Bali Trip 2012 – Indonesian Food

Posted November 8th, 2012 in Bali | 4 Comments »

We ate a lot while we were in Bali.  I love eating and Hiro loves eating too, so we were around the food almost all the time from the morning till the night… :p

It was actually my first time drinking coconut water.  I just never tried it.  But since I was in Indonesia I thought I’d try a sip.  …. I didn’t like it much 😛

Hiro seemed to like it.

In Ubud, we went to a famous duck restaurant Bebek Bengil (dirty duck).  The place was beautiful – very big place, and you can overlook rice terrace from your table.  There’re many ducks (probably they are for the restaurant….) around too.

I had lots of Nasi Goreng while in Bali, but I loved this restaurant the best.

Although it’s a restaurant specializing duck, I ordered crispy chicken :p

Food was so delicious!!  And I loved the view too.

This is at Kolega Warung in Seminyak.  The review was good, so we went there to try.
You can pick food you want for your plate from the counter.  My plate was around AUD$2

The food was great but this place didn’t have air-con…  Hiro was asleep but sweating.

We also went to Kudeta in Seminyak.  Actually we weren’t planning going there because I knew the price would be expensive.

It was expensive!!!!  But I have to admit, the food and location were wonderful.  We ordered soft-shell crab and papaya salad, crumbed snapper with Japanese coleslaw and wedges, and some pasta to share.  One bottle of Bintang beer costed around AUD$6 here!!!

Coconut & Palm Sugar Pancake at Made’s Warung in Seminyak.  As the name indicates, it was super sweet!!  The dough was chewy and nice 🙂

This Tempeh (fermented soy bean) chips are at Made’s Warung as well.  Very nice and crispy.

One night we went to Papaya – a Japanese supermarket near our villa to get some Japanese food to eat at villa.  They sell fresh bread, sashimi, sushi, fried stuff, bento boxes, onigiri, etc etc along with other foods, drinks and non-food items.

I think the prices were bit expensive considering we were in Bali, but still reasonable.  We bought few bento boxes, sushi, katsu and salads.

Baby Food Recipes

Posted April 26th, 2012 in Food | No Comments »

Since Hiro started eating finger foods I’ve been enjoying cooking for him more than for myself.  Now, as a one-year-old boy he eats variety of food (although he doesn’t like steamed rice and egg sometimes) 3 times a day + snack.  He loves eating!  I’ve taken him to Miss Maud lunch buffet the other day, and he ate as much as I did – bread, roasted vegetables, fruits, cheese …..  a lot of them.  And I didn’t even need to pay a cent for those food he ate as he is under 4 years of age.

As I note what he eats everyday on I cook variety of food each day.  Sometimes he doesn’t like the food and I have no idea what to give him instead, but most of the time he enjoys my food.
Here are few recipes of the food he likes : if you happen to have kids you may wanna try them out, I thought 🙂

<Potato Okonomiyaki>

• Cabbage, chopped, 1 tablespoon
• Spinach, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon
• Potato, cut in cubes and soft-boiled, 1 tablespoon
• Egg 1/2

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Lightly spray a small frying pan with oil.  Drop 1 table spoon of mixture into the pan and cook until the bottom is set and colored.  Flip it and cook another side until the hamburg is cooked through.

<Tuna Pumpkin Curry Rice>

  • tinned tuna in spring water, drained x 1 tea spoon
  • soft cooked pumpkin x 1 ~ 1.5 table spoons
  • broccoli x 1 floret
  • frozen mixed vegetables (I use corn, peas and capsicum) x 1 tea spoon
  • tomato, skinned and seeded x 1 tea spoon
  • super tiny amount of mild Indian curry powder
  • steamed rice
  1. Place tuna, pumpkin, vegetables and curry powder in a sauce pan and add water to just cover the food.  Cook until all the food is cooked and soft.  (add more water if needed)
  2. Serve on a bed of steamed rice.

<Salmon Udon Noodle>

  • cooked udon noodle, about 1.5 table spoon, cut into small pieces
  • salmon, small piece
  • 1 broccoli floret
  • carrot, small piece
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp mixture of cornflour + water
  1. Place salmon, broccoli, carrot in a saucepan, and cover with water.  Bring to gentle simmer, and cook until tender.
  2. Add udon noodles and milk to the saucepan.  Simmer.  Add cornflour mixture to thicken.

<Tuna & Pumpkin Sandwiches>

  • tinned tuna in spring water, drained x 1 tea spoon
  • cooked pumpkin, 1.5 tbs
  • 2 slices of bread
  1. Mix the tuna and pumpkin.  Spread on 1 slice of bread, and place another slice on top.  Cut off the crust.  Cut into finger size.

