It’s Winter… Two More Seasons to Go

Posted May 31st, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

Hmmm … Hiro doesn’t drink much milk at night these days, and sometimes keeps waking up.  During the day is ok, he drinks around 150ml – 180ml per feed.  At night, just 60ml per feed.  He doesn’t take long nap during the day, and we do play-time at least once a day, so he should be tired, sleepy, and hungry at night.  And, he is happy during and after bath time, but once I finish dressing him he starts crying – every night.  Is there any reason?  Too tired? Or he know he’s going to be put to sleep?

I go out with Hiro very often now.  Just two of us.  Bit boring to stay at home all day… and I keep eating something if I’m at home. 🙁  But, I ‘m still not 100% comfortable about going shopping with Hiro.  How people go shopping with babies??  I mean, I can’t push a stroller and a shopping trolly at a same time.  Just carry a baby on shoulder?  Using a baby sling or a carrier?  Or just put him/her on the shopping trolly?  Every time I go shopping I can’t buy big stuff, as I push Hiro in a stroller.

It’s been raining since yesterday, as forecast predicted.  Outside is still dark around 6:30 am.  I feel that there is no “autumn” in Perth.  It’s hot in summer, then suddenly the air becomes very cold.  In Japan, autumn is very distinguished.  The sky is high, the air is cool down, less humidity, dragon flies everywhere, rice fields turns brown colour, and mountains start to change their colours to yellow, orange and red.

In Perth it’s winter now (It should be.  It’s almost June), and it’s the middle of rainy season in Japan.  Very humid season….

Two more seasons, then we are all in Japan 😀


Ozoni – mochi soup –

Posted May 29th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Ozoni, or mochi soup, is a Japanese holiday meal traditionally prepared on New Year’s Day.  The type of ozoni is different in different area in Japan – some area use round mochi while other use square mochi, some people bake mochi before adding to the soup while other people simply soften the mochi in hot water, and the soup is just seasoned with soy sauce and salt in some area while some people in different area add miso to the soup.

In my house, we normally add miso to the soup.  The mochi is sometimes baked before adding to the soup, but not always.  I’m not sure adding miso to the ozoni is Shiga thing, but I remember eating ozoni in miso soup at my brother’s karate party when we were kids. The party was at Biwa Lake bank in winter, after kangeiko (mid-winter training).  All kids in karate uniform went inside the lake and do some work-out in the freezing water.  Watching it made me wonder how they could survive in the water in such a cold day.  Karate uniform is not water proof!  After a hour of training, we all ate ozoni near the fire.  It was so delicious!

I  used mochi I bought from an Asian grocery shop.  This mochi is cut into portions and individually wrapped.

You can add any ingredients to the soup – more you add it develops more flavour.  This time I only used simple ingredients : burdock roots, carrots and spring onions.  I didn’t bother baking mochi, but it will give delicious nutty flavour if you do.

<ozoni> serves 4

  • 4 mochi cakes
  • 1 cup frozen burdock roots, shredded
  • 1/2 carrot, jullienne
  • 2 tbs chopped spring onions
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp dashi stock powder
  • 2.5 ~ 3 tbs miso paste
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds


  1. Place water into a pot, and bring to the boil.  Add dashi stock to dissolve.
  2. Add burdock roots and carrot to the pot.  Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, and add miso paste.  Mix well.  Add spring onions.
  4. Turn on the heat to low, and gently simmer for another few minutes.  Add mirin, and then turn off the heat.
  5. Add  mochi to the soup to warm up, or bake in an oven toaster.
  6. Place one mochi in a serving bowl, and pour the soup.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Mos Burger – Fruity Miso Chicken

Posted May 28th, 2011 in Japan | 6 Comments »

Mos Burger’s new Spicy Fruity Miso Chicken Burger seems to be a  big hit since its released day May 26  🙂

With the concepts of “burger with flavour of Japan”, “burger which catches Japanese people’s hearts”, and “burger: nothing like others”, this new chicken burger is only available for limited time only!

It consists of flame-grilled teriyaki chicken, fruity spicy miso sauce, onion slices, tomato, lettuce, and spicy mayonnaise.

