It is autumn. It is getting cooler here in Perth, especially in the morning and at night. It is really perfect weather for me – for a tea drinker.
I would like to introduce my recent favourite drink today.
It is Hojicha Latte.
Hojicha is roasted Japanese Green tea. I love Hojicha. It is mild and subtle, but at the same time, I can enjoy the beautiful distinctive roasted flavour.
Making latte with this tea is just perfect…. You can enjoy the wonderful roasted aroma in warm rich milk. Warm, relaxing, mellow…. It is just a perfect drink for this season….
The method is really easy. The key is just not to boil it, or the tea will taste bitter and the milk will lose its flavour.
Personally I think that Hojicha latte is a good entrance to get into the Japanese tea world. Even if you are still a Japanese tea beginner, I am sure you will still enjoy it ( and if you are a Japanese tea lover, why not try it!). Hope you like it.
Ingredients (serving for 2 mugs): 8g of Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea) 200ml of Water 300ml of your choice of Milk <Optional>1 teaspoon of Sugar
Method: 1. Boil 200ml water in a small pot. Once it is boiled, turn the heat off and add Hojicha into it. Brew it for 3 minutes.
2. Add milk into the pot and warn it over low heat for 3 minutes. Make sure not to boil it. Add sugar if you want to make it sweet. Serve while warm.
My memory of Japanese sweets is my mum’s homemade Anko (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Paste). Well…, it is not exactly the anko itself…. It is more like my mum and my sister.
They love anko. They sometimes had this sudden craving for anko (and I do not know why, but this happened always at night), and the next day, my mum would make it. When they ate it, they looked super happy… The homemade anko must have had some sort of magical power to make these 2 powerful Osaka ladies (especially if you know them…, you know what I mean) calm and speechless…
On the other hand, I have never been a big fan of Anko…. Somehow, I felt it was too sweet….That’s why I had never made it before. However, as I became older, I started missing the sweet anko – age does funny thing to humans!
So here it is! I recreated my mum’s happy Anko. As always, she gave me the instructions and tips (well, of course she does not know the measurement…). I think it is quite good.
I made Dorayaki (Red Bean Pancake) by using this anko this time. You can use if for anything else – such as Zensai (Sweet Red Bean Soup), Daifuku (mochi rice cake filled with anko), or even western style sweets (cupcakes and pound cakes will be good!).
It takes time to make, but it is easy. Try it when you have time!
220g Azuki Red Beans
1200ml of Water
140g of Caster Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
Soak Azuki red beans overnight (15 – 20 hours).
Rinse the azuki red beans.
Place the azuki red beans and 1200ml water into a big pot. Bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to low. Skim the scum off the top. Keep cooking over low heat for about 1 hour or until the azuki red beans become soft and tender.
Add caster sugar and sea salt into the pot. Keep simmering until the liquid is evaporated. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours.
Once the liquid is evaporated, mix and mash the azuki red beans to the consistency of your liking. Cool it down to use. You can wrap and freeze the anko if you are not planing to use it straight away.
This is Dorataki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake Sandwich). I used this recipe.
I think I found my basic brownie measurements! I am writing down the recipe here before I forget.
I am a chocolate lover – especially good quality dark chocolate. This brownie is super rich and full of chocolate, but not too sweet, just as I like it.
This brownie is also very versatile. You can mix nuts, dried fruits and/or chocolate chips in it. If you bake in a round tin and arrange some toppings on it (such as strawberries, mascarpone cream or frosting), this will be a gorgeous rich chocolate cake. This time, I have put salted caramel sauce on top (see photo). The saltiness of the sauce and the richness of the brownie are just perfect. The choice is endless.
In addition, it is super easy to make. All you have to do is just keep adding ingredients one by one. Gluten free is certainly a bonus. If you need a chocolate fix, this is the perfect brownie for you. Hope you like it.
Ingredients (20cm square cake tin):
120g Unsalted Butter – room temperature
180g good quality 70% Dark Chocolate
2 Eggs -room temperature
70g Dark Sugar
50g Almond Meal – shifted
Preheat oven to 170 ºC. Line a cake tin with baking paper. Break dark chocolate into small pieces.
Place the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in a saucepan. Place it over a low heat and allow them to melt, while stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat once they become a smooth chocolate sauce. Put it aside.
Place 2 eggs and dark sugar in a bowl. Whisk them together until it looks thick and creamy. I recommend using a hand mixer. It takes about 10 minutes.
Add the chocolate sauce (Method 2) and cream into the egg mixture (Method 3). Gently combine them together.
Add almond meal into the mixture. Combine them gently until they are homogenised. Do not mix, otherwise the cake will be dense.
Pour the mixture into the prepared square tin. Bake it for 20 minutes or until it is just cooked (until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean).
Take it out of the oven and cool it down in the tin. Once it is cooled down, remove the cake from the tin carefully (the cake is very fragile when it is warm). Cut into small squares. You can keep them in the fridge.
Healthy Banana Bread with my new super food – Lupin Flakes.
Well…, after enjoying the beauty of “doing nothing” on Hamilton Island, I have 1.5 kg to get rid of from my body…. Since I LOVE eating sweets and it is really hard for me to carry out any diets without a small pleasure, I have made this recipe – my healthy “go-to” sweet using Lupin Flakes. I quite like the unique texture of Lupin Flakes in this cake – kind of popping or chewy. It is a light and yet very satisfying dessert.
I would recommend using a small loaf pan, as it does not raise as much as normal banana bread due to no sugar and only a small amount of flour added.