<Chicken Meatballs>

  • chicken mince x 1 table spoon
  • tofu (I use Japanese tofu, either silken or firm) x 1 tbs
  • soft cooked pumpkin x 1 tbs
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 tsp cornflour (optional)
  1. mix all the ingredients, and shape into flat balls.
  2. spray oil lightly onto a frying pan, and grill both side until well-cooked.

<Soup with Tofu Dumplings>

  • tofu (I use Japanese tofu, either silken or firm) 3 tbs
  • plain flour 1 tbs
  • cornflour 1 tbs
  • chicken mince 1 tsp
  • vegetables (brocoli floret, carrot, potato, onion etc)
  1. Place chicken mince and vegetables in a saucepan, and fill water to cover the food.
  2. Bring to gentle simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. Mix tofu and flour.
  4. While the soup is simmering, scoop 1 tsp of tofu mixture and drop into the simmering soup.  Repeat with remaining tofu mixture.  Cook until the tofu dumplings are cooked.

Korean Version of Tongari Corn

Posted March 27th, 2012 in Food | 4 Comments »

I’ve been into this Korean snack that I bought from Spud Shed the other day…  This is exactly what I used to eat in Japan – “tongari corn”!

Actually, when I look at the photos of Japanese tongari corn they look thicker than Korean one, but it tastes about the same.

It got a hole in the bottom, and this is how people eat tongari corn….

Caps? Nail? People sometimes draw a face on it and do a “tongari corn play”.

They can be played as a “stacking corn” game where you stack up the corns and the person who collapse the tower is the loser.

Haha, the Korean snack just reminded me of these silly things I used to do in Japan.

My Baby Ate What?

Posted February 23rd, 2012 in Food | 2 Comments »

When my baby just started eating solid I wasn’t really sure what to feed him everyday.  For the first few months was easy, just mashed pumpkin, and next day is mashed avocado….  But as he grew I had to think about the nutrition and combination of food each day.

I searched online what people usually feed their babies.  I found some ideas for what to make for each meal but I wanted to see what they make for whole week, and I couldn’t really find it.  I wanted to know what other mums cook for their babies.

So I started this food blog “My Baby Ate What?” .  There in this blog I list down what I feed my 11-old son each day with a photo of a meal, as well as the feeding time etc.  This is just a case of my son and I’m not trying to make it as a model at all.  This is for people who want to know some other baby’s daily cycle.

I usually make food with what I’ve got in my freezer/fridge, and sometimes get ideas from recipe books.  My baby has big appetite and it may seem too much food for some babies, but again, it is just what my son eats everyday.

I hope someone enjoy this blog!  🙂  Happy cooking ♪

Grocery Expense

Posted August 10th, 2011 in Perth WA | 8 Comments »

I started to record how much I spend on grocery each month, because I thought I might be spending too much for just 2 (& a half) people. When I look at the bank statement I sometimes wonder what I spent so much on, and so often (EFTPOS). I realized I go to Coles, WoolWorth and IGA few times a week… To think about it, we (just 2people) don’t need so much food in a week, and going grocery shopping few times a week is just too much!

I don’t know how much people normally spend for food each month, but I set a limit of $100 for August to see.  Now, it’s 10th of August and I already spent $180… :_(   ….  Maybe $100 for 2 people in a month was bit too tight, but it made me be more sensitive about spending money!  Since I’m not employed anymore I’ve gotta save as much as I can on everyday expenses…

Spud Shed isn’t really a place where you can buy “fresh” food, but things are very cheap. I just had to buy vegetables (because I can’t live without them), so I headed there to stock up my fridge. Some of the products weren’t something I wanted to buy (e.g. pre-packed vegetables : gone very soft, mandarins : obviously had been frozen) but some were ok. One whole Chinese cabbage for 99cents, a net of garlic for 99cents, iceberg lettuce for 99cents, a head of cauliflower for 29cents etc.  You’ve just gotta dig out the better quality one from the box (if there’s any).

We bought quite a lot, so I believe I won’t need to go grocery shopping for vegetables for awhile… The cart-full of food for $63!

By the way…..  About Japanese grocery shops in Perth.  What happened??   Nippon Food in Fremantle has closed, Super Fuji in Victoria Park has closed, and now Maruyu in Perth has closed for good. 🙁  Hmmmm, there is only one shop left (Nippon Food in Subiaco) which mainly sells Japanese goods and owned by a Japanese company in Perth.

I guess importing foods and goods from Japan is too expensive, and is not a good business?  There are so many similar products at Chinese or Korean shops anyway, and they are much cheaper.  They don’t have everything though, of course…    But I’m surprised to hear 3 shops closed all together around the same time.