The chicken thigh is marinated with wafu (Japanese flavour) based stock, then flame grilled.  The signature miso sauce is made with 3 kinds of miso : Sakura miso, Kome (rice) miso, and Haccho miso.  It also contains grape juice, raisin, blueberry, roasted soy sauce, red ginger, chilli powder, sweet sake, etc etc….  total 45 ingredients!  The balance of sweetness, spiciness, and sourness is just right – according to the people who tried this burger.

Sounds and looks so delicious!!  Ummmm I wish I was there 🙁

Shopping Day at IKEA

Posted May 27th, 2011 in Perth WA | No Comments »

D, I and Hiro headed to Hillary  yesterday to pick-up a bottle warmer which we bought on eBay.  We were just thinking to buy one as we warm up BM (expressed breast milk) very often everyday, then we found this at very cheap price.

On the way back we dropped by at IKEA. They are doing a campaign that they take the cost of your food and drinks off your store purchase when you dine at IKEA restaurant – so, the food and drinks are basically free if you have something to buy.  (This offer is until 27 May (today!))

When we arrived we headed to IKEA restaurant straight away – needed some sweets!  After the tea time, we went though the store.

We bought two clock, some kitchen stuff and a canopy to put on Hiro’s cot.

After the shopping, we decided to take more advantage of this campaign and headed to the restaurant again….

And had early dinner…

Total we spent at IKEA today was less than $10.00!

We were so tired afterwards (spent for 2 hours there) …  Hero slept very good at night 🙂


Friends and Kids

Posted May 25th, 2011 in Perth WA | 3 Comments »

Hmmm..  my friends, who are not married or don’t have kids, stopped contacting me since I gave birth to Hiro!  I know they think I might be busy taking care of baby and won’t have time to go out or even answer the phone, but I actually do.  I do go out because I get bored if I stay home all day.  I do have my own time as D works at home and loves taking care of Hiro.  We sometimes even fight who feeds him with expressed milk.

I emailed/sms/called them saying “let’s meet up”, but then I realised I’m the person who always asks for a meet up – even before I had Hiro.   Doesn’t anyone want to see me?  … ok, I know it sounds bit crazy – clearly I was having a negative thought.  I even emailed mum asking “do you still remember me?”.   :p

Just to take the stress off, I visited my friend who recently moved into a new house.  She has two girls – 12 years old and 7 years old – and is working as a teacher assistant in Perth.  She also has studied baking here and we used to work at a bakery in Claremont together : that’s how I met her.

Homemade cake and freshly brewed flat white. 🙂

As she used to work as a kindergarden teacher in Shinjuku, Tokyo for 10 years before migrating to Perth, she knows a lot about babies/kids.  And, I knew I could get some advice on parenting (as I still don’t have much idea of it).

She gave me some Japanese books about baby’s food and health to read at home, and talking to her gave me a clearer idea of having and raising kids in Perth.  I didn’t know that kindergarden here is only for 1 year!  And, there is pre-elementary school?

In Japan, kindergarden is for kids between 3 and 5 years old.  Then, 6 years of elementary school followed by 3 years of junior high and 3 years of high school.  Here, 1 year of kindergarden (not compulsory), 1 year of pre-elementaly school, then 7 years of elementary school.  I see, I see…  I’m really glad I could talk to her about these stuff.   I can’t imagine Hiro going to school yet (how he is going to look like??), but it’s never too early for me to plan and prepare for what’s going on in future. 🙂


Posted May 24th, 2011 in Food | 12 Comments »

Taiyaki, fish-shaped baked Japanese sweet, is one of my favourite snack.  This is a kind of stall-food you buy at festivals or shrine on New Year’s Day, but now you can also buy from the food courts in shopping centres or some convenience stores across Japan.  The original filling is azuki an – red bean paste, but there are more varieties such as custard cream and chocolate.

At the shop they use this type of big grill to make taiyaki, but there’s a small version of this to use at home.

The weather like today makes me miss taiyaki. It should be eaten warm, and is kind of a winter sweet.  I don’t have a taiyaki maker at home, so I bought a pack of frozen taiyaki from an Asian grocery shop.

I warmed it up in the microwave, then toasted in a toaster oven to make it crunchy outside.  Eating it with vanilla ice cream gives you the contrast of hot and cold, and the texture of crunchiness of the skin and melty ice cream.



