An Dango

Posted November 13th, 2016 in Food | No Comments »

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Here in Perth it’s Spring and the weather has been strange – hot day, then rainy day, then cloudy day then again hot day! Hmmm I know Summer is just around the corner but I am not really looking forward to these scorching hot days..

Today was a hot day, and usually I would take my kids to the park in the early morning or to the swimming pool but we had someone come over to fix the garden today so we stayed home. Staying home with 2 kids means lots of food preparation. To combine the “cooking” and “playing”, I involved them in cooking and this is one of the things we made together – dango.

I love dango – I love the chewy texture! In Japan we normally use “shiratama-ko”  or “joshin-ko ” to made dango, but I do not have neither at home. Instead, I stock up this rice flour from Coles.

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Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour. It has to be this green package! It’s just over $2 a packet and so easy to make sticky dango snack.

The recipe is roughly measured, so please adjust the amount of water. And, I mixed tofu to the mixture this time, but you don’t need tofu if you don’t have. Just water and this flour is fine.

<recipe> makes around 20

• Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour … 1 cup

• Tofu (silken or momen) … 50g

• Water … around 1-2 tablespoon

Anko (or some alternative shown below)

 

  1. Drain the tofu from water, then wrap with kitchen paper. Microwave for 30 seconds ~ 1 minutes. This drains more water from tofu.
  2. Place flour into a bowl. Add cooled tofu, then smash the tofu and mix well.  Add water bit by bit to adjust the consistency of the mixture. It should be as firm as your earlobes.
  3. Boil water in a deep pan. Shape the mixture into small balls (1.5cm) then press lightly in the centre to flatten a bit. Drop the balls into boiling water.  Once the balls start to float, count 10 seconds then take them out of the water, and then drop them into a bowl of cold water.
  4. Drain the dango. Skewer them onto toothpicks, then place anko on top.
  5. Enjoy ♬

 

I made koshi-an (strained smooth Anko) but you can just buy a can of Anko from Asian grocery store, or you can eat dango with kinako (sweet soybean flour) or sweet soy sauce (Japanese soy sauce + sugar).   It’s all up to you!

 


Bûche de Noël

Posted December 23rd, 2015 in Food | No Comments »

bush-de-noel

It’s that time of the year again!  It’s a time to express our love to family and friends, time to reflect on the past year, a time to set new goals for the upcoming year….  I wish 2015 was a great one for you.  Mine was great 🙂 Not many posting on Umeboss this year though… so it will be one of my goal for 2016 “write more posts for Umeboss”.

This month has been an event-full one for me : lots of cake-making, a family trip to a town of dolphins Bunbury, my son graduating kindergarten and family gatherings.

ume ume2

After making these 4 huge cakes for my son’s Japanese kindergarten’s Christmas party, I had some leftover of sponge and whipped cream in the fridge.  Then I remembered when I was little I used to make this cake Bûche de Noël for Christmas.

Bûche de Noël  is the French name for a Christmas cake shaped like a log, and is a traditional dessert served near Christmas, especially in France.  It’s fairly easy & fun to make.  I used to just buy a Swiss roll cake from a store, and cover with whipped chocolate cream.  I loved the decorating part – making the pattern resembling skin of log using a folk, and place these “kinoko-no-yama” chocolate on top.

kino

It was a fun “cooking” as a little girl, and tasted good too 🙂

You may find this chocolate “kinoko-no-yama” in Perth too, (Korean version maybe available as well) but I didn’t even want to go out to buy extra ingredients for the cake – I just wanted to make now!  So here it is;

bush-de-noel2

Very simple 😀
It actually should have a Holly leaves as a decoration, but I substituted with mint leaves and M&M….   Some “kinoko-no-yama” on top and side of the log would look much nicer, I think.

You used leftover sponge for this, but you can buy a Swiss roll cake from store (like I used to do) and cover with whipped chocolate cream.  Place the cake in the fridge to set the cream (about 15 minutes) then draw a pattern using a folk.  Then, you will have a lovely0looking Christmas cake for yourself.  Please try!