Vegan Parents Charged in Death of Baby

Posted March 31st, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

There’s a shocking news about two vegan parents in France : their 11-month-old daughter died for being fed only breast milk.  They are now facing up to 30 years in prison.

An autopsy showed that the baby was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency, which experts say increases a child’s sensitivity to infections.  The baby was underweight and deathly pale according to French media.

I don’t know why the parents didn’t notice the baby wasn’t gaining sufficient weight over the last 11 months, and didn’t consult with doctor or anyone for an advice.  And, why they fed only breast milk for 11 months?  They didn’t introduce any solid foods to supplement nutritions to the baby?

Anyway, it’s a devastating news,, but I was surprised to hear the “30 years in prison” part.  And, the fact that the ambulance workers called the polices instead of
consoling the parents, when they arrived and found the baby dead, because the parents were vegans.

I actually have a French friend who is vegan, but I didn’t know that it is not easy being vegetarian in France.  That’s why the parents are facing the 30 years in prison?  Ummm… now I understand what my vegan friend was talking about – her father was really upset when she decided to be a vegan.  Besides, her father is a butcher! (maybe that’s the reason why she became a vegan?)

Anyway, giving enough nutritions is the most important thing when rising a baby, and I think I should try to have more balanced diet.

Gourmet Mushrooms

Posted November 17th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Mushroom has always been one of my favorite food.  Enoki, Shimeji, Maitake….  I just love them all!  Love the flavor, texture and the fact that they are very healthy : low in calories (almost zero) and also helps reducing the cholesterol level in your body.

In Japan I used to enjoy variety of mushrooms, including cheap ones such as shiitake, shimeji, enoki, and the expensive one such as matsutake mushroom.  Mushrooms go with any cooking method, either you are grilling, stir-frying, deep-frying, stewing, or steaming, mushrooms always turn out delicious.

I’ve been eating mushrooms quite often lately and I thought I’d post a list of major mushrooms eaten across the world 🙂


Known as “king of mushroom”.  They have brown slightly convex fleshy caps with tan gills. Rich and hearty flavor with a meaty texture, and distinctive aroma.

Oyster Mushroom:

The flavor is delicate and subtle, and the flesh is succulent.  They rapidly absorb other flavors during cooking.  Best to be cooked quickly.

Golden Oyster Mushroom:

Bright yellow to golden clusters.  It has a strong nutty flavor, and is best when thoroughly cooked (though some color will be lost).

Enoki Mushroom:

They have a mild yet delightful flavor with a pleasantly crunchy texture.  Traditionally, they are lightly cooked, and served in soups or in stir-fries.

King Oyster Mushroom:

It is the best tasting and textured of oyster mushrooms species.  It has a thick, meaty white stem and a small cap.  When cooked, it has typical mushroom umami flavors with a textures similar to that of abalone.

Black Fungus:

Also known as Wook Ear or Tree Ear, as a result of its appearance.  It is an edible jelly fungus, which has a gelatinous, almost rubbery and crunchy texture.  It can be added to salads, soups, or stir-fries.


Also known as Beech Mushrooms, they grow in clusters and produce tender beige caps.  Firm textured and having a delicate, mildly sweet nutty flavor, they can be incorporated into a wide range of recipes from soups, sauces to stir-fries.

Matsutake Mushroom:

Matsutake mushrooms are said to be the king of all because of the great aroma and flavor. Matsutake grow in red pine forests in the autumn, and theyare specialautumn delicacy in Japan. Fresh matsutake harvested in Japan are very pricey, so imported matsutake are commonly purchased.

(I wrote about Matsutake mushroom here)

Maitake Mushroom:

Maitake is an edible and medicinal mushroom grows in the northern part of the Temperate Zone in the Northern Hemisphere found in Japan, China, Europe and North America.  One of the mushrooms often eaten in Japan, stir-fried, in soup or steamboat.  Wild Maitake has a good taste, a crisp texture, and an excellent aroma. It is considered the first-rank edible mushroom.


(^-^)  Check out the recipes using mushrooms →

Salmon ZosuiJapanese Style Hamburg SteakYaki Udon /

Tofu Broth / Nabe / Tomato Curry


Interesting sites related to mushrooms →


Kit Kat in Japan 3

Posted May 31st, 2010 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Beauty + chocolate?  It’s like… every girl’s dream coming true! I

Kit Kat in Japan is now selling special collaborative items – with TBC : one of the most popular beauty salons in Japan.

The flavors of the “Kit Kat x TBC” are Aloe Yoghurt and Bitter Almond.  Sounds delicious!

And, there are new flavors in Japan’s Kit Kat in addition to my previous posts Kit Kat in Japan and Kit Kat in Japan 2.