Creamy Curry Pilaf

Posted May 23rd, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

I made this creamy curry risotto to accompany the spicy roasted chicken which I picked up from a poultry shop.  It’s very easy to make, and delicious ♪  I think you should try this!


<Creamy Curry Pilaf> serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 4 green beans, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 10cm spring onion stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 50ml cream


  1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion, garlic, and curry powder until fragrant.
  2. Add green beans, tomato, and rice.  Stir, and pour chicken stock.  Bring to gentle boil, and turn down the heat to simmer for few minutes, until the liquid is almost gone.
  3. Stir in cream, and season well.  Remove from the heat, and serve on a plate.


Nao Hair Salon

Posted May 21st, 2011 in Perth WA | 6 Comments »

I had hair cut!  Yey♪( ´▽`).

I’d been wanting to have hair cut and color for the past couple of months, and I finally made a booking at Nao’s salon in Canning Vale.  This is a home-based salon.

She recently moved into this house and renovated one room to make into a salon.  The room is fitted with a large mirror and reclining shampoo-chair which she bought from a hair salon in Perth.

As the tip of my hair was really damaged and Hiro started to grab my hair, I wanted to cut my hair short.  Short enough to not being able to be reached by Hiro’s hands, but long enough so that I can play around with wax and mousse.  I also wanted to color my hair to light brown for a change.

It took around 2 hours, and my head is much much lighter now!  My hair on the floor looked like a head of human. I was wearing that amount of hair…

Here is a brief price list :

– Cut (trim) $20

– Cut (without shampoo) $30

– Cut (with shampoo & blow dry) $35

– Colour (includes shampoo & blow dry)

  • Short Hair $55
  • Medium $60
  • Long $70

– Perm(includes shampoo & blow dry)

  • Short Hair $80
  • Medium $100
  • Long $120

– Bridal Set $60


When Nao was styling my hair at the end I thought the silhouette of my head looked little too round in the mirror, but it felt fine when I touched it. I can probably play with my hair a lot – with hair pins, wax/mousse, and hair accessories. 🙂

Nao had worked in Japan as a hair stylist for years before migrating to Perth, and at her salon she’s only uses Japanese products which she directly imports from Japan.  She contacts her friends regularly who are also hair stylists in Japan to update the news and knowledge, she said.

She told me the customer before me was Umeboss reader :). Glad to know someone read my blog and actually tries the place!

Oh, I loved the reaction of D when he saw my new hair style.  “Is this for real?!”

Nao’s Hair Salon in Canning Vale

→ Read my newer post about Nao’s Hair Salon

* The price list shown above is old, and it may be now different.

Pregnancy Talk…

Posted May 20th, 2011 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »

Oh it’s been raining very hard since early morning today…  The sky is white, outside is noisy, and the air is cold 😀  I just had hot breakfast made by D.

My friend in Shiga is pregnant with her first baby boy, and we’ve been emailing each other every day for the last few months to talk about pregnancy and delivery.  She is giving birth at one of the most famous/popular ladies clinic in Shiga, and I used to go there too for check-ups while I was in Japan.  Thy are so successful that the clinic has three buildings across Shiga now, and the current director/doctor is my mum’s classmate from her high school.  And, I was born at this clinic!  Father of current directer delivered me before he retired. 🙂

Except the original building, the two new buildings are pretty fancy…  The one where my friend is staying is located near the Biwa Lake shore, and she will be having a full course of French foods after delivery.  And, she can chose to have either facial treatment or reflexology therapy using the choice of aroma oil during the stay.  Sounds very nice!

My friend’s due date is May 30, and she is finally going back to her parents’ house to stay there until the baby is born.

Staying at parents house before and after delivery is very common in Japan, and husband usually stays at home alone.  I asked her if her husband is going to stay with her in the hospital when the labour starts. She said he really wants to, but it depends: if her labor starts around Wednesday night to Thursday, he will be able to see when the baby arrives this world.  But if not, husband will have to wait the news at his office.  It’s just because he doesn’t work on Thursday.

