Saturday, June 30, 2012

I miss you Japan!

I miss you Japan!

Its been exactly a year since my husband and myself, along with two good friends, boarded a big plane and flew to Japan for a holiday. So I thought a nice way to celebrate the anniversary of being in such an amazing place is to share with you my favourite moments/places we experienced over there. We loved our time in busy Tokyo, the lights, colour and non stop fun, but I fell inlove with the country when we visited traditional Kyoto. Hope these photos show how amazing and beautiful Japan can be!

Shopping In Tokyo

My favourite ice creams in amazing flavours

Breakfast on our first morning

Plastic moulds of food on offer!

Beautiful, still gardens in the middle of Tokyo

Got a bid addicted to these mini doughnuts!

Food van at a weekend market in Tokyo

Love this giant piece of mosaic art!

Tokyo from a monorail

Cutest way to spend a day at the Cat Cafe!

Busy Tokyo by day

Bright Tokyo by night.

Found the cutest things to buy in Tokyo

Discovering the tall and narrow buildings in Tokyo

Real take away on the bullet train to Kyoto

Riding the quiet and very narrow streets of Kyoto

Beautiful, still streets of Kyoto

Found a flea market with the best second hand stuff!

More shopping in Kyoto

Staying in a traditional Ryokan, and wearing all the tradional attire!

Best breakfast of the trip. Traditional Japanese breakfast at the Ryokan.

Catching the train to explore Kyoto

Spotted a man doing a spot of fishing in the most beautiful place.

Couldn't get enough of the view

On a romantic train ride through the middle of nowhere!

Inside my capsule at the capsule 9 Hours hotel, very modern accomodation in untouched Kyoto!

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these photos! They bring back so many lovely memories for me! Am so happy I bought a few bits and pieces while there to remember my time, and these are my favourites!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A cake a day...the last recipe!

A cake a day...the last recipe!

I hope you have all enjoyed my cake recipes I have been sharing with you over the last week or so and even better, hope you have made some and enjoyed eating them. This recipe today, is the last of the cakes I made for my husbands birthday, the Vanilla Sponge with Milk Chocolate Icing we had with my family on the tuesday night! This cake was delicious and I did change the recipe as I wanted to use spelt flour and had some chocolate so made a milk chocolate icing rather than just a plain icing.

This recipe comes from a very lovely cookbook I own, called Afternoon Tea! It has the best recipes and is very pretty!

Like i said earlier, I did change the original recipe slightly. To make this cake you will need:
1/4 cup milk
125gm butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs spelt flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup spelt flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a round cake tin. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters for 6 minutues. Pour mixture into tin and bake for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack and make the icing.

For the icing,
Mix 3 tbs icing sugar
60 gm butter
some hot water
melted milk chocolate in a bowl until the flavour is to your liking. If it needs more butter add butter or more sugar add sugar. Make sure the mixture is not too runny that it will run off the cake.

Once cake is cooled, ice the cake and decorate if you wish. I placed a doily on mine and dusted with cocoa powder.

This cake really is delicious and I suggest making a chocolate icing as it is soo good! As I had mentioned in my first post about cakes, we stopped cake eating on the wednesday night. I did not make the wednesday cake, a carrot cake, that was given to us by some of the people we share a community meal with.

So we had banana cake, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate ganache cake, double chocolate brownies and now vanilla sponge with milk chocolate icing and carrot cake!

How many cakes have you enjoyed for one celebration!!??


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A cake a day...recipe 3!

A cake a day...recipe 3!

Right, so Ive given you the banana cake recipe and the chocolate cupcake recipe, which means we are up to the 3rd cake we ate for my husbands birthday, which was a Chocolate Ganache Cake on the sunday night with friends. I did not make this cake! This was made by a lovely friend of ours. I dont have a recipe or photo, but finishing off the whole cake I think says it was pretty amazing. It was served with more ganache to pour ontop, as well as berries and cream! Sooo good!

So this then leads me to 4th cake on monday night, Double Choc Brownies with my brother and his lovely girlfriend! I did make these, hoorah..BUT...there is no photo as they were eaten straight out of the tin, and I didn't think of photos while we were chatting and eating away! Here is the recipe though. These are the easiest, quickest, yummiest brownies in the world! The original recipe comes from a wonderful book I use alot, simply called Cakes and Slices.