Strawberry Cheese Cake


Food You Like and Dislike

Posted October 27th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Since I was a kid, eating was one of my hobby and I could eat almost any food.  The common food that kids normally dislike include green capsicums (called “pi-man” in Japanese), carrots, tomatoes… basically vegetables.  Like other kids, pi-man wasn’t my favorite food either because of its bitter taste, but I started to like it since I was 10.  Now it’s one of my favorite food.



To reduce kids’ dislike food, Japan’s school including kindergarden started to take “food education” seriously and worked hard to make kids like vegetables.  Most of schools in Japan (mainly public schools)  serve lunch to students (called “kyuushoku”), and cooks prepare meals to students everyday.  Those cooks try to make the food interesting to kids, so that kids would eat them and reduce their dislike food.  They cut vegetables into shapes of stars and hearts, and create a face or some scene with those cut vegetables.     

To recall my memory, I started to like lots of food as I aged.  I hated natto (fermented soy bean), rakkyo (a kind of pickles), umeboshi (pickled plum), chili powder, wasabi, etc etc before, but I love most of them.  (now I even love eating fresh chili and sambal)   I also didn’t like beer few years ago, but now I often feel like drinking it.

There are actually three food that I still can’t eat …  and I had never been able to eat them since I was a kid.  They are raw eggs, yama-imo (yam potatoes) and okura (okra).   I think the reason is their slimy texture…  Lots of Japanese enjoy a bowl of steamed rice mixed with raw egg and soy sauce, but I hate it and watching people eating it makes me feel like vomiting.. :p

Anyway, I may be able to eat all of them eventually as I age, but I’m not sure…  I can’t think about it at this point!  Do you have any food that you never thought you could eat them but it happened to be your favorite food??  Aging changes people’s food preferences … I think so.

Bagels in Perth

Posted April 21st, 2009 in Food, Perth WA | No Comments »

I’ve been eating bagels quite often lately.  This Bagelier is an online bakery shop settled in Metropolitan Perth, which deliver freshly baked bagels and other baked sweets right to your door.

I love bagels, but I also miss Japanese style bread.  I hope someone open a Japanese bakery shop in Perth!  Japanese bread are different, and there are many many flavors.  Is there bakeries owned by Japanese bakers within Australia?  

By the way I love my Cranberry x Cream Cheese bagel at Bagelier.  Green Tea flavors are also nice.  After toasting they are nicely crusty and I can enjoy the hard crust as I like.  Personally I love very crusty bread, or very chewy bread.  The bagels from bagelier are nicely chewy and reasonably hard when you heat up.  If you have a small oven toaster it makes them nicely crunchy and chewy!  You can buy them in bulk and keep in the freezer, in this way you can enjoy a bagel anytime 🙂

My “Must” Item

Posted March 5th, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »

What do you feel like eating when you are really really hungry??  I mean, the situation where you can almost eat a horse.  Would you run to KFC, or do you cook steak quickly to fill up your stomach?  I, on the other hand, rush to cook rice first.  When my stomach is empty I need to fill it up with steamed rice!  Yes, that’s right.  I am Japanese :p

I also love bread, pasta, chips, hotdog etc… but I always come back to simple steamed rice.  My family owns few rice fields in Japan, so I grew up with rice everyday.  

What do I eat with steamed rice?  Well, steamed rice is like “main dish” in Japan.  In every meal there is steamed rice, and some side dishes like grilled fish or miso soup.  I can even eat one bowl of steamed rice with just few pickles.  That’s what people used to eat in old era in Japan.

There are many rice dishes in Japanese cuisine, such as rice balls (Onigiri), Chirashi Zushi, Omu-Rice, Domburi, 3 Shoku Gohan etc.  Some people eat noodle or Okonomiyaki as a side dish of steamed rice.  It’s very easy to eat rice everyday in Japan, even you are away from home, as you can just grab Onigiri or Bento from convenience stores nearby.  (they’ll heat up the food for you)  

When I get hungry my character changes.  I don’t know why I can’t control myself, but it’s been like that since I was a child :p  So, rice is quite important food in my life, I guess.  I can keep myself calm 😉


Posted February 28th, 2009 in にほんご | 2 Comments »

月曜がLabour Dayなんで今日から3連休!明日から3月、早いなあ(>_<)日本ではもう春の兆しが見え始めてる時期で、ひな祭りの歌とかあちこちで流れてそう。こっちはこれからだんだんと秋に突入して、雨の季節である冬が始るよ。…って、まだ暫くは暑い日があるかもしれないケド。