Sigh…  Japanese company is so strict and unreasonable. It may be once-in-a-lifetime experience, but his boss doesn’t let him leave the office even for a minute.  It’s Japan thing… Some people can’t even visit their sick parent in the hospital because of work. I think it’s just stupid… This is one of the reason I like Australia.

Teriyaki Squid

Posted May 19th, 2011 in Food | 1 Comment »

This grilled squid in sweet soy sauce-based sauce is great item to accompany beer or a bowl of steamed rice.  You can also chop it up and add to fried rice/noodles, or simply as a topping for salads.

It’s best to grill the squid in open flame to give delicious flavour, but cooking in a frying pan will just do the job.

<Teriyaki Squid>

  • 6 baby squid
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2 tbs sugar


  1. Turn on a pan over high heat, and lightly spray oil.  Grill squid until coloured.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, and cook until the liquid is reduced and caramelized.


Posted May 17th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

Here is Hiro’s hand and feet sculpture when he was just a few weeks old (post).  It was ready to be picked up around Easter holiday, but we kept thinking “let’s go and pick it up next week” “oh well, maybe next week”…. until now.  Finally we did go out and pick it up from them, and now it is in our room. 🙂

Looks great 😀

Oh my gosh…  He looks so skinny when he was getting his hands and feet done!

Hiro’s best shoot last week ↓↓↓

White Chicken Soup 2

Posted May 16th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

It sure has been great Autumn days Lately. Some people don’t like cold weather and have winter-blue, but I love the quiet atmosphere and cold air outside.

On days like this, a plate of hearty soup shows up on my dining table at least once a week. I made white chicken soup again, but this time I made the soup little thick. Adding rice flour to the soup is a quick and healthy way to thicken the soup, compared with making butter roux. Today I had 2 bowls for lunch, and my body is warm and nourished 🙂

  • 2 fillets chicken thigh
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 2 spring onion stalks
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 broccoli (florets)
  • 2 cups chicken stocks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbs rice flour

  1. Cut vegetables and chicken thigh into cubes. For broccoli florets, cut into small pieces.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep sauce pan, and add cerely, carrots and onions. Sauté for a minutes, then add chicken. Sprinkle salt & pepper to the chicken, and cook for 3~4 minutes over low/medium heat.
  3. Add chicken stock, potatoes and broccoli. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix rice flour into milk, and blend well. Add to the soup, and cook until the soup is thickened. Season to taste.


2 and half Months!

Posted May 14th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 6 Comments »

Oh boy…  it’s been very busy around here.  I feel like I’m working 2 full-time jobs!  I really need to do something with my hair and face….  ah, I need massage and facial (><).

Hiro is doing ok, he seems to know that night time is the sleeping time.  After each feed he goes to sleep straight away and doesn’t wake up for 3 ~ 4 hours.  …oh, sometimes he makes some noise or a cry “ogya-!” “aa—n…!”  then I rush to the cot room, but he is asleep!  Is he dreaming?

He likes when I undress him to change a nappy or clothes – he used to cry a lot before, but now he just can’t stop smiling.  His smile is so funny… and cute.  And, he sticks his tongue out when we do that in front of him.  He copies!

… I notice I show photos of Hiro with same clothes over and over a lot :p   And on a same play mat.   Many many similar shots…

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been busy and feeling some stress, but my breast milk supply is decreasing! 🙁  I know it because I express milk and can see how much I made on the bottle. I do eat lots of sweets lately (maybe because I’m tired), and I hear eating sweets slows down the breast milk supply.  I don’t know if it’s true though.  Some people say eating chocolate and relaxing is a good thing to do in order to produce more milk…  Confusing!  I feel hungry but don’t know what I want to eat, plus I sometimes don’t feel like cooking, so I keep munching on bread with spreads and cookies/chocolate…  I should be eating proper food.  Ummm I hope it’s just a temporary thing and my milk supply will come back when things around me go slow down.

Look@MyBaby Mercy Hospital

Posted May 12th, 2011 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Mercy Hospital Mount Lawley has just become the first hospital in WA to provide new parents with a live and secure video streaming service direct from the maternity cot.

Exclusive built-in hospital camera system sends a live broadcast of your baby in the maternity cot to family and friends locally, interstate or overseas. It is like ‘visiting’ your baby in hospital 24/7 at their convenience on computers and mobile phones. It is the Virtual Baby Visit!