Ingredients (1 x small loaf pan 17.5cm x 8.5 cm x 6cm)
3 well ripened Banana – mashed
2 Tablespoons of Honey
30g of Milk
60g of Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Paste
50g of Self-raising flour- sifted
100g of Lupin Flakes
Preheat oven to 180◦C. Line a loaf pan with baking paper. Sift self-raising flour.
In a large bowl, beat mashed bananas, eggs and honey well.
Add milk, olive oil and vanilla paste to the bowl, and combine them well.
Add the self-raising flour and lupin flakes into the mixture. Combine them gently until they disappear. Do not mix as gluten will come out and the cake will be dense*.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake them for 40 minutes or until it is just cooked (until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean).
Take it out of the oven and cool it down on a wire rack.
Note: *how to combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients gently.
I use a whisk. Scrap and scoop the mixture with the whisk and lift up and drop it. Repeat this until dry ingredients disappear into the mixture. It helps to work quickly when you turn the mixing bowl in the opposite direction of the whisk scrapping the mixture.
Another flavour of my Easiest Ever Muffins -the classic combo, Chocolate and Strawberries.
These muffins are so easy to make. All you need to do is just place a large mixing bowl on a scale and keep adding and mixing all ingredients in order. If you are looking for something to do with your kids during this school holiday, maybe this is a good one.
Ingredients (about 8-9 small muffins)
80g of Almond Meal
50g of Self-raising Flour
30g of good quality Pure Cocoa Powder
50g of Sugar
30g of Milk
40g of Unsalted Butter- melted
20g of Olive Oil (or any of your favourite oil)
60 of Dark Chocolate Chips (or nay of your favourite chocolate)
200g of Strawberries
2 Teaspoons of Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons of Sugar
Preheat oven to 200◦C. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Shift almond meal, self-raising flour and cocoa powder together.
Place all of the ingredients for the strawberries in a small microwavable bowl. Cover it with gladwrap and microwave it for 1 minute. Put it aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add milk, melted butter and olive oil to the bowl and combine them well.
Add the almond meal, the self-raising flour and the cocoa powder into the mixture. Combine them gently until they disappear. Do not mix as gluten will come out and the muffins will be dense*.
5 add chocolate chips and the strawberries including all of the juice into the mixture. Fold them into the mixture gently. Again do not mix.
Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake them for 15-18 minutes or until they are just cooked (until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of muffin comes out clean).
Take them out from the oven and cool them down on a wire rack.
Note: *how to combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients gently.
I use a wire whisk. Scrap and scoop the mixture with the whisk and lift up and drop it. Repeat this until dry ingredients disappear into the mixture. It helps to work quickly when you turn the mixing bowl in the opposite direction of the shills scrapping the mixture.
A perfect Sunday breakfast. Yogurt makes pancakes light and fluffy. I made this recipe when I really felt like pancakes but there was no milk in the fridge. If you do not always have milk in your fridge like us but are still crabbing pancakes, try this recipe.
Ingredients (4 small pancakes):
4 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt (normal, light or greek – it is your choice)
5 Tablespoons of Water
1.5 Tablespoons of Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
50g Almond Meal – shifted
50g Self-rising Flour – shifted
In a bowl, whisk yogurt, water, egg, sugar and vanilla extract well, until the mixture becomes smooth.
Add almond meal and self-rising flour to the bowl and combine them until the batter becomes smooth.
Place a small amount of oil in a frying pan (not included in the ingredients’ list above). Heat the frying pan to medium/high heat. Pour ¼ of the batter into the frying pan. Cook it for 2-3 minutes or until the surface becomes bubbly and the edge becomes dry. Flip the pancake over and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Once it is cooked, transfer the pancake to a plate and repeat the same process with the remaining batter.
Plate them up and serve them warm with your choice of toppings (I chose simple ones – good butter and honey)
This is another very easy cake recipe. No technique is required. All you have to do is keep adding the ingredients in a bowl. Apple and almond meal give the cake moderate natural sweetness, and brown sugar contributes to its richness. The flavour of lemon syrup adds a little bit of sourness to the cake.
Ingredients for 15 cm round cake tin:
70g Dark Brown Sugar
40g Unsalted Butter – melted
20ml Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon powder
80g Almond Meal – shifted
80g Self-Rising Flour – shifted
1 Apple (any kind of apple you like) – peeled, core removed and sliced into thin wedges
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons of Water
4 Tablespoons of icing Sugar (or White Sugar is also fine)
Preheat oven to 180◦C. Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and dark brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add milk, melted butter, olive oil and cinnamon power to the bowl. Combine them well.
Add almond meal and self-rising flour into the mixture. Combine them gently until they disappear. Do not mix as gluten will come out and the cake will be dense*.
Pour the batter into the tin and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced apple on top of the batter, pressing them into the batter very gently. Bake it for about 40 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make lemon syrup. Put lemon juice, water and icing sugar in a small saucepan. Heat it gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Put aside.
Once the cake is cooked, take it out from the oven. Make small holes in the surface using a wooden skewer and pour the lemon syrup over the cake. Leave it to soak in the tin until it has cooled down. It can be eaten straight away, but it is nice next day as well when all of the flavour is settle and absorbed.
Note* How to combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients gently.
I use a wire whisk. Scrape and scoop the mixture of ingredients with the whisk, and lift up and drop it. Repeat this until the dry ingredients disappear into the mixture. It helps you to work quicker when you turn the mixing bowl in the opposite direction of the whisk scrapping the mixture.