カリーエッグサンドイッチ(curried egg sandwich) って日本で見た事無かったけど、コッチじゃ普通に家庭で食べられてる一般的なサンドイッチ。何もスペシャルなモノじゃ無いんだけど、前に働いてたホテルのルームサービスでこのサンドイッチのオーダーもらって、私はこのサンドイッチの存在を初めて知りました(汗)実は最初はあんまり美味しそうじゃなかったこのサンドイッチ☆でも今では時々家で作って食べてます。


あ、ゆで卵をスクランブルエッグに変えるのもオススメ♪卵にミルクかクリームを混ぜてスクランブルエッグを作る時、 well done になるまで火を通さずにちょっと半熟状態でストップ。しっとり仕上がるんでパンに挟んでもポロポロ落ちずに食べ易いです。カレー粉の他にマスタードとかアボカド、マヨやチャツネ etc をサンドしてもgood☆卵大好きな私はコレだけで充分なランチです(^^)v

Love Toast

Posted February 19th, 2009 in Eat out in Japan, Food | No Comments »

Do you eat toast for breakfast every morning?  How would you eat them, simply just with butter?  or with eggs and meat?  

While I’m in Japan my dad and I always have breakfast in the cafe on weekends.  We wake up quite early every morning, and drive a car there.  “breakfast at cafe” = “morning” in Japan, for example we say “hey, let’s go for morning.”  I read an article about the “morning” culture the other day, and I found out that middle eastern – middle western Japanese people go for morning more often than people in other regions in Japan.  (I’m from Shiga, centre of Japan island)  

The basic morning menu is : one drink, one piece (or half piece) of thick sliced toast, one boiled egg, and small bowl of salad or seasonal fruits.  Very simple menu, and it costs around 250~500 yen.  (depends on the cafe)  Of course there are more menus there, such as scrambled eggs, sandwiches etc, but I always go for basic “morning” menu.

I love Japanese bread.  Texture and taste are different from ones in Perth or other countries.  Moist, kind of chewy, yet soft…  And the toast you get from cafe is really really thick! (about 5 cm)  Very nice :p  I usually enjoy them with just butter, or sometimes spread jam/boiled red bean on.

In Perth I sometimes make morning type breakfast.  One boiled egg, one piece of toast… but the bread is different :*(  Ummm.. but what can I do.

BTW you can enjoy toast menu in some of  Izakaya as well.  I love “toast tower” … which is a whole loaf of bread with lots of butter, syrup, ice cream (usually vanilla) and sometimes with red beans or chocolates on the top!  They are served on a plate as stood up in lengthwise, and there is a hollow on the top where ice cream and some other food are served in.  It’s toasted, so ice-cream and butter are melting…  Sounds very high calorie food (it is), but it’s yummy…!  It looks huge but just two girls can eat it up.  … well, I can!

Jakarta Trip 2008 -Food-

Posted January 27th, 2009 in Eat out in Jakarta, Jakarta | No Comments »

Now I finally have time to look back my trip to Jakarta and write about it on Umeboss 🙂  I was staying in Jakarta for 6 days before flying to Japan (for my Japan trip posts, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. or see photos.)

That was my second visit to Jakarta.  The first time was one year ago (2007): I stayed there in Christmas and New Year’s day.  I have to admit that I experienced a huge culture shock in the country :p  Indonesia (Jakarta) was quite different from what I was imagining in my head.  There were actually lots of shopping malls, lots of restaurants (many cuisines: Japanese, Korean, American, Chinese, Indonesian etc) and more!  And everything was inexpensive.

Most of the famous franchises (like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Burger King, Starbucks, etc etc….) were there.  I could even find Beard Papa\’s ! (cream puff franchise started from Osaka Japan)  You could get almost anything in Jakarta.  That was a surprise!

Since I was in Indonesia, I wanted to try original Indonesian food.  Nasi Lemak? Gado Gado? (are they Indonesian?)  Unfortunately, however, I was taken to Chinese restaurants most of the time.  I’m actually sick of Chinese:(  I eat it in Perth all the time!  I wanted to try something exotic.  So I asked them (in laws) to go to an Indonesian restaurant.  Then, they took me to this place called “Java Kitchen”.

It’s a franchise restaurant and this place serves Java food.  Nutty peanuts sauce Satay, Tahu Kacang, Sop Buntut (oxtail soup), mixed plates with a few dishes…  I had a mixed plate of coconut rice, Ayam Goreng (deep-fried chicken), Kacang (peanuts), Sambal (chili), boiled egg etc.  The sambal was really really spicy!!  I love spicy food and usually eat sambal at home in Perth too, but chili sauce in Indonesia was much spicier.  Do they use different type of chili or something? Anyway, even though I couldn’t finish those sambal, I enjoyed whole dish 🙂  Hot climate, hot food.  I love the combination!