I think it’s a great item for parents who have to leave their unwell or premature baby in the hospital, as well as for the families who live far away from the hospital and can’t visit to see the new baby.

Another Rabbit

Posted May 11th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh….!!
I just received a great news from D!
Hiro is going to have another nephew / niece at the end of this year… 😀

D’s sister is 11weeks pregnant.  I wonder how it was when I was at week 11.  Was I already feeling strange??
Then I looked at my scrap book to find out. I was already feeling tiredness and sleepiness long before week 11.  Week 11 was when I visited my OB the first time, and saw a little peanut on the screen. 🙂

It’s so exciting!  I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that it may be a girl…!

Yesterday was my first day of mother’s group gathering, and I was surprised to see Hiro to be the biggest baby in the room.  All other babies were so young and tiny!

Watching these babies reminded me of baby Hiro…  and how I was struggling to even hold him and feed him during the first few weeks.  I never thought I would feel this way, but I miss all of those struggles. And, I miss being pregnant! (wow)  It was a long time of giving-up-things period, but now I miss the kicks I felt in my tummy and the excitement for the birth of a new baby.

By the way, here is how D described our reaction when we heard that sister is pregnant … ↓↓↓

Salty Caramel Popcorn

Posted May 10th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

D has been craving for this sweet and salty popcorn.  Personally, I don’t really like too-sugary food, but I remember the popcorn sister-in-law brought us long time ago (post) and I decided to make some at home.

I have many machines and tools for the kitchen, but this popcorn machine has been one of the best-buy.  (post) It makes popcorns using hot air (no oil), and they are my favourite healthy snack.  I don’t add salt or butter to it.  D, however, doesn’t seem to enjoy the plain non-flavour popcorn :p   I’m the only one who uses this machine in this house now.  It’s a shame, this machine looks so cute and works very well.

The caramel is sweet and sticky. I would probably get sick of it if it’s just sweet caramel popcorn, but because of the slight saltiness it became addictive delicious snack.  It’s a great way to use up old popcorns (plain) too.

I tried the recipe from Best Recipes , and added salt once the caramel is cool.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1/2 cups corn kernel –  air popped
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • salt
  1. Place the butter, sugar and honey in a small sauce pan, and bring to the boil.  Cook until it turns to caramel colour without stirring.
  2. Pour the caramel into a bowl of popcorns, and mix through quickly using a spatula.
  3. Transfer the popcorns into baking sheet to cool down.
  4. Break up the popcorn, and sprinkle salt.  Mix through.

When handling caramel, be careful not to burn yourself as the caramel is very very hot.  To wash the sauce pan, simply fill with water and bring it to boil.  Caramel is very difficult to wash when it’s cold.


Happy Mother’s Day 2011

Posted May 9th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

It was my first ever mother’s day since Hiro was born.  I still receive a strange feeling when someone calls me “mum”.  …. Oh, Hiro doesn’t call me that yet (of course), just D and my friends calling me “mum” instead of my name!

D made me some yummy breakfast.  I know the croissant is little burnt and the hash brown is just a frozen one, but everything was lovely.  His scrambled eggs is getting better and better. 😀  He didn’t even know how to make it few years ago!

It was a perfect Sunday – the weather was pretty, but we didn’t go out.  We were going to, but we lost track of time :p

These days, Hiro sleeps well during the night (yey!) and wakes up when the sun is out.  We did lots of play time and tummy time.

He can lift up this head pretty good now.

His face changes in every angle!  The faces when he is asleep and awake are different too.

Yum Cha and Shopping

Posted May 8th, 2011 in Perth WA | 2 Comments »

The other day I needed to go to Carousel shopping centre, so D, Hiro and I headed there.  On the way, we stopped at a Chinese restaurant in Leeming to have Yum Cha.  The prices are bit more expensive compared to the restaurants in Northbridge, but their service is great and the owner is very friendly.

We had the usuals : prawn dumplings, shumai, spareribs, ginger tripes, fried squid, and chicken feet.  Yes, we are huge eaters! 😀

At Carousel shopping centre, I was surprised when a man came to us asking for $100. Yes, $100, not $10! Why did he think we’d have $100 to give to a stranger? I was in the car with Hiro, but I nearly jumped out from the car to say something to the guy and help D out.