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Dinosaur Themed Birthday Cake

Posted March 20th, 2014 in Food | 2 Comments »

Dinosaurs on cake

As my son is currently crazy about dinosaurs, it was no surprise he requested a dinosaur birthday cake for his 3rd birthday.

I’m sure a dinosaur shaped cake covered with colourful sweet icing will excite him, but I still feel uncomfortable with these Western too-sweet-treat :{ I love Japanese cake and I’ve been baking Japanese style cake for his birthdays, so I decided to make one again for his 3rd birthday.

To make it more appealing to him, I put some dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs (Easter eggs, actually lol) on top of the cake.  The cake consists layers of sponge cake, whipped cream, and lots of fresh fruits as usual.

Chocolate dinosaurs

 

I started making dinosaurs few weeks ago.  It’s made of chocolate and it can be kept in the fridge for a long time once it’s made, so at least one thing is done in early stage it gives me lots of relief.

If you love drawing, you will love the process.  Of course you can create anything rather than dinosaurs!

It’s pretty easy and you’ll just need chocolate (dark and white) and some colouring.

Here is how I made these dinosaurs… ↓↓

Firstly, print out an image of what you want to draw.  An image with simple lines and not too many colours is a better choice.  You can draw the image from scratch if you’d like.  Remember, the image will be reversed once the chocolate is set – so if you are writing any letter it has to be reversed to a mirror image.

Once you have a clear image on nice clean paper, place a piece of baking sheet on top.  Staple the paper so it won’t move.

Chocolate dinosaur making 1

Secondly, melt dark (or milk) chocolate on a plate or small cup over hot water bath.  Using a skewer, just like a pen draw the line according to the image.

Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Chocolate dinosaur making 2

Thirdly, make coloured chocolate.  Melt white chocolate in a place or small cup.

If you decide to make green colour, I found Matcha green tea powder works the best when mixing with white chocolate.  For other colours like red or yellow, if you happen to have some colouring powder (e.g. jelly powder) I think it’s easier than mixing with liquid colouring as chocolate and liquid don’t really get mixed well.  Too much liquid colouring will curdle the chocolate.  So, if you are working with liquid colouring make sure you start with a super tiny bit of drop.  Mix with melted white chocolate, and add some more until it reaches desired colour.

Make few colours according to your image.  I made green, yellow and red (pink).

Carefully, spread the coloured chocolate over the image.  Be careful not to move the chocolate line you drew.  (I do sometimes…)

Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Chocolate dinosaur making 3

Lastly, melt white chocolate in another plate or small cup.  Spread to cover the thin area or all over the image.  Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Once the chocolate is set, carefully remove from the sheet and flip it over.  Now you have a cute image to decorate your cake 🙂

Chocolate dinosaurs

 

TA-DA!!!

The green dinosaurs’s dots look like they’re bit melted when spreading green chocolate :p  But still look good aren’t they?

birthday-cake

I made this Japanese anime character “Anpanman” for my son’s 2’nd birthday.

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Another dinosaur for my friend.

truck

A truck for a 3-year-old boy.

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Custard Dorayaki

Posted June 1st, 2013 in Food | 5 Comments »

My oven had broken down…!!  I can’t bake until Tuesday as this is long weekend and no-one could come down and have a look at it.

Since I can’t use the oven, I’ve made something using the stove – this custard dorayaki.  … They look like pancake sandwiches :p

Dorayaki is one of Japanese sweets which usually contains azuki bean paste inside.  My husband doesn’t like azuki bean paste, and custard is much easier to make, so I went with custard dorayaki.

I don’t like it too sweet, so if you like sweet custard add more sugar to the recipe.

 

<Custard>

  • Milk 100ml
  • Granulated Sugar 20g
  • Egg Yolk 1 (L size)
  • Plain Flour 10g
  • Condensed Milk 5g
  • Vanilla essence few drops

 

  1. Whisk egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Shift in the flour.
  2. In a sauce pan, warm up the milk.  (not too hot, around 36℃)  Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture through a sieve.  Stir.  Pour the mixture back into the pan, and heat over low heat.  Stir constantly.  Heat until the custard thickens.  Off the heat, and add condensed milk & vanilla essence when the custard is slightly cool.  Mix well, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Keep refrigerated.