Talking about chili sauce, I want to mention about KFC in Indonesia again.  (my previous post for KFC is here)  Yes we went to KFC again to enjoy those chicken with steamed rice.  There were 2 huge bottles of chili sauce at the counter so that customers can pour on their plates as much as they want.  According to my observations, the avarage amount of chili sauce people got on their plate was 1/2cup (125ml):1 piece of chicken + chips + steamed rice. :p


There was a place where I really wanted to go back to on this trip.  This cafe sells special coffee, called Kopi Luwak : coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Indonesian Civet.  This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago.  It sounds little gross to drink something came from animal’s droppings, but this coffee is actually very expensive product. (few hundreds buck per pound (450g)!)

When I went to this cafe last time I didn’t try “pure” Kopi Luwak, so I went there again to try one this time.  One cup of Kopi Luwak was about AUS$7.00, I think.  It had nutty rich flavor.  Whilst drinking I was thinking “who came up with this idea??” :p  So curious…

You can browse more photos of my trip in Jakarta here


Moist & Fluffy Cupcakes

Posted January 21st, 2009 in Food | 49 Comments »

You like making cupcakes, but they always turn out too dry or too doughy??  You don’t wanna follow any complicated recipes??  Then you should try this!  🙂  With just standard ingredients, you can make perfect cupcakes.

The smell is so tempting that my family starts gathering up to the kitchen and pick one or two right after I take those cupcakes out from the oven. (>u<)  They are very soft, moist inside and yet light!  You can enjoy decoration with icing of your favorite after they are cooled. (˚v˚•)¬

<Vanilla Cupcakes> about 24

  • 1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups Plain Flour
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (I used Raw Sugar)
  • 4 Eggs (large size at room temperature)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
* Set up the oven at 175~180 Celsius
  1. Cream the butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually, and beat well until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.
  3. Shift in the 1/3 of dry ingredients.  Mix it through, and then add the 1/3 of milk + vanilla.  Continue adding alternatively, and mix through at each addition.  (do not over mix)
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.  Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
  5. Bake for 20~30 mins, or until it springs back when you press lightly at the top of the cake.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes.  Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
* You can also make nice sponge cake with this mixture!  Bake in a cake tin, and after it’s cooled fill the cream or decorate with some frosting. 🙂
They are still soft and moist after few days, storing in the fridge in an airtight container.
Decorate cupcakes with my favorite Vanilla Butter Icing! 😉
<Vanilla Butter Icing> for 24 cupcakes
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6~8 cups Icing Sugar
  1. Place 4 cups of icing sugar in a bowl, add all other ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat up till smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.   (You may not need to add all of the sugar.)
* Keep the icing in an airtight container at room temperature (can last up to 3 days)
(Magnolia cupcakes)

Stamina Food -Japanese-

Posted January 17th, 2009 in Food | 3 Comments »

I cooked some stamina food to overcome this heat.  Although it wasn’t so hot today, the heat from last whole week (44 degrees!) really damaged my body energy :p

(BTW I feel terrible about Kings Park bush fire which happened yesterday…)

Those stamina food is kind of Japanese home cooking.  The right top is stir-fried garlic sprout with beansprouts and cabbage, top left is unagi donburi, and the one at the front is tako karaage (deep-fried seasoned octopus).

Garlic sprout and unagi are believed to give stamina.  In Japan, these food are eaten in summer when the temperatures and humidity are high.  People tend to lose their appetite and they ultimately suffer from summer exhaustion or summer lethargy.  These stamina food are great sources of nutrition for Japanese people in steamy hot weather.

I hope these food give us the strength to survive this long summer 🙂



Zero Calorie

Posted January 4th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »
zero calorie jelly

zero calorie jelly

 One of the things that my partner got excited about in Japan was zero calorie stuff.  Japanese people seem to care about calories; in family restaurants, izakaya etc you can actually see the calories of each items (they describe on their menu).  I think it’s nice to know how much calorie each food is, but at the same time it makes me feel difficult to decide what to eat :p

Zero calorie food are available in either jelly or drinks.  They taste good, so I used to drink them very often! 🙂  They cost about 100 yen ~ 200 yen.   

Also lots of low calorie food are available too.  At the supermarkets or convenience stores you can find “100 kcal cup noodle” “55 kcal potato chips”…  They cost about 100 yen too.

I’ve never seen such “low calorie food” “zero calorie food” in Perth.  Are they only available in Japan?  In Australia, people seem to care more about “fat” “gluten” “sugar” in food, not “calorie”.

Convenience Stores in Japan

Posted January 3rd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Convenience stores are everywhere in Japan.  Even in country side, you can find them easily.

I really think that Japanese convenience stores are really really convenient!  They open 24/7, so even on midnight or early morning you can get some nice drinks and food.  