And, surprisingly, it happened twice on the same day… Different guy, asking for money just before we wanted to leave.  Our car had already started moving, but the guy kept following us.(>人<;)
Since when this area became so shady?  Now I remember there was a car burglar at this car park last year.  Ummm… we’d better make sure there’s no one around when you get into the car at car parks, and lock the door as soon as everyone got inside the car!


May 5, Children’s Day

Posted May 7th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | No Comments »

I have a photo of 2-weeks-old Hiro in the room, and the photo makes me realize how small he was once and how big he has grown in the last 2 months. In this photo he is sooo tiny!

Look at him now!  Is this a same baby??  He is wearing the same clothes.  His face, arms and legs are round and chunky!  My mum calls him “little piggy”.
He now wears the size 000, and newborn nappies are getting tight. You know, he was too small for size 0000 clothes and newborn nappies were too big for him when he was born.  In-laws bought him lots of clothes at size 000 – 00, and I used to think “when will he be able to fit in these huge outfits?!” Now he wears infant size nappies, and those huge-used-to-be clothes are just right size for him. Looking at the size0000 clothes made me miss the tiny legs and arms…  Baby grows so fast! (><)

Now I’m looking at size 0 clothes and thinking when he will be able to fit in these huge T-shirt. The day might Not be too far away.
5th of May is Children’s Day in Japan, and is part of the Golden Week (national long weekend). It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness.
The day was originally called Tango no Sekku, and traditionally families with boys celebrate this day by displaying kabuto (traditional Japanese armour as worn by samurai) and raising koinobori (carp-shaped flags).

It was Hiro’s first Tango no Sekku. Although I didn’t have koinobori or kabuto to display, I made a little one just to celebrate this day.

Be a strong, healthy boy, Hiro!

Basil Meatball Pasta

Posted May 5th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

The basil we sow about few months ago is growing big now!

I had a pack of beef mince in the freezer, so I decided to make meatballs using the basil leaves.

I chopped up the leaves finely and added to the meatballs along with onions.  Although I like meatballs with half pork half beef, this time it’s 100% beef.  It was still good, the delicious sizzling smell hit my nose as soon as I started grilling the meatballs.

Fresh basil is so great for tomato based sauce.

I added about 15 leaves to the mince, but I could add more, actually. I was bit stingy!

<Basil Meatballs>

  • 300g beef mince
  • 15 (or more) basil leaves
  • 1 onion (large)
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 450g chopped tomato (tin)
  • 3 garlic cloves


  1. Chop up the onion and celery finely.  Place half of the onion into a mixing bowl with beef mince.
  2. Chop up basil leaves.  Add to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. Slice garlic thinly.  Heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a sauce pan, and fry garlic until fragrant.  Add the rest of the onion and the celery to the pan, and saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, and fry for few minutes, then add chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a frying pan.  Shape the mince mixture into little balls, and place onto the frying pan.  Grill over medium-high heat until the bottom is coloured, then flip it around.  Turn down the heat and cook further 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan over the meatballs.  Simmer for few minutes.
  7. Enjoy with pasta or bread!  

May in Autumn

Posted May 4th, 2011 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food -, Ume and Baby | 4 Comments »

I just realised that it’s May already…!  It’s the middle of Golden Week (long weekend with public holidays) in Japan.  Sakura should be all gone by now (in the main island / south), and it should be getting warmer and warmer soon over there.  I haven’t heard from my family (dad and bro side) for a while so I emailed my bro to see what they are up to.  I thought bro would be enjoying this long weekend, but he said he and dad have been working all-day at their rice fields.  It’s that season already.

I haven’t been back to Japan during summer for almost 6 years now (because I don’t like hot & humid climate), but I remember I helped working in the rice fields a lot while I was there during my homecoming in 2005.  I helped weeding (using a machine), bringing lunch to them, harvesting the rice, and bringing all the crops to the mill.  The job is hard, but it’s very interesting.  I like doing that type of physical work.  Sometimes I took Mimi (our dog) to the rice field, and watched dad and bro working from the side of the rice field with her.

Ah, I miss eating our rice!