 

<Dorayaki>  makes 16 mini pancake = 8 dorayaki

  • Plain Flour 100g
  • Baking Powder 1 tsp
  • Honey 2 tbs
  • Sugar 2 tbs
  • Milk 4 tbs
  • Egg 2

 

  1. Mix everything in a bowl.  Heat a small frying pan, spray with oil, and pour a small ladle of mixture to make a small pancake.  Repeat until you use up all the mixture.
  2. Once the pancakes are cooled down, spread custard cream between 2 pancakes.  Serve immediately.

 


We are at the verge of Autumn

Posted April 27th, 2013 in Food | 1 Comment »

I haven’t written on Umeboss regularly for a long time and I feed bad 🙁  I used to write a post almost every day before, but now I don’t seem to be able to find the time to sit back and write what I want to write about.  I don’t want to say it’s something/someone’s fault, it’s just that I’ve been busy doing other stuff.  But I feel bad.

Here in Perth the Autumn has arrived and I’m enjoying the beautiful sky and temperature.  …. It rains a lot, and I see lots of snails (gross!), but let’s think that all this is part of nature.  🙂

In my hometown, Japan, we get lots of delicious food in Autumn.  Some fruits, fish, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, etc etc are the best to be eaten in Autumn.  But here, I don’t see much Autumn fruits sold cheap at the shops.  Grapes, pears, mandarines, persimmon – to name a few – are the Autumn fruits, but grapes are not really cheap!  Maybe it’s still too early?  I hope the price will drop in few weeks when we start to feel winter is just around the corner.

I baked walnut nougat slices last night.  It’s a perfect sweet to munch on with a cup of hot tea.  I found that roasted almond would have gone much better on the nougat rather than walnuts, so I will try making it with almond next time.

Here is the recipe:

* butter and egg should be at room temperature

* I used 20cm x 20cm oven pan, but you can use a bigger sized pan

<Walnut Nougat Slices>

~ the base ~

  • Unsalted Butter 150g
  • Granulated Sugar 100g
  • Egg 1
  • Plain Flour 300g

~ the topping ~

  • Unsalted Butter 30g
  • Granulated Sugar 80g
  • Cream (I used Whipping) 100ml
  • Honey 30g
  • Whole or chopped walnuts 150g

 

  1. Roast walnuts in the oven or in the pan over stove.  Leave to cool down.
  2. Base – Add sugar to butter, and mix using a whisk.  Beat egg, and gradually add to the butter mixture.  Mix well.
  3. Shift in flour, and mix using a spatula. (DO NOT over-mix)  Once the dough comes together, wrap in plastic and rest it in the fridge for 3 hours +
  4. Set oven at 180 ℃.  Line baking sheet in an oven pan, and spread the dough over.  Poke few times with fork.  Bake in the oven for 15~20 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and leave to cool.
  5. Topping – Place all the ingredients except walnuts in a sauce pan.  Over low heat, simmer to caramelize.  To check it’s ready to take off the heat, simply drop the caramel into a cup of water – if the caramel forms small balls inside the water, then it is ready.  Take it off the heat, and mix with walnuts.
  6. Spread the nougat over the base.  Level the surface.  Bake in the oven at 180℃ for 20~30 minutes.
  7. Slice into pieces before it’s completely cool.

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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

Cream

  • Whipping Cream 100ml
  • Sugar 1 tbs

Others

  • 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)

 


Soft & Moist Fruits Pound Cake

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

It’s getting very cold in the morning….!!  Waking up around 5AM and going for a walk around 6AM has been our (me & Hiro) routine for a while now.  This morning I couldn’t stand without a jacket, and my bare foot was so freezing.  It’s amazing Hiro still could manage to fell himself back to sleep in the cold air.  He fells asleep on a stroller when he hadn’t got enough sleep.

Anyway, yesterday was the last day of the term at play group, and it was mostly cleaning & eating for the whole 2 hours.  In between we did egg hunting as Easter is just around the corner.  All mums were asked to bring one dish to the centre and we shared the yummy food.

