Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


To my friends all over the world,

** ... ** ... ☆... ** ...  Merry Christmas ** ... ** ... ☆... ** ... ** 

 I didn't do much for Christmas this year, but I did make a small Christmas tree and baked a bundt cake. 
This is the Christmas tree I made in five minutes.

Maybe, to long-term readers of my foodblog, these ribbons and ornaments look somewhat familiar? Haha... I've been using the same things in different combinations for years, as you can see here:
(Scroll down to see Christmas trees.)

Anyway, about the cake. I definitely wanted to use my bundt pan, so I did a net search for bundt cake and pound cake recipes. Finally, I picked this almond cake recipe (in Japanese). Unlike typical bundt cakes, this is a pretty light and almost fluffy almond cake, so I was a little worried that it may not keep its shape nicely.

So this is how my cake looked when it came out of the oven. :)

Not bad. Not bad at all. But it wasn't perfect... I forgot to add almond extract to the batter! When I realized it, the cake was already half-done, so there was nothing I could do at that point. All I could do was making syrup, adding bunch of almond extract to it and brushing it onto the bottom surface of the cake before taking it out of the pan.

And on the next day, I iced the cake. At first, I thought about making orange flavored icing, but after all, I chose to make simple icing (milk & confectionery sugar) with lots of almond extract added. Here's now I drizzled it over the cake.


And at night, after coming back from Christmas caroling at a local church, I tasted my cake with sparkling wine.

This year, I didn't have a nice, big candle and didn't do a good job in photo-taking. But the cake and wine were good enough for enjoying the relaxing Christmas Eve in my room.

.No great pic, but it captured the cozy atmosphere, at least. :)

Hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas with lots of joy.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sometimes I Need a Hiding Place

Purple Sweet Potato Paste with Ice Cream @ Mederu Kitchen

My friend took me to this small restaurant called "Mederu Kitchen"about a year ago. Since then, this place has been one of my fave places in this prefecture. It's on the second floor of the roadside station in Yasu Town, nicknamed "Ya-shii Park."

 Entrance of Mederu Kitchen

Last month, I took mom here on our way back from the hospital for a cup of coffee. She really loved the relaxing atmosphere and delicious melon and ice cream parfait.

And two days ago, I came here alone for lunch. What I had was this healthy combo meal. It was my kind of meal because I like tasting a little bit of many different dishes.

 Healthy combo meal

It's nice to have a place like this where I can totally relax and enjoy the afternoon sunshine and a nice cup of coffee. :)
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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Too Much Food !

Kaiseki dinner at Hotel Ashizuri-En

Sorry about neglecting this blog for such a long time! It's not that I have been terribly busy. It's just that I've been more addicted to Facebook than this blog...

Anyway, what you see here on this post is the banquet at Hotel Ashizuri-En in Tosashimizu City. I went to Cape Ashizuri -- the western tip of Kochi Prefecture -- on the field trip of an association of geology fans in Kochi prefecture. We walked a lot, learned a lot and ate A LOT. Take a look at the photo below to see how much food was served for one person!


And as if this was not enough, on a separate table, there were several big plates of mackerel sashimi, the specialty of this area.

What was unusual was that they gave us two options to eat beef: teppan yaki (grilling on an iron plate) and shabushabu (blanching in boiling broth). It is usually either of them.

And most of us left this dish untouched.
The food tasted good. But there was just too much of them! And too little liquor.
Honestly speaking, I wished that they omitted a couple of small side dishes and served ice cream instead. 

But overall, I truly enjoyed this field trip including the banquet and hot spring bath at this hotel.
Let me show you some magnificent geological formations we saw on Cape Ashizuri.

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