Back to Perth : It’s very cold at night and morning, but the temperature goes up to mid-20’s (or close to 30℃) during the day.  I need to dress Hiro twice.

One of D’s sister has been visiting here from Jakarta, and yesterday was her last day here.  She comes here quite often so we didn’t do anything special – besides she likes watching tv all the time at home.  But yesterday I had to buy some stuff from Fremantle so we all went out for a quick drive.

We picked up some sushi from Oceans in the Woolstores on the way back.  It was actually my first time to try their food.  I go to Fremantle quite often, but I’ve never had a chance to buy anything from there.  I believe the owner is Japanese (my friend used to work there before), and the location is good – close to the train station and car parks.  We bought some mixed sushi rolls which were already packed for take-away.  The sushi was not bad and I enjoyed it.  Much better than Sushi Sushi

Melty Milky Pudding

Posted May 3rd, 2011 in Food | 8 Comments »

I’ve been having a craving for the Japanese pudding I used to eat back home.  The soft, melty, milky pudding!  There’re so many delicious puddings in Japan, but my favourite one was “tamago-to-gyunyu nameraka pudding” from Meito.  I don’t know if they still sell it.  The milkiness and the sweetness was just perfect to me.  It melts in your tongue.  Ummm… I miss it (><)

The pudding you get here in Perth is little too sweet.  And, not milky!  So I decided to make one myself..

… and, it turned out GREAT.

The key is not to overcook when you steam the pudding.  Remove from the steamer while the centre is still soft, and the inside will be just cooked by the heat.

I add a layer of caramel sauce at the bottom, and a layer of whipped cream on the top of the pudding.  Yum!

<Melty Milky Pudding>  makes 6 cups

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs sugar (40g)
  • 150ml milk
  • 200ml cream
  • few drops vanilla extract


  1. Mix the eggs and yolks in a mixing bowl.  Try not to whisk too much and don’t let any air go into the egg mixture.
  2. Place the milk, cream and sugar in a pan, and gently warm up over medium heat.  Pour it into the egg mixture, stirring as you pour.  Add vanilla extract to the bowl.
  3. Divide the mixture into 6 heat resistant cups.
  4. Place the cups in a deep pan, and pour water so it comes up to half way up the cups.  Turn on the heat.
  5. When the water starts to boil, place aluminium foil on top of the cups to cover.  Turn down the heat to low, and place a lid.  Steam for about 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, and leave the cups for another 5 minutes.w

Once the pudding is cool, top with whipped cream and/or decorate with fresh fruits. 🙂

Funny Shopping Bag Designs

Posted May 2nd, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Looks painful…

… sexy… ?

Bra bag.

Hold your hand!

Looks heavy even if there’s nothing inside.

Nice idea…



Posted May 1st, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Croissant, croissant…  Many people love this buttery flaky bread, and it is one of the most popular bread across the world. Me, other hand, ummm not so much. I don’t hate it, it’s just that if I had to choose between croissant and hard crusty sourdough bread I would choose the sourdough.

Although it’s not in the list of my favourite bread, I do enjoy eating it occasionally.   Croissant reminds me of some memories.  A warm cozy log cottages in the middle of the forrest where I stayed during the school trip almost 15 years ago.  And, the memory of the stay in the hospital after giving birth to Hiro.

B&B (bed & breakfast accommodation) is still quite rare to find in Japan, so it was like a new experience to me when I stayed there overnight with my classmates and teachers. The location was so beautiful – in the middle of a big forrest, nothing else around.  I remember friends and I were excited to see a wild flying squirrel at night.  And, the owner couple was so friendly and welcoming.

One of the thing I remember in the memory is the croissant.  It was one of the menu in the breakfast.  When I woke up, the cottage was filled with the delicious smell, and everyone rushed to the dining room, and there were freshly baked croissants on the table!  In those days no one (at least anybody I knew)  had bread machine at home, and it was my first time eating fresh baked bread.  The croissant was still hot, just came out from the oven.

The memory of the stay in the hospital and croissant have nothing big, just that D and I ordered some croissant for breakfast several times and that’s it.  Now, the weather is cold, and having freshly baked bread in the morning is just perfect.  Especially in a quiet place away from the city noises – just like that cottage.