I changed the recipe slightly and used spelt flour instead of wheat, but the rest is the same.

You will need:
80 g butter
40 gm cocoa powder
145 gm sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
60 gm spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100 fair trade choc chips or chopped up chocolate

First preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a slice tin. Leave some baking paper hanging over the sides so it is easier to lift out.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa and sugar, then the eggs.
Sieve the flour and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt into the chocolate mixture. Stir well. Add the chocolate chips and combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-30 minutes. The recipe says to leave to cool in the tin before lifting out and cutting, but if your like us, you can devour straight from the tin!

Here is a picture of the brownies in the book! Ours looked just the same!

This is a fantastic recipe to run to when you need something to share or take somewhere asap! And the recipe is soo adaptable! Ive substituted raisins, nuts, dates and beetroot for the choc chips in the past. Ive also used honey or palm sugar instead of sugar. You can also ice them which Ive done! And they never fail, so you can turn these into exactly what you want!



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A cake a day...recipe 2!

A cake a day...recipe 2!

In my last post, I wrote about the many many many cakes we ate to celebrate my husbands birthday, and that I would share the recipes of the cakes I made, with you. Here is the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes we shared with husbands side of the family on the saturday night!

This chocolate cake recipe is the same one that I used for my Chocolate Cake with Stewed Plums, which you can find here. I decided cupcakes this time, as it makes the recipe go further as my husband has a large family!

You will need:
75 gm butter or coconut oil
200 ml honey
200 ml strong black coffee
2 eggs
40 gm cocoa powder
2 tbs coconut sugar
200 gm spelt flour
1tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 190C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases. Melt the butter/coconut oil and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl! Mix well. Pour the batter into the cupcake cases. I was able to make 12 large cupcakes with this mixture, but you could make them smaller and get 18 out. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. They will look very dark once baked because of the coffee.

Once they have cooled on a wire rack, it's time to ice them.
You will need:
50 gm butter
50 gm coconut sugar
1-2 tbs cocoa powder

Beat everything in a bowl, with a drop of boiling water till creamy and fluffy! Spread on the cupcakes!



Monday, June 18, 2012

A cake a day keeps the doctor away!

A cake a day keeps the doctor away!

So last weekend was my husbands birthday. We like birthdays and like the 'excuse' to go out for dinner and eat cake! So, we planned who we would see and when and it just so happened that from the friday night till the wednesday night we had a different cake/celebration each night! This wasn't the plan, but we were more than happy to say YES! to any last minute invites here or there! So I thought I would share with you the cakes and their recipes we enjoyed. To recap what we devoured, we had Banana cake friday night with friends, chocolate cupcakes saturday night with husbands side of the family, chocolate ganache cake sunday night with friends again (they must really like seeing us), double chocolate brownies monday night with my brother and his girlfriend, vanilla sponge with milk chocolate icing tuesday night with my side of the family and carrot cake wednesday night as part of our weekly community meal! Now, I love my husband and I LOVE cake, but I did not make all of these, I am not that crazy! I will share with you each day, one of the cakes I made, because eating these surely would keep the doctor away!

Recipe 1.
Best banana cake in the world!

I decided a banana cake was needed to start off the cakefest as I had seen a very delicious recipe in a wondeful cookbook I own. Its called Poh's Kitchen by Poh Ling Yeow. Everything about this book is wonderful, the recipes Ive tried so far are soo good but the way the book looks is just so up my alley!

For the cake, you will need:
125 g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
2 large free range eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 1/4 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted
1/4 cup full cream milk
3 overripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 160C or 150C fanforced. Grease and line a round 20cm cake tin.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter, both sugars and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and fold in with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.

Mash the bananas and add to the mixture with the milk, and fold in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf for about 40 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from tin. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile make the addictive icing!
You will need:
50 gm butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
2-3 tbs fresh lemon/lime juice
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped or crushed.

I doubled this icing recipe so I could ice the sides as well. But sticking to the recipe above will give you enough for a lovely amount ontop!

Combine the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Spread over the top of the cake (or the WHOLE cake if you doubled the recipe) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

I would have to agree with Poh's title for this cake, it really is the best banana cake I've tasted! Enjoy!