They also sell books, magazines, cosmetics, medicines, alcohols, clothes (gloves, panties etc), stamps, cigaret  etc…  Starbucks brand coffee are also available.  You can order concert tickets, movie tickets, Christmas cakes etc through convenience stores, and send some parcels from convenience stores too.  And, you can do some payment at the counter.  Basically you can do anything there! 🙂

Convenience Store Food

Convenience Store Food

The food in convenience stores are amazing.  Imagine, you sometimes order takeaway bento box from Japanese restaurants in Australia (or some other countries) and it usually costs more than $15.00.  You can get same type of food from convenience stores 24/7 at cheap price!  (eg: one typical bento box costs about 500 ~ 1000 yen)  They microwave the food if you wish, so you can eat it straight away.  They also sell bread, sandwiches, onigiri (rice balls), salad, pasta, pickles, noodle,  yoghurt, puddings, cakes, snacks….  and they cook some food there and sell at the counter too: eg karaage (deep-fried chicken), sausages, fried potatoes, etc etc.  Also niku-man, an-man (like Chinese pork buns, but in several flavors), oden (typical Japanese winter food)=only in winter), soft serves are available.

There are several kinds of convenience stores like Lawson, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Circle K, Mini Stop, AMPM…  some convenience stores have point service : you can exchange the points to some products or service.  Since I go to Lawson and Seven Eleven so many times I applied for point cards!  (even though I was in Japan for just 3 weeks :p)

Kit Kat in Japan

Posted November 19th, 2008 in Japan, Ume's Interests | 14 Comments »

One thing I noticed about Japan since I came to Perth is that Japan has lots of products, food and… everything!  I was amazed when I read the article about Kit Kat chocolate in Japan.  There are so many flavor of Kit Kat in Japan which you cannot find in other countries! :p

Here are some examples…

Which flavor tempts you??  Personally I really wanna try this “Soy Sauce Kit Kat”!! 🙂

And there are actually regional Kit Kat too!  Like Tokyo Kit Kat, Kansai Kit Kat…  The Kansai and Kyushyu Kit Kat flavor sounds really interesting 🙂

Character Bento

Posted November 9th, 2008 in Japan | 7 Comments »

My friend sent me a photo of very cute Bento box:)  These characters are from Japanese cartoon called An-Pan-Man, and it’s very famous in Japan.  The An-Pan-Man is not known here in Perth and Indonesia,  I wonder why…  I like the cartoon and the characters are very cute!  I used to watch the cartoon on tv when I was little:)


This bento box was made by my friend.  So cute (>v<)///

 Just wanted to show the picture to you… 🙂

Lemon Tree

Posted October 30th, 2008 in Food | 4 Comments »

In Perth people grow lots of trees in their garden.  Lemon, orange, mandarin, avocado, chili, etc…  Gardening is very very popular here.

I get to see many lemon trees around.  In my friends’ houses, in a park and in my neighbor’s yard…   I’ve never seen people actually raising it from a seed though… it must take years and years to grow.

I don’t have lemon tree in my garden, but my neighbor has.  The tree grows lots of fruits and one branch is growing towards my garden, so I sometimes pick them and use for cooking :p  I don’t think the neighbor can eat all…

The lemons I picked last week tasted very sweet:)  Not as sweet as melons or banana, of course, but I could just eat them like fruits!  I think the hot weather made them very sweet 🙂

Last night I used this lemon to make an accompaniment for steak.  The tangy citrus flavor was very refreshing and went well with beef 🙂

< Tomato Salsa with Avocado and Lemon Zest >

Chop up tomato (concace) and avocado.  Zest the lemon.  Add little amount of olive oil and mix them up  gently.  Crack black pepper over the plate and enjoy♪

Super Size

Posted October 29th, 2008 in Food, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

One thing that surprised me when I came to Perth is the size of the food.  Everything is so huge!  Watermelons, cucumbers and capsicums (in Japan we call green capsicums “piiman”)….  Perth’s baby cucumber is the same size as normal Japanese one :p

Big surprise was Perth’s eggplant.  They are unrealisticly huge (>x<)!!!  Japanese normal eggplants are just about same size as my hand, but Perth’s ones are bigger than my head!!  Are eggplants supposed to be in such huge size in other countries too??

They are not only veges/fruits that are big in Aus.  Chicken too…:p  When I was working in the kitchen at a restaurant I had to bone whole chickens, then I realized  “Japanese chickens weren’t this big!”.  Chicken thigh, breast and legs which you can find at local supermarkets are much bigger than ones in Japan too.

I was told that it’s because people inject some kind of hormone to chickens so that they grow much bigger than they are supposed to be.  Of course bigger the meat is more portion you can get for cooking.  …business… but it’s not natural, and now people are saying that our body also grows bigger by eating those chickens (>0<).  So scary.