I made fruits & walnuts cake because it’s the easiest and quickest to make.  Other mums brought some gorgeous food such as salmon sashimi, takoyaki, chicken nuggets and hot cross buns.  I loved them all.

I made this cake with whatever ingredients I had. Actually I have lots of ingredients in my pantry at the moment because of my bagel business.  Thanks to that, I didn’t need to buy anything extra 🙂

The cake turned out moist and soft, just how I like it.  I added walnuts because I like the accent of crunchy texture.  This is the very basic pound cake recipe, but I want to share it with you.

<Fruits Pound Cake>  one standard pound cake mold  /  oven 180℃

  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 tbs mixed dry fruits
  • 1 tbs crushed walnuts
  • 1 tbs frozen cranberries

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  1. Cream the butter with a whisk to just soften up.  Butter goes soft within 1 hour outside the fridge in summer, but in winter I recommend to warm it up over warm water bath or in the microwave to speed up the process.  Butter should be very soft.
  2. Add sugar, and beat until fluffy and becomes slightly white colour.
  3. Beat eggs in a separate container, and add to the butter mixture gradually.  Mix well at each addition.
  4. Shift the flour and baking powder into the mixture.  Drop the fruits and nuts onto the flour then shift in using a spatula.  Try not to over mix.
  5. Pour the mixture into a lined pound-cake-mold, and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or it springs back when you touch the top surface.
  6. Place on a wire rack to cool before slicing.

You can add vanilla extract to enhance the sweetness.  You can alternatively use other nuts instead of walnut such as pistachio or pecan nut.


Tamago Boro

Posted February 28th, 2012 in Food | 5 Comments »

Tamago Boro, egg biscuit for babies, is a very popular snack for children in Japan. It melts inside your mouth without biting, so it’s easy and safe to eat for little children.

As you cannot bring anything containing egg into Australia, I couldn’t bring packs of this tamago boro when I left Japan.  Some shops may sell this snack here in Perth, but I’m sure it won’t be a reasonable price compare to that it’s just  ¥100 for 5 packs of boro in Japan.

After coming back to Perth I made this tamago boro for my  I-want-to-eat-everything-because-I-have-a-big-appetite-and-stomach son.  It was my first prompt and it tuned out to be ok.  I think I made it little too big (store-bought one is much smaller than what I made) but it tasted and melted just the same.

<Tamago Boro>  makes around 30

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80g cornstarch
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 1.5 tsp milk (either cow milk or formula)

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  1. Mix the yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add cornstarch and mix will using a spatula.
  2. Add milk, and mix well.  Add less or more milk to make into shapable consistency.
  3. Shape the mixture into little balls.
  4. Line the balls on a baking paper, and bake in the oven 160℃ for about 15 ~ 20 minutes.

Actually I don’t like tamago boro.  Haha, it sounds funny ; I don’t like it but I’m making it for my son.  I don’t really like the texture (that melts on the tongue) but I’m sure Hiro enjoyed it.

And he loves bagel, actually.  Bagels are hard so it does the same job as rusk.

He saw me eating a plain bagel, and when I gave it to him just to joke he grabbed it and didn’t want to let it go.  He actually eats the bagel just like the photo, and I had to take it away from him as he was eating so much.  The crust may be too hard for him so now I cut the crust off before giving to him.


Cinnamon Sticks

Posted August 15th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

In a cold afternoon, drinking hot milk tea and feeling something to snack on….. Could it be only me?  Or, you just don’t want to throw away the bread crust – the left over from making sandwiches the other day?  Now here is the way to make delicious snack out of it.

This golden crisp cinnamon stick is a great accompaniment to your morning or afternoon tea (of coffee!).  And, is very simple to make too.

<Cinnamon Sticks>

  • 8 pieces bread crust (from 2 slices of bread)
  • cinnamon sugar
  • oil to deep-fry

a

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Deep-fry the bread crust until golden.
  3. Drain the oil well, then coat with cinnamon sugar.

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You can also make it without deep-frying.  Toast in the oven, or in a frying pan (without oil) until golden crispy.  Keep them  in an air-tight container after cooled down.a

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