter mixture into the plastic bag.  Mix the dough well inside the bag.
  4. Heat oil in a pan to 160℃.
  5. Cut one end of plastic bag to make a small hole.  Squeeze out the dough into oil. Deep-fry until golden.
  6. While the donuts are hot dust with sugar. **


* You can use white sugar or dark sugar – different sugar gives different flavour to the donuts
** You can use cocoa powder, cinnamon, green tea powder or kinako (soybean powder)


1st Birthday Cake for 13 Babies

Posted December 16th, 2012 in Food | No Comments »

This is a birthday cake for 13 babies who is turning 1-year-old this month.

Haha, I was bit nervous about writing 13 names on top of the cake – what if the 13th name can’t fit in the space?  What if I make a mistake on the spell? …. I only had one chance to do it, and I’m so glad that all the names fit perfectly!

2 different colours on right and left for boys and girls as requested.

The cake with filled with fresh fruits and whipped cream.

13 babies…. the party must had been gorgeous 🙂

Sleeping Baby Art

Posted December 13th, 2012 in Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

My mum told me this is what Japanese people are into these days – Sleeping Baby Art.

Sleeping Baby Art is something you do to make it look like a sleeping baby doing something /0r being something.

I’ve seen photos like that at some Facebook pages here too, but some mums in Japan are crazy about this thing.  But, since my mum told me about it, I kind of wanted to do it too.

Here is my first work 🙂


Does it look like a Santa Claus carrying a bag-full of toys near a chimney?  ^^

And then….

Have a wonderful holiday season to everyone!!




Hair Rebonding

Posted December 9th, 2012 in Perth WA | 10 Comments »

I’d been wanting to do something with my hair …. again!  It really started to annoy me 🙁  My hair was curly (but not in cute ways), dry, and so difficult to set every morning.  Besides, I don’t have time to do it every day, so I just lived looking like this ↓↓↓

But I couldn’t stand it anymore – I see my friends’ photos from Japan and they look so pretty and well-maintained.  I wanted to colour my hair back to black as it’s much easier to maintain.  So I decided to go back to Nao’s place to have my hair a make-over.  (previous post)

I wanted to do rebonding (a process which permanently (and checmically) straightens your hair) – I started to rebond my hair when I was at high school, and have been doing it many times since then.  It makes my hair so easy to maintain.  I asked Nao if she can do rebonding, and she said yes!

You can’t do rebonding and color at the same time as it will damage your hair, so you’d better leave it about 1 week between each treatment.  Having your hair coloured first then do rebonding is recommended as the chemical used for rebonding may fade the colour  – although Nao said it shouldn’t be a problem if you leave enough time (1 week ~) between the treatments.

Here I come….!  On the way to Nao’s place.

Hair rebonding takes several hours to get done.  First chemical brakes your hair structure, then hot iron to straighten your hair, and the final chemical to seal the hair structure.  It sounds bad to the hair, but no, it is not harmful at all.  It even repairs hair issues like split ends and dandruff, and you only have to have re-touched your hair after new growth.
Hair rebonding straightens your hair and makes it sleek, shiny and fabulously straight. 🙂


I will colour my hair 1 week later. Now arranging my hair is so much easier!  I don’t mind strong wind blowing to me anymore as my hair will always stay calm and straight 🙂

I didn’t know about this but Nao told me that you can have hair rebonding in salons in Perth too – I thought it’s available in Japan only :p  But here it costs around $400!!!!  Wowwww so expensive.  I usually pay around $100 ~ $200 for hair rebonding + hair cut in Japan.
At Nao, it costs just $150 for short hair.  I think it’s very reasonable compared to other places.

As you can see on the photo, Nao will close her shop from 26th Dec till 16th Jan 2013. She is going back to Japan to spend New Year with her family 🙂  So envy her!


I’m loving it!

Nao in Canning Vale : 0430 927 880