You can of course get small size (natural) chickens here too, and they are more expensive…  but I always choose the natural size!  I don’t wanna get my face bigger :p

Foods in Season

Posted October 27th, 2008 in Food | 2 Comments »

Here in Perth, the summer seems to be just around the corner.  The Daylight Saving started in WA state and the clocks went forward an hour, so the sun is up till 8pm now.  During the summer outside is still bright around 9pm – 10pm, so I sometimes get confused “is it night time now??”

Strawberries, blueberries, melons etc were very cheap till couple weeks ago.  They are spring fruits and I enjoyed them a lot 🙂  For strawberries and blueberries I bought them in bulk and froze them.  You can easily make nice fruit smoothies or some fruit sauce for pancakes at home:)

On the other hand, my dad told me that the autumn fruits are getting in their season in Japan and Nashi pears and Passimons are very tasty.  I love any fruits, but my favorite is Nashi pears.  They are not really sweet and have not so much  flavor, but that’s why I love them:)  I love watery food.

You can get Nashi pears in Perth, and my friend told me that they are available in America and Hawaii as well,  so I guess you can get them in any country now.  But of course the price is high :p  I still think Nashi in Japan is the best.

Hot day…

Posted October 15th, 2008 in Perth WA | 18 Comments »

Wow is it already summer?? :p  It was more than 30 degree today.  So hot…  I heard on the radio that there was a bush fire in Hamilton Hill.  No wonder, I can feel the air is very dry…

Because of the heat I didn’t feel like eating anything for lunch today, so I just had apple and peach tea.  When I came home from work I was pretty hungry and had steak with some steamed veges.  By the way, during summer I can just eat watermelon for dinner everyday.  I like watery food and love watermelon:)  Japanese watermelon is round shape and sweeter than Perth’s.  Watermelon here is so huge and cheap!

During summer another thing I can’t stop eating is ice cream :p  I love haagen-dazs ice cream, especially green tea flavor!  Not too sweet, and the little bitter taste is perfect to ease the summer heat.

I also love this ice-cream “Viennetta” (>v<)/  In Japan it’s quite expensive compared with other normal ice-cream, but I still kept buying it.  The reason for that is not only the creamy taste, but also my memory.  My cousin sister always bought this ice-cream for me when I was little and for me the ice-cream reminds me the memory of her.  Apparently it’s also her favorite ice-cream.  Still now, I keep buying this:)

Eat Fresh – Seasonal Food

Posted October 14th, 2008 in Perth WA | No Comments »

It’s spring and many veges are on their season!  Asparagus, cabbage, zucchini etc are very cheap at the supermarket.  It’s very interesting that in Japan it’s Autumn now and their seasonal foods are totally different. Sweet potatoes, chestnuts (kuri), grapes, nashi pear…  The autumn in Japan is called “eating season” because the food is so nice that people eat a lot.  One thing we always tell each other is “ohhh… I put on weight(><)” .  If you want to try delicious, fresh food in Japan I recommend you to go there between autumn ~ winter (Sep ~ Feb).  Many food, such as seafood and fruits, are on their season during that time.  But be careful, not to eat too much or you will put on weight :p

Here in Perth I cook the seasonable veges in very simple way.  Just toss in olive oil and season, then barbeque, or grill in a pan.

Or you can cook them as Tempura.  Asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, carrot, etc… are suitable for Tempura 🙂

Asparagus Tempura with Cold Soba Noodle

Asparagus Tempura with Cold Soba Noodle


Or asparagus sticks with bacon is also nice 🙂  Just cut asparagus into 5cm and wrap it with bacon.  Stick them into skewers and grill!  Nice variety for Yakitori party 🙂

Full Moon

Posted August 20th, 2008 in Food | 3 Comments »

I see a full moon in the sky lately.   In Japan, we traditionally enjoy “Otsukimi”(moon viewing) on the night of the full moon in autumn.  We make offerings to the moon of autumn fruits and vegetables, odango(rice dumplings) and susuki(Japanese pampas grass).

However I have never experienced this traditional ceremony.  I just know about this from my grand parents’ story and old books.  I don’t know when people in Japan stopped enjoying Otsukimi…  

What comes to my mind when I see a full moon is, actually, MacDonald’s burger:p  In this Otsukimi season, MacDonald’s in Japan used to sell Otsukimi burger.  The burger contains egg, and the yolk looks like a full moon.  That’s the reason why it’s called Otsukimi burger.

I liked the burger, I don’t know if MacDonald’s still sells them though.  Next time when I go back to Japan in autumn, and if I can get Otsukimi burger then, I would like to enjoy moon viewing with the burger in my hands! 🙂